Category Archives: Internet Living

How to Publish an E-Book on iTunes (iBookstore)

iTunes is a media powerhouse, selling millions of songs, movies, television shows, apps, programs, and books. Publishing your books on iTunes (the iBookstore) is a great way to increase your exposure and sales. It’s also a great way to reach customers, who are embracing e-reader technology like tablets (of which the iPad is arguably the most popular).

Publishing to the iTunes interface is a relatively simple process, but you have to understand the specifics of the system. Here’s what you need to know about publishing an e-book on iTunes:

Create in the Proper Format

Books published to iBookstore must be in a very specific format: ePub. There are many services and software providers you can use to convert your book to the ePub format. Storyist, Pages, or Calibre can all be used to make the conversion. Calibre is free, open-source software, and the others charge a fee.

You can also sign up for one of the Apple-approved aggregators, which convert and deliver book titles for a fee. These services will also help market and distribute books.

All books must pass ePubCheck to ensure that they meet formatting guidelines before they can be published.

Get an ISBN Number

All books sold in the iBookstore must have an ISBN (Internatinoal Standard Book Number). Books that are offered for free do not need an IBSN.

To get an ISBN, you must buy one by visiting a site such as www.myidentifiers.com or fromisbn.org. A single ISBN costs $125. However, you can save significantly by purchasing multiple ISBNs at once. For example, 10 ISBNs cost $250 — or $25 each.

Print and digital versions of a book each have to have their own ISBN.

Register for a Taxpayer ID

Apple requires that sellers on iTunes Connect have a taxpayer ID. Sellers must apply for a taxpayer ID through the IRS. This taxpayer ID will be linked to your account, identifying you by your legal name as the seller of the book, and you must always use the same taxpayer ID for your account.

Apply for iTunes Connect

Once you have all your documentation in place, you are ready to apply for an account on iTunes Connect (https://itunesconnect.apple.com/WebObjects/iTunesConnect.woa/wa/bookSignup), which will enable you to sell in the iBookstore. You can apply for a paid account or a free account. If you plan to sell books, you must apply for a paid account.

Keep in mind that if you apply for a free account, then decide to sell books later, you cannot upgrade your free account to a paid account.

You can distribute books for free whether you have a paid or a free account.

Once your application is approved, you are ready to start selling books in the iBookstore. While the process is a little cumbersome — if not a little pricey — it gives you access to one of the best-selling marketplaces around the world, greatly increasing your potential for sales.

Have you sold books in iBookstore? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!

Sarah Rexman is the main researcher and writer for bedbugs.org. Her most recent accomplishment includes graduating from Florida State, with a degree in environmental science.  Her current focus for the site involves researching home remedies for bed bugs and how to exterminate bed bugs.

StudyBlue + Evernote: Making Studying Easy

This is a guest post written by Jennifer, the Student Relations Intern with StudyBlue.com, an online community of students dedicated who believe in efficient and effective studying for all (and for free).

Over the past few years, new technologies have allowed students to study more efficiently and effectively. Many services have emerged that provide students with new learning platforms, such as StudyBlue.com. StudyBlue is one of the largest online study groups for college and high school students, as well as educators who embrace technology.

By using StudyBlue, students are able to upload class notes, create online flashcards, study on their mobile phones and set reminders for when to study key concepts. If that weren’t enough, StudyBlue has partnered with Evernote, a useful storage system that allows students to access notes, files and scanned handouts from any device at any time.

This integration lets students sync their Evernote and StudyBlue accounts. That means notes taken on Evernote can be easily converted to online flashcards on StudyBlue.

Check out the video below to find out how easy it is to create online flashcards from your notes. Be sure to check out the Evernote blog for more information.

 

How I found out it was time to stop dreaming and start setting goals for internet income!

Ever since I started my first ridiculous pet forum in early 2008, I’ve been highly motivated, obsessed even, with creating my place on the internet. I’ve read countless articles about blogging, marketing, affiliate income, niche sites…you name it, and it’s all been totally enjoyable. What I’ve lacked is a hard focus, a real determination to get even the non-fun tasks done and produce clear results within a certain time period. Instead, I had more of a fuzzy ten-year plan in the back of my mind. I loved the job I had when I started blogging, and I love the job I have now, so I’d just thought I’d start gradually making more and more online income and then just as gradually fade into an early “retirement” from corporate life when the time seemed right. That was until a few days ago.

When you work for someone else, you may not get to decide how long it will last.

Last Friday I got home from work and looked forward to an awesome weekend, but about an hour later an owner of the company I work for emailed us all to tell us that he and the other owners had sold the company. They had very good reasons, of course, and he even had good reasons why he couldn’t tell us before that. That didn’t stop me from walking around Friday evening in a near daze, wondering what was going to happen to my family and me. It seems I should have been working on my independent security plan much earlier or in a much more disciplined way!

All is not lost. My boss is going to find out what the new company needs and if our group can provide it. In fact, the new company won’t be ready to take over for at least six to twelve months, and then there will probably be some more transition time. And of course there are many cool things to work on in this world. But to avoid a possible gap or even temporary reduction in income, I’m more determined than ever to start bringing in more money online.   Since I have a heavy workload at my job for the next few months (irony, huh), and two wonderful kids to enjoy too, it’s going to need to be something I can work on whenever I have time.

How can I make money with my blogs?

There are many ways to use the internet to bring in money, as we know.    So first I made a list of all I could think of off hand.

  • Make money from advertising.
  • Sell affiliate products from places like Amazon or Clickbank
  • Use the internet to funnel customers toward an offline business.
  • Have an online store and ship products to customers.
  • Write a premium WordPress plugin or theme.
  • Create websites to sell.
  • Write an ebook or book
  • Offer coaching or workshops
  • Have a paid membership site

Although I do have Adsense ads and affiliate products on my niche sites, they’re not going to make enough money to pay any major bills anytime soon.  I wish I already had the knowledge or talent to write a premium plugin or theme!   Currently I don’t, so I ruled that out for the coming few months.

Creating my own product

I have one niche site that has loyal readers, including some who email me asking for advice. I’ve considered coaching and paid membership for “someday,” but for the immediate future I’m leaning toward creating an ebook or book. I already have a lot of material collected from posts and survey results plus my own experiences, and since I have such engaged readers I just might be able to sell some books.

Next will come deciding – print or ebook? And if I self-publish a print book, which company to go with? The first thing to do now though is to try to make a mind map of what the book should be like, and, hardest of all, start writing!

Photo credit: fdecomite

Why do you want to make your living on the internet?

Most of the people I know in real life have no desire at all to make their living on the internet. I don’t know if their personality type makes them really enjoy or need a traditional corporate office setting or if they just the lack knowledge and experience to realize that internet living is possible. But of course once we get online and look around, we find thousands upon thousands of people who pursue the internet lifestyle with a real passion.

Why do you want to work online?

The best way to make our pursuit of internet living a success is to have some real, finite goals. So, what do you want to get out of this? Do you have hopes of being famous, or do you dream of creating one big thing and never “working” again? We’ve heard over and over that making a living online requires a lot of work – especially up front, so we must be willing to do it. Instead of rushing off in a million wrong directions or just letting things carry us aimlessly along and wasting time and effort, we want to be sure we’re proceeding toward what we really want, so here are some possible purposes to keep in mind as we set our course:

Passion

Let your dreams fly

I’m totally fascinated by the internet and the creations of others that are just a click away. When I’m online, whether it’s on a forum, creating blog posts, or reading the blogs of others, time flies too quickly. And in fact, this passion passes the “Would you do it if you never got paid?” test. I absolutely would. If I won two million dollars tomorrow, I’d take that new-found time and freedom to create a massive blog! Do you feel the same way about working online, or are you just looking to online income because the barriers to getting started are low and you don’t know what you really want to do?

Freedom

Working online offers immense freedom. You may need that freedom to spend more time with family and less on commuting or meetings. You may need the freedom to handle household tasks and errands when the need arises. One important part of the freedom of working online would mean that we work when we’re really in the zone! If you wake up at 5:00 am ready to work, work until 10:00 then want to take the rest of the day off, that’s up to you. In addition, you’d work on things you find important and set your own course and priorities.

Income

Some people hope to make money online because they see it as the best path to reach their financial goals. Traditional jobs may have been disappointing or a bad fit, so by using the internet you can carve out your own unique niche. Also, some people may keep day jobs as long as they can but use online income to supplement that or transition to full time online work later.

Producing Value

We want to be proud of our work. I think we all find real satisfaction when our work helps someone or someone can use our knowledge or advice, and the internet is the fastest way to offer that help and value to a large number of people at once, without being at the mercy of any publisher, agent, media outlet, or anything else. If we take the gifts and experience we have and somehow convey them in a form that others can consume, we have success.

