Printing Your Own Books
Books Available On Amazon And Elsewhere
I am now the author of several books available on Amazon (and one on LULU but I am going to revise that one). I did not realise until recently just how easy it was to print what are called "low content journals". These are not your ordinary novels or technical guides, these books have very few words in them, as they are meant for the owner to fill them in like a diary or bullet journal.
How Do I Make Them?
Generally, I buy a package which contains pages that are used in journals or diaries, such as a single day diary entry or a notes page. Although I could use these just as they are produced, I prefer to improve on what has been provided and add extra pages or different kinds of pages, such as coloring or puzzle pages as inserts or adding "prompt" pages that suggest areas for the user to think about and write down their thoughts.
I can also create books straight from new. Some people use PowerPoint to create their items. Others use expensive packages such as Adobe Illustrator. I do not have that. I use an old legacy piece of software, called Serif PagePlus9, which you can buy on the Internet from the original publisher for probably about £20 or $20.
For puzzle books, I have a number of pieces of software that create these, once I have added the necessary items, eg words for word match, word scramble (anagrams) and word searches and I then produce a jpeg from the PDFs that these create. For coloring books, I buy pages from people who are artists (I am not) then add patterns from various sources. I also source simple pictures on places like Pixabay, then add patterns to make them more complex and fun to color in. (Adults like coloring books too.)
All the items I use are available for commercial use. Amazon does not allow identical books or contents, so any packages I buy MUST be developed into unique items.
The item I have on LULU is a travel journal but it's so expensive that I am going to make it into a black and white version, so it will be cheaper to print.
Once I have created and uploaded the books, I purchase a proof copy, to ensure it printed as I expected, before making it live for sale. These take a week or so to arrive, so I am usually impatient to see the final product before putting it up for sale. The proof copies are produced at cost only, so it's worth it to me to see a proof copy, just in case there is a mistake I didn't catch.
What Sort Of Books?
Currently, I have a book on mixed puzzles for adults on sale (the second volume in the series is nearly ready). I also have the Brexit Survival Journal (UK only), a 3 month sleep tracker journal , a 3 year memory diary (but I am going to revise that one slightly) a 30 day happiness journal and a mind map journal for students available.
My next items will be to finish the second volume of mixed puzzles for adults and to produce a couple of coloring and children's books. I have a few journal starters I have purchased, so I will upgrade those and I also want to produce a 2020 calendar. Currently I buy 4 special calendars from America each year but with the exchange rate for the pound:dollar being so low, it would cost a fortune. I have calendar making software in PagePlus9, so I will see if that can produce something I like at a lower cost.
The Mixed Puzzles For Adults book has sold a few copies but no one has left a review. Reviews are VERY important on Amazon.
Amazon US allows authors (and other producers) to run giveaways for their products, so people will leave a review. The winners can leave whatever kind of review they choose, they are not obliged to leave a favorable review if they don't think the item is worth it. Amazon UK does not have this facility. Authors can set the prices for their own books, provided the price covers the printing cost, of course. I have set the price only a few cents / pence above the printing cost to try and get sales. I have just received my first royalties payment for sales of my books last month. A grand total of about £2 / $2!
Could You Do This?
Using kdp.amazon.com is pretty easy. You need to produce your book in PDF format but this can be done easily from Word, PowerPoint and many other packages, as well as Serif PagePlus. The app helps you through the process. What I REALLY like about it is that it helps you to produce a cover for your book and it does all the calculations for size and prints the wording. It gives you several options for the cover. Once you have uploaded your PDF and chosen your cover, it provides a flip walk through of the book so you an review it and check for mistakes. It also points out any printing faults, such as if a picture overlaps the printing edges.
What Sort Of Books Would You Produce?
I have seen so many different types of low content journals or books available on Amazon since I started doing this. People are producing:
- prayer journals, with a daily prayer or reading
- motivation journals for writing, art or photography with daily prompts of things to write about, draw or photograph
- trackers for sleep, diet, exercise, medications, sales, CD/ vinyl / DVD collections
- diaries, plain vanilla, with quotes, with prompts, etc, pocket size or desk size, day to a view, week to a view
- coloring books for holidays, like Easter or Christmas or vacations
- home schooling journals for curricula or assessment
- fun learning books for ABCs, numbers, etc.
These are just a few examples.
What would you produce?
If anyone wants to get started producing their own low content journals, feel free to contact me if you need a hand!
Image Credit » (c) MegL, my own photo