How to publish your own e-book

The publishing industry is going through a revolution, as e-books are making it easy for anyone to get published. If you’re a writer or you’ve though about writing a book, your best option still might be getting a well-known publisher interested in your book. But we all know that this can be incredibly difficult.

But now it’s very easy to write a book and have it self-published as an e-book. Amazon and Barnes & Noble make it very easy to do this on your own and sell it through their online stores.

Here are some articles to help you through the process:

The NY Times has a helpful how to article for e-books.

The 4-Hour Work Week guy has a great article on this subject.

Mashable.com discusses CreateSpace, and CNET covers the same topic.

Do your research and you’ll find the best option for you. It can be very profitable, and it can also launch other careers like public speaking.

Unemployment falls in the states

The good economic news continues.

Unemployment rates fell in 43 states in November, the most states to report such declines in eight years.

The falling state rates reflect the brightening jobs picture nationally. The U.S. unemployment rate fell sharply in November to 8.6%, lowest since March 2009. The economy has generated 100,000 or more jobs five months in a row — first time that’s happened since 2006, before the Great Recession.

Only three states reported higher unemployment rates in November, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Four showed no change.

Other good news today came in the form of housing starts. People aren’t buying home so many people are renting. Now the construction market is responding as more apartment buildings are going to be built. This might be good news for construction workers around the country.

GOP wants unemployment drug testing

In another attempt to blame workers for our weak economy that was triggered by massive abuses and fraud on Wall Street, Republicans in Congress are now trying to tie unemployment benefits to drug testing.

During a debate on the floor of the House of Representatives this week, Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) suggested the unemployed can’t find jobs because of their own bad decisions.

“I have been back in my district, and we do town halls all the time,” Reed said. “And what I’ve heard from small business owners across our district is that one of the main reasons that they cannot hire individuals is because they simply cannot pass a drug test.”

This year more than ever, Republicans have brought up again and again the topic of unemployed people using drugs. Lawmakers in a dozen state legislatures pursued jobless drug testing bills in 2011, according to the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, in an unprecedented flurry of legislative activity on the issue. But a major obstacle to those proposals is that federal law does not allow states to deny unemployment benefits for reasons not related to the circumstances of a person’s unemployment — though 20 states do have laws disqualifying workers from receiving benefits if they’re fired for a drug-related reason.

The legislation percolating through the states culminated in Congress, where Republicans in the House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday to allow states to do all the drug testing they want. NASWA director Rich Hobbie, who’s worked in the unemployment insurance field since 1975, said it’s the first time a bill to drug test the unemployed has made it so far. The fate of the provision is currently in the hands of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who has said he finds it ridiculous.

The War on Drugs has been an abject failure, but these idiots want to expand it. How pathetic.

Drug testing in the workplace makes sense where safety is an issue. Other than that it’s an invasion of privacy. These people call themselves conservatives, but they just want to impose their own version of the nanny state.

Jobless claims continue downward trend

Are we finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel?

Last month the unemployment rate dipped to 8.6%, and now we continue to see better numbers as it relates to weekly jobless claims.

The number of U.S. workers filing new applications for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in three-and-a-half years last week, the latest indication that a weak labor market is improving.

Initial jobless claims fell by 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 366,000 in the week ended Dec. 10, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast claims would climb by 9,000 to 390,000.

“This is unexpectedly great news,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics. “If claims can remain at this level, payroll growth will strengthen markedly within a month or so.”

For the week ended Dec. 3, claims were revised up slightly to 385,000 from an originally reported 381,000. Still, new claims have fallen by 19,000 two weeks in a row.

The four-week moving average of new jobless claims, closely watched by economists because it smooths out volatile weekly data, dropped last week by 6,500 to 387,750. That is the lowest level since July 2008.

The four-week average has remained below 400,000 for five consecutive weeks, one sign the economy is adding more jobs than it is shedding.

If you’ve been looking for a job but have become discouraged, now is the time to get back out there and redouble your efforts. The economy has some momentum, and economic optimism is returning. Right now Europe seems like the most important headwind for economic growth, but conditions here at home are getting better. Car sales are improving and that is one of the factors driving economic activity.

Time to look for investment properties?

