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How to Increase Sales of Your Low-Content Books (Part 1: Quality Product)

Increase your low-content book sales, part 1: product quality
How to Create Quality Low-Content Books: Size Matters, Usable Layout, Value-Added Content, Decorative Theming, Color Interior. | The POD Files | #KDP #LCB #selfpublishing

Lately it seems like everyone in jumping on the low-content book publishing bandwagon, and the marketplace is flooded with products for customers to choose from. How do you make sure your books stand out and get purchased?Three things to work on:

  • make sure your book can be found,
  • make sure it looks like the best option so customers buy it, and
  • make sure it is a quality product so that you get good reviews and brand reputation.

In this first post of a three-part series, I’ll discuss factors you should consider if you want to create high-quality no-content / low-content books.

Size Matters

Bigger is not necessarily better.

It can be tempting to reuse the same interior or cover template for all of your no-content and low-content books (NCB/LCB) in order to produce as many products as possible, but different purposes call for different sized books. A mileage book should be small enough to fit in a glove compartment, but an academic notebook should be larger to allow for long-form writing.

Before you design your interior or purchase a template, think about where the book will be used and research what is already out on the market – reviews can be especially informative about what your target market thinks about book sizes.

The number of pages is also something to consider, as people may not want a thick, heavy book if they are going to be traveling with it. Longer books also make it harder for perfect-bound books (e.g. KDP paperbacks) to lay flat and stay open when writing.

Usable Layout

Better there be extras space, than not enough.

Related to the size of your book, is how you layout your interior. Some LCB interiors call for lots of different data entry on one page, but don’t squeeze so much in that there’s not enough room for a user to write.

To fit more content on a page without crowding consider:

  • Stacking a table layout vertically with rows, rather than columns.
  • Remove side borders to allow a user to write to the page edge.
  • Spread a layout across multiple pages.
  • Reduce page margins (most word processors have huge default margins)

Value-Added Content

There is a plethora of lined notebooks and simple log books for sale – add value to your LCBs by adding unique content like instructions, tips, and examples. This is especially important if you are using templates available to other publishers; a unique cover alone may not be enough for a customer to choose your book.

Decorative Theming

Consistent theming through out a book can give a professional appearance that elevates it above books that can be easily replicate by any user with word processing. Try decorating your books by:

  • adding subtle visual textures behind content, e.g. a swash of watercolor behind page title,
  • using font styles related to your content, e.g. brush scripts on a guided journal, or
  • including doodles and illustrations.

Go to a store that sells journals and other LCBs to see the kind of books publishers invest in manufacturing – rarely do they product books that are just plain text and tables.

Color Interior

The extra cost of printing in color can be off-putting for many print-on-demand authors and publishers who are trying to keep costs low, but with the right kind of book, the extra cost can lead to more sales.

It’s easier to get a return on the investment of adding color with shorter books (40 pages or fewer on KDP), especially with books geared toward creative pursuits or children’s activities. A simple mileage log probably doesn’t need color, but parents may find a black and white kid’s book too boring.

When deciding whether to print in color, consider your audience, printing costs, and whether color adds any value.

Increasing Low-Content Books Sales, Part 1: Quality | The Pod Files | #selfpublishing #KDP
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How to Add Bleed to PDFs with Adobe Acrobat

How to merge PDFs and add bleed with Adobe Acrobat.

DPI, margins, embedding fonts – there’s so many things for a new self-publisher to learn when creating their first manuscript. One concept that seems to cause issue for many is bleed. What is bleed? Do you need it? How do you set it up? All these answers and more ahead! Or, skip to the tutorial.

What is bleed?

Bleed is extra margin space that allows elements like pictures to be printed all the way to the edge of a page and trimmed without extra white space.

Does your document need bleed?

If your document does not have elements that go all the way to the edge, it doesn’t make sense to include it and most consumer document software, e.g. Microsoft Word, does not have a bleed function, so it makes sense that most PDFs in the wild do not have bleed.

But what happens if you want to combine these documents with a file that has bleed, for example, adding lined notebook pages to a planner? All of your pages, including ones without bleeding elements, will need to have bleed added.

How much bleed do you need?

The amount of bleed required will vary by printer. Amazon’s KDP print books require bleed to be .125 inch on the outside edges of a document with bleeding elements. This means that a book that is 6 x 9 inches will need to have pages that are 6.125 x 9.25 inches in size, if printing with bleed.

How do you add bleed?

Some programs, such as Adobe InDesign, allow you to set up bleed in the page or document setup. In other programs, such as Word, you can manually add the bleed to the document size and the margins. So our 6 x 9 KDP book will have 6.125 x 9.25 sized pages with at least a .5 margin on the outside edges (the .375 required by Amazon plus .125 for bleed.

But what if you don’t have the original document?

If you are working with a PDF that you don’t have the original document for, such as a purchased template, you can easily add bleed to the PDF in Adobe Acrobat. This is especially useful if you are combining pages from multiple documents that may be a mix of bleed and no-bleed.

Here’s a video where I show you how to merge pages from multiple documents, and then add bleed / make the pages the same size. Don’t wanna watch a video? Step-by-step instructions below.

How to Add Pages from Another File

Organize Pages on Sidebar of Adobe Acrobat
  1. Open one PDF in Adobe Acrobat
  2. On the sidebar, click Organize Pages
  3. Click on the page where you’d like to add pages
  4. From the toolbar, click Insert > From File
  5. Select the second PDF from the file explorer
  6. Click Ok

How to Add Bleed / Make All Pages the Same Size

Set Page Boxes Dialog Window. Change Page Size Section. Custom selected. Width includes .125 inch for bleed; height includes .25 inch for bleed.
  1. With final PDF open in Adobe Acrobat, click Organize Pages
  2. From the toolbar, click More > Set Page Boxes
  3. In the Change Page Size section…
    1. Click Custom
    2. Enter the total page width with bleed (e.g. 6.125)
    3. Enter the total page height with bleed (e.g. 9.25)
  4. Click Ok

Note, this only works if you are increasing the page size, which why I do not include bleed on my templates, unless it actually has an element that bleeds. Starting with a non-bleeding document is easier to mix and match with other documents, bleed or no bleed.

What will you do now that you are free to mix and match PDFs?

How to merge multiple PDF files of different page sizes and add bleed.