Home Loan Application Contact Us Staff Profiles Customer Login
Selling E-Books to Earn Extra Cash
  With low production costs and little hassle, creating an e-book can help boost your income
  and reputation.

  By Lisa Gerstner, Kiplinger.com

Tara Jefferson spent a year and a half on a book proposal for traditional publishers before she decided to just write the book. Last May, she produced an e-book titled Make It Happen: The Young Mommy Guide to Creating the Career You Crave using Amazon's Create­Space, at no cost. Jefferson, 26, has sold some 650 copies, pocketing about $840. "It exceeded my expectations," she says.

As e-books become mainstream, authors are taking advantage of low do-it-yourself costs. Self-published titles at e-book publisher Smashwords more than tripled in 2011 to 92,500, up from 28,800 in 2010.

Anyone can create a digital book free with such publishers as CreateSpace, Lulu and Smashwords. You'll keep a percentage of your sales, often in the range of 60% to 90%; the publisher or distributor takes the rest. If you're serious about selling, invest in professional design, editing and marketing, says Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing. Basic services from self-publishing sites or outside sources run as little as a few hundred dollars. Top-of-the-line serv­ices could run $10,000 to $20,000. Be aware that you may not recover your costs.

Jefferson, who is making a career of writing for young mothers, has widened her circle of connections and landed speaking gigs. And successful self-publishers sometimes snag traditional publishing deals.

Reprinted with permission. All Contents ©2012 The Kiplinger Washington Editors. Kiplinger.com.

  Eight Yard Sale Tips

The weather is getting warmer, which makes this a great time of year to hold a yard sale. Here are eight tips to help make your yard sale a success:

  1. Start your yard sale earlier than other yard sales in your area so shoppers will start their shopping day with you.
  2. Don't schedule your yard sale on a holiday weekend or during a big event in your area (like a sporting event or festival).
  3. If it rains, consider taking down your signs and rescheduling your sale so you can maximize traffic on the day of your sale.
  4. Before your own yard sale, visit other sales in your neighborhood to get an idea of typical prices.
  5. Place all of your items (except for large items) on tables so shoppers don't have to bend.
  6. If you plan to sell electrical items, have an outlet and extension cord handy so you can show shoppers that the items work.
  7. If you want to sell larger ticket items, look for those items in a local circular and then attach the ad to your item so shoppers can see that they are getting a great deal.
  8. If you have a variety of items that men would like, place them on their own table.

And remember, a successful sale is also a safe sale. Keep money in a pouch around your waist instead of in a cash box (which could get stolen while you are helping shoppers), don't accept checks (which could bounce), and never allow strangers inside your home to use the bathroom or telephone.

  Got Rewards?

These days, there are many different types of credit card rewards out there. Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding which is best for you.

Airline Miles:
 If you travel frequently, then maximizing your airline miles may be the very best reward. And if you primarily fly on a single carrier, you will do the best to take their affiliated credit card, as they typically offer 'bonus' opportunities to earn extra miles. 

Cash Back:
 There are several items to consider when focusing in on cash back cards, most importantly being the fine print. For example, some cards have tiers – which means, you won't earn the most cash back until you reach a certain amount of spending for the year. 

Store Cards:
 Cards issued by particular merchants can be some of the most valuable cards if you are a frequent shopper at that store. 

Points Cards:
 Many rewards cards offer general purpose points that can be redeemed for a wide variety of items, including airline miles, cash back, gift cards from a variety of places, gifts to charity or simply merchandise. These cards can be very beneficial due to the flexibility that they offer.