createspace

Companion Publishing Profits Review

Review: Companion Publishing Profits by Amy Harrop

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:

  1. Introduction
  2. Companion Publishing as an Income Stream
  3. Finding Hot-Selling Topics for Companion Publishing
  4. Popular and Effective Companion Content
  5. How to Create Workbooks
  6. Creating Workbook Templates
  7. Creating Journals and Planners
  8. Publishing
  9. How to Position Your Content
  10. Making More Sales
  11. Conclusion

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:

  1. Companion books research
  2. Canva for journals and worksheets
  3. Tips for Creating journal prompts
  4. Cresting Worksheets from PLR
  5. 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.

Save

Save

Save

If you enjoyed this post, please share it on your own blog or social media:
Now You Can Publish Kindle Ebooks as Paperbacks Through Kindle Direct Publishing

Now You Can Publish Kindle Ebooks as Paperbacks Through Kindle Direct Publishing

If you’re a Kindle author and haven’t logged into the KDP website recently, you may notice a new option on your Bookshelf.

There is now an option to publish your Kindle e-book as a print-on-demand (POD) paperback via the KDP site. This is quite separate from publishing on Amazon’s CreateSpace platform, incidentally.

I spent some time looking at what is on offer today, so here are my thoughts so far. To start with, it’s not just the case that you click a button and a paperback version is produced from the e-book. Some information is obviously carried over (book title, author name, publishing rights, and so on). However, the text and cover artwork have to be uploaded separately as new files. It does surprise me a bit that you can’t just import the existing text and format it for print, but there we are.

You can download various templates for your book from the KDP website info pages and edit these in Word or other software. Some guidance is provided for doing this, including a downloadable PDF manual. In my case KDP recommended that I use a 9 x 6 inch template. Both blank templates and templates with sample text are available via the KDP website.

Likewise, you can’t just automatically import your existing e-book cover. You have to either create and upload a print-ready PDF (you’ll need software such as Photo Shop to produce this) or use the KDP Cover Creator tool. The latter can produce cover designs suitable for paperback books (front, back and spine) and will import your existing e-book front cover if you wish (and it’s suitable). If you want a consistent look across both the e-book and print version of your book, however, you may face a few challenges.

You can set your own price for the paperback version of your book and receive 60% of the price paid once print costs have been deducted. This is obviously worth doing in order to reach the substantial audience of people who still prefer print books rather than electronic ones.

The KDP paperback creator is still in beta and additional features are promised in due course. One major thing lacking at the moment is any way of purchasing a sample print copy of your book so you can see for yourself what buyers will receive. This is clearly a drawback compared with CreateSpace. Neither do KDP published print books currently receive the extended distribution of CreateSpace titles.

If you currently publish on CreateSpace I can’t therefore see any compelling reason to switch to KDP at the moment. However, the likelihood is that once everything is working as it should KDP will become Amazon’s main hub for both e-book and print self-publishing. The future for CreateSpace after that is uncertain. For this reason if no other, it is a good idea to at least take a look at KDP’s paperback creator tool now.

I have made a start on converting one of my Kindle e-books using the KDP paperback creator, and will post here again once it is available. But I’d love to get your comments and feedback as well, especially if you have tried out the service yourself. Please leave any comments below as usual.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it on your own blog or social media:
Publisher's Power Tool

Review: Publisher’s Power Tool

Publisher’s Power Tool is the latest writing product to be launched by my colleague Amy Harrop and her business partner Debbie Drum. Amy and Debbie were kind enough to allow me a review copy, so here’s what I found…

Publisher’s Power Tool is a guide to publishing picture books for children and adults using the presentation software MIcrosoft PowerPoint (other software options are also discussed). The guide then reveals how to publish them as ebooks on Amazon’s Kindle platform and/or as print books using Amazon CreateSpace.

Publisher’s Power Tool is being sold via the popular and well-established WarriorPlus platform. The main guide is a 69-page PDF. As you would expect with any of Amy and Debbie’s publications, this is well written and attractively presented. It is illustrated with graphics and screen-captures where relevant.

The manual explains how you can capitalize on the huge market for picture books. Although children are the obvious target audience, the authors make the point that there is a sizeable market for adult picture books as well, including how-to books, humour books, and inspirational books.

The main part of the manual walks you through creating a picture book yourself with the aid of the PowerPoint software. It sets out the advantages of using PowerPoint for this purpose, including the ease with which you can create a template for publishing a series of such books. You can also easily insert pictures in bulk, which is a great time-saver. And it is also very easy to edit and rearrange the pages in a PowerPoint file, until you have your book looking exactly the way you want it.

The latter part of the manual then discusses how readers can publish and market the books themselves. Eight pages are devoted to Kindle publishing and ten pages to print publishing using CreateSpace. Clearly, covering how to do all this in detail would require a much longer book, so what Amy and Debbie have done is link to useful resources throughout the manual. Some of these are resources they have produced themselves, while others are from external websites. I understand that there may also be some extra reports and/or training videos with the finished product, although my pre-publication access only included the main manual.

The one thing that isn’t discussed in any depth is marketing your picture book (although the manual does discuss how to make the most of categories, keywords, and so on when listing your book on Amazon). Still, there is of course plenty of information about this available elsewhere on the internet, both free and paid for.

Overall, I think Publisher’s Power Tool is another excellent addition to the growing roster of writing resources published by Amy and Debbie. If you are already a confident PowerPoint user you may find some of the advice on using the software familiar, but it is still enlightening to see how the authors adapt it to this particular purpose.

Publisher’s Power Tool is currently on a launch special offer after which – as is Amy and Debbie’s usual practice – the price will be rising by $10. If you want to broaden your publishing portfolio with something that is fun and not too time-consuming, it is definitely worth checking out.

If you have any comments or questions about Publisher’s Power Tool, as always, please do post them below.

 

TEST

If you enjoyed this post, please share it on your own blog or social media:

3 Minute Journals Review

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:

  1. Welcome
  2. Why Journals
  3. Creating Your Journal
  4. Formatting Your Journal
  5. Publishing Your Journal
  6. 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.

3MJsoftware

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.

 

250x250

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

If you enjoyed this post, please share it on your own blog or social media: