How to Self-Publish and Sell Journals on Amazon KDP

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform allows anyone to self-publish not just ebooks, but print books as well. One popular category of print book that sells well on KDP is personalized journals and notebooks.

Journals make great gifts, provide utility, and can be catered to all kinds of niche audiences. If you have an eye for design, learn how to easily publish custom journals on KDP.

Choose a Journal Category or Theme

Amazon shoppers search for journals based on their purpose, themes, and unique factors. Consider niches like:

  • Personalized name journals
  • Travel journals and notebooks
  • Goal setting and guided planners
  • Password organizers and trackers
  • Diet, fitness, and workout logs
  • Pregnancy and baby journals
  • Wedding planning journals

Brainstorm categories where people would find a custom journal useful. Research similar journals to validate the niche.

Create Unique Cover Designs

The cover design needs to stand out, reflect the interior content, and appeal to your target audience.

Some cover ideas:

  • Photo backgrounds related to the theme
  • Abstract patterns or textures
  • Inspiring quotes or affirmations
  • Minimalist iconography and shapes

Use graphic design software like Canva for easy, eye-catching covers. Don’t forget to include titling and author branding.

Add Custom Interior Elements

Make the journal contents match the cover theme and niche:

  • Include quotes, prompts, or fun facts that align with the topic
  • Incorporate custom trackers, organizers, calendars, or goal lists
  • Add decorative images, borders, headers, and numbering
  • Allow space for journaling, note taking, or open-ended responses

Interior customization makes your journals unique. Include at least 50 pages of relevant content.

Choose Binding Type

KDP offers paperback binding in standard or print-on-demand formats. Standard has lower wholesale costs while POD allows ordering single copies.

Standard binding works for larger batch orders. Print-on-demand enables test launches before committing inventory.

Evaluate expected sales volume, ideal trim sizes, and your budget to pick the best binding type.

Price Between $5-$15 Range

Most successful KDP journals are priced affordably between $5-$15. This matches buyer expectations for a printed notebook or journal.

Aim for a minimum of $3-$5 profit per sale after Amazon’s cut and printing costs. Price slightly higher for extra margin.

Larger trim sizes, high page counts, and special finishes allow pricing at the higher end. Set competitive prices after examining top sellers in your niche.

Enroll in KDP Print for Distribution

You’ll need to enroll in KDP Print to expand distribution beyond just Amazon. This makes your journal visible to bookstores, libraries, and other retailers.

Your journal can even become orderable through IngramSpark’s global distribution network, increasing sales potential.

Setting up your journal through KDP Print streamlines getting printed copies to readers worldwide.

Drive External Traffic to Amazon

To maximize sales, market your new journals across other channels:

  • Promote to your email list and website visitors
  • Run Amazon Sponsored Ads
  • Advertise on niche sites related to the journal’s category
  • Build social media buzz through giveaways and promotions
  • Pitch to bloggers for reviews and media coverage

This generates sales momentum beyond just passive Amazon visibility.

Create Multiple Journals in a Series

Each new journal provides a new revenue stream. Develop a series around major themes or categories.

For example, an inspirational journal series could include titles like:

  • Gratitude Journal
  • Self-Care Journal
  • Mindfulness Journal
  • Positivity Journal

Series allow readers to collect multiple journals around topics they love.

FAQs About Publishing KDP Journals

How do you source journal interior content?

Create your own custom layouts and text using graphic design programs. Or license quality content from stock sites like Shutterstock.

What software is best for formatting journals?

Adobe InDesign works great for complex layouts and text wrapping. Microsoft Word can also work for simpler interiors.

Is ISBN required for KDP journals?

ISBNs are optional for KDP but allow wider distribution beyond just Amazon if desired. Many journals skip ISBN to save cost.

Can the journals be customized for buyers?

Yes, KDP offers author name customization on journals if enabled. Some sellers also offer additional add-ons like monograms.

How much does it cost to self-publish a journal?

Initial costs can be as low as $0 if you design the interior yourself. Budget $500-1500+ to outsource creation and production.

Amazon KDP’s print-on-demand publishing takes the risk and overhead out of publishing journals. Creative designers can take advantage of this fast, lucrative opportunity.


  • Gio Watts

    Gio Watts brings over 10 years of digital marketing experience to his role as marketing manager at Walletminded. In his current position, Gio oversees brand marketing, campaign management, and audience growth initiatives. Prior to joining Walletminded, Gio held marketing roles at several ecommerce and SaaS startups, most recently serving as senior marketing manager at CloudTable Inc. There, he specialized in paid social advertising and content marketing. Gio holds a bachelor’s degree in business marketing from the University of Oregon. He is a certified content marketing specialist and frequently guest lectures at his alma mater. When he's not devising omni-channel marketing campaigns, you can find Gio coaching youth basketball and indulging his passion for live music.

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