Are you a publishing professional looking for more clients? Here’s an effective strategy to snag them

Having a service-based business doesn’t have to be complicated. Search for book designers on the web, and you’ll find a sea of different pricing structures, but the same way of pricing: they charge by the hour, page, or word; or a flat fee with add-on costs for images, modifications, additional concepts; maybe extra fees here and there, so on and so forth. There’s no clear cut, tangible structure that’s easy to understand. And if people don’t get scared off by that, they might once they see the complicated proposal.

People like simple. They want a clear-cut structure and know exactly what they get for their buck.

1. Productization: Turning services into products

Turning your services into products makes it easier for you and others to talk about it.

Productizing is like boxing services up in pretty packages and giving them a name. Suddenly, your service has become shareable and memorable. Productization is the key to less work, more money, and more success.


  • Saves time – There’s no more need for proposal writing, because your services are already set.
  • Weeds out the cheapskates – You have a clear cut cost for services – so you won’t hear from them. (And you didn’t want them anyway)
  • Reduces the closing time with clients – the process is streamlined, so anything that needs to be added/subtracted is much simpler, while maintaining the value of your original package
  • No more free work – you’ll stop giving away your valuable knowledge, because now, it’s a pre-paid package.

Productization results in:

  1. Happier Clients – Your process becomes stronger with each client as you learn to manage expectations. Most clients who demand customization become directed to work within the boundaries of your product.
  2. Higher Price Points – Once you have productized your services and create traction, you’ll sell more, be talked about more, and then – you can raise your price.

2. Create a Lead-In Product

Turn your first client meeting into a lead-in product. That way, it is not a free consultation, but a paid service.

Lead-in: A valued service that “leads in” to your target service, or product. Your Lead-in should be at a price that makes sense to your target product. It’s easier to sell a $1500 target product to someone who paid $150 for your lead-in than someone who only paid $25. Make it valuable so it’s almost too good to pass up.

Case in point:

Jill offers a Cover Perfect™ full service cover design package for $1500, which includes three design concepts; up to 3 modifications, 2 images, full spread for print, ebook Kindle conversion, final PDF and jpg files, and finalized deliverables to the printer. Her lead-in is her Cover Perfect™ Consultation: A 1/2 hour phone or Skype conversation that outlines the client requirements along with her suggestions for direction, and a rough design draft, for $150. Once the client sees what she’s accomplished with the consult, they will most likely want to buy in to the Cover Perfect™ full service package, and Jill simply subtracts the $150 from the $1500 fee.

Even if the client decides not to purchase her target product, it was still worth her time. This ensures that Jill does not waste time giving away her knowledge. She’s packaged and priced it.

3. When creating a product, ask yourself:

  • Which part of your business do you love doing the most?
  • Which part of your business makes you the most money?
  • Which part of your business would every client hire you to do?
  1. Find the service(s) you offer that these three areas intersect – that is your sweet spot, and that is what will make you the most money. Here is where you will find your ideal clients, feel the best at what you do, and be the most successful – which breeds more clients and more success.
  2. Solve the client’s problem – List what you provide in your sweet spot service, and then list the value they provide to solve the problem for the client.
  3. Create a clear, concise process with simple steps and the details in between – Your target product needs to have structure, with no loose ends, and easy to follow. In Jill’s Cover Perfect™ package, she defines how many modifications are provided. For each additional modification, her cost is $100.
  4. Create a clear timeline with deadline date
  5. Have set milestones in the process to show progress and completion – This helps you stay in control, and gives the client the assurance, building trust.

4. Create Three Package Options

As marketing research has shown, patterns of three work best. People like choices, but not too many; and three choices seem to work perfect for comparison. Having three package options are the most effective way to sell your products.

Package option 1:

This is your “signature” service. It offers the best value.

Package option 2: 

This is the lower-priced version of your signature service. To create this, take away some of the options, but keep the fundamentals:

Jill’s lower target service is her Cover Perfect Light™ for $997: Everything in Cover Perfect™, except she offers one design concept instead of three, and 1 image instead of 2. The modifications, conversions, and deliverables are all still the same.

Package option 3:

This is the upsell: the premium version of your signature service, with all the bells and whistles. To create this, you would add more service and value to your package, and is priced to accommodate your extra time involved.

You really don’t want to sell this option if it requires more of your time, so you need to price it at whatever makes you happy to get it. If it takes 20% more of your time, price it at least 20% more for the inconvenience.

Jill’s upsell service is her Cover Perfect Bold™, which includes a 3D cover rendering, submission to Amazon, B+N, and Kobo, and a Facebook fan page, all for $1997 – a more than 30% markup from her main target product.

Following these guidelines can be a very effective and successful way to share and market your services, and you will be above the rest for having memorable, sharable, tangible products.

Since 1999, Angie Donelle has worked with hundreds of independent authors to help them create beautiful, top-selling books.