#036: How to Earn a Great Living by Writing ‘Lead Magnet’ Books for Clients

If you’re going after small businesses, entrepreneurs or solo business owners (such as consultants), there’s a very lucrative opportunity many writers don’t even know exists:

Writing “lead magnet” books or eBooks.

Lead magnet books are informational tools used for marketing purposes. They typically outline the methodology, approach or formula the business uses to produce results for their clients or customers.

Many businesses and entrepreneurs have found that sharing their insights and systems through a book is a great way to build credibility and turn many cold prospects into hot leads and customers.

Fortunately (for us!), most of these business owners aren’t writers. They know what they want to say, but they’re not skilled at putting these ideas down on paper.

That’s where you come in.

In this episode, I interview Susan Anderson, president of Triumph Communications and the author of Working Writer, Happy Writer. Susan has created a thriving writing business that’s focused on writing and producing lead magnet books.

She explains what these projects are all about, what types of clients to go after, how to approach the work, how much you can charge — and much more!

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.

Tell us about yourself and your writing business.

Susan started her business in 2005 by landing gigs on Guru.com. In six months, she was making $5,000 per month.

In 2008, Guru changed how they ranked writers. While she had held the number one spot for about a year, after the shuffle she fell in search results. So, she decided to find her own clients.

She has built strategic relationships with marketing agencies. Today, she has a team of U.S.–based writers that write for her clients.

Lately, you’ve been offering book-writing services to your clients. Tell us about that.

Susan calls books “the mother of all business cards.” Books build credibility. All business owners, especially those in service-orientated businesses, can set themselves apart by having their own book. And you don’t have to get an agent or get signed by a publishing company.

Susan helps business owners create self-published, printed books that they can use as a marketing tool and build their credibility.

Her clients’ goal is NOT to get royalties. They’re not intending to sell the book. The goal is to generate leads and nudge prospects through the sales call.

What is the book’s finished format?

Most books are 50-100 pages in Word. Susan formats them to the trim size the client wants, usually 5 x 8. A slightly smaller trim size means a fatter book. You want a half-inch to one-inch spine. She can also format as a Kindle or PDF.

Typically, these books have no graphics or images. But they do include a forward, a dedication, and a note about the author. Clients can order one book or 5,000 books. There’s no minimum.

What types of clients are attracted to this type of offering?

Susan has written for a wide variety of clients, including local online marketers, dentists, chiropractor, coaches, non-profits and Christian ministries. She’s also written memoirs for clients.

Almost all of these clients are direct clients. When writing a book, she needs to have interaction with the client.

How do you gather content for the book?

Susan will interview the client, do some research, create an outline, check out other books on Amazon and see what questions on the topic people are posting on forums.

Some clients have webinars or recorded speeches she can review. A blog is sometimes helpful.

To record client interviews, Susan uses www.freeconferencecalling.com. You can also pay for gotomeeting.com. Some iPhone apps allow you to record both ends of a conversation and generate an MP3 file.

Susan uses Joseph Oliveros, but she’s recommended him so many times that he’s gotten booked solid. She has also had good luck www.rev.com.

Ed uses www.CapitalTyping.com for transcription. He’s been using them for seven years and is very happy with them.

Once you have the transcription, it’s easy to capture the client’s voice. If you get the voice right, the client is more likely to be happy with the end product.

Once completed, Susan submits the book content to the client for approval. State up front how many rounds of revisions you’ll do and put a time limit on it.

While the client is reviewing the book content, Susan will create a title, a subtitle and chapter titles. She’ll also write a forward, a dedication, an “about the author” blurb and back cover text. She then sends these to the client for approval.

Who handles cover design, typesetting, printing, fulfillment and all those elements?

Sometimes Susan uses a designer to format the book, which can cost $750-1000. For some projects (e.g. memoirs) she uses Book Design Wizard and does it herself.

Susan will put together a few ideas for the book cover. Once a client selects a concept, she sends it to a designer.

She includes design work in her pricing packages. Her clients want one stop shopping.

What’s the next step?

Susan uses Amazon’s CreateSpace to publish and distribute the book. She creates a client account for each book. 

She then uploads a PDF of the book cover and contents. Once CreateSpace has approved the files, Susan makes a digital proof and checks for problems with page numbering, spacing, etc. 

She insists that the client buy one copy in print to proof. Once the client has approved the print version of the book, she’s done.

A 50-page word document manuscript costs about $2.15 a copy to order. CreateSpace includes an ISBN number for free, which can be costly to buy separately. If you want a Kindle version, you need to reformat.

Susan’s advice: If want to offer this as a service, start with your own book. You’ll make lots of mistakes, so it’s better to work out the kinks with your own book.

After you’ve done your own book, offer the service to a couple of clients at a heavily discounted rate to get samples and testimonials. Emphasize the return on investment they can expect.

What do you charge for this service?

Package pricing varies. If the client already has a complete manuscript, Susan’s price starts at $500. But if you’re starting from scratch, pricing can go up to $5,000-10,000.

Other factors affecting price: Do you find the topic interesting? How much research will you need to do? Do you like the client? Have you worked together before?

What’s the best way to promote this service?

Write your own book and create a direct marketing campaign using your book. You can ship your book direct to prospects from Amazon.

You can also bring a few copies to your public speaking events. Or bring a copy when you meet prospects for coffee. People throw business cards away but not books. With the Kindle revolution, the value of a printed book is even greater.

Where can listeners learn more about you?

Susan’s company is Triumph Communications.

Susan is also the author of Working Writer, Happy Writer. It’s geared to writers who are stuck writing for content mills and want to get out of that trap for good.


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Till next time,

-Ed

  • Al Heisig

    Great idea! I published my own book through CreateSpace to use as a marketing tool and it works very well. It never occurred to me to also provide this as a service. Wonderful opportunity!

    • edgandia

      There you go, Al! Sounds like you already have the chops and the right experience. Go for it!

  • James

    Great idea if you can find the right clients. Most small businesses and solopreneurs I’ve worked with think they can write and balked at the $300 I charged them to write a webpage, let alone $5,000. But if you can find the clients with the funds, it could work.

    • edgandia

      Agreed 100%. But that’s the same with any type of writing assignment where you want to command a professional-level fee. You have to go where they can already afford it and understand the value. With lead magnets, I would start with successful consultants and other high-margin service businesses/industries.

  • Barb Johnson

    Ed, thank you so much for this really excellent interview. It has opened new areas for me to consider. I have a client who has talked about writing a book–now I will get going on getting it started.

    • edgandia

      Awesome! Thanks for checking it out, Barb. And thanks for the feedback! 🙂

  • Shelly Moreau

    This was a great interview with a fantastic opportunity for our own business growth. I am now thinking of writing a book for my own marketing purposes – a great test. Thanks Ed for sharing this outstanding information.

    • edgandia

      Cool! Glad it inspired you to try this. Thanks for letting me know, Shelly.

  • Blaine Moore

    This is exactly what I do, as well. It’s a great business model. I also find it funny that she recommends Joseph…that’s who I recommend to everybody too! No wonder he’s always booked, heheh.

    • edgandia

      Wow, small world!! Thanks, Blaine!

    • Susan Anderson

      Cracking up – no wonder he’s too busy for me anymore, Blaine! 🙂 We just need to perfect our cloning technology – he’s awesome.

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