About three years ago, we started TopOutlines.com so that law students can buy and sell their outlines. During this time, I have handled tons of outlines written by all types of students. I have tracked their sales on our website and have read through a good number of them. I would like to share some insights I have picked up on what makes an outline excellent and lucrative on our site.
The Myth of the Law Review Outline Banks
Most law reviews have their own outline banks. Many students who do not have the privilege of being on a law review often hope to gain access to these law review outlines through a friend or lover. There is definitely much benefit to having access to a law review outline bank, but the truth is that they do not always contain the best outlines. I have a ton of respect for all students who make it onto law review; that it a great achievement and requires a combination of brilliance and hard work. Outlines uploaded by law review members to TopOutlines do generally tend to be high quality. But from my experience, there are a ton of students who may not test well enough to make it onto law review, but their outlines are true works of art. The top selling authors on TopOutlines.com are split pretty evenly among those who are on the top law reviews and those who are not.
Tips on writing Top Selling Outlines
- Cover Page – Create a cover page and be comical with it. To see a great example, check out this outline: http://www.topoutlines.com/outlines/gudridge-contracts-3/
- Table of Contents – Create a table of contents for your outline. To learn how to do this on Microsoft Word, you can learn here. https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Create-a-table-of-contents-in-Word-882e8564-0edb-435e-84b5-1d8552ccf0c0
- Well Organized: Use the tools available such as objects (to make illustrations) and highlighting to make it easy for your customers to enjoy your outline. Here is good example of an outline that does this: http://www.topoutlines.com/outlines/stotzky-criminal-procedure/
- Length: There is no right length for outlines. Some students like them short and concise and other students like to have a literal transcript of the class conversation. My recommendation is that if you take long notes on class discussions, then keep those notes nicely organized in a separate subsection beneath the relevant case brief.
As you prepare your outlines this semester, take these small steps to improve your outlines and you will make them more enjoyable for both you and your customers. With TopOutlines you are are a published author and your outlines are art.