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Self-Publisher

Don’t want to deal with agents? Become a self-publisher.

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Business At A Glance

Self-Publisher

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Not too long ago, self-publishing was looked down upon as the venueonly of people whose work was truly awful. Now, however,self-publishing is not only respectable but ‘in.’ Major publishers areconcentrating their efforts on mega-blockbusters, leaving the midlistor smaller writers out in the cold, which has led to the advent of theself- and small-press publisher as a solid professional group.

Andthere’s definitely a market out there for well-written books. As aself-publisher, you’ll not only write your book, but also see itthrough all the details the publishing house attends to–editing,choosing cover art, working with the graphic artist, getting it printedand, perhaps most important, getting it marketed so that it finds areadership. The main advantage to this business, of course, is inseeing your book in print. But that’s not the only one. As aself-publisher, you’ve got far greater control over every aspect of thefinal product, from paper to artwork to the blurb on the back jacket,than you would at the hands of a traditional publishing house.

You cango on to publish other works of your own, or publish other writers’materials. You get far more of the revenues–up to 50 percent–than ata traditional publishing house, which pays royalties of 7 percent to 10percent of sales. As a final advantage, if your book does well, you cansegue into related products like audiobooks, videotapes and a widevariety of licensed products. And it’s not unheard of for a majorpublisher to snap up your book once they see that it’s a success.Before anything else, you’ll need the talent to pen a really good book,whether it be fiction, nonfiction or a children’s picture book. Youshould have plenty of marketing smarts, a working knowledge ofpublishing contracts, terms and conditions from distribution rights towhat constitutes intellectual property, and the ability to pulltogether the varied elements of a pre-production manuscript into aprofessional final product.

The Market

Your customers will be the readers who buy your books, but inpublishing it’s not quite that simple. Unless you sell through mailorder, you’ll have to go through intermediaries like bookstores, whichmakes them your first line of attack in the sales and marketingprocess.

Large chain bookstores rely on a complex distribution systemfor their stock, which means that even if the manager loves your book,he can’t sell it. Bottom line–you’ll have to capture the distributors’interests or sell to smaller, independent book stores. You should alsoaim for alternative sales sources–for instance, if your book dealswith gardening, try selling it to garden centers and nurseries whosecustomers already have an interest in your subject.

Needed Equipment

You’ll need a computer, a laser printer and a fax machine, the usualoffice software, and desktop-publishing software. In addition, you’llwant the usual tools of the writer’s trade: plenty of reference books,such as a dictionary, an encyclopedia, a thesaurus and style guides.

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Media & Publishing

Online Entertainment Listings and Reviews

People are always in search of dining, entertainment and attraction information and reviews.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Online Entertainment Listings and Reviews

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

Developing an entertainment listings andreviews website is a very straightforward enterprise to start. Simplyprovide visitors within specific communities information aboutforthcoming entertainment events like concert and movie listings,theatrical play dates, special events and even restaurant listings.

Additionally, the site can include an entertainment review section withfeedback and critiques supplied by visitors. The site can earn incomeby selling advertising space to local merchants. Once established, thistype of online business could easily be expanded to other communitiesand cities on a franchise or license-to-operate basis.

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Media & Publishing

Personalized Story Time Books

Are you a pro at creating sentimental items for families? Look into personalized story time books.

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Business At A Glance

Personalized Story Time Books

Startup Costs: $50,000 – $100,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? Yes

Business Overview

The market for personalized story time books for children is enormous.Every child in the world loves to hear stories, and the best aspect ofthis new venture is the fact that this business enables you to createbooks to include children into the story.

This is a business that onceyou have established a relationship with a client you will want to keepthat relationship strong as the product has the ability to almost beclassified as a consumable. This means that once you form therelationship with the client, it’s a given that the relationship willcontinue to generate revenue for the business, providing the quality ofservice and product remains excellent. The average child can easilyhave five or six favorite books, and these books change on ayear-by-year basis.

This can add up to 20 to 30 different story timebooks that can be sold to the same client, and that number can multiplyby the number of children the client has. There are softwareapplications available including the reprint rights for creating thistype of book, or of course you can use the customer’s and yourimagination to create original stories. A marketing technique that canhelp get you started is to pick relatives and friends with children andcustomize books using their children’s names.

Once you have the booksproduced, simply show the story time books to your friends andrelatives. It will be nearly impossible for them to say no once theysee the finished product and how much work you put into creating thebook. profit potential: Once you have established a solid client base,this business venture has the ability to return excellent profits on apart- or full-time effort. As with any business, be sure to use abottom-up approach to product pricing. Factor in all costs, includingmaterials, labor and overhead, and multiply by the desired markup. Theend result of this formula will give you your retail selling price.

Needed Equipment

You will need a good computer system and printer if you plan to producethe books yourself. It can be very costly to have a print shop run asingle copy of one item.

Additional requirements will include softwarethat legally allows you to reprint the books or good writing skills tocreate your own stories. The latter is more fun, and you can base thestories on your local community and community events.

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Media & Publishing

Restaurant Placemats

Put designing capabilities to use on restaurant placemats.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Restaurant Placemats

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Like restaurant menus, many restaurantowners are more than happy to have community businesses featured ontheir table placemats in exchange for receiving the placemats for free.Here is how the business works.

Assume that a busy 50-seat restaurantwould use 200 paper placemats each day or approximately 6,000 permonth, and the cost to print 6,000 black and white placemats on colorpaper would be around 10 cents each, or a total of $600.

Furthermore,the placemats would feature 16 business card-sized displayadvertisements around the outside of the placemat, while the inside ofthe placemat would feature trivia questions. Charging local merchants amere 1.5 cents per advertisement, per placemat would generate totalsales of $1,440 per restaurant each month, or a gross profit of $840.Now times that by ten restaurants, and you would have a great littleadvertising business generating sales in excess of $100,000 per year.

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