It is no surprise that while everyone is stuck at home during this time that book sales across the board when it comes to low content books are down.
Many of the books that we end up creating and selling are planners, log books, journals… all for specific hobbies and professions. It is hard to sell those when people are not actively OUT and doing those hobbies or leaving their house to go to their 9-5 job.
While everyone is trying to keep busy at home, the one thing that we are seeing a drastic uptick in sales from is ACTIVITY BOOKS! It keeps your mind active, makes you less bored, and they are cheap to purchase off of Amazon. We should probably also mention that Amazon is currently shipping these without month long delays!
So, what is an activity book? An activity book is simply a book full of different types of puzzles all mashed together into a single product. These are not full sudoku books, or books full of mazes. Think of an activity book as 1 page of sudoku, followed by a word search, followed by a maze, followed by a kakuro puzzle. Rinse and repeat, change it up, make them unique, and then come up with a stunning cover to put up on Amazon and BAM, you have a new product that people are actively buying.
The issue though, is that puzzles can take FOREVER to create manually. If you don’t believe us, just sit down and try to create a sudoku puzzle by hand. After about an hour, come back to this article.
Today, we want to show you how to create these activity books, and NICHE them down by going the extra mile. This method will allow you to put them together and include a little something extra that will make your book stick out in the results when a customer actually lands on your product.
Step 1: Creating Your Puzzle Interiors For Your Activity Book
We have already decided we don’t actually want to create the puzzle interiors by hand. What we are going to do is create a bunch of puzzles, and then tweak the interiors slightly to make them niched down and standing out from everyone else on Amazon!
Book Bolt recently acquired a software called PuzzleWiz.io. This software allows you to generate these puzzles with the click of a button.
This software is INCLUDED in your Book Bolt account with a 2 month free trial. So before we go any further, either log in to your Book Bolt account, or grab one here: https://bookbolt.io/pricing/.
Once you have an account, go to your subscription settings page from the upper right hand corner, and activate your free 2 month trial of the software! Then, all you have to do is click the link, and log in with your Book Bolt credentials.
Once you are inside, you will notice that it includes multiple types of puzzles that can be created, many with just a single button click. Puzzles like Sudoku are all created in the backend with math, and then kicks out the puzzle for you. Other puzzle types like Crosswords are going to allow you to upload your own words to create the puzzle. This way, each and every puzzle you put into your book will be unique!
So, let’s start with Sudoku as the first puzzle we want to include in our activity book.
Select Sudoku, and you are presented with the different options:
You will have a few options to select. For this example, I am going to select Bleed, 6X9 (as this is the book size we are going to create), as well as double sided or single sided and the number of pages.
Since we are going to do an activity book, simply select a SINGLE page for the puzzle (no need to do more, as we are going to create different puzzles to mash up in a single product).
From there, you can select the font that you want from the drop down menu. These are all Google fonts and available for commercial use.
Finally, select the difficulty and the type as you want them to be on the page.
You have the option to include solutions, match puzzle and solution page numbers and add page numbers to the interior. We are going to SKIP this option, because we are going to be manipulating the interiors once you download them.
Click on submit, give it a few seconds, and out pops your puzzle!
You will see a green bar at the top that says when it is done. Simply click that link, and you will be able to download your puzzle!
Step 2: Repeat Step 1 For All Your Puzzles
For the second step, you need to decide how long your activity book will be. I would aim for 25-50 different puzzles at first which makes for a good sized book that you can sell at a decent profit margin without paying KDP too much.
Download each of these as a 1 page to your computer. Once you have all the other puzzles together, we can move on to putting these together and making them stand out.
For this example, we are going to use the Sudoku, the Maze above, and this Kakuro puzzle…
Creating these puzzle interiors with PuzzleWiz took all of a few minutes instead of the mind numbing frustration you would go through doing them manually. Not bad!
So, now that we have all our puzzles downloaded to our computer…
It is time to start creating our interior.
Step 3: Creating Your Activity Book Interior
Now, if all you were doing is creating a simple PDF and want to merge them all together into one book, you could use the free tool that Book Bolt put out for combining PDFs here:
This works incredibly well for most simple low content books, but we are going to kick it up a notch.
To do this, we are going to use a free tool that everyone has access to: Google Slides.
Google slides is basically power point but free from Google.
Go to Google Slides from the link above, and click the blue “Go to Google Slides” button.
Click on the “Blank” option to open up your first slide!
Once you are here, you will see this. It is CLEARLY not in the right dimensions for the 6X9 book that we want to create.
