by Terry Smeigel
This is the "real" Money Maker in the Mail Order business - the basic "How To" Report. It's something anyone can produce, and with all the proper ingredients at the right time, you can become independently wealthy! The hard part, of course, is getting all the proper ingredients at the right time.
Your basic "Money Making report" is usually two pages in length, sells for $3, and outlines instructions, details, or a "How-To Method" for solving a problem: making more money, saving money, attaining greater happiness, or fulfilling an ambition or desire.
One of the most successful reports was and still is, a short report on "How To Keep Moles Out Of Your Yard", by one of the deans of self-publishing, Jerry Buchanan. Another of the most successful and biggest money-makers ever written, had to do with the many different ways to prepare and serve hamburger. Simple, basic, grass roots kind of information is what we're talking about.
Any man, woman or child can write a saleable report on any subject - providing he or she has knowledge of that subject through personal experience, research, or both. A lot of women write successful money-making reports based upon better ways of solving household problems. And a lot of men write successful money-making reports on how to get greater pleasure from leisure time activities such as fishing, woodworking or other hobbies. The list of subjects one can write about is endless, and reports on how to make more money easier and faster are no more limited to male authors than expertise in cooking is limited to female authors.
Writing your report is easy and quite simple. However, it does take longer, and requires more sweat, blood and anguish for some people to produce a "finished" product than it does others, even if they are equally intelligent and knowledgeable.
The best advice anyone can give you on how to write a money-making report is to advise you to write as though you were talking to someone - as though you were instructing your next door neighbor via the telephone on the subject at hand. I use the word telephone here to point out that regardless of how much you wave your arms, point your finger, or even draw pictures, you aren't getting the message across, and your neighbor won't "see" what you're talking about until you tell him in the kind of language he can understand.
Write in a style similar to the book reports you used to give when you were in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades. Do you remember the "theme papers" you used to have to research, outline and write for term finals? You got a good grade if you presented your material in a straightforward style, had the facts, an didn't pad out your paper.
Be factual, and be clear. Know your reader and use the kind of language he expects you to use. This does not mean that you should drop to the level of military barracks talk or that you should elevate yourself to the level of a pseudo Rhodes Scholar. It just means that in writing the basic "How-To" report, you should bear in mind that these reports serve as personal one-to-one consultations between you and your reader, and that your language should establish a rapport he can feel. Outline what you want to say before you write it. This helps; in fact I very definitely recommend it. Many writers "think" as they're typing or writing what they want to say, myself included. But believe me, everything flows smoother, with a lot less rewrite involved, and the finished product is always much better when you've outlined what you want to say before you start.
When doing business by mail, these Money-Making "How-To" reports we've been talking about are known by many names: folio, booklet, pamphlet, guide, or even Personal Success Plan. In reality, these reports are written guidelines that give the reader more information on a subject he wants to know more about.
Money Making reports have been, and can still be written to show other people how to start, develop, enjoy or expand a hobby; how to learn and develop new or greater abilities; how to start, develop and operate a new business, or even expand a current one; how to develop and prepare for a new career; how to make more money; how to save money, better one's standard of living and have more time for leisure; how to solve personal problems and enjoy life more; how to attain success in any endeavor.
You'll find that the better selling reports are well researched, authoritative, factual and helpful to the reader in the achievement of his goals. Your report can be put together and sold as anything from a two-page typewritten paper to a multi-page typeset and professionally bound book. an important point to remember here is that the people who are going to buy your report are going to be interested in the information it contains - not how long it took you to put it together, the reason you wrote it, or the number of pages you've written - so long as it contains the information he wants.
Picking a subject to write about - one that has sales appeal and that will sell well for you - is not as hard as it sounds. The best rule to follow is to write only about something you already know a great deal about. With this advice in mind, it will follow that your best writing will be about those subjects that particularly interest you. And remember, the more you are involved or interested in the subject, the easier it will be for you to write about that subject in a manner that will hold your reader's interest. Your knowledge and enthusiasm will show through - causing your reader to overlook any technical writing weaknesses.
