I just published these three books, and they’re not your ordinary fiction or non-fiction books. In fact, there’s very little writing at all.
Why? They’re broadly known as low content books, a consumable product where customers buy intending to fill in, write on, or use for pretty much anything but reading.
When publishing these books, I wanted to see what my time was worth when creating and publishing low content books. Because there are only two certainties in life and book sales aren’t one of them.
Rather than spend countless hours creating questionable low content books with freely available software, would it be worth investing a little to get better content in faster time?
Think about it – what is your time worth?
Would you want to spend hours crafting just one low content book or less than an hour making way more books at a higher quality?
Have I pumped out dozens of low content books using free software? Absolutely!
Have they all been winners? Not really.
Which makes all the failed publications sting that much more. My old mentor Jason Bracht called it stacking pennies when you would spend a lot of time to get very little return.
What’s more valuable to you: time or money?
Would you save the money and spend the time, or would you pay a premium to save some time?
Table of Contents
Create Low Content Books: Free Vs. Paid
I’ll be using Book Bolt for a little idea I have for a case study between creating low content books using free tools versus creating them using paid services.
We’ll see which way is the fastest and produces the best-looking low content books.
Free or premium?
Which process is faster while still maintaining the highest quality?
It’s not enough to have a fast process. It still needs to produce high-quality results.
I’m going to do a “best of three” series where I’ll try to create 3 different low content books.
Paid is up first.
Creating a Simple Lined Notebook
I’m going to lean on a premium service, and of course, I’m going to use Book Bolt. It’s my preferred choice for low content books.
If you’re not familiar with Book Bolt, they provide a suite of tools for research and creation. It’s not a tool that specializes in everything, but more so one that is tailor made to create low content books.
Let’s start simple with a lined notebook, also known as a no content book.
Log into Book Bolt. If you don’t already have an account, it’s fairly affordable. Get 20% off with my code DALE20 using my link: https://dalelinks.com/bookbolt
Click Research and select Create from the drop-down menu.
Click Book Bolt Studio.
Type the name of your project and click Create Project.
I follow the prompts to create my project and click Create Project.
You should find things fairly intuitive.
We’ll come back to the cover here in a bit. Click the maze icon to view the customizable templates.
Again, browse the options and find what you like most. I’ll just keep it simple and use college-ruled lines, and then hit the Create button.
Now I have a fully lined, no content book interior.
Then I simply add an image in the background as a watermark. This is to distinguish my content as unique from other lined notebooks.
You can also watch me publish these 3 books in less than 10 minutes each in this post.
Create Low Content Books with Presentation Software – Free and Paid
I like to set up my interiors using PowerPoint. You can also use Keynote, various Office alternatives, or Google Slides to accomplish the same result. The Pros use book design software like Adobe InDesign, but that comes with a heck of a learning curve.
The whole reason that KDP accepts Word documents and PDFs is because most people know how to use Microsoft Word, a compatible alternative, or other software like presentation software where you can save as a PDF.
I’m a Mac man, but I’m loosely familiar with PowerPoint and know where to find most things. If I don’t, I Google it. I have literally Googled my way through so many things. Just search for something like “how to __________ powerpoint”.
The biggest problem is not knowing the dimensions of my print book or how much bleed I need. I spend way too much time fussing over gutter placement.
When I choose my trim size, I have to add 0.25 inches to the height and 0.125 inches to the width to allow for the bleed. This allows some wiggle room for the printers so they can avoid cropping out important elements of the book during the printing and cutting process.
My PowerPoint interior doesn’t look better than the one I created with Book Bolt. I ran it through the Previewer at KDP to make sure it would pass without errors.
The cool thing about using presentation software is that you can easily duplicate the slide once you get something that you like. The hardest part is figuring out where to put everything and what looks good. You have to create everything on the page and have an eye for good spacing.
Word Search Book
The alternative to using a paid tool like Book Bolt is building a Word Search manually. You’d use a table, your list of words, build out the solution, save it as a key, and then add random letters in the blank spots.
I provide the word list on the same page as the puzzle and put the key in the back of the book.
As you might imagine, this is incredibly time-consuming, and honestly, it’s not really a sustainable method. You will spend many hours on a book you could create in minutes in a different software.
Once you get past that, then you have to wonder if it will pass the quality check on KDP. I’ve made and published quite a few planners over the years, and it’s time consuming going this route.
Create Low Content Books with Book Bolt – Paid
Book Bolt has so many customizable templates for planners. All you have to do is search for “planner” in the search bar after you click the Maze icon.
You’ll see a ton of planner templates and variations of each one. Take your time and choose the one you like best.
Select the pages you want to use that template on and set the margins. You can center it on the page or resize it to fill the page. It’s your choice.
Use undo or delete it if you don’t like it and try something else. Since other publishers will be using this same template, I recommend adding something unique to the page to make it yours. My favorite method of doing this is to add a simple watermark to the background.
Be creative. It’s all up to you! You just don’t want to publish a stock template. You must customize it to differentiate it and make it yours.
Word Search Book
Next, I want to make a Word Search book, so I’ll go back in and click the Maze icon again and locate the Word Search option.
I select which pages to use it on and fill in all the details. (Watch the video above to see the steps in action!)
Upload a CSV file with the words you want included. All you need to do is download the sample CSV file and fill it in with your own words.
Don’t be shocked. You’ll need a lot of words, so take your time putting your list together. My list had 200 words. There are many online resources for creating themed word lists. Don’t forget all the new options out there for AI tools that could accomplish this quickly. This would be an excellent use-case for text AI tools like ChatGPT.
We Still Have to Do Covers!
There’s still a lot of work to do on the books, so I don’t want to spend an eternity on the interiors. That’s why Book Bolt is my preferred tool. It makes super quick work of low content book interiors. It pays for itself with every book I create using it.
Now, I’m going to shoot straight with you. My book cover skills aren’t the greatest. My wheelhouse comprises 3 main topics:
- Playing guitar
- Pro wrestling
I’m not the greatest cover designer. Let’s not waste our time. I’m going to have one of my team members whip together a few book covers for me.
If you were to decide to create your own cover, Book Bolt has you covered with the fastest option. They have a wide array of built-in tools and access to royalty-free image sites integrated with their software.
This makes things simple. You don’t have to worry about measurements and bleeds.
Book Bolt also allowed me to create 3 low content books in less than an hour. So, I’m literally creating complicated books like word scrambles, cryptograms, crosswords, Sudoku, mazes, and more in minutes instead of hours.
I’m not going to lie. I’m way too lazy to figure out how to make Sudokus and wouldn’t even know where to start to make a maze.
My Thoughts of Free vs. Paid
For me, the time I save using Book Bolt when I create low content books is worth every penny. I find the software to be extremely affordable with 2 options for any budget, so be sure to check it out.
Aside from the time aspect, the Book Bolt interiors also look better than what I can create manually and I never have to worry if they’re going to pass the KDP quality check when I run them through the Previewer.