How to Make Money with Low-Content Books on Amazon

How to Make Money with Low-Content Books on Amazon

Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank

There is no doubt that many people have made a fair amount of money producing low-content books. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform makes creating these incredibly easy. So, how can you use KDP to create low-content books that sell?

First off, it’s not the get-rich-quick scheme a lot of people try to push. Sure, you can make decent money creating your books, but there is far more to being successful today than just slapping something up on Amazon.

What Are Low-Content Books?

By Amazon’s definition, low-content books are those that have little to no content while using repetitive pages. This includes things like journals, notebooks, sketchbooks, and anything else that has virtually no change throughout.

For example, when you go to the store and pick up a lined notebook for $0.25, that is a low-content “book.” The hardest part is to convince others to buy your notebook instead of just going to Walmart with a quarter.

What about workbooks and activity books, such as coloring books and puzzles? Some people will lump them into the category of low-content, although according to Amazon, they are not.

For a lot of “experts,” low content means that you put in little effort in creating the layout. According to many people on YouTube, it’s ultra-simple to use stock images to generate a coloring book. Though, I highly advise against this practice.

Mostly because you run the risk of copyright claims as well as not being unique. After all, thousands of people are using those very same images in their books.

Are Low-Content Books Worth Publishing Today?

Back in the day, it wouldn’t be all that difficult to generate a lot of money in a short amount of time with low-content books. Unfortunately, they have run much of their course over the years.

Nowadays, it’s a bit more of a complicated process. However, it’s not impossible to still publish a somewhat successful book.

The Sheer Volume of Competition

The first thing you need to realize is the absolute competition you face on Amazon for low-content books. A big part of that is because many YouTubers saw the trend and jumped on the bandwagon.

By demonstrating how easy it was to get a book published with KDP, they not only generated a ton of views and watch time but also helped saturate the market.

When you saturate the market of any industry, everything decreases in value as there are so many options available. It’s no longer as unique of a process, and a lot of creators will drop prices to insane levels simply to make a sale.

So, before you dump too much time getting excited about publishing your own low-content materials, understand that you’re facing off with thousands upon thousands of people doing the same thing.

Marketing, Marketing, Marketing…

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons any book fails is because of a lack of marketing. If people don’t know it exists, they won’t buy it.

As the market is so saturated on Amazon for low-content books, you need to have a bit of a strategy in place to sell your book to the public.

This means identifying your niche, knowing what keywords to target on Amazon, and otherwise getting your book out to your target audience, such as using social media.

It’s not as cut-and-dried as it was a few years ago.

How to Publish Low-Content Books with KDP

Depending on the type of book you want to create, you could theoretically have one published in a matter of hours. This is especially true if you already have artwork or another element such as cover art ready to go.

Step 1: Choose a Style of Low-Content Books

What kind of book do you want to create? Every book is going to have a unique style and layout. For example, a simple journal is mostly lined paper while a coloring book will require basic lined images.

The thing to keep in mind is that the simpler the project, the quicker you can get the book published on Amazon.

Of course, deciding on what style to choose may also tie into the audience whom you’re trying to target. For instance, you wouldn’t want a New York Times-styled crossword puzzle book for second or third-graders.

So, in reality, steps one and two in this process work in tandem for most low-content books.

Step 2: Decide What the Target Audience Wants

Another difficult part of creating low-content books, aside from marketing, is the ideation process. What does your target audience want and would they be willing to buy it from you?

This is where knowing your target audience matters most.

For example, you can’t just put together a coloring book without knowing who you’re trying to entice. A horror coloring book wouldn’t perform well if you’re trying to target four-year-olds or their parents.

Step 3: Design with Quality in Mind

I’m a firm believer in the more you polish something up, the better its chances of success. That’s because I’ve seen just how effective taking time to produce high-quality material is to the bottom line.

Now, I’m not saying that you should agonize over every line in a journal. But what kind of effort have you put into creating a cover that people want to see?

Sure, there are a lot of amazing low-content books that don’t require a great deal of effort. But for the elements you do add, make sure you’re meeting the expectations of your target audience.

Don’t Be Afraid to Outsource

One method that helps a lot of creators design low-content books is by hiring freelancers. For instance, you can find all kinds of artists that are affordable on Fiverr if you need artwork for a coloring book.

