What is low content publishing? If you’d asked me a year ago, I may not have had any idea what you were talking about.
However, I made almost $1000 in December selling low content books and I only seriously got started on Amazon KDP, (the Kindle Direct Publishing Platform) in the October.
You can see the steep rise in sales from October – December below.
I was actually in Florida for two weeks of December while these sales were coming in, where I really got to enjoy the benefit of passive income.
As I write this post, it’s now January and due to a reporting error on Amazon KDP this month, not all my sales have been tracked.
That said, I know I’ve already made nearly $300 at a minimum and there are still a good weeks left of the month to go.
update – I actually made nearly $900 in Jan 2020 in the end, very similar to December!
This is according to book bolt, which always seems to record slightly under what it was.
What Are Low Content Books?
Low content books are very much what they sound like….
Planners, diaries, journals, log books and so on. Books with far less content than you’d find in a regular book you’d by for the sake of reading!
There are then things like notebooks or sketchbooks – which some people describe as “no-content,” rather than low content.
With the more elaborate low content books, you may be creating complex interiors with prompts, quotes, images, calendars, or instructions…
As the most basic, you’re talking about a blank book full of lines!
What Is Kindle Direct Publishing – AKA: KDP?
I started learning about how to self publish on Amazon years ago, but was purely relating to e-books to sell on kindle!
For some reason, I wasn’t gripped by it long enough to make an effort and went back to what I was doing at the time – which was trying to build several blogs.
Back then, you could only create and publish ebooks on KDP directly.
If you wanted to print a paperback, it had to be via Createspace…. Which then merged with Amazon later on.
But now, you can also design, create and publish your own paperbacks as well.
Amazon do the heavy lifting work for you, because KDP is a print on demand platform.
That means, you upload your book interior and cover to KDP and they will print it and ship it to your customer.
You set the price of your book and you will earn a profit for each sale, after Amazon have taken their share.
Typically I made a couple of dollars per book, sometimes a bit less and sometimes a bit more.
It may sounds like a tiny amount, but it all adds up.
What Is So Good About Amazon KDP?
A couple of the best things about this platform is that, anyone can join and there is no limit to the books you can create or upload.
There is a stark difference here between KDP and Merch, because it tooks months for me to get accepted into Merch and they also have upload limits.
Related Post: 8 reasons KDP is better than Merch.
However, this has also presented a downside – which is that KDP is becoming a little more saturated.
Some people have also been spamming the system with hundreds of low-quality books at a time.
The result of this could end up in KDP creating an upload limit and a tiered system – only time will tell.
The other thing I love about KDP is that it’s such a hands-off process and this is just something I love about print-on-demand in general.
You can create an upload your books from anywhere that you have your laptop or PC.
You can enjoy sales coming in automatically – without having to worry about storing anything, customer service, or shipping!
As a creative person, I love thinking about and creating book interiors and I find myself enjoying this far more than creating T-shirt designs for Merch.
Results With KDP – VS Other Side Hustles!
However, all of these took considerable effort, some over YEARS before I saw the sort of results I’ve had on KDP in just a few months.
I still haven’t made anything like that sort of money on Merch & I have 500 products live!!
I realise however, that this is likely not going to be like this for very long – so I have to build up my portfolio of quality books now, while there is still room to grow & niches to discover.
I also should point out, that some people have uploaded hundreds, (or even thousands) of books and not seen ANY, or very few sales!
This has nothing to do with KDP not being a good opportunity however & everything to do with the book quality and research.
If you are pumping out hundreds of low-quality books in a highly saturated niche, you will not get anywhere.
Experience Has Helped Me Get Started:
While I’m not a designer, having a couple of years experience desperately trying to design reasonable T-shirts and creating graphics for my blogs, has helped.
I also have several years experience with things like keyword research and niche research, so there was no learning curve here for me.
