If you’re into self-publishing, chances are you’re considering the potential of low-content books.
Firstly, what are they?
From Amazon’s low content books page:
A low-content book has minimal or no content on the interior pages. These pages are generally repetitive and designed to be filled in by the user. Common examples include notebooks, planners, journals, and other similar works. This does not typically include activity/puzzle books or coloring books, which generally do not feature repetitive content on each page.
The U.S. Sun has an interesting article about a couple who are creating these kinds of books as a side-hustle:
They make $5,000 to $10,000 per month on average, and during their best month to date, they made $17,000 in profit.
Sales began to pick up during the first month with only ten designs.
Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? There’s not a lot of content in these kinds of books, which makes them appealing to many creators.
Could low-content books give your self-publishing venture a boost?
The short answer is: maybe.
If you read The U.S. Sun article, it states that these creators publish ten new books each week, and “profit comes from 200 designs”. That makes sense, because Amazon is competitive; the more you publish, the more chances buyers have to find your books.
Let’s look at the steps to take when you’re self-publishing a low-content book — and keeping your competition on KDP in mind.
Be aware I haven’t published any low-content books yet. The following steps come from those taken by my students, and from my own process — I’m eager to create at least a couple of these, for my students. (And for you, as well.)
Start with research.
1. Do your research: self-publishing is competitive
Start by researching the demand. Who’s buying what? Enter keywords into Amazon’s search bar.
However, go beyond keywords. If you’re using a keyword research tool, keep in mind that it’s historic: it details past searches. It can’t tell you what people will be searching for tomorrow, next week, or next year.
Do primary research. That is, ask friends and family, and query any groups to which you belong: what kinds of journals and notebooks do they need?
For example, writers might need a:
– A publishing journal: a list of books they’ve published, and planning pages for their upcoming books.
– Writer’s notebook, with a thought of the day, and other inspirational quotes.
– Planner, with specific pages for writers, such as lists and reviews of writing tools.
Once you’ve decided on an idea for a low-content book you’d like to create, whether it’s a planner, journal, or recipe book, it’s time to create a mockup.
2. Practice and practice some more. Create a mockup
As far as I can tell, low-content books are all about the design. Other things to keep in mind include: portability (will your buyers use your book as an everyday carry? Or will they use it at their desk?); usability; and demand (people buy planners at the end of one year, and the beginning of the next.)
At a minimum your low-content book needs:
– A front and back cover. Remember to use your backmatter as a promotional tool.
– An info page, with publisher and copyright details.
– A table of contents (optional).
– Page designs. Your page designs can be complex, or very simple. If you’re creating a journal for example, most pages will be similar. However, do consider things like page numbers.
To create these, use whatever image editor you choose. Many creators use Canva; I use it myself.
A big tip: whichever design tool you use, PRACTICE. Nothing replaces experience and practice with your chosen tools.
On the other hand, you can always hire someone to create a design for you.
3. Create a self-publishing marketing plan NOW
Writers tend to put off marketing. Please don’t. Market your book while you’re creating it:
Marketing while writing builds a virtuous circle, and positive feedback loop. Your potential readers become interested in your book, and their interest and feedback inspires you.
The most important question in self-publishing: “Would I buy this”?
That’s the most important question you need to ask, whether you’re self-publishing a low-content, or any other type of book.
If you’re interested in this type of book, get started researching today — and have fun.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.