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Selling information products is the second-biggest business on the Internet (selling software is first). Writing How-To manuals is one of the easiest and most profitable ways of creating and selling information products on the Internet.
There are two principal ways people come into the How-To manual business.
The first way is that you have an idea for a how-to manual, you sit down and write it, then try to sell it.
The second way is that you have a problem, you go looking for a solution, and you either don't find one and decide to solve it yourself then write a how-to manual to share what you've learned with others who may be having the same problem, or else you find information about your problem, but it is so badly written or so confusing or doesn't really solve your problem that you say to yourself, "I could do better than that!" So you sit down and write a how-to manual.
Whichever way you arrive at the front door of the how-to manual business, understand that almost certainly you have the ability to put down on paper (on into electronic form with a word processing program, or dictate into a tape recorder) your experience or knowledge. And that experience or knowledge can be of benefit to other people. Potentially a LOT of other people. A lot of other people who want and need what you know so much that they are willing to pay for your manual. And pay handsomely.
Let me tell you something right away, based on my years of experience in this business: you do not need a college degree in English to write how-to manuals! You just need an idea, a plan, and the persistence to see it through to completion.
I have been writing, publishing, marketing and promoting my manuals for over seven years. I got started because of a problem I had that there didn't seem to be any good, clear, simple written solutions for. So I did my homework -- it turned out everything I needed to know to solve the problem what already out there, just in scattered bits and pieces -- put the ideas together in a logical order, wrote it all up in my style, using my own words, and voila! I had a how-to manual.
Thatís the secret to writing, publishing, marketing and promoting how-to manuals: identify what concepts, experiences, and special knowledge you have that other people want and need in order to solve the problems they have. Key point: people do not buy "how-to manuals", they buy solutions to their problems.
As you begin taking your first steps in this exciting business, keep in mind that it should be treated as a business. Also, recognize that any real business is not going to make you rich overnight. If your how-to manual fills a big enough need in the marketplace, you could find your self running a lucrative full-time enterprise (if thatís what you want). Beware of the many scam artists out there who will make claims like "Learn the Secret Formula That Will Make Your Products Sell Like Crazy" or "Make $7,000 On The Internet In Seven Days Or Less" or "Increase Your Sales 1700% in Seventeen Days".
As a by-product of writing, publishing, marketing and promoting my other manuals, I learned from experience what has worked, as well as what hasn't. I won't jive you; the path to profitability in this business (as in virtually all others) is not a short one. Be prepared to "stay the course".
Best Regards, Robert Brents, "The 80/20 Guy" http://www.RobertBrents.com For your free four-lesson e-seminar, How To Write, Publish, Market & Promote Profitable How-To Manuals, email mailto:email@example.com Copyright 2002 Robert Brents and Blue Gecko Press.