7 Low-Content Publishing Ideas for Authors and Publishers (With Templates)

Seeking passive and semi-passive income sources that don’t require a huge investment or a whole lot of inventory?

Consider authoring and/or publishing in-demand products such as low-content books, planners, journals, puzzles, trackers, and calendars.

As an author, you can be a course creator, developing training resources to be offered for sale and/or monetized via affiliate marketing.

As a publisher, you can produce printables and print-on-demand materials for sale on your own site, or on Etsy, Amazon, or other third-party platforms. Or use them as free opt-ins for list building.

Already an author and/or publisher? Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro, you can always benefit from helpful resources designed to turbo-charge your success while making your life a lot easier.

I’ve assembled a collection of just such resources – including easy-to-use templates – many free of charge.

Printables vs. Print on Demand: What’s the Difference?

Printables are digital downloads, often available in PDF or other formats. They’re sold as downloadable files that your customer would then print on his/her own printer. In most cases, you’ll want to make sure the file can fit on standard 8.5″ x 11″ (letter-size) paper, since that’s what your customer will likely have on hand.

Print-on-demand items are sold online, and then the order is forwarded to the print-on-demand (POD) company, which creates the book/planner/journal/calendar and ships it to your customer. It’s a turnkey solution: The POD company handles everything from soup to nuts – design, content, production, binding, shipping, etc.

However, because Etsy and other sites may attract an international audience, you will also want to consider offering A4, A5 and half-page (6” x 9”) sizes. It’s a simple matter to resize these in Canva or PowerPoint.

Because printables are low-cost digital files, they typically do not offer refunds.

Print-on-demand items are sold online, and then the order is forwarded to the print-on-demand (POD) company, which creates the book/planner/journal/calendar and ships it to your customer. It’s a turnkey solution: The POD company handles everything from soup to nuts – design, content, production, binding, shipping, etc.

Just as with printables, you won’t have to maintain any physical inventory. Instead, the print-on-demand company will literally print and ship the product only when a customer orders it. The company will receive a percentage of each sale. You’ll receive the rest as your profit.

Most print-on-demand products offer refunds unless the POD products are personalized. You’ll want to check with the POD company you use to find out if and how they handle refunds or whether you’ll need to have those shipped back to you.

Both printables and print-on-demand are fast, simple forms of low-content publishing, with practically no overhead.

Let’s look at some popular printable and POD products you can sell easily and successfully.

1.  Cash in on the Planner Craze

What’s hot right now? Planners – those classic to-do calendars that typically display each week (or day) on a handy two-page spread. You’ll find them literally everywhere – at Etsy, eBay, Amazon, and eCommerce sites galore – and they sell like the proverbial hotcakes.

You can take advantage of this popular phenomenon several ways:

  • Design your own custom planners and print them out on your printer.
  • Download a planner template, customize it (if desired), then print out copies on your printer.
  • Contract with a print-on-demand company to design your planners to your specifications, then print, bind, and ship them as orders come in.

If you have mad graphic-design skills, you can use sophisticated programs like Adobe InDesign or free design software available at sites like sketch.com to create your own planner templates. Or you can download and customize pre-created templates.

2.  Load up on Trackers

Simple to create, a breeze to sell, daily, weekly, or other trackers are simple, low-content, printable pages people crave.

You can certainly create your own or outsource it and let someone else design it. OR… use tracker templates.

Choose from numerous free and paid templates available online. Most are tweakable, so you can customize them to your heart’s content. Check out:

  • Canva – Cannot sell on third-party sites as-is.
  • OnPlanners – Commercial license not mentioned.
  • Template.Net – Third-party sales available with Pro Plus license.
  • Adobe Spark – Requires Adobe Spark. Commercial license not mentioned.
  • TemplateLab – No commercial resale rights. Can use as list-builders/opt-ins.

At these sites you’ll find sophisticated templates for trackers, planners, and much more, geared toward popular niche markets such as meal planning, working at home, personal finance, and daily fitness.

But designing the tracker / planner layout is just the first step. Once you have your basic template, you’ll need to change the dates on every two-page spread for all 52 weeks in the year (or for all 365 days if you’re producing a daily planner).

That’s a time-consuming process. How can you streamline and simplify it? Check out the Weekly Planner Builder from Thrive Anywhere

All templates can be edited and customized, and all come with extended-use rights. Print them out to sell to your customers via online and/or brick-and-mortar stores. Offer them as downloadable files at Etsy or Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Give them as holiday gifts to clients and vendors. Use them as opt-in freebies. Your options go on and on.

3.  Write an eBook – Or Have Someone Else Do It for You!

Do you have expertise in a particular area – dog training, keyword research, weightlifting, affiliate marketing, quilting, herb gardening, whatever? Would you like to offer your insights and guidance to paying customers? Consider authoring an eBook and offering it for sale at an online venue such as Amazon KDP, Etsy, or eBooks.com.

What If You’re Not a Writer?

If you balk at writing an entire eBook on your own, check out Private Label Rights (PLR) companies, which can create fully developed content customized expressly for you.

For a fee, you’ll receive the rights to publish the content just as if it were your own. Tweak it a bit, combine or delete different articles/chapters, and make it yours. You can add your logos and branding, change colors and design elements, and so on.

Top PLR providers include:

Prefer to write your own content? More power to you!

This free resource from Bart Hennin shows you how to use ChatGPT to make fast small, digital how-to products to sell on your site, Etsy or Amazon KDP.

For tips and pointers, check out resources such as Scrivener.com and Strunk and White’s classic Elements of Style, which you’ll find online free.

Once you’ve created your content, you can have it produced as an eBook in Kindle format and/or as a print-on-demand paperback at Amazon KDP.

4.  Make Cool Virtual Zoom Backgrounds

Some low-content products don’t require any writing at all. Take virtual backgrounds to use with Zoom, Meet or other platforms. 

Everybody these days uses some sort of virtual meeting service. And while having a set of bookcases behind, you may look OK, there are much more productive and even profitable ways to create virtual backgrounds.

Not just for personal use, these backgrounds can also help you (or your customers) at virtual or live speaking events, team meetings and more.

Not to mention, they are super hot sellers on Etsy and in a niche that has not yet become overcrowded.

5.  Profit from Puzzle Books

From crosswords to word searches, puzzles are in huge demand these days. If you offer them as print-on-demand books at Amazon KDP, you can earn substantial passive income.

But creating your own puzzles is an arduous process. The answer? Automate with Instant Puzzle Generator, developed by Silicon Valley superstar BP Mishra.

6.  Create Low-Content Calendars

Journals, planners, trackers, and puzzles are just a few of the most popular low-content books / printables you can make. Don’t forget about calendars. In all shapes and sizes, we are all in love with calendars because they keep us on schedule. D’vorah Lansky has some truly inspiring ideas about how to make calendars that sell.

Get D’vorah’s in-depth training course, Creative Ways to Create Calendars and Planners and save $10 with Code Karon20.

7.  Offer Personalized POD Products

Sure, journals, planners, mugs, t-shirts and other print-on-demand products are wildly popular right now. But what can you do to make them sell even better? Offer your customers a way to personalize their purchases!

Imagine the appeal your customers will find when they have the ability to add names, icons, images and more to journal or planner covers, mugs, t-shirts and many other print-on-demand items. Amy Harrop shows you how to make this happen.

POD and Printables Resources

Fonts, Graphics & Crafts

Seeking easy, inexpensive ways to customize your printables and print-on-demand products? I highly recommend Creative Fabrica. Search through thousands of ready-made resources at very affordable prices. Check out Creative Fabrica today.

Finding Best-Selling Product Ideas

Researching top-selling products can be a chore. Unless you have software that can do it for you in a matter of seconds. Craft Inspector is just what you need. With a few clicks, Craft Inspector will hand deliver every vendor’s best-selling products, ranking secrets, and ranking sources. And, unlike most other software, Craft Inspector has a one-time fee, not a monthly payment.

Get Started with Low-Content Publishing Now

With all the templates and resources available online, you’ll have no problem finding quick, simple ways to create low-content books and other digital products designed to produce passive income. Jump in today and start profiting right away!

Have questions? Talk to me about low-content publishing below!

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