Despite what is being claimed everywhere on the WWW, e-books are not the absolute be-all-and-end-all of published format. There is still a huge buyer demand for information printed the "old-fashioned way" -- on paper. The very technology that spawned the WWW also provides the ability for individual self-publishers to produce top-quality books that can be readily sold for a handsome profit.
Strange to say, that can be a problem in itself. Many would-be self-publishers of books seem dazzled by the variety of impressive production features that are possible with new print on demand [POD] technology. They visualize their name on fat full-length novels printed with perfect-bound spines, elaborate text formatting, varnished covers, and four-colour artwork.
Unfortunately, this yen for heft and glitz is not only expensive, it overlooks the fact that every self-published book is very difficult to market and sell, no matter how handsomely packaged or aggressively promoted.
Instead, entrepreneurial authors could be far more successful by producing modestly-sized publications that require only ordinary word processing software, simply printed on typewriter paper held together with staples or spiral binding. Millions of these little-known special interest printed publications are published yearly, enjoyed by individuals who buy them regardless of finished appearance; valued for content that, while simple, is not available elsewhere.
The "information market" comprises what is probably the largest, and certainly most lucrative, segment of self-publishing today. It meets an enormous on-going demand for fact-filled booklets, folios, reports, guides, manuals, and directories - short compilations of specific information on a variety of everyday subjects: "how-to" instructions on everyday subjects, and guidance on health, hobbies, finance, or romance.
It's much easier than authors might guess to start profiting from information they possess already. People crave written knowledge and advice that somehow educates or enlightens them, and pay for it readily, regardless of format appearance. Demand for practical information is so large and diverse in topics and interests, it offers unlimited opportunities for self-published authors.
Subject matter varies widely. For instance, Julia Griggs Havey parlayed her self-published Awaken The Diet Within into a lucrative career on the lecture circuit. Don Massey wrote a 64-page manual about buying and selling used cars, and has made well over $150,000 from it already. J. Conrad Levinson, now the wealthy author of Guerrilla Marketing books and seminars, started out in 1974 selling a 30-page booklet for $10.00. Half a million people bought Ted Nichols' instructions on How To Form Your Own Corporation. My own 90-page Military Publications International Directory is now in its 23rd annual edition, continuing to be a steady and popular perennial.
Other successes are legion, with short folios on thousands of topics ranging from folk medicine, pet care, and sex manuals, to money-making plans, genealogy, and cookbooks. So if you have published similar informative topics as e-books, grasp the opportunity now to maximize your profits by converting the electronic material to printed form as well.