I happen to be somewhat of a notebook obsessive and love buying journals , notebooks and planners for myself – I believe this has helped me too.
I figured that if I create something that I’d want, there have got to be other people out there who’d like it too. Turns out… I was, (sometimes) right. 🙂
While I do feel I had some advantages getting started though, I don’t feel it would be hard for someone with zero experience to do well fairly quickly.
The Reality: Not Everything Will Sell!
Not everything you put out there is going to sell.
It always ends up being that a small percentage of your books, bring in the majority of your profits.
This is just the way is is.
One thing I have found frustrating is that it always seems to be the books I’ve spent spent the most time and effort on, that either don’t sell or sell a lot less than I’d anticipated.
The weird thing is, it can often be the books you’d least expect that take off!
You also can’t expect to just throw up a few books and immediately start making money.
I currently have about 200 books live now. Probably only two thirds of them have actually sold and a far lower number sell consistently.
As with all things, persistence and consistency are key.
Amazon KDP PROS VS CONS!
- Anyone can start and set up an account. No special requirements, no waiting around.
- No upload limit. Right now, you can upload as many books as you choose.
- Print on demand system. All you need to do is upload the book.
- You can sell without marketing or advertising, (although you can use Amazon ads to scale!). Aside from one book, all my books have sold organically.
- You can sell on multiple Amazon platforms around the globe. Including USA, UK, Canada, Japan, Spain, France And Germany.
- You might make money within your first month. No guarantees, but you could very well make money in your first 30 days.
- Graphic design skills give you the edge. While you don’t have to be a designer, it certainly would help to have knowledge of some of the more professional design programs. I love & use CANVA, but will be learning affinity publisher. Programs like Indesign, illustrator and photoshop are popular.
- Will it get too saturated? I’m unsure how saturated this platform will become & whether it will become like Merch, which is incredibly competitive.
- You have little control. People can make a good living selling on Amazon, but there is a frailty to it. At any time Amazon can change the rules, or shut you down. There is nothing you can do about it. That’s why I also like to have something that is completely MINE… like my website.
- The quality isn’t always perfect. Because you have no control over the printing, you can’t do a quality check. When things aren’t printed well, the negative review will land on YOUR book.
- You won’t get paid right away. You’re paid 60 days after the month in which your royalties were made. So, if you started in December and made some sales, you won’t get paid that money until the end of February.
So, How Do You Get Started?
I had absolutely zero idea how to go about creating a book interior when I first decided to try KDP.
Initially I did take Rob Cubbons free course, which I found very useful.
Once I decided to get serious, I purchased Tangent Templates, which has various interiors ready to download.
I don’t use the complex ones from there, because I would worry about too many people using the same interior without adapting it.
But I use the simple interiors and I also upload interiors I create in CANVA and then combine them with tangent template interiors.
After finding Rachel Harrison-Sund on YouTube and being inspired by her story, I also purchased a course that she released – which isn’t available at the time of writing.
However, she has tonnes of usual YouTube videos surrounding low content publishing – which I highly recommend.
Useful KDP Links For You To Bookmark:
- Side hustle show podcast – Low content publishing.
- Rob Cubbons free course – how to sell notebooks and low-content books on Amazon.
- Rob Cubbon on YouTube.
- Rachel Harrison-Sund – YouTube Channel
- Facebook Group – Amazon, Kindle, KDP publishing.
- Kelli Publish – Kelli Publish YouTube channel.
I’m very likely to be creating more posts surrounding KDP in the future and am happy to go into more detail.
If you have any questions about KDP, or any suggestions about what sort of related post you’d like to see, let me know in the comments!
On a side note… I also made an extra $1500 in December 2019; in addition to KDP and that was purely from paid advertising and affiliate sales.
I could only do that by having my own website and am thankful that this is something I own entirely & is not simply at the mercy of Amazon.
If you’d like to learn how to build your own website & make money from it in the long-term, I recommend you check out the free training here.
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