Interacting with readers

In the two years I’ve been blogging, I’ve found that I really enjoy interacting with others online through comments, social media, and email. I love interactive new media much more than traditional media such as books or TV. I guess I’ve gotten spoiled with all the “instant gratification” of having comments on blog posts instead of having to write for weeks or months without getting any reader reactions or feedback in the meantime. That interaction may be a large part of why we want to work online rather than just write a book or produce some other product that we’d sell offline.

Security

Working for yourself online gives a wonderful sense of security. If you are your own boss, then you have no worries of being laid off or of the company you work for going bankrupt. You never again have to worry about preparing yourself for that next job by learning skills you don’t especially care for and squashing your real passions and interests. You can finally be yourself and know that it’s safe to be yourself and in fact lots of people are waiting to hear more from you!

If you’re thinking about jumping in and trying to do some things online to make an income, try to write down some of the reasons why. They’ll help you to create and crystallize a real plan of what you want to do next. It’s entirely possible to start blogging with no plan, then find yourself still doing that several years later, making no income and serving none of the purposes you really find important. So take a few minutes, even over a few days, to jot down some of the main things you want to accomplish. Then the fun part can begin as you start taking steps to reach your goals!

Photo credit: Y

How starting my business in the wrong state killed it before it began

Earlier this year, I decided that I was ready to take the next step in blogging and start offering services directly for money, so I should formalize it all by starting an LLC. Since I’d already been blogging for almost two years at that time, I knew I could offer simple blog setup or do various tasks needed by non-technical bloggers and let them pay me through PayPal. I also had a popular niche site, and I thought the time was right to write an ebook to sell to that audience.

Why start an LLC?

For one thing, here in the U.S., we seem to think that the easiest way to get rich quick (aside from writing an ebook) is to bring a lawsuit against someone. We may spill hot coffee on ourselves, or we may put a product in the oven without taking it out of the box first, and if no one warned us, then we think have a chance to get rich! So before I’d touch anyone’s MySQL database or even log into their WordPress setup, I definitely wanted the protection of an LLC to separate the business’s assets from my personal ones. There are many, much better reasons, of course, such as the tax deductions one can take for business expenses, including a computer or any other materials needed to do business, and of course the fact that I was hoping to gradually build the business into a full-time job within a few years.

I already knew the name I wanted, so I decided to move quickly to grab that name before someone else did! For each name, only one business can have it in a given state, of course.  Without doing much research into the topic at all, I formed the LLC in Alabama, where I live, because I thought that was my only choice! The Articles of Organization form was easy enough to fill out, so pretty soon I had sent forms and money in and was eagerly checking the Secretary of State website for Alabama every day to see if my new LLC was ready to go. Of course I also bought a domain for it so I could create a website.

Now can I start making some money?

The first rude awakening for me came when I found out that Alabama is one of the states that requires us to collect sales tax if we sell electronic downloads such as ebooks! For me the bad thing about that is, the state would require a seller’s permit and business license (and so would the city I live in) if I started collecting and submitting sales tax.

I called my local city hall and asked about it.  Surely a mere blogger just making a little money here and there didn’t need….Oh yes, I was told. I’d need a business license and they’d want to post a sign in my yard and have an open city council meeting to discuss rezoning my house so that I could have a home business. All of my neighbors would receive registered letters alerting them about this meeting so they could attend and raise their objections. But.. I just wanted to write a simple ebook!

Obviously these are all just small hurdles, but at that point I didn’t have the time yet to do enough business to pay for all these licenses and make it worth the hassle of the rezoning. So I started posting the ebook contents for free on the niche site instead of selling books. I decided I’d make the money some other way – coaching or ads or something I hadn’t thought of yet.

Alabama strikes again

Then the second and final nail in the coffin. I got letters from the Alabama Department of Revenue telling me about the tax requirements for an LLC. Now I’m a technical person and really despise reading legal and financial stuff! Out of all the obscure language I at least got the message that for one thing, a tax filing was due almost immediately, for a minimum of $100.  In fact, every year I’d have to file taxes for the LLC and pay Alabama a minimum of $100.  And I still hadn’t sold one thing on the web yet at this point!

I filed the taxes, paid the $100, and then I filed papers to dissolve the LLC.    I’d finally realized that forming a business is a little like marriage: it’s really easy to get into, then you can get yourself into a world of trouble if you don’t know what you’re doing!

Next time

I still have great plans for building a business on the internet, but it won’t be by going through all the red tape of Alabama.

For one thing, I learned that unless a business has a physical presence (such as a store or physical goods or an office) in a state, then the LLC doesn’t need to be in that state. So I could choose a state like Nevada, which wouldn’t require an LLC to file a tax return at all! Then of course, there’s the electronic downloads sales tax factor.  If I form an LLC in another state, I’ll thoroughly check to make sure that state is not one which requires sales tax on electronic downloads.

I have an unfortunate habit of having what seems to be an awesome idea then jumping into it quickly instead of doing the less-satisfying research and planning.  This whirlwind experience with LLCs wasted a lot of money (including the filing fees), so before I jump again, I’ll learn everything I can about the laws and taxes involved so I make the best decisions!

Photo credit: timetrax

The older you are, the more you should consider an internet lifestyle!

Over 50 is seen as “old” by a lot of employers

A few years ago, a manager I know at a worldwide cement company was told (along with other managers there) to start quietly getting rid of everyone who was 48 and older. FORTY-EIGHT! When my own mom was 58, her department at AT&T strongly encouraged all of the “older” workers to take an early retirement so the could start hiring some people right out of school and save money. She did it, because she was assured that those who refused would not like the environment they’d be in afterward. Older workers may be seen as less energetic than those half our age, and of course we probably make a lot more money than new graduates would. Worst of all, we’re seen as liabilities by companies because we are apparently more likely to cost them money in health insurance claims. What are people supposed to do when they’re “too old” to work in an office yet still have forty years or more left to pay for food, shelter, and other necessities?!

The one job no one can lay you off from

The only boss who’s never going to have to make a hard decision someday and possibly downsize me is ME.  If I have some good income streams coming from the internet, then no one can fire me, and in fact it won’t matter if I get old enough that I don’t fit in at office parties or know all the sports gossip because as long as I’m producing something people want, I can pay my bills!   We don’t need to rush into anything – we can start slowly in our plan to work for ourselves in almost unlimited ways, from pet sitting to consulting after hours to starting any sort of business, depending on how many hours we want to put into it and what time slots we have available.

What makes the internet perfect for older workers

The internet is always on.  There are no hours when it’s “too late” to do something, and in fact there are no set hours when you have to do anything.  So if you work five days a week and like to relax in the evenings, you can still crank out a riveting piece of fiction on the weekends or slowly start setting up an online store.   There’s nothing more satisfying than building something you planned, creating it exactly the way you want.

I have a job and I love it – but

There’s no way to know for sure that my awesome boss will never take a position somewhere else, or that nothing bad will happen to the company I work for.   I hope that neither of those things happen, of course, but I can’t bet my future on them.  Instead, about two years ago I started investigating ways to earn extra money on the internet – so that I can rebuild some of my retirement savings after all these down times, and to supplement or even be my whole income after I retire someday.   It’s taking a lot of trial and error to decide what sorts of things I want to pursue, including which things I love doing that would actually make money.    I still have a lot to learn, and this blog will be the place where I share what I’m learning.

Start thinking about it

Even if you’re very young, it’s never too early to start moving toward being in control of your own destiny – “master of your domain!”    It took me a long time of brewing different ideas plus a lot of discarded blogs and domain names before I started really seeing some answers.   How could you start, even while you have a job, and make a plan to do something that you could do for practically the rest of your life if you want?  What do you really want to do in life?

Photo credit: Iain Buchanan

Use the internet as a springboard to reach your dreams!

Since I first got access to internet email, then later to the world wide web, I’ve been totally fascinated with the internet and always searching for new ways to use it. In the mid-90s, I tried to find any and every way to discover the email addresses of people I knew without actually asking them. That would spoil the fun! :) A couple of years ago, I even got to do some work on a project at the local university looking at ways people could get authentication (who you are) and authorization (what all you’re allowed to see) to the websites of our own department and those in other institutions in order to make one big sharing environment for the researchers. The internet seems to be one man-made thing that’s vast and interesting like a natural science, yet it’s very accessible and easy to use, even for beginners.

You can share your pictures and videos, start a blog, pay your bills, and even order groceries or find a mate, all from the comfort of your own home. But if you’d like to go a little deeper, the internet provides a way to make a little extra money or even totally work for yourself, all during the hours you select, and without risking your savings or quitting your job prematurely.

I’ve been earning part of my income on the internet for two years now, and that’s a great feeling in these days of job cuts and older workers being let go. There’s plenty of opportunity out there still, since we’re all looking for products, services, and sometimes just plain entertainment!

Photo credit: P. Gordon