Robert Plotkin: Why Lawyers Should Write a Book

In this episode, Steve Fretzin and Robert Plotkin discuss:

  • Giving information away.
  • Writing a lead-generating book while maintaining your law practice.
  • Benefits of writing a book above other kinds of content marketing.
  • What to do before publication, during promotion, and after publication.

Key Takeaways:

  • Even if you gave someone your entire process, nobody will be able to execute like you do because you have value to bring to the situation.
  • Break your book down into small, manageable bites. Also, consider sharing some of the information as you go and get feedback as you go so it feels less monumental of a task.
  • Having a good outline in place is crucial – it gives you opportunities to break your script into smaller tasks that can be tackled in your 15 or 20 free minutes.
  • Have multiple ways of distributing your content – audio, digital, and print. People consume content in different ways, but you can also repackage that content in your content marketing.

“The thing about a book is it sends this separate meta message about your clout, your credibility as an expert. I think most lawyers who are writing a book are trying to use it to establish or cement themselves as an expert, a thought leader, someone who knows how to get certain things done for their clients in the law and a book sends that meta message at just order of magnitude higher level. There’s another meta message: by someone seeing that you wrote a book, they know you’re someone who took the time and has the discipline to write a book. Even if they never read it, that sends a message to them.” —  Robert Plotkin

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About Robert Plotkin: Robert Plotkin is a patent attorney who has specialized in obtaining software patents for his clients to maximize company value for over 25 years. He focuses on obtaining patents that his clients use to attract investment, generate revenue, and secure successful exits. His clients have gone toe-to-toe against the biggest tech companies in the world in patent litigation and emerged victorious. He is a co-founder of the boutique patent law firm Blueshift IP and is sought out by the world’s leading software and AI companies to obtain, enforce, and leverage patents for success.

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Show notes by Podcastologist Chelsea Taylor-Sturkie

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[00:00:00] Steve Fretzin: Hey everybody, if you’re looking to level up as a lawyer, you want to join me and my friend Rachel Steininger, who’s been on the show a couple times. For 10 easy to execute hacks to unlock your full potential, you can sign up on my website Fretzin. com slash events and hope to see you there and enjoy the show.

[00:00:20] Narrator: You’re listening to Be That Lawyer, life changing strategies and resources for growing a successful law practice. Each episode, your host, author, and lawyer coach, Steve Fretzin, will take a deeper dive helping you grow your law practice in less time with greater results. Now, here’s your host, Steve Fretzin.

[00:00:42] Steve Fretzin: Well, hey everybody. Welcome back to the Be That Lawyer podcast. I’m Steve Fretzin. I hope you’re having a lovely day today. Hopefully everything is going your way. If not let’s try to fix it. We can’t fix everything in one episode, but we’re going to, we’re going to fix something today. I don’t know what that might be.

[00:00:55] Steve Fretzin: Maybe it might be your inability to create that book that you’ve been dying to create all these years. And we’re going to talk about that a little bit today with Robert. How you doing, Robert? Good. 

[00:01:03] Robert Plotkin: I’m doing great. Thanks for having me. Good to 

[00:01:05] Steve Fretzin: have you back, man. You’re a two timer. 

[00:01:08] Robert Plotkin: Looking forward to being a five timer.

[00:01:09] Robert Plotkin: A five timer. Oh, my God. Well, 

[00:01:11] Steve Fretzin: you know, we’re coming up on 400 episodes, so I don’t think we’re quite there yet, but we’re working our way there. We, as you guys all know, we are starting off with our quote of the show. I love this one because I think there was a time where I was very careful. About sharing ideas or about communicating with competitors and things like that.

[00:01:32] Steve Fretzin: I mean, I just this morning sent so a friend of mine literally like the keys to the kingdom on something that I developed on client retention. And he needed that information for his job. And I sent it to him and I didn’t think I even batted an eye. I just sent it to him right away. I was like, you know, here, this’ll help you out.

[00:01:48] Steve Fretzin: But the quote is don’t worry about, about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down. People’s throats and that’s the the very famous Howard Aiken. So tell me about that quote. Why is that your quote of the show? 

[00:02:01] Robert Plotkin: I use it to motivate me as a writer and as a marketer for my firm, which is that I often, maybe it’s in part because I’m an intellectual property lawyer.

[00:02:11] Robert Plotkin: And which we focus on protecting people’s ideas for a long time when it came to my own writing and knowledge and expertise, I kept it very close to the vest out of that concern that people might steal it. You know, I did write my first book 15 years ago, and one of the things I did was really keep a tight lid on it until the book got published.

[00:02:31] Robert Plotkin: I didn’t want to spill the beans. I thought people might scoop me. And all of that turned out to be misguided, and that’s why that quote really resonates with me. That when you have something really valuable, a new idea, a new way of doing things, a new way of looking at things, you might be concerned that if you reveal it, people are going to copy it.

[00:02:55] Robert Plotkin: But really, when you have something new and innovative, most people aren’t paying attention. They’re not going to get it right away. And if you do want it to be adopted widely and resonate with people, you’re going to have to put a lot of effort into repeating that message over and over and over again.

[00:03:15] Robert Plotkin: One, before people even pay attention, much less before it starts to sink in and permeate. 

[00:03:21] Steve Fretzin: Yeah, so 

[00:03:21] Robert Plotkin: that’s why I use that as my motivator. And in my second book, I adopted a very different approach. I was promoting content from that book, giving a lot of it away for months and months before the book was published in different forms, webinars, talks in conversations.

[00:03:37] Robert Plotkin: And I found that to be much more productive. And it also, it did pan out that no one was trying to steal my idea. I just had to really hammer it home to even get people to pay attention, and it’s been painful. 

[00:03:48] Steve Fretzin: Yeah, and I can, I can count on one hand the number of books that I’ve read where it changed my life completely.

[00:03:55] Steve Fretzin: Like, like, Getting Things Done by David Allen, done. Like, that book absolutely changed my life forever. And there’s a few others that I can name. But the reality is that most books that say they’re going to change people’s lives and they’re going to triple your business. All this. It’s execution. That’s the beast and they do need some help in executing.

[00:04:12] Steve Fretzin: So yeah, I think the real the real winner is Getting what you can out of each book and try to leverage it with the reality that a lot of books are, are just lead magnets. That’s what they’re for. They’re meant like, here, I read a book on golf. All right. So I read a book on golf and now I’m a scratch golfer and I play on the tour and everything I just said is a lie.

[00:04:32] Steve Fretzin: Cause none of that happened, right? You, you know, you watch a video, you read a book, you get an idea or tip, but it’s not going to dramatically change your game. That’s kind of how I see most books. 

[00:04:42] Robert Plotkin: Yeah. And from the, from the author side or for people who are listening to your podcast, who are attorneys, you know, running their own firms, if you’re concerned that by writing a book in which you talk about your knowledge, your way of doing things, if you’re concerned about giving away too much.

[00:04:58] Robert Plotkin: Honestly, I think in 99 percent of the cases, you could reveal in the book everything about how you do what you do, and almost no one would be able to execute on it, like you said, even your top competitors. One, they might still be wedded to their way of doing things, so they’re not going to necessarily copy you, and it doesn’t mean they’ll be able to execute.

[00:05:18] Robert Plotkin: So by so called giving things away, it’s not like you’re really enabling people to compete with you. You’re instead going to be encouraging people to want to come to you to help them execute. 

[00:05:31] Steve Fretzin: Well, and there’s also the freemium model that has come around, I don’t know if it’s the last 50 years or 20 years, but the idea that giving things away Has become sort of the norm.

[00:05:41] Steve Fretzin: I mean, people are getting free apps. I mean, there was a time, I think when I first got my iPhone, I had to pay two, three, four, five dollars for every app that I wanted. And it was like, you know, okay, no big deal. It’s a couple of bucks. Now I’m not seeing, I’m not getting charged for any apps. They’re all happening, but I’m also dealing with.

[00:05:56] Steve Fretzin: You know, the other side of it. So that’s another piece of it that I think is, is critical. And before we get into any more, I think it’s so important for us to just share for a few minutes about your background leading into writing this second book and, and where you were, you know, how you came to be.