At the end of the day, you want your book to stand out by being unique. If you’re using the same images as everyone else, it could affect your reputation.

My point is that there are a lot of experts and professionals out there who can help you develop an amazing book without charging you an arm, leg, and a bit of your soul.

Size Matters

When designing your book, realize that its dimensions are going to play a role in its success. For instance, a lot of self-publishers will use an 8.5×11-inch layout or larger for coloring books. This is so that children have plenty of space on which to work.

My book, A Freelancer’s Tale, is only 5×8 inches as it’s not a very big manuscript. This size fit the book perfectly, in my opinion.

It’s important to justify the size of your low-content books according to what people will need to enjoy the material. If you’re producing a journal, then something like a 5×8 or slightly larger may be more than enough for most.

Plan your dimensions accordingly and design with your consumers in mind.

Getting the File Together

Files for your low-content books need to be available as a single upload that is supported by Amazon. Supported file types include DOC, DOCX, HTML, RTF, TXT, and PDF.

Since the purpose of most low-content books is to create printable copies, you don’t need to worry about eBook formatting on Amazon.

Step 4: Upload to Kindle Direct Publishing

Once you have the book designed and ready for upload, it’s time to take it to Kindle Direct Publishing. If you don’t have an account, you can create one for free.

The process for uploading and publishing a low-content book on KDP is virtually identical to an actual book.

Go to your KDP account and click “Create.”

Create KDP Book

Choose which type of book you wish to create. Most low-content books will be paperback. However, there’s nothing wrong with a hardcover journal. They are just a bit more expensive to produce.

Choose Content Type

Fill in the details of the low-content book.

This will include things like your title, any contributors you want to cite, the book’s description, and keywords you want to use for marketing.

Make sure you choose the appropriate Categories for your book, including classification.

Low-Content Books and Categories

NOTE: Amazon has set examples of low-content books. Choose the checkbox accordingly. For instance, Amazon considers planners to be “low-content” while coloring books are not.

After clicking “Save and Continue” at the bottom, you’ll upload your book’s content followed by its rights and pricing options.

Once all of this information is submitted to Amazon, the book will be put into a review process. How long this takes differs for everyone, but it shouldn’t take a lot of time.

Setting Your Price

Generally speaking, low-content books usually sell for about $12 or less. This is ultimately dependent on the type of book you’re publishing as paperback and hardcover will differ in printing price.

You’ll also have to consider the length of the book and the value the audience has for the style and niche.

For instance, a simple lined notebook with a semi-cool cover might appear at the bottom of the spectrum for pricing. But something more elaborate, such as a horror coloring book for adults, would be higher on the pricing scheme.

A great way to judge how much you should charge for your book is to look up similar books to your own on Amazon. Check for those that have a high number of reviews.

Step 5: Market Your New Book

After your book becomes live, it’s time to start marketing. Remember, people need to know it’s available if you want them to buy it.

Yes, Amazon search is still a thing and can help realize a few sales. But you should never purely rely on search to promote your content.

This is where having an audience on social media, email subscribers, a YouTube channel, or PPC campaigns comes into play.

You really don’t have a shortage of methods when it comes to marketing. Just make sure you maintain the platforms that are most effective for your book.

For instance, some people may find sharing the book with certain Facebook groups and fandoms to be incredibly effective while others may find great success through Pinterest.

Try a few different methods and keep track of the results.

After a month or two, you will start to see which marketing methods have the highest return on your investments of both time and money. Those are the ones you should probably double down on using.

Need help writing your book? Knowing how to structure your manuscript can go a long way to providing a better exeperience for your readers. Take a look at the Reedsy Masterclass for How to Write a Novel. It was perhaps the most influential three months I’ve spent for crafting my books.

13 Ideas for Low-Content Books

In reality, there are quite a few ways you can publish low-content books on Amazon. Despite Amazon not officially designating some of these as “low-content,” you can create a myriad of simple books that have the potential to perform quite well.

Some ideas for producing your low-content books include:

  • Journals
  • Workbooks
  • Coloring Books
  • Puzzle and Game Books
  • Day Planners
  • Notebooks
  • Activity Books
  • Quote Books
  • Self-Help Cards
  • Logbooks & Ledgers
  • Sketchbooks
  • Guestbooks
  • Recipe Books

If you’re imaginative, any of these ideas can be expanded upon to encompass virtually every genre and niche. For instance, I could easily create activity books specifically tailored to writers, bloggers, or even WordPress users.

Perhaps I could even create weight loss and food journals, or create recipe cards specifically tailored for the Ninja CREAMi or Keto diets.

The possibilities are nearly endless, as long as you have a strong marketing strategy in place. And as long as people are looking for that particular product.

Check What Others Have Published

One thing you can do before committing to your book is to check Amazon. If you search for specific or niche-centered books, you can see what currently works well.

For instance, let’s say that I’m looking for a “horror coloring book.” Because of the general topic of horror, Amazon should default to “for adults.”

At any rate, search for a low-content book idea and click on a book that catches your eye. Scroll down a bit, and you’ll see the “Product details” section on Amazon.

Here are the publishing stats for the first book that came up in my search:

Horror Book Stats

Based on the “Best Sellers Rank,” it’s safe to assume that this particular coloring book does quite well for its genre. Not to mention the number of reviews it has generated.

To put this in perspective, anything within the top 10,000 of Amazon’s Best Sellers Rank is doing very, very well.

I’ve seen home electronics with fewer reviews than this coloring book. That’s a good sign.

Why Use Amazon KDP to Publish Low-Content Books?

Amazon has made it incredibly easy for self-publishers of all kinds to get their books out to the public. Whether it’s a kid’s lit eBook or a hardcover horror novel, it’s a quick and easy process to get your story in front of readers.

Of course, Amazon isn’t the only way to get low-content books out to your audience. There are quite a few publishing platforms that can expand your reach.

You can easily find several with a simple Google search. Plus, the number of print-on-demand services seems to grow every year.

Yet, Amazon is still one of the go-to places for people who want to read something new or buy a unique-looking journal. That’s because the selection is so diverse that you can find almost anything on Amazon.

This is all due to KDP’s simplicity in getting published. Unfortunately, this also means the competition is beyond comprehension.

Whether you like Amazon or not, it’s truly one of the largest platforms for self-publishing. And until a corporation like Barnes & Noble or some start-up threatens that presence, Amazon will continue to dominate the publishing space.

Personally, I’d like to see Barnes & Noble put more effort into its indie-publishing system. If they were to revamp the platform, they could easily compete with Amazon on a serious level.

Putting in the Effort to Create Something Unique

As I mentioned earlier, the market of various low-content books is incredibly saturated. That means if you want to stand out and make more sales, you need to be unique.

This means ignoring those videos on YouTube that show you how to use Canva stock images to make coloring books. That’s because anyone else who watched that video also knows to do this, which devalues the work.

Why buy your book when so-and-so has the same thing for less?

One way to have a more unique presence on Amazon is by focusing on a specific niche.

Remember that example I mentioned above about the “horror coloring book?” There are currently 4,000 results for that term. However, there are only 593 for “horror coloring book anime.”

By narrowing down the niche, you will have less competition. But that could also signify that there simply isn’t enough interest to warrant spending the time to create the book.

To find out if your idea has any traction on Amazon, there are a lot of search tools online.

A lot of people seem to like Publisher Rocket for a variety of book types on Amazon. It’s essentially an all-in-one publishing tool to help you get the most out of the KDP platform.

However, there are a lot of other free and premium keyword tools you can choose from online. You just need to find an Amazon keyword tool you like that helps you sell more books.

Need help writing your book? Knowing how to structure your manuscript can go a long way to providing a better exeperience for your readers. Take a look at the Reedsy Masterclass for How to Write a Novel. It was perhaps the most influential three months I’ve spent for crafting my books.

What Kind of Books Do You Want to Publish?

Although a lot of people have made a great deal of money publishing low-content books, the fact remains that competition will continue to grow.

Success will be more about how you market to a certain target demographic. And that’s perhaps the utmost difficult process of self-publishing to any degree.

How likely are you to publish a low-content book? What kind of successes have you had with self-publishing in general?

Michael Brockbank
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