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What's IN and OUT For The Information Sales Industry In 2001

By Monique Harris
Posted Thursday, December 2, 2004

UT - Giving away all of your valuable content.

IN - Selling it!

I've been selling information online for 4+ years now. Manuals, e-books, special reports, etc. That's how I make my living. (And "no" I'm not telling you this to brag, or make my operation seem larger than life.)

I'm telling you so that you'll know that it can be done in a consistent and steady manner. So that those of you who constantly give your information away will understand that you don't have to.

If your information is good... tried and trusted by readers... then I advise you to build up the courage this year to sell it.

Start with a 15-20 page special report for $10-$30, if you don't want to open the floodgates with anything big. (C'mon, you can write a 20-page special report in less than a week!) Take $100, secure a new domain, and pay for a few megs of Web site space for a couple of months. Promote the heck out of your new report.

Seeing something small sell will give you the kick in the butt you'll need to create and promote other infoproducts. The point is you gotta start somewhere.

OUT - Publishing your own free e-zine.

IN - Syndicating your content.

You want the truth? Okay I'm gonna give you the truth. There are too many e-zines in existence, ESPECIALLY in the business industry.

Yes... in the past I recommended that you start your own e-zine for promotional purposes. But after looking at how jam-packed the market is getting, I'm singing another song.

The truth is you'll probably receive more attention getting your articles seen in already established and well known e-zines, than you will starting your own publication. (Unless you're already a 'famous' personality who has a following.)

Content syndication - (allowing other Web sites and e-zines to feature your articles) - gives you the power to be in several places at once. Plus syndicating your content means you don't have to worry about the hassles of running your own e-zine.

Where can you syndicate your content? Check out iSyndicate , and The Syndicator.

OUT - PDF.

IN - Wireless content.

Okay Adobe Acrobat isn't entirely 'out.' But there is something that you forward thinkers may want to keep an eye on... the advent of wireless content.

I was just over in France where it seems like everybody has a digital telephone. I've heard that in China not having a cell phone is like not wearing underwear.

And they don't just use them to talk. People are actually using them to access information on the Net.

Granted I don't think I'd want to read a novel on my cell phone. However certain types of content, like news or specialized data, is currently being accessed by people with digital telephones and Palm Pilots.

Ladies and Gentlemen start your engines... the next revolution in digital information delivery is about to begin!

OUT - Selling your information retail.

IN - Selling your information wholesale.

This one's not completely out the door just yet. But again if you're a forward thinker who wants to stay two steps ahead of the competition, you'll give this 'IN' some serious thought.

The formula is very simple, and you've probably heard it before. Instead of promoting your infoproduct directly to the consumer, you sell the reprint rights to a small number of people.

They pay you $1,000+ for the privilege, plus they promote the product for you. You get major money up front and your name is still being circulated in a positive manner.

I tried this one in 2000 and quickly found out that you can make just as much money - (if not more) - selling wholesale as you can in the retail arena.

Granted, you could lose some profits in the long run. But if you're in the game to make a quick $50,000-$100,000, this technique has proven to be a winner for those authors who have the guts to give it a go.

OUT - Self-publishers who look and act like they don't care about their Web presence.

IN - Self-publishers who look and act professional.

If I were a reader looking for a good e-book, there would be several sites that I would have no other choice but to pass. As a somewhat savvy onliner, I have standards.

I never buy from online shops that don't have their own domains. Perhaps I'm just a snobby curmudgeon, but there's something really amateurish about hosting a business Web site in a freebie online community.

I never buy e-books that have ugly covers. I tell my clients that if they can't afford to hire an e-book cover designer for $100-$200, then they shouldn't have a cover at all. In my opinion, an ugly cover makes the book look 100 times worse than no cover!

On the other hand, I do buy e-books that are described well on the Web site, sometimes with a table of contents, or description of each chapter. I do buy e-books from Web sites that have clean designs, and secure credit card forms.

And if these things make a difference to me, one can only imagine how other potential readers feel when they compare a cruddy self-published authors site, to that of a big publishing house.

If you want your work to be taken seriously... if you want people to pull out their credit cards and give you a piece of the pie, then show your prospects that you mean business.

Make sure your site design is clean, have a secure order form, shell out a couple of dollars to have a great looking cover. The investment you make in your business is almost always rewarded with greater sales.

About the Author
Monique Harris is the editor/publisher of "Digital Publishing & Promotion," a twice-weekly Webzine for authors, publishers and promoters who wish to sell more books - (print and electronic) - online. Visit her site at .