[00:06:12] Robert Plotkin: Yeah. So I have been a patent attorney specializing in obtaining patents for innovative software for over 25 years. My background before that is as a computer engineer. scientist. So I’ve always been in the software world. Of course, in recent years, you wouldn’t be surprised here, but do an increasing amount of work on AI technology, obtaining patents, not just for AI software, but for AI hardware, microprocessors and so forth.

[00:06:39] Robert Plotkin: So the latest book, it’s called AI Armor, and it is a guide to obtaining and using intellectual property for innovative AI technologies to help not just Companies against their competitors, but also to do things like raise funds. To, to generate licensing revenue and to secure successful exits, whether that be an acquisition, a merger, or an IPO.

[00:07:03] Robert Plotkin: It’s to use intellectual property as a business tool to achieve those business goals. And this is the kind of thing I do with my clients. And as I just was talking about in the book, I spill the beans, so to speak, about what my method is. I have a certain way of doing things with clients. To identify what the right type of intellectual property protection is for them, to secure, to develop a strategy.

[00:07:32] Robert Plotkin: And then to execute that strategy for them to build up a set of intellectual property protections in the form of a portfolio that they can then use for these business purposes and that strategy is going to differ depending on what their business goals are. So, I put it all out there and for all the reasons we’ve talked about, it’s not like a client is really going to be able to do it.

[00:07:52] Robert Plotkin: To execute on that on their own, but I would find it helpful for clients to read this, see it all in one place, potential clients so that they know what they can get out of IP and then how to work and collaborate successfully with someone like me. 

[00:08:09] Steve Fretzin: Yeah, I mean, I’m a big advocate of writing books that are actionable that do give people tactical ways to accomplish things.

[00:08:18] Steve Fretzin: I think the problem is they, they don’t have the accountability. They don’t have the coaching. They don’t have a lot of the things that accompany success in that execution. So the ideas may be similar to what I say when I’m doing coaching, but in reality, they could, if they did everything to spec that I’m saying in the books, they could, you know, and would, would dramatically improve their law practice.

[00:08:39] Steve Fretzin: So With AI, and then I would, I try to coax you into talking about AI because you know so much about it and maybe I’ll pull something out of you with that, but the idea that lawyers could write a book that’s going to help raise their ability to, their brand, their ability to be recognized, their expertise without saying, I’m an expert, this is the way to do it, but why are they so reluctant?

[00:09:00] Steve Fretzin: Like, what’s the, what’s the big hang up? And I have my own take on this, but I want to hear what you think. 

[00:09:05] Robert Plotkin: I think some of it is the thing we talked about, that lawyers have a mindset that what they know is their value, and that if they somehow publish that in a book, they’re, quote, giving it away, and there won’t be anything valuable for a client to hire them to do.

[00:09:22] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. 

[00:09:22] Robert Plotkin: And I, I think that is generally a mistake. You know, it used to be in the old days that mere access to information was a barrier to clients that, that lawyers had exclusive access to. You know, I’ve often heard this analogy that back in the 70s and 80s, you had to call your stockbroker to get a quote on a stock.

[00:09:44] Robert Plotkin: All right. It wasn’t. You couldn’t get that information in an up to date way. The mere access to information was something a client would have to pay for because the broker had exclusive access to it. That kind of exclusive access to just mere information has almost disappeared in most fields, including law, right?

[00:10:01] Robert Plotkin: Clients can get access to statutes, cases, even lots of information about basic strategies for things like intellectual property. So lawyers have to up their game to move up to higher levels of value from information to knowledge to skill strategy, and wisdom is would really be the highest, which is how how to take a client situation, their problems, their goals.

[00:10:28] Robert Plotkin: Use that knowledge in combination with your own knowledge of the law, the tools available in the law, and then how to fashion and execute a strategy based on the law to help execute the client’s goals. And that’s why I say just merely giving away the lowest level, which is information, I think is generally not going to put the lawyer at risk.

[00:10:47] Robert Plotkin: But I think the fear that it will holds a lot of lawyers back from, from, from 

[00:10:52] Steve Fretzin: Yeah, and I, and I get that. I guess I’m going to push back a little bit and ask how much of it is just for time management. Like they’re billing hours, they’re managing people, they’re wearing five, six different hats. And now on top of that, Hey, by the way, buddy, go, go write this book.

[00:11:07] Steve Fretzin: That seems like, Hey, go climb Mount Everest would be just as easy. 

