Want to publish your own journal or planner this year? You might have a lot of questions like:
These were all the questions I had before I self-published my first planner in 2018 and there was hardly any information online!
Don’t worry though, I’m going to walk you through all of these questions today and get you on your way to publishing the planner, journal, or workbook of your dreams! Let's get into it!
Grab your free Planner Publishing Guide here ->
Read the show notes with additional resource links here ->
Hello, hello. You are listening to episode 196 of the Mindful Productivity Podcast. And I'm your host, Sarah Steckler. This week, we're going to be going over how you can begin to publish your own planner. I'm going to take you behind the scenes, talk to you about a couple different options, what I prefer, and answer a lot of your frequently asked questions. Let's go ahead and get into it. Welcome to the Mindful Productivity Podcast. I'm your host, Sarah Steckler, and this is the place to be, to live a more mindful and productive life. If you're ready to turn daily chaos into calm and start your days with intention, then get ready to join me. As we dive deep into mindful living and personal productivity, it's time to connect with your true self so you can live the life you want to live. And it all starts now. Welcome back to the show. I am so excited to talk to you about planner publishing today. Years ago, I felt like publishing your own planner as a business owner, as Creative was, there was such a huge barrier to actually making that happen, right? You needed tons of overhead, you need connections, you need tons of time. And now with the invention of the internet and so much more available to us at our fingertips now, a lot of these things can be done through self publishing and through entrepreneur work. And I just love that individually, we can do so much more than we ever could before. But that can also make things very overwhelming if you don't know where to start. So I thought today it'd be fun to do a little bit of a deeper dive into how to publish a planner. So I'm sure if you do want to publish your own journal or planner this year, you might have a lot of questions like how can I selfpublish my own planner? Where can you publish planners online? Will there be a bunch of overhead expenses to get started? How can I get my planner actually in front of people so they buy it and I make sales, right? How much inventory will I need? And do I need to use confusing and time consuming software to format my pages? These were all the same questions that I had before I self published my very, very first planner in 2018. And there was hardly any information online. But don't worry, today I'm going to walk you through all of these questions and get you on your way to publishing that planner, journal or workbook of your dreams. Side note, in 2018, before I self published my own planner, I actually had went through a traditional publisher to get my journal, my Guided Journal 100 Life Challenges into Barnes and Noble, Target, Amazon and all over the place. I'm not quite sure how much distribution of that journal is still happening. I know it's available at select Barnes and Noble stores and some targets, but I know it's not necessarily as widely available as it was in that first year, but the reason why I decided ultimately to go through self publishing after that experience was it was a great experience, but it just took so long. It took so long to get that thing to market. And it was great having a team design the pages for me and obviously produce it. But I was impatient and that process took longer than I wanted. And I also wanted to see more of the recurring revenue from something I created, right? So I actually was paid a licensing fee for them to use everything I wrote and put it into that journal. And then on the other side of things, they were able to market it for me and get in touch with those distributors, right? So it was kind of this really great partnership, but self publishing just more and more felt like something I really wanted to get into. And in 2018, there wasn't a ton of information online about what you can really do and what your options are for self publishing a planner. So let's walk through some of the options. There are three main options that you do have when it comes to manufacturing and actually publishing your own planner. So option A is that you can find a reputable printing company, right? You can design your own planner and pay an upfront fee to order the minimum amount of planners that you want to sell. And then you can sell those planners straight from your website using Squarespace, using Shopify, WooCommerce, or another selling platform. You could also use something like Etsy, right? And this won't necessarily include traffic to your site, right? Because if you just put something up on Squarespace or your Shopify site and you're not directing traffic there, you're not necessarily going to just wind up in front of the people that you want to be in front of. Right? So this doesn't include things like fees and logistics for shipping to customers. You also have to consider point of sale taxes and international shipping if you want it to be available worldwide. So that's kind of your first major option is basically kind of taking things into your hand and doing all of those steps. Option B could be to start a Kickstarter campaign to fund your planner idea. And if you're interested in Kickstarter, there's an episode a couple back with Jenny Kawal, and she talks about how she successfully used a Kickstarter campaign to fund her self care adventure cards. It's a great episode. I believe it's episode 193 or four, but if you go onto my website and search for it, you can find it there, and she talks about all the different things she did for that. So starting a Kickstarter campaign could be an option to publish your planner and that will give you more resources and cash flow up front to find a manufacturer that you like and trust that can give you the exact kind of physical planner or journal that you're seeking. Now, if all of those things sound a little overwhelming, then you're like me. When I first was looking into this, I was like, yeah, all that sounds great, but I'm a one woman show, and I really want to just get this thing moving. I'm also a big fan of taking action versus making something completely perfect and never doing it. So there's also option C, which is to use Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP. Right? So tons of people use this to self-publish their own novels and books, but you can also use it to publish Planners because KDP actually gives you a pretty wide selection of different book sizes that you can create. And within the past year and a half, they've also added a hardcover option, which is really cool. There's only, I think, three or four sizes that you can do with a hardcover option, but that has been a game changer. So I've created Planners with Hardcover. Some of my students have as well, but you can create journals of all different