To fix this, go to file -> page setup
Once you click on page setup, a new box will appear. Use the little drop down menu to select “custom” and then enter in your dimensions. Since we are doing a 6X9 book, that is what you want to add here.
Once you are done, click apply!
This looks better! Now, simply drag and drop your cursor over all the text to select it and the boxes, and hit delete so you get a fully blank page!
Now that everything is gone, we can finally get to creating our interior.
Inserting Your Puzzles Into Your Activity Book
Remember those nice puzzles we downloaded with PuzzleWiz? They download as ready to upload PDFs directly to KDP. However, we are working our magic on them and using Google Slides and it just so happens that Google Slides only allows you to upload images!
To fix this, we are going to use a free tool. You see, we could always convert the PDFs to PNGs… but then they would have a white background on them, and that would not look right.
So, let’s convert them to TRANSPARENT PNGs that we can use anywhere (including the Book Bolt Designer).
The first step is to actually convert the PDFs we have (puzzle interiors) to PNGs.
I like to use this tool: https://pdf2png.com/. Simply upload your file, it will convert, and then download it.
Now that we have the PNGs, we have to turn them into transparent PNGs so that they do not have a colored background.
To do so, head over here:
Simply drag the PNG you just downloaded in, let it convert, and download it again.
Now, we have all transparent PNG’s of our puzzles that we can add to our interior.
HOWEVER, we still need to make sure that we are niching down our activity book!
Hopefully you picked a niche, because before we add these puzzles to our interior, we are going to spruce it up.
Let’s go with farm animals as an example. So a farm animal activity book. That sounds like a good niche, and will work well with this example.
Giving Your Interior That “Something” Extra
To do this, find yourself an image or a background that you will be adding to your interior. Since we are going to be using Farm Animals, here is what I have selected:
We are going to be adding a background to every single puzzle to stick with our theme!
The reason this is important is that it sets us apart from EVERYONE else. When a customer clicks that “look inside” button on Amazon, they will see that we have a nice customized interior that is relevant to the niche that they are looking at.
So first, grab yourself the background images that you want to use. Once you have them, head back over to Google Slides.
Go to insert -> insert image -> upload from computer…and select the file.
NOTE: These MUST be PNGs for them to upload correctly to Google Slides
Simply drag the image until it fits the entire interior!
Now that your image is over the entire page, click on “format options” in the top menu:
This will open up a bunch of options on the right hand side. Since we are doing a book interior here and do not want to pay for colored interior pages, under “recolor”, change this to black and white (it will be the first option).
Next, select the drop down under “Adjustments”. We want to be able to see the puzzle we will upload here in a second, so we want to turn the transparency on our background WAY WAY up!
Notice how the image is outside of the “boundary” of the interior. This is 100% okay because when you download it, it will be within the lines only and everything outside of the interior will be cut off.
We have the transparent turned up now, so let’s add our puzzle!
Adding Your Puzzle
Go back up to the top hand menu and select Insert -> Image -> Upload from computer. Upload the TRANSPARENT puzzle PNG.
This will add the image and put it perfectly on your new interior.
That looks pretty good, is readable, the background is transparent enough, and is niched down!
Do this again and again for each page. Here is another one with pigs in the background!
For the Maze page, I decided to add a little bit of text to the top (which you can do by clicking the “T” in the upper right hand menu), as well as adding another image to the interior.
These small things really make it look a LOT better and as soon as the visitor on Amazon clicks look inside, they will want to pick up this book.
OR better yet, we can change it up so it makes a little bit more sense…
Repeat this process until you have all of your pages complete for your activity book.
Step 4: Download Your Interior
When you are done with all of your puzzles and tricking them out so they look excellent, you are ready to download everything.
Go to file, download, and then download it as a PDF Document! This is what you will upload to KDP so you do not run into any issues. If you download it as anything else, it will not upload.
And just like that, you have an amazing interior that is unique, stands out, and is different from everyone!
Step 5: Create Your Cover and Upload To KDP
All that is left now is to create a stunning cover and upload everything to KDP!
You can create a cover inside of your Book Bolt account by going to the designer in the upper right hand corner menu:
Once you have created a cover, you are ready to upload your brand new book to KDP!
Wrapping It Up
YES, this looks like a lot of work, but after you do it a couple of times it becomes a LOT easier and a LOT faster.
That little bit of extra effort you put in right now is going to pay off over the long haul as your books will truly stick out with their uniqueness. This ALSO allows you to price them a bit higher and play around with advertising (AMS).
Give it a shot! Use PuzzleWiz to create your puzzles, and then spruce them up a bit with NICHE backgrounds.
After your first couple of books, you will notice that sales start coming in and you can build off of that foundation!
Good luck out there.