Judge Mark Painter is an experienced lawyer with a distinguished career, yet he can still add to resume daily through his published works. Three of Painter’s five books have been published through Cincinnati Book Publishing, and he is currently in the process of creating the fifth edition of The Legal Writer: 40 Rules for the Art of Legal Writing.

Painter first decided to write The Legal Writer because he had already complied the material throughout his career. He said, “I was doing a number of seminars on legal writing, and I had overhead slides – oh so long ago when there used to be overheads – and I had done so much work on that, rather than hand out copies on pieces of paper, it seemed sensible to grow it into a book. So I did.”lwcover 8 09.19160729 std

"Certainly if you include on your resume the number of books you've published, that adds to you credibility," Painter said.

Read more: Opening Doors: Establish Credibility through Publication

It’s November 2005, and I’m 59 years old.  I’m sitting in the first base dugout of the City of Palms stadium in Fort Myers, Florida, where the Boston Red Sox will be playing their spring training games in but a few months. 

Although back home in Cincinnati, it’s cold with a forecast of snow, it’s 75-degrees and sunny for our game.  The grass is bright green and immaculately trimmed.  There are palm trees beyond the outfield wall—kind of a Florida equivalent of the corn at the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa.  It’s the sixth inning of a game on the Wednesday of a week-long tournament.  I’m surrounded in the dugout, on the field, and in the tournament by “kids my own age,” still playing the game we love.Never-too-old cover

In one of those many moments of calm during a baseball game, I have time to think about the senior baseball community, about what the game means to those who play, and about how I’ve never seen a book on the subject.  And I have time to say to myself, “Somebody needs to tell this story.” 

An hour later, I’m in the car with my wife, Ann, heading back to the motel to relax after the day’s doubleheader and to get ready for tomorrow’s two-game set.  I surprise both Ann and myself when I suddenly declare out loud, “I’m going to write a book.”

Read more: Someone Needs to Tell this Story

You finally did it; you wrote that book you have always talked about. All of the long nights of feverishly typing your first draft are over, you talked yourself out of throwing out the entire manuscript even though you couldn’t stand to look at it anymore, and you meticulously edited until the book came to life. What’s your next step?

Authors pursuing publication with a subsidized press like CBP or a traditional publisher, or the representation of a literary agent, should create a one page query letter. The query letter is the first point of contact with a potential agent or publisher, and should be honed to perfection before it’s sent out.

Query letters, wherever they are sent, need to be short, sweet, and to the point. The letter is designed to grab the agent or publisher’s attention; in many cases, it’s the only chance you get to convince that person to read your book.

Read more: Writing a Query Letter

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