Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Make Money Publishing Your Own Book

This month's special report in the BeAResumeWriter.com membership site is on self-publishing. So I thought I'd also blog about it today!

Everyone who publishes will not make a lot of money, regardless if they self-publish or choose the traditional publishing route. It's just a fact of life. About two percent of all books published, regardless of method, become "best sellers." But your book or information product doesn't have to be a "best seller" to make a decent amount of money. If you could make $100 a week, or $500 a week from self-publishing, wouldn't that add up over time! Even $100 a week is an extra $5,000 a year!

This type of income is possible if you follow the proper steps.

Create Your Information Product — The first step, of course, is to create your information product. What problems does your target audience of jobseekers need to solve? Research and brainstorm the topic, create an outline, write it, or have it written by a ghostwriter. It's always helpful if you can back up your information with quotes from professionals, case studies, and proof that your solution works.

Proofread and Edit Your Information Product — After you think you're done with your information product, let some other people look at it to proofread and edit it. It is still up to you to accept the critique or not, but it's always a good idea to let others see the product before you launch it. Does it flow well? Is the sentence structure readable? Does the grammar make sense? Are there any common misspellings or misuse of punctuation? You are too close to the product to do this yourself if you wrote it. Let someone else do this part.

Format Your Information Product Well — How your product is formatted depends on how you plan to distribute it. Are you going to sell it via Kindle, PDF, in print, or another method, or all of the above? If so, you'll need special formatting for each case. Formatting is essential for reader enjoyment and even lends to understanding of your concept. Don't hold back on on this area because it is an essential element to create a successful information product.

Create an Awesome Book Cover — If you're not a designer, please hire one. (I recommend Vikiana on Fiverr.com) Your book cover and your title are the two most important aspects of your information product to get someone to buy it. Yes, the inside content needs to be awesome too, but the inside can be a work of art never seen by anyone if book cover is not professional and the title doesn't speak to your target audience. 

Don't Skimp on Marketing — Some people who claim that information products didn't earn them any money didn't finish. They didn't market. Marketing should start before the official launch of each new information product that you publish. Marketing is an ongoing process that will garner you sells anytime you want them, if you keep doing it. Establishing and maintaining relationships with your target audience is an essential component of business success, including publishing. Don't be fooled into thinking once the book is published you're done, you're only just beginning!

If you want to make big money with information products, follow these tips and you'll find that you will enjoy the kind of success that you always wanted. People are hungry for information and answers to their problems. You have the answers, and the means to get the answers to them right at your fingertips.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Why a Niche Can Help You Sell More Information Products

Before you begin selling information products online, you want to make sure you’re targeting a niche that will be profitable for you in the short and long-term. A niche is just a fancy term for your "target audience."

Some niches, as you’ll discover, aren’t as profitable as others. You need to look at your audience and see if they’re willing (and able) to spend money for the solutions they’re seeking.

For instance, executives are often willing to invest significant sums in their career development tools, like LinkedIn, or their resume. Many of them also understand the value of having third parties advise them in matters of personal advancement and career.

But another niche, such as new college graduates, might not be willing to pay $67 for an information product showing them how to get their first job. Sometimes it depends on the solution itself. Targeting this same niche of college students, you may find that their parents are willing to make an investment in their kids, paying $197 for them to take a three-session program on finding a job.

One good place to find your niche is with online groups and forums. LinkedIn is a great place to conduct research. Search their Groups offerings and find a couple that target the niche you're interested in.

You’re not just looking for a broad group of people to cater to – you’re looking for those with a lot of problems. When you start creating your information products, you’ll want to build an empire of products that all focus on the same niche, allowing you to market to existing, loyal customers who buy from you time and time again.

Sometimes, you’ll find one large niche and then realize you need to build your information product line around a more targeted, narrow niche of people. For instance, take college students. Instead of targeting all college students, pick one major -- for example, engineering students. You can help them with creating a resume for an internship, landing an internship, creating their online presence (and online reputation management), networking their way to their first real job, and negotiating their first salary.

Just remember that an information product is not really a product at all — it’s a solution, so it needs to be marketed as something that will improve lives. You're not teaching them how to get an internship — you're giving them skills to land their first paying, productive job.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mining Your Own Virtual Goldmine

When you have information that other people want, you have a virtual goldmine at your fingertips. Information products line the shelves at bookstores nationwide in the non-fiction section, but they're also online 24/7/365, catering to the needs of millions of jobseekers who are hungry for advice and insight at all hours of the day -- and night!

As a seller of non-fiction information products in the careers industry, you can build an empire of profits targeting a single niche of jobseekers (for example, moms returning to the workplace, or IT professionals). Or, branch out and offer solutions to a multitude of people who need guidance (anyone who is looking to ask their boss for a raise).

