Create and Sell Your First (or Next!) Journal on Amazon KDP

This post may contain affiliate links. When you purchase through my link, I might make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Let me show you how to create and sell your first – or next – journal on Amazon. What you’ll learn here is the foundation for getting started with publishing low content books like journals, notebooks, workbooks, calendars, and more.

We’ll be using Amazon’s print-on-demand service, Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDP. It’s free and easy to use.

This process is covered in even more detail in the course Journal Tsunami, which teaches fast, fun, and easy book creation in PowerPoint!

Decide on the Type of Book You’ll Create

The first thing you’re going to do is decide what kind of book you want to create. Journals aren’t the only kind of low content books, you know. 

Here’s a list of book types to get you started thinking:

Activity BooksMemory Books
AgendasNotebooks
CalendarsNotepads
Coloring BooksPlanners
Composition BooksPrayer Books
DiariesPuzzle Books
Guest Books/RegistersStudy Guides
JournalsTrackers
Log BooksWorkbooks

And this isn’t even a comprehensive list! There are other types of low content books and I recommend starting a list of ideas as they come to you…they will.

Once you get started brainstorming ideas, you’ll be surprised at what you come up with!

Choose a Target Audience

At this point, you’ll want to choose a target audience for your book – also known as choosing a niche.

Choosing a niche is an art form and takes a little practice.

You’re really choosing two things: what type of book to create and who it’s for.

A good place to start is to think about what you like. What are your hobbies and interests? And what kind of books from the table above could you make for those hobbies and interests?

Now think about your friends and relatives and their interests. What kind of journals and notebooks would they like? Try asking them! 

When you’re ready, you’ll want to start branching out and doing some research into more niches and keywords. Pay attention to trends, fandom, favorites, hobbies, interests, and pop culture.

I use these tools to research niches.

Tools You Need to Get Started

For the purpose of this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to create a blank lined notebook in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. If you don’t have these programs, you can do the same thing in Google Docs/Slides.

You’ll also need a way to convert PDF files to PowerPoint/Word files. You can do this with Adobe Acrobat PRO or SmallPDF (limited use).

Create a Blank Lined Journal in Microsoft Word

I created a short video – just over 3 minutes – showing you how easy it is to create a blanked lined page in Microsoft Word (my version is 2007.)

Watch the video below and for those of you who like text instructions (like me!) I’ve included the step-by-step instructions below the video. 

  1. Open Word.
  2. Set your margins to 0.5″ all around.
  3. Click on the Insert tab.
  4. Click the Shapes drop-down arrow and select the “line” shape.
  5. Place your cursor on the left, hold down your Shift key, and click and draw a line from left to right. Holding down the Shift key ensures your line is straight. Release your mouse and the Shift key to finish drawing your line.
  6. To adjust the length of your line, click on it so that it’s highlighted. This opens up the option for the Format tab.
  7. Click the Format tab.
  8. On the Format ribbon, you can adjust the width of your line by using the arrows in the size box or by typing in your desired width in the same area.
  9. Next, you’ll want to center your line
  10. On the same ribbon and with the line selected, click on the Align drop-down arrow and select “Align Center.”
  11. Now that you have just one line perfectly formatted, you can create the rest of your page.
  12. Click on your line so it’s highlighted.
  13. Right-click to “copy” or click Ctrl+C.
  14. Right-click the document and “paste” or click Ctrl+V.
  15. Repeat pasting your line to create as many lines as you would like on your notebook page. I like to create around 20.
  16. Highlight each line – while holding down the Shift key, click on every single line.
  17. On the Format tab, click the drop-down arrow for the align settings and click “Align Left.”
  18. Click on your bottom line and move it to the bottom of your page, above the bottom margin.
  19. Once again, click the align settings drop-down arrow, this time choosing “Distribute Vertically.”
  20. Duplicate your journal page until you have your desired number of journal pages.
  21. That’s it! Save your manuscript as a PDF.

