The Dirty Little Secrets Of An Informer

April 23, 2008

Do you have what it takes to be an informer? If you’re passionate about a particular subject, or if you just enjoy research, you’d probably make a great one. And if it’s good information, people will even pay you for it.

And Here’s A Dirty Little Secret:
You don’t have to write a book. In fact, if the information you have is in demand, you don’t need to write much at all.

I first made money on the Internet selling a niche travel guide. It was short - I don’t think it was longer than 11 pages. But each copy sold for the same price as a regular full length book. And I got to keep every single penny as my marketing costs were zero.

You Don’t Even Have To Know What You’re Doing:
I certainly didn’t. The research I’d carried out was for my own personal needs. I don’t think I’d even heard of ebooks or information products back then. And the finished item was the most basic thing you ever saw, but people bought it.

What's The Catch?
So What’s The Catch?
You need to spend a lot of time researching your topic. Nobody is going to pay you for information they could find in five minutes on the Internet. But the chances are, you may already have a hobby or subject that you know inside out. And unless you have some extremely bizarre interests, there’s bound to be other people who want to learn what you know.

Why Would People Pay For Something So Short?
Time is a precious commodity to many of us. Some people want to learn what they need to know about a subject without spending hours on end researching it. And the chances are - they won’t want to spend hours on end reading some padded tome when a dozen pages will do.

So Where Do You Start? Obviously some information products sell better than others. Click here to subscribe to this series of posts and you’ll discover: How to choose a topic that will sell, how to make sure it’s what people want, how to research and the best ways to market and sell your product.

Have you already tried selling information products? If so, how did you get on? Would you like to give it a shot but don’t know where to start? What is your biggest challenge?

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15 Responses to “The Dirty Little Secrets Of An Informer”

  1. Mrs. Micah on April 23rd, 2008 7:46 pm

    Out of curiosity, how did people come across it if you weren’t paying for marketing? I’m thinking of entering the eBook field and quite interested in the mechanics of all this…how to sell (Christine O’Kelley made a good recommendation) and how to market without spending money at first.

  2. cathlawson on April 23rd, 2008 8:09 pm

    Hi Mrs M - telling you that would spoil the rest of the series! But I did build an audience first. You already have an audience - you just need to sell them something they want.

  3. Barbara Swafford on April 24th, 2008 2:43 am

    Hi Catherine,

    You have my attention.

    I love to research, so what you’re proposing sounds right up my alley.

    I do agree, with time being so important to most everyone, who has the time to books, blogs and lengthy articles. I like you idea of compiling all the the pertinent information into a short publication

    I”ll be back for the next lesson(s). .

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..Blogging - Year One - Lesson Six

  4. Barbara Swafford on April 24th, 2008 2:45 am


    Did I ever make the typos.

    I meant to say…….who has the time to read books, blogs and lengthy articles. I like your idea of compiling…….

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..Blogging - Year One - Lesson Six

  5. Jennifer on April 24th, 2008 2:55 am

    Cath, You’ve peaked my interest as well….
    I used to research everything to death. I finally decided most of it was a waste of time, but I’m not quiet at the point where I want to pay someone else to do it, but I can see myself getting in that category in the future.

    With all my passion and all the reasearch I’ve done in the past, I should be able to do something with it…… :)
    Jennifer’s last blog post..Obtaining Wisdom in a Chaotic World (Continued)….

  6. Cath Lawson on April 24th, 2008 6:52 am

    Hi Barbara - that’s great. I hope it’s going to be useful - I thought it might appeal to you.

    Hi Jennifer - that’s the trouble. Even those who love research - like you do, never have the time to learn about everything. And there’s many who can’t be bothered to do it again. I hope the series will be useful to you.

    Cath Lawson’s last blog post..The Dirty Little Secrets Of An Informer

  7. Kelly@SHE-POWER on April 24th, 2008 10:11 am


    I’ll be following this series closely as e-books seem like a natural fit for me in terms of trying to earn some extra money while keeping up with my family and my own writing.

    What I always come up against is what to write about? I feel like you need to be an expert in something and I know about a lot of things (goes with being a nomad and a change junkie) but I wouldn’t claim to be an expert or the best person to write about any commercially viable topic I can think of. I’m sure my thinking is the problem…

    How are you, by the way? Feel like we’ve been missing each other in cyberspace recently and haven’t talked for awhile.

    I can’t believe I said that, but it’s true blogs and social media end up making you feel like you’re friends who “catch up” regularly.

    :) Kelly

    Kelly@SHE-POWER’s last blog post..SHE-POWER Fiction: The Better Wife

  8. Tim Brownson on April 24th, 2008 12:01 pm

    I’m intrested too because I’m approaching it from the opposite end.

    I’m giving my e-book away that has some of my best stuff that I do with clients in it to build up Blog loyalty. Then in a few months I can give my readers another free e-book. I think there may be a hole in my logic somewhere ;-)
    Tim Brownson’s last blog post..How To Avoid a Mid (or quarter) Life Crisis

  9. Ian Denny on April 24th, 2008 3:34 pm


    I’ll be very interested in this series.

    Thanks for reviewing the e-book - or rather article I wrote.

    I’m fascinated by e-books as a PR/marketing tool. I think I need to think about distribution though - getting people to read them rather than pay for them.

    Ian Denny’s last blog post..This Blogging Lark Is Hard - How Do You Cope When Other Stuff Gets In The Way?

  10. cathlawson on April 24th, 2008 5:23 pm
    Hi Kelly - I’m great thank you. I was away on a course last week and had no internet access, which is why i haven’t been around.

    I bet you have heaps you could write about - and you don’t need to be an expert, you just need to give people the info they want. Even with subjects where it helps to be seen as an expert it’s easy to create that perception. Did you read 4 Hour Work Week yet? Tim explains how to be seen as an expert really well in that book.

    Hi Tim - I’m sure there’s ways that a free one could help to build a brand or a business. A few people have given away free ebooks, so I’m going to ask them if it was beneficial to them and include that info in this series too. And I will definitely be reviewing yours this weekend as promised.

    Hi Ian - You are welcome. It was excellent and v professionally laid out. I suppose you’ve got to think about what you could do to make your target market desperate to open them.

    You know I was thinking about this and you don’t necessarily need to give them something that’s related to your business - something that would remind them of you when they read it and talked about it would be good too. That’s a lot like you’re already doing with your videos.

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