While the traditional print publishing industry only gives authors a small portion of the proceeds after subtracting agent and publishing house fees, if you sell information products online, you’ll get to charge more and keep almost 100% of the profits for yourself.

Typically, a non-fiction book at Barnes and Noble would cost the consumer an average of $9.95 to $29.95. But when you’re selling information products ready for instant download online, you get to price it higher, because the selling point usually begins at $37 and rises up to $97 or even more.

Plus, your overhead costs are low. There's no printing costs, shipping, storage, or shelf placement fees. There's only the cost for the shopping cart (I use Payloadz for instant sale and delivery), transaction costs (Payloadz ties into my PayPal account), and maybe a website domain and hosting for the sales page for the product (although that's not necessary).

Why are jobseekers downloading information products? This is the age of high-tech development. Your readers may be sitting in an airport, accessing your ebook from their laptop.

They want information now, not the next business day. If they need to practice their interviewing skills before a job interview the next day, they can't drive to the bookstore at midnight to get a self-help book — but they can log onto their computer and download your Interview Success Guide, putting your advice into action in mere minutes. 

Another reason information products are hot commodities online is because they often come with money-back guarantees, giving the consumer added trust.

If you create information products for sale yourself, then you want to make sure you produce top-quality deliverables and urge your readers near the end to start taking action with what they’ve learned to keep refund requests low and demand for your products high.

Done right, it's like having your own personal goldmine that you can tap anytime you want!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Congratulations to the 2013 TORI Award Winners!

Career Directors International has just announced the winners of the 2013 TORI (Toast of the Resume Industry) Awards!

Winners include:

Best International Resume
1st Place - Kimberly Mohiuddin, Movin' On Up Resumes
2nd Place - Brenda Bernstein, The Essay Expert LLC
3rd Place - Cheryl L. Simpson, Executive Resume Rescue
Best New Graduate Resume
1st Place - Victoria McLean, City CV Ltd.
2nd Place - Michelle Riklan, Riklan Resources
3rd Place - Laura Smith-Proulx, An Expert Resume
Best Creative Resume
1st Place - Michelle Lopez, One2One Resumes
2nd Place - Rosa Vargas, Career Steering
3rd Place - Miriam Cha, Metro Resumes
Best Re-entry Resume
1st Place - Sandra Ingemansen, Résumé Strategies
2nd Place - Gayle Howard, Top Margin Career Marketing
3rd Place - Christine Robinson, Professional Designs Writing Service
Best Information Technology Resume
1st Place - Laura Smith-Proulx, An Expert Resume
2nd Place - Maureen McCann, ProMotion Career Solutions
3rd Place - Diane Murphy Goldstein, MG Resume & Coaching Services
Best Executive Resume
1st Place - Cheryl L. Simpson, Executive Resume Rescue  
2nd Place - Sandra Ingemansen, Résumé Strategies
3rd Place - Amy L. Adler, Five Strengths Career Transition Experts
Best Sales Resume
1st Place - Laura Smith-Proulx, An Expert Resume
2nd Place - Kimberly Mohiuddin, Movin' On Up Resumes
3rd Place - Tom Albano, All Star Career Services
Best Healthcare/Medical Resume
1st Place - Kimberly Mohiuddin, Movin' On Up Resumes
2nd Place - Ann Baehr, Best Resumes of New York
3rd Place - Laura Smith-Proulx, An Expert Resume
Best Cover Letter
1st Place - Donald Burns, Donald Burns' Career Defense
2nd Place - Sandra Ingemansen, Résumé Strategies
3rd Place - Michelle Lopez, One2One Resumes
Special thanks to CDI's Director of Awards for coordinating the TORIs this year:
Robin Schlinger, Robin's Resumes®
Special thanks to 2013 judges for their hard work this year: 
Barb Poole, Hire Imaging, LLC
Darlene Dassy, Dynamic Résumé Solutions  
Laura Labovich, Aspire! Empower! Career Strategy Group
Susan Guarneri, AssessmentGoddess.com  
Audrey Prenzel, Resume Resources
Marty Weitzman - Gilbert Resumes
Jennifer Hay - IT Resume Service
Jeri Hird Dutcher - Workwrite
Grant Cooper - CareerPro of New Orleans / Strategic Resumes
Kimberley Bethke - Surcorp Resume Solutions
Norine Dagliano - ekm Inspirations

Friday, October 4, 2013

Don't Steal Your Graphics

You wouldn't dream of walking into a store, picking up an item, and walking out without paying. Yet people do this every day with online content -- especially graphics. But using images you "find" online is not only stealing, but you could potentially be sued by the owner of the content.

In yesterday's blog post, I recommended Fotolia.com, a website where you can purchase photos, illustrations, cartoons, graphics, and even videos. Depending on what you want to use the graphic or photo for, the cost can be as little as $1 per illustration.