sizes. So the main Planners that I actually created when I first started my Mindful Productivity Guide and the Daily Productivity and Brain Dump Book, those are both eight by ten planners. And I'll be really honest with you, I love the quality of those paperback Planners. I use them every day, and they're really great. They take colored pencils really well, pens. Obviously, you're going to see some bleed if you use something like a Sharpie, but you would see that with any kind of page anyway, and I really like them. And here's why I love Kindle Direct Publishing and why I still use it to this day to sell all of my planners and journals. And that is because when you use Kindle Direct Publishing, you're able to list, sell, and ship your planner on demand for $0. And you'll be able to get your planner on Google and in search results. And it's a lot easier because you're not having to pay for that Amazon sellers account, right? So if you were to create your own product and you wanted to put it up on Amazon, you would have to pay that monthly fee for an Amazon seller's account and then I believe a percentage of sales and all that kind of stuff. What's really, really cool about Kindle Direct Publishing is that you don't have to pay for you don't have to worry about point of sale shipping. In fact, we'll get into all those details in a second. I'm getting ahead of myself, but there's just so many options that when I first looked into it, I was like, oh, this is great. I don't have to worry about inventory. I don't have to worry about pre ordering a bunch of planners and then worrying, like, what if they don't sell in time and I don't make my money back. This was a really great way to test out the market and create something that was really fun for me to create and then actually sell it, right? So one thing I will say as a side note, right, going with something like KDP means that you're not going to be able to create a very high custom journal, right? So it won't be able to have like gold foil on the cover or spiral bound binding or anything like that or custom stickers or personalized tissue paper. But I want to talk about that for a second because I think one place that creatives and business owners really get stuck. Especially if you're doing something for the first time. Like launching a course or starting your business. Is that we can get hung up on making all the outward stuff. Like super fancy without really making sure that the product we're offering is what it needs to be. Right? So people can you could spend tons of time and money on making sure that you have everything set up on your website to look beautiful and have the perfect opt in and all the Bella and whistles. But if you don't really take that time to create a high value product that gets people from A to B with a simple strategy and it's easy to follow, then all of that fancy stuff doesn't really matter, right? And to be honest, the journals and planners that have really changed my life and by changed my life, I mean have been ones that I actually stick with and get something out of. They weren't life changing because they were spiral bound or because they had a ton of stickers or because John Stamos jumped out of the packaging and shook my hand, right? My childhood dream. But really, truly, the things that are most helpful for people are not because you have all of your videos and 4K quality in your courses and it's not because you have something that's like the highest quality. I'm not saying don't make high quality things. I'm just saying that I think a lot of us get stuck there, right? We want to create something that we're super proud of. But one thing I will tell you is that for instance, my daily productivity brandnew book, which has now surpassed all sales, that is now the most popular planner I've created and have sold to date, is A Very Simple Planner. It's a paperback planner. It's eight by ten. It's got a very simple system where there's a two page spread, you've got a brain dump template on the left that's different throughout, and you've got a daily productivity page on the right hand side. And it's so simple. And you know what people tell me? They tell me this is one of my most favorite planners because it is so simple. There's very little barrier to taking action and I actually use it every day. So just want to share that. That if you're thinking about creating something, it does not have to be perfect or super, super pretty in whatever way in order to get people results and facilitate change in their life, right? And there's a ton of students that have also created amazing journals inside of my program. And I will link to I'm slowly building a kind of a portfolio page of all of the different planners that they have created because it is truly amazing. And it's been so fun for students to realize like, oh, I had all these ideas and I thought all these things needed to be on the inside of my page, when really I just needed to make it simple. So I see a lot of journals out there that focus on aesthetic alone, and they often cost more because of this, right? So you'll often see journals and planners out there that look amazing, right? But they're like sixty eight dollars to ninety dollars or something like that. USD. And that's because there's higher manufacturing costs, right? Like tabs fancy stickers on the inside pockets. But do they actually help me be more productive or get me closer to my goals? Not necessarily not because they have those things, right? If stickers could solve all my problems, then they would already be solved as I stare over at my mountain of stickers and all of my Lisa Frank collection, oh, I need to go and use more of those. But I think what stops a lot of creatives from creating their journal or planner is perfectionism. So I wanted to talk about that. We have this incredible idea that we want to share with the world. We have a system, you have a solution or a practice, and you know that it can help thousands of people. But you may be getting caught up in thinking, well, it isn't perfect, right? Aka all of the things we see planners being, then it won't help people and they won't buy it. But that is a myth. Huge myth. And I know this because in 2018, when I decided to create my first planner using KDP and using Canva to design it, I made 475 planner sales that year. And this was just for me talking about my planner on my blog and on my podcast and on my Instagram, which at the time had fewer than 2000 followers. Now, I know social media was a different beast then, and I probably got a little bit more reach than I did now, but I did not have to go out of my way or use paid ads to see those results. And I do have a podcast, I do have a blog, I do have people coming to my website. So I'm not saying that this exact thing will happen to everyone, but I was really surprised at how it didn't take that much to see those sales, right? And I talk more, I go more behind the scenes, and I actually share all of my planner sale details and like, which planners I sold and how many and how much and what months. And if you want