As you get ready for the new year, it might be a good time to think about ways to add more products to your catalog. Easier said than done if you’re primarily selling books, I know. That’s why I suggest you create a notebook. Or two. Or three!
Print-on-demand is making it easier and easier to give your buyers a wider variety of options. So even if your primary goal is to sell your book, also selling a notebook (or one of hundreds of other products) is a great way to supplement those sales.
And thanks to templates and easy-to-use design tools, publishing and selling a notebook is simpler than ever before.
Why A Notebook?
Notebooks, journals, and planners are books meant for consumption. No, please don’t try to eat a notebook or season your journal. By consumption, what I mean is that you use them and then you need another one. When a fan buys your book, that’s it. They’ve got it. Unless they really want to send a copy to a friend or something, there’s little chance that readers will buy from you again until you publish something new.
But publishing a full book takes time. Months if not years. You risk losing that reader’s interest and you certainly aren’t making any money from them while you write your next masterpiece.
That’s where secondary products like merchandise and supplemental works come in.
So what kinds of notebooks should you add to your online bookstore?
Notebook And Journal Ideas
If you read the title and thought “how is this dude going to come up with 8 different kinds of notebooks?” you should buckle up. Most of the variations will center on different interior layouts and/or adding guided sections.
But the constant will be your cover. One of the cool things about a custom notebook is that we carry them around. Take them out at random places to make a note or check a list. Your notebook cover is marketing gold.
Don’t skimp on your notebook cover. Use it to highlight alternative art for your book’s cover. Or to showcase a character or place central to your novel. Make it unique and memorable so your readers are excited to show off your covers for you.
Let’s start with the most basic kind of notebook—plain lined pages.
Lined notebooks are the classic way to write just about anything. From your next bestseller to a grocery list, lined notebooks will never go out of style. This is why creating a simple, lined notebook might be the perfect way to promote yourself and your products.
Remember that notebooks (of all kinds) are often meant to supplement your other products. They’re an ‘add-on’ like the candy and magazine racks clustered around the register at a grocery store. I’ll repeat this (and probably will again before this post is done): your notebook is all about conveying your branding through the cover. Lined notebooks are incredibly useful and are plentiful. Make yours stand out.
Notebook Denim Snake Design
This is a classic notebook, a wonderful multi-purpose journal for sketching, wrote down thoughts or notes.
Blank Or Dot Grid Pages
Right up there with lined notebooks are the blank or dot grid style interiors. Again, you’re creating something with a simple, useful interior that’s meant to promote your cover art.
Blank pages are great if your audience is creators themselves or if art/drawing is inherently connected to your other products. And dot grid interiors are growing in popularity because they afford versatility—you can both draw and write easily along the grid lines.
Along with plain-lined notebooks, blank and dot grid notebooks are what I think of as ‘basic’ interior designs. They’re largely meant for anyone to use for almost any purpose, from taking notes to doodling to journaling. If you’re adding your first run of notebooks to your product catalog, starting with one of these kinds of notebooks is a good way to gauge your reader’s interests.
Purple Pages Bullet Journal
100 Dotted Purple Pages For journaling and writing
PocketFocus Notebooks are single-project notebooks for designers, marketers, artists, project managers, and anyone else that likes to keep things organized, one project at a time.
Okay, from here on out, we’ll look at some specific kinds of notebooks you can offer. Planners are a great additional offering if you sell productivity or inspirational content.
Despite our smartphones often providing more versatile ways to stay productive, planner notebooks are still very popular. One reason that I still write all my to-dos and daily schedule by hand is that I find them more interactive and thoughtful. Committing pen to paper is (sort of) permanent. I can dismiss that reminder to work out or clean the gutters, but if I write those tasks in my planner, it’s not going anywhere.
Planners aren’t going anywhere and there’s a huge segment of people who rely on them. So if you have some overlap in your audience with the kinds of people who like to keep a planner, you should consider offering one with your own unique cover.
This is also a chance to design the planner yourself (or to work with a graphic designer to do so). Do you need more space to write tasks each day or do you prefer a monthly grid with boxes? Do you prefer a couple lines for notes or a couple pages?
This is your planner and you can customize it to reflect your own style–something your fans may well appreciate having an insight into.
The Cicely 2022 Planner
This 2022 planner starts with a year overview spread, followed by a full calendar spread for each month and daily planning pages with two days per page.
General planners are cool, but what if you could offer a niche planner that is also tied in with your other products? The more unique and specific to your audience, the more likely they’ll find your planner useful!
You can see from the examples below that anything you’ll do repeatedly can lead to a planner. And since this is your task-specific planner, there’s no reason you can’t use it to speak to the value of your other books or products. If you sell cookbooks, you could offer a meal planner. If you sell fitness clothes, a daily workout log.