Create a Blank Lined Journal Page in Microsoft PowerPoint

  1. Open PowerPoint
  2. Change the layout of the slide to “blank.”
  3. Click on the Design tab.
  4. Click on Page Setup and set the size of your page. I chose to create a 6×9 journal, but other popular sizes are 8×10 and 8.5×11.
  5. Embed fonts in the file. File > PowerPoint Options > Save > Embed Fonts > OK.
  6. I chose to set guides for my 0.5″ margins. To do this, right click on the main slide, select “Grid and Guides…” and check the box to “Display drawing guides on screen.” *Refer to the first image below*
  7. Once my guides are available, I set them as my margins. To do this, simply move your cursor over a guideline, hold down the Ctrl key, and click and drag a guide for each margin.  0.5″ margins work well for all book interiors. *Refer to the second image below*
  8. Next, click on the Insert tab.
  9. Click on the drop-down arrow for Shapes and select the Line shape.
  10. Place your cursor on the left, hold down your Shift key, and click and draw a line from left to right. Holding down the Shift key ensures your line is straight. Release your mouse and the Shift key to finish drawing your line.
  11. To adjust the length of your line, click on it so that it’s highlighted. This opens up the option for the Format tab.
  12. Click the Format tab.
  13. On the Format ribbon, you can adjust the width of your line by using the arrows in the size box or by typing in your desired width in the same area.
  14. Next, you’ll want to center your line
  15. On the same ribbon and with the line selected, click on the Align drop-down arrow and select “Align Center.”
  16. Now that you have just one line perfectly formatted, you can create the rest of your page.
  17. Click on your line so it’s highlighted.
  18. Right-click to “copy” or click Ctrl+C.
  19. Right-click the slide and “paste” or click Ctrl+V.
  20. Repeat pasting your line to create as many lines as you would like on your notebook page. I like to create around 20.
  21. Highlight each line – click and drag your mouse as in the video to select all of your lines at once.
  22. On the Format tab, click the drop-down arrow for the align settings and click “Align Left.”
  23. Click on your bottom line and move it to the bottom of your page, above the bottom margin.
  24. Once again, click the align settings drop-down arrow, this time choosing “Distribute Vertically.”
  25. In the video, I chose to change the color of my lines to a dark gray because I prefer that to black lines.
  26. Duplicate your journal page until you have your desired number of journal pages.
  27. That’s it! Save your manuscript as a PDF. File > Save As > PDF.

Setting Guidelines in PowerPoint

Create a Cover for Your Journal

Before I show you how to create a cover for your journal, you MUST have your manuscript ready or a definite number of pages in mind.

The reason for this is that we need to get our cover template from KDP and we’ll be entering the number of pages our book will have. (You’ll also need to know the size of your finished book and what color paper you want to use.)

For the purpose of this tutorial, create a manuscript that’s between 100 and 200 pages. I personally like a 120-page notebook.

You must also use images and slides that print at 300 ppi per Amazon’s guidelines. You can set this up in the newest version of PowerPoint but since I have 2007, I had to go about it another way. 

Here’s how I did it.

Cool Resources for Covers

I’m going to show you how to create a simple cover but here are some resources that really come in handy for more complex covers and designs:

In the video below, I walk you through creating a simple notebook cover in PowerPoint. But you can also create covers in photo editing programs like PhotoShop, PicMonkey, and Canva.

Another option is outsourcing cover creation, but you will probably want to design your own covers when you see how easy it is.

An important point to remember is that when you’re creating your journal covers in Powerpoint, you MUST include the title of your book on the front cover. So as you’ll see in the video, your title could be a quote, a text graphic, or something simple like “journal” or “sketchbook.”

If you do not want to include the title of your book on the cover, it must be added on the spine of the book and this can only be done in KDP Cover Creator.

Before we begin:

Create Journal Covers for Low Content Books in Batches



Learn to self-publish journals with the next level of training!

Next Steps

Now, it’s time to publish and SELL your book – or books! Click the button below to be taken to the step-by-step tutorial.

Share Your Thoughts

That’s all, folks! leave me a comment and let me know what you’re working on! Have you published your first journal on KDP yet? Have any questions after watching the videos?

And don’t forget to sign up to get tips and tweaks to help you grow your low-content publishing biz!

Send me low-content publishing tips!

* indicates required
Please like, follow, and share!
error

2 comments for “Create and Sell Your First (or Next!) Journal on Amazon KDP

  1. May 12, 2019 at 6:16 am

    I really like it when people get together and share views. Great blog, keep it up!

  2. Laurette Frazier
    October 22, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    I enjoyed the tutorials on creating covers and the extra tips on saving them for KDP. Making covers in multiple batches is genius and will save a lot of time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *