Mar 29, 2001
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Can you get rich selling your content on the Internet? For the past few years tens of thousands of amateur and independent publishers have tried to. Until now, their hopes have been repeatedly dashed. First ebooks proved harder to sell than many had predicted. Then online advertising dollars dried up for even the most popular sites and ezines.
However, over the past month a new factor has begun fueling the independent epublishing scene's growth -- the promise of quick riches from selling subscriptions. In just the past 10 days, we've spotted independent epublisher wanna-bes eagerly discussing the possibilities of this newly hot business model on just about every online message board and email discussion list that's open to them, including Motley Fool, I-Advertising Forum and Netprenuer.org's AM List.
A typical posting, "If I could get 5,000 people to pay me $40 a year to read my content, I would make $200,000."
It's not Internet millions; but it sure is enough for most people to quit their day jobs. You can see how seductive this is: wear your PJs all day, write about whatever you love, make a bunch of money.
However, like most get-rich-quick schemes, the majority who try it are doomed to failure. Amateur's expectations of the single most critical metric, conversion rates of free readers to paid subscribers, range from 10-25% or even higher. Publishing and direct response professionals say conversions of 1-7% are more likely ... and that's for valuable niche content marketed effectively at the right price point. Not an easy task.
Nevertheless, every professional publisher should keep a close eye on the independent scene. Underdogs often come up with inventive business ideas and guerrilla marketing tactics the big guys would never think of. One good way to track them is to join a few free lists where they hang out online. (Another way is to continue reading MarketingSherpa where we'll bring you updates from leaders.)