Maybe you’ve heard about this thing… low content publishing. Maybe you’re wondering if it’s a good way to make some extra money?
Some people are making thousands of dollars a month from books that they call low and no content books. But what exactly do these terms mean!?
So, these types of books will usually be for writing or drawing in, rather than reading. As such there are fewer words, or no words at all.
Low & no content books include products such as…..
- Activity books,
- Puzzle books,
- Plain lined notebooks,
- Log books,
- Guest books and more….
Unfortunately, some people seem to claim that this sort of publishing can be a fast route to success.
While I have personally had success with low content publishing, I don’t believe it’s for everyone and some of the messages out there are misleading.
Everyone is not equal in this game either.
There are certain skills that some of you reading will have, that will vastly increase your chances of success in both the short and long term.
I will explain those in a moment.
Additionally, there are some aspects of low content publishing specifically on KDP, that could make it an unstable as a long-term business venture. Particularly if you plan to solely rely on it as your main income source.
In this post, I will outline some of the PROS vs CONS of low content publishing on KDP and you can figure out for yourself if it’s something that you want to pursue.
– It’s FREE – if you are strapped for cash and have none to invest in starting a business, this is one of the cheapest ways you can attempt to start making money online.
Anyone can upload a book, (low content or otherwise) on to the kindle direct publishing platform and start, (hopefully) making sales.
There is free software you can use to start creating your books – I recommend Canva for beginners
– It’s not difficult to get started – You don’t have to be an incredible artist or designer to get get involved.
For example; you could start merely by uploading notebooks at first, which are more straight forward for beginners.
You can purchase ready made lined PDF documents ready to upload to KDP, so you would just need to create the cover.
Some high selling covers are simply text based, so you don’t have to be a creative genius to give it a go.
You can then plan to learn and improve over time. My design skills have improved leaps and bounds in the time that I have been creating books.
That said, I do feel that with the increase in competition; people who already come from a design background or have some artistic capabilities are going to have a major advantage here.
Even more so, when paired with some online marketing experience.
Experienced marketers will already be aware of aspects that could set them above the competition.
Such as by…
- Building a brand.
- Setting up an associated website and social media channels,
- Building an email list.
I’m not saying this is necessary, (I personally found success without these additional things) but in the long term, this is a good strategy.
– You can legitimately generate passive income.
If I stopped creating books tomorrow, I would still be receiving royalties and making sales.
I’m not sure how long that would last because there are always new books being published and new competition.
But I can still slow down when I like and go on trips away or work on other businesses while still generating an income from these books.
I think I only published a few books last month and spent very little time on KDP and yet, I still made well over $5000 in royalties last month.
– You have access to a huge market, across multiple countries – Amazon is gigantic and has millions of shoppers piling on to their website every day.
If you become good at creating books that people want to buy, the opportunity is significant.
If you’re a creative person, this can be a fantastic outlet. I wasn’t a designer when I started this journey but my skills have developed a huge amount since I began.
Designing has become something I continue to enjoy more and more as I develop additional skills. If you’re already a designer, you will definitely have more of a head start with this.
– You won’t have to deal with the physical creation of your book at all, nor customer service or shipping!
Amazon really do take care of a lot of the mundane work and time consuming tasks. You simply have to create your book and cover and upload it on to KDP.
I have a single book that often makes $1000-$2000+ a month all on its own.
Considering the amount of time it took me to both create and upload that book – the return on my invested time and effort has been immense.
– You can work from anywhere with an internet connection.
While I probably wouldn’t recommend having KDP as your sole business, (which I go explain in the CONS section) you certainly can take time out and go and work on this business anywhere in the world, (as long as you have an internet connection!).
When I first started getting serious about earning money online in 2015, location independence was an important factor to me.
I do still dream of potentially moving to another country someday and having an online business has always been the way I’ve intended to make that a reality.
– You have very little control
Once you’ve put your books out there on Amazon, it does rather feel like they devlop a life of their own on the platform.
Yes, you can use some influence to hopefully get sales, (good niche/keyword research, great cover and interior, running ADs) but there is only a limited amount you can do.
