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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.