One of the biggest mistakes of the time period leading up to the economic crisis of 2008 was the heard mentality. Basically, if everyone is doing something, then you probably shouldn’t join in. But people don’t want to miss out on a good thing, so as real estate prices kept going up, more and more people wanted to get in on the action and start investing in real estate. Then it turned into a bubble and created a mess.

Now we have the opposite situation. Real estate prices have collapsed, and now people are avoiding real estate like the plague. This is the time to act however, when there’s blood in the streets. Of course you have to know what you’re doing, and you have to be able to analyze value. Home prices have collapsed in many areas. Some will recover, but many won’t. It’s your job to figure out where the drops have been excessive, thus offering real estate that is below market value.

This involves knowing the area. Here’s the thing – you can’t get into the business of real estate without knowing the market. That means educating yourself and doing research. It means understanding demographic trends and which parts of the country will rebound faster and why. For example, you don’t want to consider an investment in properties overseas if you’re not familiar with that area.

If you want to get in the business of investment properties, now might be the perfect time to make the leap. But don’t think we’re going back to the days of flipping houses. Sure, you can make a purchase and renovate it with the idea of selling it, but this market will come back slowly. Only consider places where you can earn income through rentals while you’re waiting for appreciation.

3 Things A Business Degree Student Could Learn From Silvio Berlusconi

Silvio Berlusconi. REUTERS/Remo Casilli (ITALY – Tags: POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Everyone needs an icon, an inspiration, someone who shows just how much can be down and how well. Not necessarily a role model, because the most successful people tend to have extremely negative qualities, but even the most evil character can teach some important lessons. For example: Darth Vader teaches you the value of presentation, black is always in fashion, and don’t jump uphill at a man with a light sabre, you idiot.

But since the dark lord of the Sith isn’t a great exemplar for business degree students (the profit/loss sheet on the Death Star is horrifying), we’ve looked for a more down to Earth villain. Italian ex-prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is a glory of capitalism. He is at least four different male fantasies crammed into one body. He’s made more money than Midas, twisted the law into shapes which would confuse Escher, and scored with more women than the entire population of several colleges.

What lessons can a business degree student take from this mastermind?

Networking

The single most important lesson in any business degree is networking, and Silvio masters this the same way Genghis Khan mastered making first impressions: way harder and better than anyone had ever dreamed possible, and than most people had even had even had nightmares about. Mr. Berlusconi has a more powerful network than most Yakuza and uses it much more blatantly.

If you don’t make connections during your business degree it might as well be a piece of novelty toilet rule. Luckily modern technology means you can mingle without ever having to stand up, which is great, because when you work online you can take the time to craft the perfect image. Or, like Silvio, you can just own most of the TV stations and tell them to do it instead.

Think Big

No-one gets a business degree because they want to be a faithful secretary. It’s more a Gordon Gecko without the bad ending thing, power and riches and most importantly the feeling of doing something worthwhile with your time. This means you have to aim high and just keep climbing, an no-one solved his problems by aiming higher than Silvio. When his businesses were under legal investigation, he became the government and changed the rules. When Medusa cinemas were investigated for embezzling five million Euros, the judge decided that Silvio probably had nothing to do with it because the amount is too small. When you’re excused on the grounds that you couldn’t be bothered with a paltry seven digits, that’s the success of thinking big.

Understand The Rules

The most important thing in any project is a clear understanding of the rules. Some will say that this is to make sure you obey them, but come on, we’ve already mentioned Gordon Gecko and Silvio Berlusconi in this article. Sure, Berlusconi might have been finally forced to resign as prime minister, but he still has more money and sex than everyone you know put together.

The real reason you need to understand the rules is to succeed as quickly as possible. The hardest work in the world doesn’t necessarily, or often, lead to a the best reward. That’s why you’re studying a business degree instead of bomb disposal. A clear set of guidelines means clear targets and knowing exactly what you’re allowed – or able – to do to get what you want. When you study for a business degree you’re practicing dealing with the real world by getting ready to do the same. You have a clear set of tasks and courses to complete and, by far the most importantly, you have total command of your own time and resources to do so. That benefit cannot be overstated. So many jobs are based on sitting down and doing what you’re told – you want to be master of your own destiny. And like Silvio Berlusconi, you want to fill that destiny with money and fun.

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