The Amazon algorithm changes pretty frequently and you have no control over how you’re showing up from one day to the next.
One day you may be ranking highly for a really high volume keyword and the next day you may not.
I have some books now that really do feel like they’re there own entity totally separate from me. They ride on the back of hundreds of reviews now.
One way of having more control is by building a brand. This way you can collect email addresses and build a following.
You can notify people when new books are published and have a better chance of making those initial sales, generating reviews and ranking your book.
– You have to compete with the spam
Unfortunately, because this opportunity has a low barrier to entry, tonnes of people have flooded the system and continue to believe that uploading junk in bulk will make them money.
Consequently you often see many of almost identical books with a slightly different cover being uploaded, or just really poorly designed books in large volume.
This is not good for customer experience. Amazon has been coming down on publishers who are not publishing good quality books more and more.
I am surprised that more rules haven’t come into play. For example; Merch by Amazon have a tier system where you can only upload a certain amount of books until you generate more sales.
This is a good thing to do, because it means there is going to be a higher quality overall and people are more motivated to create the best designs they can, in order to get those initial sales and move up to the next tier.
– You have to deal with the copycats
Unfortunately, due to this low barrier to entry, if you do have a book that starts selling very well. Some people may well try and copy it.
There was one time that someone copied the interior of my book exactly. An 100% cut and paste identical copy. I did report them to Amazon and the book was eventually removed, but it took sometime.
As well as people copying your work exactly though, many will copy it with just enough slight differences that they can get away with it.
I can understand people taking inspiration from a book and then creating something unique – but much of the time people are just trying to ride on your coattails with as near a match to your own book as possible.
Most of the time, this is a bad strategy.
Because if you have one book with a lot of great reviews and then another very similar looking book without any reviews, the original book will still usually get the sale.
– KDP isn’t completely reliable
Relying on Amazon, (or ANY platform online) for your entire business is not a good long term strategy.
We do not know how long Amazon will run KDP, or if they will ever change their rules when it comes to low content books.
Amazon sometimes changes the rules when it comes to self publishing too.
It may be fine to adapt a book when you have a handful to comply to the new rules…..
But what if you have hundreds or thousands of books you need to update?
Also, Amazon will regularly make changes their algorithm. You cannot guarantee that a book which ranks highly on page 1 today, is still going to be there next month, or next year.
You simply cannot rely on your income being stable from month to month.
You cannot predict with any certainty how much you will make week by week, or month by month.
This is why I am building up additional income streams that I hope one day, would each be enough to support me independently of the other.
By all means, check out KDP – just don’t put all your eggs in one basket in the long term.
– Once your book is published – there are some things you cannot change.
This can occasionally be a real headache at times when it comes to KDP.
Once you have published your book – you cannot change things such as your author name, title or subtitle.
When I first started on KDP, everyone was advised to put keywords in their author name to help their book rank. People do this on Merch and it seems totally commonplace on there even today.
However, KDP did not like it and started flagging up author names with keywords in. I can totally understand why, as some just looked unprofessional.
Often, you would only get flagged upon trying to edit some detail in your published book.
You’d get an automated response telling you – something along the lines of – you need to edit your author name. But if your book was already published, this was not possible.
Some people have unpublished hundreds or thousands of books when they had an author name that KDP deemed unacceptable.
Yet, what unacceptable is or is not, seems a bit of a grey area.
For example; I had a name with a generic type term in that kept getting flagged up.
But whenever I contacted Amazon, they would tell me that this was an error on their part and my author name was fine.
Nevertheless, the automated system did not allow me to edit the books and no one seemed to be able to stop it happening.
Therefore, I ended up just leaving all the books as they were and started with another author name.
While this is OK, I had been building a brand with that name and now am unable to edit the books at any point, which is really frustrating.
I really hope there is a way down the line that authors are able to make simple edits to their titles and author names.
So, those are just some of the PROS and CONS that I have found associated with KDP low content publishing. But what do you think? Have I left any out?
Let me know in the comments!
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