[00:11:11] Robert Plotkin: Yeah, certainly it does. Writing a book does require really good. Time management, but just like with any other big project, there are some ways to manage it. The biggest one is break it up into really small manageable tasks. That’s one.

[00:11:26] Robert Plotkin: You know, I did that with this book. Another one is build it up. in small pieces that you can put out there and use. I mean, I do a lot of webinars. I do a lot of article writing, blog writing, posts on LinkedIn. Over the past few years, I’ve been doing a ton of writing about AI and patent and AI IP strategy for AI.

[00:11:47] Robert Plotkin: So I was able to create, publish those in small bite sized chunks, get lots of feedback on it so that by the time it came to write the book, I wasn’t doing it all from scratch. So it felt like less of a monumental goal. You can also work with a coach, get some accountability, you know, to hold you to a schedule so that you can write things in a chapter at a time, a page at a time, a section at a time, you know, a big task when you do it in small pieces, get you to the end goal in a way that’s manageable.

[00:12:17] Robert Plotkin: When you look ahead instead, say, right, how am I ever going to climb out Everest from here? It looks insurmountable, but one step at a time is the way to get. 

[00:12:26] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. I mean, a trick that. I’ve been noticing people doing lately has been getting interviewed by the writer or ghost writer. It’s still your book in the sense that the things that you’re saying to that ghost writer are being taken down, transcribed, and then put into chapters based on what you’re saying in your knowledge of the law so that it’s still your words, but you’re not writing the book with a pen and paper.

[00:12:50] Steve Fretzin: You’re actually speaking the book, which is dictation, which is what lawyers do anyway. And getting it out that way, like that isn’t done or thought of as a way to do it, but in, you know, maybe even like a couple hours a month, you could have a book in a year, 24 hours of recording on your subject. I mean, that’s kind of seems like a no brainer.

[00:13:08] Robert Plotkin: Yeah, there’s lots of options out there. There’s the, there’s the ghost writing option. I actually did a group coaching option with a bunch of different authors writing on completely different topics from each other. We had a weekly meeting. All of that was great motivation. I was learning from people who were further along and further behind in the process than I was.

[00:13:30] Robert Plotkin: So that was great. I got to see where things were coming in terms of the publishing and the marketing. I got to see people coming up behind me. All of that stuff was, was really helpful. So there’s a lot of different paths for either collaborating, getting support, guidance, and the more you can work with people who’ve been through it before.

[00:13:48] Robert Plotkin: The better for sure. And then the last thing is, just like you would write a brief, getting a really good outline in place is really critical, for lots of reasons. One of them is that once you have your outline, it means even if you could only find yourself with 15 or 20 minutes of spare time at the moment.

[00:14:09] Robert Plotkin: You can look at the outline and say, Oh, here’s a section I haven’t written yet. Let me go and tackle that. And let me just write that section. And I’ll say one other thing that’s a barrier for lawyers that relates to this is lawyers you may be surprised to hear can be a bit of perfectionists. What?

[00:14:25] Robert Plotkin: And so, The perfectionism can be a real barrier. Yeah. If you have that 15 minutes, and you see here’s a subsection of a chapter I can write, try to push yourself to get something out onto paper, no matter how poor quality you think it is. That’s at least there. And as you build up a bunch of sub sections like that, you can go back and review and revise them later.

[00:14:49] Robert Plotkin: But that all gets to your goal of getting something down on paper that you can keep building towards little pieces at a time. 

[00:14:56] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. I mean, I write and I have been writing articles for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin for about eight years. And I have a friend who works at a marketing director of a law firm.

[00:15:05] Steve Fretzin: She’s been my editor the whole time. So I write the article, review it myself, send it to her. She reviews it. She changes 3, things, whatever. Sends it back to me. I review it again and it’s out the door. Same thing with a book. I mean, it can be done in piecemeal like that or all at once with an editor, but that’s the first book I wrote, by the way, Robert, was written as a parable and I’d never written like that before where it’s a story and that editor destroyed me like I was so bad at writing that that it kept coming back chapter after chapter and I had to, but by the, by the 10th or whatever plus chapters, then I started getting into a rhythm because I had started to learn from this editor, but she was phenomenal at giving me feedback that, you know, you can’t say this over and over.

[00:15:47] Steve Fretzin: You’ve got to mix it up or change it up. And, I think it’s so critical to not only have the outline, but then to put the time in and then to have someone that you trust that can edit it, whether that’s paid or a friend or whomever that really, really critical. 

[00:15:59] Robert Plotkin: Absolutely. Getting that feedback on small pieces as you go, not only helps motivate you, I like having deadlines by which I’m going to send the next section or chapter to somebody because that holds me to account.

[00:16:11] Robert Plotkin: And then it means, as you said, you, you learn. Procedural information from your feedback on one chapter that you can then apply to the next. You kind of get in the swing so that if you instead are trying to write the whole thing at once you’re going to be way more inefficient that way. And so much better to get those small chunks done, get feedback as you go.

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[00:18:25] Steve Fretzin: So we have podcasting, which we love. We have blogging, we have speaking, we have attending conferences, we have all these different ways social media that lawyers can try to up their game as it relates to being seen as whether we want to call it a thought leader or just, you know, leveling up their game.

[00:18:45] Steve Fretzin: What does a book do differently than all those other types of content creation techniques and tactics? 

[00:18:53] Robert Plotkin: Yeah, I mean, all of those things are great and I do all of those and I would highly recommend them to anybody. The thing about a book is it sends this separate meta message. About your clout, your credibility as an expert.

[00:19:08] Robert Plotkin: I mean, I think most lawyers who are writing a book, as you said, are trying to use it to establish or cement themselves as an expert, a thought leader someone who knows how to get certain things done for their clients in the law and a book because of its, its magnitude and just maybe where it sits in our culture.

[00:19:28] Robert Plotkin: Sends that meta message at a just order of magnitude higher level. I think there’s another meta message, which is just by someone seeing that you wrote a book, they know you’re someone who took the time and has the discipline to write a book. Even if they never read it, that sends a message to them. Also, if it’s a book like the second book I wrote, which is a book about the process I use with clients.

[00:19:55] Robert Plotkin: To help them succeed. It says, I’m a person who has put so much time and effort into working with clients that I’ve developed a specific process and there’s enough meat to it that I was able to write a book about that. And again, even if they don’t read the book, that’s the message they get about. 

[00:20:12] Steve Fretzin: Yeah.

[00:20:14] Steve Fretzin: So it’s, yeah, it’s definitely. Next level type of, of authority in a subject and the idea that you, that you insert a process or system into it that most people don’t have. That’s something unique and special too. So it definitely set you apart in, in from, from lawyers who were just going along, you know, for the ride.

[00:20:34] Steve Fretzin: They’re not, they’re not driving the car. 

[00:20:36] Robert Plotkin: Yeah. It says, I have a special way of doing things. That my clients benefit from right again. I think most lawyers who write a book. They’re not doing it to write a book about theory I mean, there are people who will write a book. That’s more of a textbook or something I’m talking more about lead generation books It says I have this way where I’m probably already a specialist in my field But I set myself apart even from other specialists Because I have a unique way of doing things and that’s what I am revealing to you in the book.

[00:21:10] Robert Plotkin: So it’s a, just a, you’re putting yourself really at the top of that pinnacle within your narrow niche by writing a book like. 

[00:21:18] Steve Fretzin: Alright, scary scenario. Lawyer spends, you know, what he or she would consider countless hours into a book. Wrote this phenomenal book. And no one sees it, no one buys it, no one cares.

[00:21:30] Steve Fretzin: There’s. A problem with that type of effort being put into something and not getting that lead generation, not getting that, you know, the speaking gigs, not getting the, the benefit and the value from the time that was invested. So what can lawyers do when they, when they decide to write a book, write the book to get the most, the bang for the buck, if you will.

[00:21:51] Robert Plotkin: Yeah. It’s the same thing, really, that any. Any author can do, and I think the biggest mistake most authors make is, is abiding by the if you build it, they will come kind of idea. Yeah, yeah. I’ll, I’ll be honest, I largely did that with my first book. I’m not, I’m not ashamed to say it. The idea that I’m gonna put this huge thing together, and then I’ll put it out there, and then people will just flock to it.

[00:22:16] Robert Plotkin: Instead, if you take the attitude that from before I write the first word for the book, I am going to have a marketing and promotion strategy for this book, which is even going to shape everything about how I write the book, what the title is, what’s going to be on the cover, what the blurb is, what the content is.

[00:22:37] Robert Plotkin: And I’m going to develop that marketing strategy, again, from the beginning, before I write the first word, and that guides you all along, so that the publication of the book is not the beginning of the marketing effort. You will have already done many, many things, hopefully for months, if not longer, before then, to build up buzz, interest, and trust.

[00:23:01] Robert Plotkin: In the book beforehand, and the publication is, of course, an important event. It’s a very large event, but it’s not the huge thing that people often think of it as, that they haven’t written a book before. It’s really just one large step along a much longer path. That began long before the book was published and is going to continue for most people long after the book is published.

[00:23:25] Robert Plotkin: And that’s how you’re going to get some real marketing benefit out of the book. 

[00:23:30] Steve Fretzin: Now, remember early on when we read that quote about not stealing your ideas, I’m going to ask you to give three ideas that people can steal, okay, that have written books or that want to write books. And one is going to be, what do you do to.

[00:23:46] Steve Fretzin: To get the promotion ready for the book. So something you do before it gets published, something you do when it gets published, and something that keeps it relevant after it’s published. So give me one idea on each of those beginning, middle, and end, if you will, of like a story of, of how Robert, you know, does this book thing.

[00:24:02] Steve Fretzin: One thing you do beforehand. 

[00:24:04] Robert Plotkin: Is you frequently write, publish, speak with content taken from or derived from the book that has real concrete value to people. And when you publish or present it in any form, you make clear that this is part of the book that’s coming up. Okay. Okay. And you provide people with a way to sign up or otherwise register their interest in the book.

[00:24:30] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. 

[00:24:30] Robert Plotkin: So that’s 

[00:24:31] Steve Fretzin: building up the book. Or pre sell, right? Or pre sell the book. 

[00:24:33] Robert Plotkin: Yeah, yeah. You can give them a way to pre order the book. And all of those things. So you’re, you’re doing this thing I said, which is giving away in a sense. Pieces of the value from the book could be literally copied from the book, or maybe not building up to the book at the time of the launch of the book have at least one event.

[00:24:53] Robert Plotkin: That’s really tied to the book. It could be a webinar. It could be an in person speaking event. It could be a seminar. It could be something else. That you do right at the time of the publication of the book, you know, some people will do other things like provide a discount or maybe give the book away for free on the day of the book.

[00:25:12] Robert Plotkin: I mean, I think that’s your choice depending on what your marketing strategy is. So that’s on the day. Afterwards, it’s very similar to what happened beforehand. You’re doing more promotion, you’re giving more away, you know, afterwards, and you could even do this before, but afterwards, if you have specific services then that you offer that you can tie really closely to the book, you say, look, in this chapter, I talk about.

[00:25:37] Robert Plotkin: How I do this for clients. Well, here’s a service you can sign up for where I’ll do that for you. Someone’s read that chapter in the book and they’ve said, Oh yeah, I could see how I would benefit from that. And then you’re ready. To offer and provide that service to someone who says, I want it now. The last thing you’d want to do is to talk about this stuff in the book.

[00:26:00] Robert Plotkin: And then when someone says, yeah, I want that, you say okay. You know, and you’re not really ready to provide it on the spot. 

[00:26:07] Steve Fretzin: I mean, something else I’d recommend to add to that, and it gives you so much more content to work with, is have the book, get the book in the PDF or ebook form, right? Ready for Kindle, because a lot of people want it on Kindle.

[00:26:19] Steve Fretzin: And then most recently I did with my most recent book was the audio book. And I think there are people who just let me go in my car. That’s where I want to take in content in the backs, you know, in the back, you know, back of my head when I’m, you know, sitting at my desk. Sitting and reading a book isn’t for everybody anymore, so I think having multiple options and ways of distributing that content and breaking it up too, you know, here’s a, here’s audio chapter number five, you know, and it’s, it’s, you’re, you’re giving a chapter of the audio versus, you know, things like that.

