3 Minute Journals is the latest writing product to be launched by the prolific Amy Harrop, in association with her regular collaborator Debbie Drum.
Amy is a successful author, 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…
3 Minute Journals is a software tool and training course for creating print journals for publication on CreateSpace and other print-on-demand services. For those (like me) whom this trend has largely passed by, journals are print books where most of the content is supplied by the purchaser. They take a variety of forms, including diet journals, prayer journals, dream journals, and of course writer’s journals!
Journals and other types of interactive print books are very popular right now, and this product is designed to help you publish your own. Essentially, all you have to do to create one is add some artwork and page borders and perhaps a few inspirational quotations. Once your journal is published it can be a source of ongoing royalty income, potentially for many years to come.
Like many of Amy’s products, 3 Minute Journals is accessed via a password-protected WordPress site (so don’t lose your log-in details). This has the advantage that that you can access it from any computer with an internet connection, and it can also be easily updated and expanded.
The members area is divided into six main sections, each of which contains training videos, PDF guides, and so on. You can also download the 3 Minute Journals software from the “Creating Your Journal” page. The full list of sections is as follows:
- Why Journals
- Creating Your Journal
- Formatting Your Journal
- Publishing Your Journal
- Getting Exposure for Your Journal
As you will gather, the training takes you from a discussion of journals and why they are an attractive outlet for self-publishers, through creating your own (using the 3 Minute Journals software in conjunction with Word or similar), to publishing via Amazon’s CreateSpace platform, and then to publicizing and promoting your journal/s. The training is largely video-based, although there is some written content and there are also PDFs you can download.
The 3 Minute Journals software runs on Java, and it is important that you have the latest version installed on your computer. It turned out that I didn’t, so the software didn’t initially work for me. Once I had updated my version, however – which is straightforward enough – everything worked without a hitch.
One other thing to note is that the software doesn’t actually install to your PC. You simply double-click to run it. This makes it straightforward to use and (I believe) reduces the system demand on your computer. You do need to save it somewhere sensible on your PC, though. The desktop would be a good choice for many people.
The software is essentially a structuring tool for your journals. It lets you decide how many pages your journal will have, the page size, chapter headings, number of pages per chapter, number of ’empty’ pages, and so on. You could do all this in Microsoft Word, of course, but the software makes it quick and easy to create a basic journal structure, which you can then export to Word to add images, page borders, and any other bells and whistles. Here is a screen capture of the software with a sample project in progress.
The training covers pretty much everything you need to know to use the software and publish your journal on CreateSpace. One thing I did notice, though, is that some of the resources refer to other types of product than journals, including ordinary books. I assume these have been borrowed from other training courses that Amy and Debbie have created. It’s not really a problem, although ideally it would be nice if all the resources were solely about journal creation and created specifically for this product. On the other hand, if you plan to publish other types of print book as well, I guess you would find this useful.
Overall, I thought 3 Minute Journals was a high-quality guide to creating and publishing a type of print book that has good long-term selling potential. Inevitably there will be a learning curve, especially if you have never published on CreateSpace before. Once you are up to speed, however, there is no reason you couldn’t publish a range of journals very quickly. It is definitely an opportunity any entrepreneurial writer should consider.
Finally, I should note that 3 Minute Journals is on sale at a launch offer price of $27 until 24 June 2016, after which the cost will almost double.
As always, if you have any comments or queries about 3 Minute Journals, please do post them below.