Build Your Low Content Book Empire Mini-Course – Pt II Design Options

Free Mini Course on Building A low content book business

This mini-course is designed to help you build a publishing business based on easy to create book types. 

I will give you an overview of the four main steps:

  • Finding ideas for books and types of books
  • Design options for creating your books
  • How and where to publish your book
  • Marketing your book

The first lesson is an introduction to the types of books you can create. In this next section I review four different software choices ranging from free and easy to professional choices. 

Part 2: OPtions for Designing YOur Book

Video 1: The first video gives and introduction to the four software choices and also some of the decisions you need to make before you start laying out your document.

Video 2: Creating a notebook page with InDesign. In order to help you visualize the differences between the software options, I am going to design a lined notebook page in each of the four choices. 

InDesign is industry standard for print layout (books, magazines, flyers, etc.). In my opinion, if you can afford the recurring fee and have the time and energy to learn it this is the best choice. Why?

  • For any book with repeating pages (planners, notebooks, journals) the master pages feature makes it quick and easy to create a book AND to make changes across all pages just by changing the master.
  • The step and repeat is also perfect for creating repeating lines, shapes, and even text boxes that are evenly spaced
  • Even if you don’t continue with your book business, you will have taught yourself a valuable skill that you may be able to use as a freelancer.
  • To develop a professional book brand and stand apart from the crowd, you should be prepared to invest in the proper tools for the job.

Video 3: Creating a Notebook page with Affinity Publisher.  Affinity Publisher came out of beta in 2019 so this is fairly new software but is the best rival to InDesign. It has a very reasonable one time fee.  

As a newer software, it does much of what InDesign does but with a simpler interface. It is notably missing the step & repeat function but in the video I show you a work around to that. I expect that new features will be added as this software matures.

Video 4: Designing a notebook page with PowerPoint. PowerPoint has been very popular with low content book creators. Most people know how to use it and own a copy already.

In fact, there are a lot of hidden features that just aren’t used for making slide presentations that much. For example, in the video I show you how to customize the toolbar ribbon to find the alignment tools. 

Alternatives include Google Slides and Keynote. 

The biggest pro is that it is easy to use. It can do much of the alignment that we have seen with previous tools, but lacks the ability to include bleed. This makes sense since it was built for slide presentations and creating print documents is somewhat of an “off-label” use!

Video 5: Designing a notebook page with Canva. Canva is free or you can pay a monthly subscription fee for additional features. For low content books this is not necessary as the only graphics you can use commercially are the free ones. All other graphics (that come with the paid plan) require an extended license for any product where you will make/sell more than one copy.

Canva is very easy and intuitive to use, but doesn’t have as many features as the previous three options. As you will see in the video, creating simple lines are not straightforward. I use it for other projects, but don’t find it as easy to use for books personally. For books, I do sometimes play around in Canva to mock up ideas for how I want a page to appear and then make the final design in InDesign.

Canva can be useful for other types of books. For example, if you were laying out a series of puzzles that you had in .jpg form it would be easy to place these on a page in Canva and then add text boxes for the puzzle titles.

 

Assignment: Pick a software that you would like to use for your books and start playing around with designing a journal or planner page. 

In particular, practice creating lines and boxes, inserting text, and getting even alignment and spacing across your document.