Natalie Frank, Ph.D, composes articles with writing advice for other creators & works about other topics including health and psychology.
Passive Income for Writers
Many writers have tried to use Amazon’s Kindle platform to self-publish their books. However, even though it's easy to self-publish a book, very few of these writers actually make money from this writing.
Self-promotion and marketing are more difficult than ever for writers. The inability to realize any earnings from months or even years of work can be incredibly frustrating, causing writers to give up on the platform.
However, there is another way of making money on the KDP platform without it taking nearly as long or requiring much effort. This can be achieved by publishing little or no content books. It’s easy to learn how to produce these types of books, and they can become an important source of passive income for writers.
The easiest way that I’ve found to create blank lined journals to sell on KDP is to use Canva both for the cover and the interior. You can sign up for a free version of the program that has plenty of features to use. There are lots of free photos and backgrounds you can choose from, or you can upload your own images and backgrounds if what they provide isn’t enough for you.
Canva is very simple to use, even for us tech idiots! The free version will also automatically save all your designs for later access.
Determining the Dimensions of Your Cover
Before you can create your cover, you first need to determine the dimensions. There are a number of sizes you can create your book in on KDP, both standard and custom. For this tutorial, we’ll create a 6 x 9-inch blank, lined journal.
The size of the cover won’t just be 12 x 9 however, since it includes extra space around the edges, called the trim, and for the spine. There is a program called Bookow that has a calculator for page sizes specifically for KDP books.
When you go to the site, click on KDP Cover Template Generator. Scroll down to where it says width and height and enter 6 x 9 (or whatever the dimension for your book are) and the number of pages; for this example, we’ll use 100 pages. (Canva limits you to 100 pages maximum per individual project though you can merge two files if you want to create a longer book or journal).
Leave the paper type as white and skip the next two blank boxes. Enter your email address and confirm it and they will send the files for the template to your email.
Creating the Cover
Once you have the dimensions, go to Canva and sign in. Click on Create a Design in the upper right-hand corner, then on the plus sign (+) at the bottom of the options menu. This will allow you to create custom dimensions. Now, get the dimensions from the template emailed to you by Bookow. For a 6 x 9-inch book with 100 pages, the dimensions are 12.475 x 9.25.
Go to Backgrounds, which you’ll find on the left-hand side of the page, and choose what you want the background of your cover to look like. You can also look through Photos, which you can also access on the left-hand side of the page as many of them are well suited to use as backgrounds. Both Backgrounds and Photos are searchable.
If you prefer to use your own background or photo, click Uploads on the left, then Upload Media which is the purple button up top. When it uploads, you will see it appear below the purple button. If you click it, the image will appear on the template you’ve created for your cover. Everything you upload to Canva will be saved and will appear to the right each time you open the program.
Next, click on text and add text for the title of the book. This can just be “Journal,” “Notebook,” etc. You can also click on elements to select a shape, such as a box you can put your text in to make it stand out more from the background. The top ribbon lets you change the font, and the color of the text, or make it bold, italics, etc. When you’re happy with your cover, download it as a pdf print file and save it.
Designing the Interior
For the interior of the book, open a new design in Canva. Each page will be 6 x 9 inches plus bleed. If you calculate it from the cover size, the width would be cut in half and the height would be the same. So, for 6 x 9-inch pages, the dimensions would be 6.24 X 9.25.
To make lined pages, click text, and stretch the box across the page, leaving white space at each end to allow for the extra bleed size. Then hold down underline on your keyboard to create a line. Let it wrap until the end of the page. (You can also run it from the beginning of the page to the end if you’d prefer.) Leave extra white space at the beginning and end of the page.
You can change the weight and color of the line if you want using the functions included on the top ribbon. I usually prefer the lines to be grey so they seem softer and not as dark, but you can keep them black or choose any color you’d like.
Once you are happy with the way the page looks, copy it by clicking the symbol that looks like two overlapping pieces of paper at the top of the page you’ve completed until you get have 100 pages. It takes some time to do this, but once you have it finished, you can keep using it for the interior of other journals of the same size and length. When you have 100 pages, select pdf print, download it and save the file.
Ready to Publish!
Now you have both your cover and interior ready to upload to KDP's platform to sell on Amazon. You can view examples of journals to get an idea of what they might look like.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2022 Natalie Frank