#003: White Papers: A Real and Lucrative Opportunity for Business Writers (Part 2 of 2)

In part two of this two-part episode (check out part one here), I interview one of the most knowledgeable and experienced white paper writers in the business: Gordon Graham.

Gordon is the author of the newly released book White Papers for Dummies, a must-read book if you’re considering writing white papers — and an invaluable resource if you’ve been writing white papers for years.

White papers have been critically important in my writing career. They gave me a serious income boost when I needed it most (in fact, this is the type of project that first propelled my income to the six-figure level). White papers are also fun to research and write, and they’re one of the first types of assignments clients outsource to freelance writers.

The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe in iTunes or on Stitcher to get this show delivered straight to the Podcasts app on your smart phone, tablet or iPod.

In this session you’ll discover:

  • The three “flavors” of white papers and how to determine which one you need, when.
  • A detailed discussion of each white paper type, including length, tone and how much you can charge as a freelance writer.
  • How to effectively approach a white paper project.
  • Potential pitfalls and landmines to watch out for when writing a white paper.
  • How to keep white paper projects on track and within scope.
  • Dealing with difficult clients and edit-happy reviewers.
  • What a Google executive told Gordon about white paper writers they’ve worked with (this one’s a shocker!).
  • So, you want to write white papers for a living? Here’s where (and how) to get started.
  • And much, much more!

 Items mentioned in this podcast include:

white papers for dummies

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I Need Your Help!

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Till next time,



  • Randy Kemp

    Hi, Ed. In part 1, Gordon mentioned that doing a case study is similar to doing a mini white paper. Can you have a future segment on case studies? Maybe Gordon (or someone with a similar background) can be a guest?

    • Randy Kemp

      Hi, Ed. I have another question for either you or Gordon. How do you schedule the client paying you for white papers? Do they give you a certain amount upfront, along with subsequent payments at various milestones?

      • edgandia

        For new clients, I ask for 50% up front and 50% invoiced one week after submitting the INITIAL draft, due net 15 days.

        Recurring clients, nothing up front. I invoice the full amount one week after submitting the INITIAL draft, due net 15 days.

    • edgandia

      Hi Randy — You bet! I just recorded an interview with Casey Hibbard, a business writer who makes a great living writing JUST case studies. She shared some great info with me. Will post that show in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned. Thanks!

  • This was a great “refresher” on whilte papers – everything from warnings of how complex they can be (or clients can make them), to a good overview of the different flavors of white papers. So valuable! Thank you!

    • edgandia

      Thanks for the feedback, Tess! 😉

  • Mark Soroka

    I know that Gordon mentioned this in the podcast, but does anyone recall the name of his LinkedIn group?

    • edgandia

      Hi Mark! It’s called “Get More From Your White Papers”