How do you determine the subject that's best for you to use for your first report? Channel your thinking along these lines: If you love to fish, you could probably put together a money-making report on "How To Catch The Big Ones". If you love to sew, you could probably write a report on "Tips for Beautiful Sewing". If you have experience in advertising, you could write a report on "How To Write An Ad For Best Results"; experience in printing, a report on "How to Prepare Copy and Layout for Best Printing Results"; experience in business, a report on "Better Business Operating Techniques".
It's worth repeating: Whatever you write about, make it something you know about, and are especially interested in. Art Fettig writes about motivation and ideas for selling because he has spent many years doing just that - motivating people toward larger sales volume and "brainstorming" new ideas for more sales. Doug Hooper writes about the power of positive thinking because he has practice it and believes in it; it works for him and he knows it can work for you. Paul J. Micali writes about the techniques of closing more sales. He has spent all his life teaching people to become better sales people, and he never tires of talking about how easy and rewarding selling is with the proper thinking and approaches. Maryanne Raphael writes for all of us about the many and different writers' markets open and available to freelance writers, because she has spent many years searching and learning all about these markets as a freelance writer. Whenever we talk with her, she's always "neck-deep" with assignments from countless publications. She knows the problems of the freelance writer, and she passes along information of great value because she's been there. Dottie Walters writes about the opportunities for women in business because she's been "down to her last dime", started a business on sheer determination alone, and knows the tremendous potential of women in the business world. Today, she is one of the most sought-after women in this country as an inspirational speaker for women's groups. She gets paid for speaking before these groups, and sells thousands of dollars worth of books at these engagements besides! I could go on and on - naming friends and telling you how they have taken a subject they were interested in, found out everything about it they could, and parlayed it into a fortune by starting with the writing of a "How-To" report. Rather than go on with these stories of how others have done it, and are doing it, let's get on with the task of showing you how you can write your own "How-To" report and parlay it into a personal wealth vehicle of your own!
Once you've decided on the subject you're going to write about, the next step is thorough research. Visit your public library and "bone up" on your subject. Read as much about it as you can find - newspapers, magazines, books - everything! Start collecting clippings, talk to your neighbors, your friends and relatives, and take notes on all information you gather from reading and personal discussion.
When you've spent a good six weeks intensively researching your subject, gathering notes and discussing it as often as you can with as many different people as possible, you should be ready for the next step - the sorting, compiling and assembly of your notes. Simply read through all the notes and clippings you have accumulated, discarding those that are repetitious, and organizing those you're going to use according to your "subject coverage" outline. Don't let the outline part of your project become an obstacle. An outline is simply listing the order in which you want to write about or discuss each aspect of your subject.
Everything that's written should have a natural beginning, a body and an ending. When you outline your subject, and your "subject coverage", which can be likened to a table of contents, you'll find it easier to say what you want to say. You'll be ABLE to say everything you want to say. You won't have to worry about forgetting or leaving out an important point you want to make. The coverage of your subject will be more complete, and your writing will be much smoother.
Once you've completed your research, organized your notes, and have your "subject coverage" outline set, you're ready to write the money-making report that just might make you rich!
Start writing, and write as though you were talking to someone, because writing, after everything has been analyzed, taken apart, studied, improved upon, and put back together, is still nothing more or less than a written conversation between two people. Write your how-to report as though you were instructing a high school graduate in how to do something his first day on the job.
It makes no difference whether you write it all out longhand or pound away at a typewriter. Just get it all written! Once you've got your material organized, start writing and don't stop until you're finished!
When you have finished, be proud of yourself! Take a break, go out to dinner, enjoy a night on the town! In other words, put this first draft of your report aside for a few days and allow your brain, your body, and your creative juices to rejuvenate themselves.
After a couple of days off, take up your report and go through it with a sharp pencil, just as you imagine an editor would do. Strike out, rewrite and polish each paragraph for clarity, accuracy and flow.
This is the time to make sure that what you've written is easy to read, easy to understand, and each sentence follows the one before it just as surely as spring follows winter. The smoother the conversation or the writing of your report flows, the easier it'll be to read, and the easier it is to read, the more copies you will sell.
Now you have a money-making report that has the potential of making a great deal of money for you. If you are a good typist, go ahead and type it out in finished form. If you're not a typist, you can have it typed by someone who is, or even have it typeset for a small fee.
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