In contrast, if you "borrow" a graphic online without paying for its use (or making sure you have the rights to use the photo), you can be sued for thousands -- even tens of thousands -- of dollars.

Don't think it can happen to you? It happened to my brother-in-law, who is a web designer. He received a demand letter from Getty Images for $1000 because Getty Images had discovered a graphic on the previous version of a website he was working on that they did not show as being licensed to the website's owner. (The illustration in question was on the client's old website; he was revamping the website for the client, but he was the one who received the letter.)

Graphics and Plagiarism
How many times have you heard someone say that, "since it was on the Internet, it's public domain, so I can use it?" I suspect a lot. Well, in case you didn't know, this is not true. Even if some images are available for free online, they are free with limits. It's important to read the fine print to ensure that you don't inadvertently plagiarize someone else's work. In some cases, even when you pay for an image you can still commit a violation if you use it for an other-than-intended purpose.

Graphics and images help make your website, blogs, and other online content stand out. In fact, if you choose images that match the content, it can even make the content more understandable. This is especially true when creating infographics. But, you cannot just take the graphics from any website and use them for any purpose without permission. 

Read the Fine PrintWhen you download a graphic from any place online, whether free or paid, read the fine print. It is likely that much of what you buy or get free on the net cannot be used for producing a "logo" without buying a higher level of rights to the image. When using free images, some sites say that you cannot use it on any product for profit.

Fair Use
There are some exceptions to the basic copyright and plagiarism rules called fair use. Essentially, it's okay to use someone else's work if you transform it enough to make it original. The definition of transformative though, varies with different courts. Or, you simply use the idea of the image to create your own unique image.

For instance, maybe you like a black and white portrait of a baby where the colors pink are highlighted? Then you use that idea to do a family portrait. Or if you are commenting on and reporting on a story and use the image to report on the story, that is fair use.

One thing to remember is that words can be plagiarized but images cannot be. However, you can infringe on someone's copyright when you use images without permission or outside the parameters of legal use described in the fine print of purchased images. Also, there are always exceptions to everything. Be very clear on the differences before you use any image. 

Save yourself the hassle -- and time and money -- by making sure the images you use are properly licensed.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Do Your Blog Posts Suck?

Blogging can be a great way to attract new clients, increase your online presence, attract media attention, and educate/inform your clients. However, if you want to write effective blog posts, you need to know who your audience is and target every post to them. You also need to create a plan of action for your blog posts, both individually and as a whole. For instance, you might start your blog posts with general themes, moving toward more specific advice and information as your audience becomes more informed. 

While all that is important, let's get down to the nitty-gritty about what should be included in each blog post.
  • Blog posts need a great title. The days of puns in titles are over. It's important to create a blog post title that tells the reader what's inside the post. This is why they'll click through to read it. People do not like being tricked and will be more focused on the trickery than the post if you're not clear in your titles. If you're looking for a free online resource for coming up with titles, check out Jim Edwards Wizards (click on the tab for "Free Wizards"). I LOVE these.
  • Catch their interest with your first paragraph. Your first paragraph is very important in terms of blog posts. You only have seconds, one or two sentences at the most, to capture your audience's attention. This is where understanding your target market comes in. Create a compelling first sentence and first paragraph that catch the reader's attention.
  • Give readers a glimpse of your personality. Nobody wants to read dry blog posts stuffed full of keywords that ultimately say nothing. While it's true you want to include keywords, show the reader your personality inside of your blog post. Let them know a little bit about your story, and how you think.
  • Create an informative body message. If you've planned out your post well, with an outline, you will be able to create the body message easily. The body message is the meat of the message that you want to deliver.
  • Provide a conclusion in the last paragraph. Nothing is worse than reading something and feeling like it's left unfinished. Remember to make some conclusions in your last paragraph that ties everything you said together. Then ask your reader for feedback. Ask them a question about the content and invite them to answer.
  • Don't forget the CTA. Always include, within that last paragraph or directly under it, a specific and clear call to action (CTA). Do you want them to respond, to share, to buy? What do you want them to do? Tell them how and why to do what it is you want them to do.
Aside from these factors, it's important to also be concerned with headings, bullets and plenty of white space. Your headings need to be keyword-rich headings that make sense for what is about to be read by the reader. By using bolded headings, and larger text for headings, the headings will stand out better. By using bulleted points the same thing occurs. It just makes it easier for your reader to take in what is being said. People read by "scanning" and a blog post with bullets, headings and plenty of white space makes it easier.

Images that you include should be relevant images. If you're looking for blog images, check out Fotolia.com. For about $1 each, you can get great graphics to illustrate your blog posts.

By taking into account all these factors in your blog posts, you'll create effective blog posts every single time. In other words, your blog posts won't suck!