The key with task-specific planners is to really zoom in on what makes your product unique and connect that to something your readers do regularly.
An Author’s Journal & Field Guide
This guided journal includes sections and prompts for creating characters and scenes, developing your plot, and recording the elements that go into creating the world within your book.
Plant Care Journal
Plant Care Journal – Keep Track of your House Plant Collection by On Ya Garden® This Plant Care Journal will help you be an organized Plant Parent!
U.S. National Parks Planner
National Parks Planner: This is the first step in planning and organizing your US national parks adventures.
If you’re selling books, it’s probably safe to assume your readers like to read. Yes, there are plenty of ways to track reading online, like Goodreads or StoryGraph. But some people really like to track their reading by hand.
A reading journal is also a fun and simple way to promote your own books – either through quotes, art, or even adding pages specifically for recording your books.
Quickly and easily recapture moments of inspiration. Remember books and authors that have added shape to your worldview. Index life-changing quotes, who said them, and what book they came from.
Love to read? Keep track of the books you’ve read and your reflections with this Reading Journal.
If you’re a writer–and if selling books is your thing, you’re a writer, trust me–then one of the most important exercises you can do is to write every day. Professional athletes don’t get to the top of their game by playing pick-up on the weekends with their friends.
There are lots of great online and app-based options to help you write. Daily Prompt sends writing prompts to your phone every day to help keep you on track.
But, if you like pen and paper like me, you’ll love a daily writing journal. These can be simple, like the lined or dot grid options I talked about earlier. But if you’re trying to offer something unique for your audience and you know you’ve got some writers in your following, a custom daily writing journal will be a great addition to your catalog.
The Profitable Author 2022
The 2022 Profitable Author Planner is every writer’s MUST HAVE planner for the year! Set goals, establish good daily writing routines, and keep yourself on track for promoting your next book. This planner is where it’s at.
A guided journal is pretty similar to a daily writing journal, though I think it’s worth noting that guided journals are great for a more general audience. If your followers are interested in self-care and mental health, guided journals are terrific notebooks for them.
The beauty of a guided journal is that you can plan it around your reader’s interests. Are you an artist who sells guides to draw? A guided daily sketch journal might include simple prompts or lessons for each day to help your followers develop their skills.
A lot of guided journals focus on mental health, personal growth, and empowerment; all things we work on regularly. Crafting your own guided journal for growth and health might be the perfect way to resonate with your audience. Just find the connection between your own work and the journey your guided journal will take readers on!
Another popular kind of guided journal is prayer journals–a place for your followers to better understand your take on spirituality and to engage with the religious texts that are important to you.
2022 Self-Care Planner
This is my 9th year creating the Self-Care Planner. It encourages you to take care of yourself and focus on yourself with self-care ideas, journaling prompts, and a monthly self-care check-in.
The Mental Health Journal
An immersive experience that will help you change your life, one thought at a time. This 30-day journal teaches you to go deep within to discover the answers that lay dormant inside of you.
Last on my list of suggested journals are trackers. A tracker journal is a lot like a planner but with a specific daily (or otherwise regular) task specifically in mind. Trackers are often most useful for fitness or dieting, as it creates a concrete record of the work you’re doing.
When you create a notebook focused on tracking a single activity, you’re giving your audience a highly-specialized tool they can use every day. Again, that’s our goal here; to give your followers something from you that they can consume, that they want to use every day even when they’re not reading your books or using any of your other product offerings.
Your dreams can benefit your everyday life, but how often do you remember your dreams after you wake up? Most people forget their dreams just five minutes after waking.
This Yoga Journal is designed to support and motivate students of yoga in their practice. 120 pages. 6″x9″. Pink and Beige with Watercolor Poses.
Notebooks Creating Connections
Reading and writing are both solitary activities. You labor over the keyword creating the book and your reading sinks into the work privately. While this connection is incredible and vital to your success, it’s a (figuratively) long-distance relationship.
Journals, notebooks, and trackers give you a way to offer something active to your followers. For example, if you write cookbooks and create a meal planner or recipe tracker for your followers, they can enjoy tracking their own cooking journey. Maybe you prompt them to share stories and pictures on your social media and BAM you’ve got a personal, direct connection with those readers.
If you’re an author or entrepreneur, you should consider the many benefits of adding a notebook to your catalog offer. They’re (relatively) easy to create, cost little or nothing to offer, give you a new revenue stream, and (most importantly) offer your readers something unique from you that they can use in their day-to-day lives.
Paul is the Content Marketing Manager at Lulu. When he's not entrenched in the publishing and print-on-demand world, he likes to hike the scenic North Carolina landscape, read, sample the fanciest micro-brewed beer, and collect fountain pens. Paul is a dog person but considers himself cat tolerant.