Sales Letter Surgery

Yesterday I finished a rewrite of a financial sales letter that didn’t pull quite as well as expected.

The original version was 3,143 words. The new version is 5,422 words — a 72% increase.

Today I finished expanding a fundraising letter from two pages to four.

At first, we thought we’d keep it to two pages because of the incentive we were offering. Some fundraising direct mail experts we’re working with encouraged us to go to four pages to build more credibility for the non-profit organization.

So we did.

The original version was 782 words (those two pages were really crammed!). The new version is 1,210 words. I’ve now got full line breaks between paragraphs again, which is a big help for readability. It’s not so hard on the eyes.

Anyway, it feels like I’ve been performing “sales letter surgery” for the last couple weeks — slicing and dicing, nipping and tucking, until the letters are entirely reconstructed.

In hindsight, the old adage rings true.

Writing is easy; editing is hard.

But as taxing as editing and rewriting can be, it can make a huge difference in the quality and pulling power of your final written product.

As I edited, I asked myself how I could add more proof to my letters. I asked myself how I could add more examples, statistics, dates, numbers. I looked for ways to make the letters more believable, more persuasive.

I’m happy with the new versions — now it’s time for the market to bring the verdict.

Need a little sales letter surgery yourself? For just $495 you can get one of the most thorough critiques in the business…

-Ryan M. Healy

Ryan M. Healy

Ryan Healy is a financial copywriter and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like,, and