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Cash in on Your Expertise


Even though I've never met you, I know one thing about you. You are an expert.

Don't shake your head and smile that shy, self-deprecating smile. Modesty is not the name of the game here. This is about identifying your expertise, owning it, and parlaying it into money.

How can I be so sure you're an expert? Easy. Everyone is.

Think about it. It's impossible for any of us to go through life without developing a high level of competence in at least one area, and probably more than one. What is yours?

Maybe you cook amazing Mexican food. Maybe you convinced your two-year-old to sleep in his own bed. Maybe you make your own clothes, and could show someone else how to do it, too.

Maybe you recently bought a sound system, but first you spent months comparing products and features. Maybe you can do ten basic repairs on your car, or your bike. Maybe you know everything there is to know about Pink Floyd.

No matter what your area of expertise, there are people out there who want to learn what you already know. And tens of thousands of them are surfing the Internet, right now, looking for you.

Despite early belief that the Internet was going to be all about shopping, recent marketing reports show that most people go online for one reason: information. Information products are the hottest products on the Internet today. Increasingly, this information is delivered in the form of e-books.

All right, I saw you wince. Writing a book takes years, doesn't it? Well, writing the Great American Novel might take a while, but writing an e-book is very different. Electronic books are a form unto themselves, written with a different goal than printed books.

With e-books, the sole objective is to transmit information. Visitors to the Internet want to locate information, get access to it, read it and absorb it - quickly. They don't care about a beautiful cover, or the heft and feel of the paper and binding, or how a book looks on a shelf. They want information, succinctly presented.

An e-book must be only as long as it needs to be, to transmit the information. Many e-books are thirty pages of 16-point type, but each page is packed with the information the reader wants, and nothing else. A good e-book is a quick, enjoyable read.

After you write your e-book, publishing and selling it are much simpler than you may imagine. The Internet marketplace is responding to the demand for information with an array of resources for the e-book publisher.

You can take the text from your word processing program and put it into a PDF file such as Adobe Acrobat, or you can use one of the web-based publishing programs. The whole process can be completed in less than half an hour.

You don't need your own website to sell your e-book. There are a number of sites that, in return for a percentage of the sales price, will display your e-book and allow buyers to pay by credit card and download their purchase immediately. Some of these sites have affiliate programs, so that website owners who believe your book might be of interest to their visitors can also offer it for sale. In those cases, you share a percentage of the sales price with the affiliate.

What you do need is a good sales letter. In fact, I'd suggest that you learn the basics of writing a good sales letter and put as much effort into that as you do into writing the e-book. The sales letter introduces the potential buyer to the book, and is displayed on the sales site.

You can also develop affiliate sellers yourself, by offering your book through websites you identify. For example, if you are an expert golfer, and you've written a book describing your techniques, approach the owner of golf or sports-related sites. Many of these sites offer a newsletter to their visitors, and might want to feature your book in their e-zine.

So there you have it. Identify your area of expertise, spend a week or two putting it down on paper, format it, write your sales letter, and put it up for sale. Then spend five or ten hours each week marketing it. When those monthly checks start rolling in, you might decide to get to work on book number two!

2003 - 2005 (c) Jillian Coleman Wheeler

Jillian Coleman Wheeler is a Grants and Business Consultant. Her website, http://www.GrantMeRich.com, is a resource site for entrepreneurs, grant writers and consultants, and offers online training for grants consultants. She is also author of The New American Land Rush: How to Buy Real Estate with Government Money. For information: http://www.NewAmericanLandRush.com You may reprint this article, if you credit the author and include thisresource box. Please notify the author of publication information: jillian@grantmerich.com


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