to see all of that, you can watch my free Planner Publishing Master class. I will link to that below. You can also find that by going to publishaplanner.com. But beyond some of these things with KDP, I really do love the quality of these planners. These planners are on bright white paper. You can do color interior, you can do black and white. You can do something as small as like four x six. I've made pocket journals and pocketless planners that I love. You can make something as big as eight and a half by eleven, and it's just really nice to have that versatility. So I really, really love that. And there's also four other additional reasons why I love using Kindle Direct Publishing for self Planner. So the first one being that KDP is free to use. So apart from any creative elements or possible support you may want around it, right? Like enrolling in my course Publish with Purpose. Apart from that, KDP is a free program that you can use so you don't have to pay any upfront cost to publish and sell your planner. And that is truly amazing, right? You don't have to pay to have an Amazon Seller's account. It is great. Two, you don't have to worry about inventory. This is so huge. And it's also, to be honest, really nice to not have to worry about finding a place in our relatively small apartment right now, or my office to put a bunch of planners in boxes. Right. When you use Kindle Direct Publishing to publish your planner, you don't have to order or pay for any inventory ahead of time, right? Apart from getting some proof copies or some author copies for yourself, everything that your customer orders is printed on demand and shipped to them directly. So it's not even made until they order it, which I love. Number three, and we did touch on this, but your planner is listed for free right, on Amazon. So again, typically, if you want to sell something on Amazon, you need to create an Amazon Seller's account and pay that monthly fee to list your products. But when you publish your planner with KDP, amazon gives you a free listing that people will be able to find when they're looking for their next planner. What does this mean? It means that you are now on Amazon, which in a lot of ways is the Google of product inventory and shopping. So having something on Amazon, that's often the first place people go to look for things and to look for reviews. I know I can be standing in Target and I will look on Amazon and see if the thing I'm holding in my hand is worth buying because of reviews I see on Amazon. It's a powerful search engine, and we go in depth in my course into how to optimize your sales using keyword research. Now, number four. One of the last benefit I'll share today of using KDP is that you don't have to worry about point of sale taxes, shipping, or international sales. So when customers purchase your planner off of Amazon, you don't have to worry about collecting sales tax because Amazon does that for you. If you were going to go through any other system shopify, WooCommerce, selling off of your own site, you would need to collect sales tax, right? But Amazon already does that for you. And not only does KDP allow your planner to be printed on demand, but your planners are also eligible for prime shipping and can be shipped with prime shipping around the world. That means that when someone finds your planner, they can order it and have it shipped to them with two days without you pausing your latest Netflix episode, right, so people can get access to your planners immediately. And one thing I love about this too, is that it means you're not selling out of things. You don't have to worry about inventory. You don't have to worry about disappointed customers who go to buy your planner. And you're already sold out. So that is another great reason. And of course, we all know that passive income truly isn't passive, right? But this is a great way to have something up on Amazon that can truly begin to serve as that customer journey for your audience. So a lot of people will search for something, and you can create a planner that then serves as a point of entry for your clients. So let's say that they want to learn about patio gardening, right? And you know that most of your audience are apartment owners or whatever. So what you could do is create a planner or a journal or a workbook with trackers. Here's how you can set up, like your ultimate patio gardening planner, right, or pal or whatever you want to call it. And that could set them up with the things that they need to buy the inventory of supplies or things that they may need to purchase before they get going, how to determine the layout of their patio and what plants to put where. One of my students, Laura, actually created this amazing planner for self growth, and then she also created that was plant themed. And then later her second planner is all about tracking your plants health. So she actually made this really cool diagram in the front of the planner that shows how much light is coming through a room and where you should position different plants based on their own light needs. Really, really cool. So you could create something like that. People search on Amazon for a gardening or patio planner, and they find your planner, they buy it. And then on the inside of your planner, you can have more information about how to work with you maybe how to join your private community, how to subscribe to your Patio Gardening podcast, right? You get the idea. Maybe you actually offer one on one consulting for patio gardening. This begins that process for people. And so it's so much more than that money that you make from that one Planner sale. It begins a whole customer journey for that person into working with you and being a lifetime customer or client or collaboration buddy, any of those things. So I go into more detail about this inside of my Planner Publishing Masterclass, and I also have a free Planner Publishing Guide that you can check out that gives you a ton of different Planner Publishing ideas and interior page ideas and walks you through more of the details of how this process works. So if you want to get the first steps into publishing your own planner on Amazon, head on over to publisherlanner. comGuide and grab your copy so that you can get started. I love Planner Publishing. It's been a hot minute since I've made a new one, but it's so much fun. It's a really great, cozy, creative, introverted way of creating something for your audience. And once you create it, it's up on Amazon and you can sell it again and again without doing anything yourself other than talking about it right and promoting it on your different social media channels, your blog, your podcast, any of those things. So I hope this was helpful in giving you a little bit of idea on how you can get started with Planner Publishing. And I would love for you to grab that free guide so that I can help you even further. That's available on Publish a Plannercom. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead, and I'll see you back here next Monday with a brand new episode. Talk to you soon.