Companion Publishing Profits is a new self-publishing guide from my colleague Amy Harrop.
Amy is a successful author herself and the publisher of many guides and software products for authors. She was kind enough to allow me a review copy, so here’s what I found…
Companion Publishing Profits is a guide to making money by publishing books that are intended to accompany or supplement existing content. An example would be a study guide.
The main guide is a 75-page PDF. As you would expect with any of Amy’s publications, this is well written and attractively presented. It is illustrated with screen captures, mainly of related Amazon books and listings.
Amy starts by saying that services such as Amazon’s CreateSpace and Kindle have made it easy for anyone to self-publish. She adds that companion publishing can be a great way to capitalize on this, as you are effectively piggy-backing on the popularity of other products.
The types of product discussed in the manual include workbooks, journals, study guides, planners, and so on. One big attraction of producing this type of book is that the reader typically provides much of the content him/herself. In effect, you are simply providing an attractively formatted product for them to write in.
Of course, this type of product only really works in print format. So Companion Publishing Profits focuses mainly on using Amazon’s CreateSpace (print on demand) service. Kindle is mentioned as well, though, and there is also a bonus guide to self-publishing on Lulu.com.
There are 11 main chapters, as follows:
- Companion Publishing as an Income Stream
- Finding Hot-Selling Topics for Companion Publishing
- Popular and Effective Companion Content
- How to Create Workbooks
- Creating Workbook Templates
- Creating Journals and Planners
- How to Position Your Content
- Making More Sales
Companion Publishing Profits takes you through a wide range of companion products that are quick and easy to produce, with plenty of examples to set you thinking. It also suggests ways of researching ideas for your own companion products.
The manual goes on to discuss various methods for creating templates for your companion publishing projects. These include buying ready-made templates (including PLR) and making your own using Microsoft Word or Canva. Once you have a template or templates you like, you can of course use them again and again to create your own range of companion publishing products with relatively little extra work.
Publishing on CreateSpace is covered in some detail. As well as the ‘nuts and bolts’ of publishing on the platform, Amy also discusses choosing categories for your book, optimizing your title and description, targeting search keywords, and so forth.
The manual also covers the tricky subject of avoiding copyright and trademark infringement. Amy advises using public domain or out-of-copyright content as much as possible. For example, the Bible offers lots of opportunities for companion publishing, including devotionals and prayer journals. But you can also choose topics that are covered in popular books without mentioning them specifically (e.g. tidying your desk). You can also quote short extracts from popular books under the ‘Fair Use’ exemption in copyright law.
One big advantage of writing and publishing companion books is that there is a large group of people interested in the subjects concerned, who in many cases are actively seeking content related to the topic concerned. If you can publish a book that comes up high in the results when they are searching (either online or on Amazon), you could potentially generate a lot of sales.
Although the guide is fairly concise, it includes links to a range of other resources – some by Amy, some by other people – covering specific issues and questions. The links to templates you can use for your companion-publishing projects are worth the price of the product alone in my view.
As well as the main guide, there are various bonuses. These include a 22-page PDF guide to self-publishing on Lulu (as mentioned earlier) and a 29-page PDF guide to marketing your book. The latter would be relevant to any self-published book, not just companion-publishing products.
There are also five training videos covering various aspects of the process. These are as follows:
- Companion books research
- Canva for journals and worksheets
- Tips for Creating journal prompts
- Cresting Worksheets from PLR
- Creating worksheets from table of contents research
The videos are attractively produced in the usual screen-capture style. They range from around 3 to 8 minutes in length. The commentary is provided by Amy herself. She speaks quite slowly and clearly, and I had no problems following what she was saying.
In summary, Companion Publishing Profits is a comprehensive guide to writing and publishing books of this nature. It is currently on a launch special offer, after which (as is Amy’s normal practice) the price will be rising by at least $10. If you are looking to build a growing additional income stream for relatively little effort, it is well worth a look.
If you have any comments or questions about Companion Publishing Profits, as always, please do post them below.