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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Drumrolls, Trumpets, Bronx Cheers, Whatever: Closest to the Fire: A Writer's Guide to Law and Lawyers now available

After what, consulting my files, I find to be more than two years of effort, I've finally published my nonfiction reference work Closest to the Fire: A Writer's Guide to Law and Lawyers. This book started life as three guest blog posts on Indies Unlimited, titled "Getting It Right" and aimed at helping writers avoid errors one commonly sees in books and movies about legal matters. The book shares that goal, but even more, it seeks to entice writers and potential writers to come and explore the legal landscape with its many dramatic possibilities. It could also be of use to law students, as long as they treat it as a supplement to assigned texts rather than a replacement.

Did I say "published"? At least, I've released the paperback, which sprang up promptly on Amazon and has now made it to Barnes and Noble's online store; and I've put out less elegantly formatted Kindle and Smashwords editions. If my ebook formatter ever conquers numerous obstacles and provides the fancier ebook version he's undertaken, I'll update the Kindle edition with that, and also make it available in the Nook Store, Kobobooks, Apple, and Google Play. (If the fancy version never materializes in usable form, I'll just upload the more stripped-down version to those retailers.)

I somehow failed to "reveal" the cover here when I received it, so here's the lovely cover, designed by Elizabeth DiPalma Design+.

I asked Elizabeth to look for 19th-century law-related engravings, and she came up with one I absolutely loved and built a great cover around it. (The paperback is even prettier, what with a spine and back cover. The Amazon link, which I provided just above, lets you turn the cover image around, though it skips the spine on its way.)

So far, most people with whom I've discussed the matter lean toward the paperback rather than the ebook. I myself like to flip through actual pages when I'm looking something up. However, the ebook has one significant advantage: the numerous cross-references in the text, and all the Index entries, are live links.

Even if you wouldn't be interested in owning the ebook as opposed to the paperback, Amazon's page for the Kindle edition lets you investigate the book more thoroughly: since it's such a long book, the "Look Inside" feature lets you read the extensive Table of Contents plus the first five chapters and part of the sixth.

And if you'd like a peek at the paperback's loooong Index, you can head to the book's website and click on "Online Extras." That link also takes you to deleted passages, including one of my favorite rants, reluctantly excised from the discussion of interstate commerce and the case of Wickard v. Filburn.

Finally, a blatant plea: if you know an author or student who might want to learn more about this resource, please inform them that it exists.

Post-finally (sorry): I'll be posting updates on the book's website, and occasionally updating the ebook. Updating the paperback is a more daunting prospect, as it'd mean redoing that monster Index; but if the book does well enough, I will. A possible compromise: new appendices from time to time adding updates instead of integrating them into the main text.

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