[00:26:51] Steve Fretzin: Yeah, 

[00:26:51] Robert Plotkin: absolutely. Just so you know, I Kindle audio book is a few weeks away, so I made the strategic decision not to make the audio book available right now. Okay. Thanks. But you know, you talk about giving away for free, you know, let’s talk about that for a minute because for, for lawyers and other service professionals who are using a book primarily as a lead generator, you know, it’s a really serious option to decide I’m going to entirely give the book away to free, for free to everybody, or I’m going to give it away for free through certain channels, at certain events, to certain, you know, People, you know if you think about what someone might otherwise buy the book for, even if it’s the highest cost, what would that be, a hardcover at 24.

[00:27:32] Robert Plotkin: 99? You know, think about what the value of a new client would be to you. Probably it’s a lot more than that. Yeah. So, you know, it, it can be a totally rational option to give large numbers of the book away for free, especially PDF or other, other electronic versions when the cost of distribution is essentially a zero.

[00:27:51] Robert Plotkin: And that’s another thing that lawyers may not Think about it is to give something away for free that they’ve put so much time and effort and maybe even in money into, but if you think about what the return on investment can be, that can be a really good. 

[00:28:05] Steve Fretzin: There’s a lot of ways to skin the cat, everybody.

[00:28:07] Steve Fretzin: It’s just a matter of, of making a decision to do it and getting, you know, I would say, talk to me, talk to Robert, talk to other people that, you know, that have written books and, and start doing some like little hacks about. There’s a hard way to do it, and there’s an easy way to do it, and my guess is you want the easy way.

[00:28:25] Steve Fretzin: So, you know, is it through a publisher or is it self publishing? Is it, is there a way to make it a bestseller? Is that important to you or not? Free versus for sale, like are you trying to use this as a money generator or a lead generator? Talk to people that have done it and get their take and see if it’s something that you can, you can handle and stomach and do.

[00:28:42] Steve Fretzin: And don’t make, you know, perfection the enemy of good here. You want it to be great. Don’t put out crap. But it also shouldn’t be perfect. I don’t think, you know, anything, this, this podcast isn’t perfect. There’s ums and ahs and different things that we, that’s kind of how people like content today. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

[00:29:01] Robert Plotkin: Absolutely. I mean, I absolutely agree with you. In my mind, the word has been excellent. You could say greater excellent. I love that. I absolutely want to put out a book that is excellent. And yet also perfect. Also, not perfect and perfectionism can really be a killer for lawyers for a lot of reasons. One is it can just delay the time in which your book is published and think about the value to either to you or to your readers.

[00:29:24] Robert Plotkin: You know, if it takes you an extra nine months to write a book, there’s people out there who could have been benefiting from your book who haven’t. And my case of my book, which is about AI. I mean, I do think AI is going to be around for a long time. In that sense, the book will have long term value at the other hand.

[00:29:39] Robert Plotkin: We are in a really big AI boom right now I found it was I thought it was important for me to get the book out in a timely fashion So that delaying often out of perfectionism is something that can really shoot a lot of would be authors in the 

[00:29:52] Steve Fretzin: well You probably have to be careful too if you’re talking on ai in nine months.

[00:29:56] Steve Fretzin: It’s not the same ai as it is today I mean, that’s that in the law Maybe two, if there’s a lot of laws changing in your area and you write a book and then, you know, a year later, it’s, it’s a different, you know, situation. So, hey, let’s wrap up with with our game changing book. And this is one I feel like I’ve heard before, but I’d love to hear your take on the paradox of choice.

[00:30:15] Robert Plotkin: Yeah, I read that. I don’t know how many years ago, but it really was game changing for me. And that book is about how having too many options can be paralysing, really. You know, you could call it a book about analysis paralysis. He starts out with an an a an anecdote when he goes into a store, you know, and there’s every kinda genes available.

[00:30:40] Robert Plotkin: Skinny genes, thin genes, stonewashed genes. He said, when I was a kid, There was just one pair of jeans, you went into the store, 

[00:30:45] Steve Fretzin: and you got your jeans. 

[00:30:47] Robert Plotkin: And he looks back on how having fewer options was kind of liberating, because it didn’t bog him down and take up all of his mental energy to making these decisions, and it really changed his thing.

