In the last year or so, I’ve been focusing on making money with Amazon KDP & self publishing low & no content books.
A couple of things before we start….
Amazon deals with the printing & shipping part – you just upload your cover PDF & PDF interior file – fill in your books details and keywords… Amazon deals with the rest.
What are low & no content books?
This refers to either books with no content – notebooks, sketchbooks, graph paper and so on.
Low content – anything with a little more content… such as guided journals, activity and colouring books.
There are many other types of books published on KDP – such as any type of fiction or non fiction books and some self-published authors have had great success.
But for the purposes of this post, I will be concentrating purely on low & no content books, because that’s what I’ve had experience in over the last year.
Should You Try Publishing No Or Low Content?
When I very first started on KDP, all I did was upload some of the designs I already had, because I sold T-shirts on Merch by Amazon.
I put designs that might work on plain lined notebooks. The designs I chose, were the sort fo thing that would appeal to the gift market.
Broadly – my very first designs were based on peoples passions. Stuff based on people’s likes/dislikes and hobbies.
After I surprisingly made some sales from these notebooks, I quickly turned to low content books, because I had heard they could be more profitable.
They definitely were. I immediately started making more sales.
That said, I do think creating low content books is the best way beginners can get started and learn the basics.
If I hadn’t personally started with no-content, I’m not sure I would have published that first book.
Because, for me, it was all completely out of my comfort zone and felt complicated enough at the time.
Once I’d gained some confidence, I was keen to learn more and build on the skills I had. That’s when the low content came in.
How Do You Build On Your Success?
Once you have made a couple of sales within a particular niche, try and expand on that.
Create a new book in the same niche, but in a different style. Or create a book in a closely related niche or sub niche.
Unless you’re doing a simple planner, don’t just use one interior with multiple different covers.
Instead, make each book unique if you can and this could be done with simple tweaks.
For example; I have expanded on a niche by combining two niches in one.
This could be combining a hobby/passionate interest – with a favourite animal or pet, for example.
You can tweak your interior, by adding different clip art, or changing the font and layout in some way.
Is KDP Oversaturated?
There is certainly more competition now, than there was a year ago. There is also a lot more SPAM than there was a year ago.
I’m sure this will increase further in the next year as well. But this is what happens when there is an opportunity with a low barrier to entry.
It’s not the books that are coming in now that are so much the issue in my opinion – as the fact that so many books are now established in the high volume niches, with hundreds or thousands of reviews.
This is where no-content sort of wins out at times – because if you have a good cover, it doesn’t matter how many good reviews the next book has.
If it’s just a notebook, people know what they’re getting anyway.
But when it’s low content, they go more of the reviews and feedback.
So, if you’re in a highly competitive space, you will really need a great looking book to get those initial sales.
(Or rely on Ads to give you a boost… )
Once you start getting some reviews coming in, at least you have more of a chance.
You Can Still Do It! Here’s Why….
I did a little experiment of my own recently.
I published a book in one niche that started selling right away, practically as soon as it went live.
This was a different style of cover to what I would normally do, but in a niche that I had already had success in.
I had other books in this niche, with multiple five star reviews. But nevertheless, this book sold.
So, I tried something.
I created five OTHER books in different niches, but under the same brand and with the same sort of cover design style.
Basically, I decided I would try and create a brand and all these books would have their cover design style in common.
Well, to my amazement: 4 out of these 6 books started selling.
Not just in the UK, but in the USA and Canada as well.
In fact, three of these are now in my top 10 best selling books this month…. and the look inside feature isn’t even available yet!
One of the best selling books out of this bunch, is my third best selling book this month so far.
So, what does this mean??!
To me, what this means is…. Design is incredibly important and that if you can create something that people want, you can STILL outsell your competition.
People will choose a design that stands out overall, irrelevant to weather other books have reviews or not.
To me, this was an encouraging discovery.
Because, it’s made me realise that I should still target those high competition niches. As long as I design a cover that people want.
Hmm… So, how do you do that?
Good question and not an easy one to answer.
You try stuff. You experiment.
You see what works and you try other stuff to try and improve on what is already working…….
You tweak and try and test and then sometimes…
You might just come up with a winning formula, that you could frankly replicate across various niches and still manage to be unique every time.
So, out of these six books I published… One managed to get a review and this was the golden ticket.
it was a 5 star review and was a lovely review where they had even taken pictures of the interior…. These are the best kind of review!
Relatively quickly after this, I got some more reviews as well and this always will help you boost sales.
It can be worrying, waiting for those initial reviews to come in and they won’t always be what you want.
But don’t worry too much.
One of my best selling books initially had a three star review. I was thinking that would be it… but it wasn’t!
It continued to get sales and gradually the 5 star reviews took over.
What Can You Take Away From This Post
– It doesn’t really matter if KDP is “oversaturated…” or not.
Think about how many regular books are on Amazon and being published every day.
Just because there are so many books, does that mean new books never have a chance? No, of course not.
With no content, it can be harder. But I still get sales from simple notebooks – if your design is good and unique from others, you can make sales.
Also, when it comes to yearly specific books like planners and diaries – there are new opportunities every year, because people need to create brand new versions every year.
– You can still succeed in competitive niches:
When you create a brand new book, Amazon gives you a little boost initially in the algorithm.
If you make sales during this initial period, you have a book more likely to do well.
If you can create an eye catching design that is unique and appealing to a niche audience, this is going to give you the highest chance of success when it comes to ranking your book and making sales early on after publishing.
– Your COVER gets you those initial sales!
Your cover is going to bring you those initial sales, (remember, I got a lot of sales on books where the look-inside feature wasn’t even available yet!).
The design of your cover and who you’re appealing to is so important.
If you’re trying to appeal to EVERYONE – you end up appealing to no one.
When it comes to Amazon, niching down and targeting specific audiences is what helps you rank and make sales.
You want to create something that a niche specific audience will like – not what you think will appeal to absolutely everyone.
If you’re creating a low content book, remember it’s going to be your interior as well, that eventually gets you those good reviews.
So, there is no point creating an amazing cover and then just rushing the interior.
– You Don’t Need To Be A Designer To Succeed On KDP:
With all this talk about design, you may think maybe this is only an opportunity for designers.
Well, I’m not a designer.
But I have spent time over the last year improving my design skills and gradually improved a vast amount.
Most recently, I have started learning affinity publisher to create my interior files and it’s been a total game changer.
I really held back from learning it because it was out of my comfort zone and I worried that it would be too complicated for me.
Well, it was confusing in the beginning – but so is so much that we learn, that’s worthwhile.
Getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things is something that can really help you progress.
Do You Have Any Questions About KDP? Let Me Know In the Comments!
If you’re interested in learning more about KDP, I share some of the resources that helped me over at this post.
Take care & good luck!
Pin for later….