By Mike Haaren
June 28, 2011
Dear Rat Race Rebellion: I’m a stay-at-home mom and have been writing in my free time. I have some great ideas for stories and books, but I don’t want to go to all the trouble to try to get an agent and jump through all the hoops. Can I just publish my books as eBooks? If I do, can I make any money? – Sandy in Silver Spring, Md.
Dear Sandy: Like everything else, the Internet has brought violent change to the publishing industry, and eBooks are making rapid headway. Borders is in bankruptcy, indie bookstores are closing right and left, and the Kindles, Nooks and iPads are proliferating.
You can publish your eBooks several ways. Amazon offers self-publishing through Kindle Direct Publishing, and Barnes & Noble has PubIt! Smaller companies such as LuLu.com offer similar services. Making money will depend on two things – the quality of your work and the effectiveness of your marketing. Write well and market like heck, and eBooks can be worthwhile.
Dear Rat Race Rebellion: Are there any home-based jobs that don’t require a lot of telephone use? – Krista in Wheeling, W.Va.
Dear Krista: Actually, many home-based jobs and projects don’t require much if any time on the phone. Internet research, website design, freelance writing, translation and medical transcription are just a few. For more, see our Jobs by Category page.
Dear Rat Race Rebellion: I saw a work-at-home data processing job lead recently on a legitimate college job board. But when I clicked through on the link, I went to a website that wanted $49 for a kit on how to become a rebate processor. It looked like a scam. What’s up with that? – Jerry in Providence, R.I.
Dear Jerry: The scammers are very good at disguising themselves, and will sometimes infiltrate legitimate career websites until they are “outed.” Bogus testimonials, stolen photos, doctored news videos, and trusted media logos for outlets where they’ve never appeared are just a few of their ruses.
As for “rebate processing,” it’s just one more standby that the fraudsters will bring back periodically, as soon as new job seekers enter the market and the cries of earlier victims die down. They made millions with it a few years ago – we worked with ABC’s 20/20 to expose them – and now it’s “oldie but goodie” time again. Congratulations on avoiding the trap.
Dear Rat Race Rebellion: I’m getting ready to open a home-based pet sitting business and I need business cards and promotional items. I also want to sell my own line of coffee mugs and mouse pads. Are there any good sites for those things? – Marianne in Scituate, Mass.
Dear Marianne: For good prices on business cards and promotional merchandise, check out Vistaprint.com. To design and sell your own line of merchandise, have a look at CafePress.com.