[00:31:00] Robert Plotkin: So I try to apply that all the time and ask, when I have options available to me, which Options do I want to invest my very precious mental energy and time into, right? That’s my most valuable resource. The fact that I might have 20 options available for something doesn’t mean it’s worth my energy to think about all of them.

[00:31:25] Robert Plotkin: It might actually be better to say, all right, here’s one of those that looks pretty good. They call it satisficing, picking something that’s good enough for you. And it’s where it’s more worthwhile to make the good enough choice rather than put your time and energy into evaluating everything into getting something that’s marginally better.

[00:31:46] Robert Plotkin: Yeah, 

[00:31:47] Steve Fretzin: yeah, right, right. And that that’s where people start to fall apart. And then they have making no choice, which is a choice, and it’s usually the wrong choice. 

[00:31:55] Robert Plotkin: And so you can apply that. I applied to business decisions all the time. I try to help guide clients in making those decisions, you know, to say, look, we’ve in, in the law, in any field of law and intellectual property law, it’s certainly true.

[00:32:07] Robert Plotkin: There are always many options available. And, and I would say it may be always true. There is no obviously right choice. The best you can do is evaluate the pros and cons and pick something. That’s the best you can do at the moment, based on the information you have and your resources. And I try to help clients through that kind of analysis paralysis.

[00:32:28] Robert Plotkin: And I use this as my guide and it comes back to wanting to preserve your precious life, energy, time, resources, money, whatever it happens to be in order to pick something that’s good enough and then move on to the next decision. 

[00:32:43] Steve Fretzin: Yeah, really great. Really great. Hey, everybody, as we wrap up, want to thank our wonderful sponsors, Get Staffed Up.

[00:32:48] Steve Fretzin: Of course Green Cardigan Marketing and Lawmatics, all great partners of the show. Love those guys. And if people want to get in touch with you, Robert, they want to, you know, why don’t you plug your book and, and, and what you’re doing and people should be talking to your top in your field in the IP space.

[00:33:03] Steve Fretzin: So lay it out. 

[00:33:05] Robert Plotkin: Thanks so much. Yeah, go to blueshiftip. com, you can find out about my firm. The book link is right there, you can follow me on LinkedIn, linkedin. com slash in slash Robert Blotkin. Again, you can find the link to the book from there. I post really frequently about patents intellectual property generally, AI, AI patent strategy.

[00:33:27] Robert Plotkin: That’s the best two places to follow me. 

[00:33:29] Steve Fretzin: Well, thanks for coming back to the show. And I know I was, I was anxious to hear ideas about I, about AI, but I may have to have that might be your third, your third visit to the show down the road. But I, I think this is a great subject. And I do get a lot of like book ghost writing type company, got people on the show and they’ve got their own angle, which is, I think it’s all valuable, but it’s even more interesting and valuable coming from someone who’s You know, not only try to done it twice himself, but also that is sharing some of the best practices to make it work for lawyers and help them in their careers.

[00:34:01] Steve Fretzin: So thank you, man. Appreciate it. 

[00:34:04] Robert Plotkin: Thank you so much for having me. I hope more and more lawyers take advantage of this and feel motivated to write their own books. 

[00:34:09] Steve Fretzin: Yeah. And it has never been easier. I mean, it’s not like writing a book, you know, 20, 30 years ago with publishers and all that. I mean, it’s, there’s a lot of different ways to do it that are, that are make it, make it very simple and easy to do.

[00:34:20] Steve Fretzin: So FYI, everybody. Thank you, Robert. And thank you everybody for spending time on the Be That Lawyer podcast with Fretzin. Hope you’re hope you got some great ideas. Again, if you’re even closer thinking about it, you know, reach out to us, reach out to someone, you know, about a book. Ask them what the process is and how long it took and what are some different ways to do it.

[00:34:36] Steve Fretzin: And you might realize it’s not, it’s not, you know, As scary as it may seem and I think that’s a good takeaway from today. So thanks everybody. Take care. Be safe. Be well. We’ll talk again real soon.

[00:34:51] Narrator: Thanks for listening to Be That Lawyer, life changing strategies and resources for growing a successful law practice. Visit Steve’s website Fretzin. com for additional information and to stay up to date on the latest legal business developments. Development and marketing trends for more information and important links about today’s episode check out today’s show notes