In September, I was curious about AI and jumped onto Youtube to see which platform was recommended for visual artists. I then stumbled across a Paul Marles video showing viewers how to use Midjourney and Canva to create coloring books to sell on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP.) Being quite spontaneous, I jumped right in and starting making coloring books that day. Two months later, I've made 23 coloring books and have them all posted on KDP where they are making a small amount of money most days.
It's been quite the ride so I'd like to share what I've learned in hopes of making your journey on KDP easier. (For those who have been asking, KDP is different than becoming a seller on Amazon and selling products. KDP allows users to create content that Amazon publishes upon an order.)
First things first, fair warning that your cut of the royalties is quite small. For my each of my Space Series books, I include 40 images on 8.5 x 8.5 white paper. For these specs, the printing cost is $2.84 a copy. Currently, each book is posted on Amazon for $7.99, and for each sale, I receive only $1.95 as my portion of the profit (25% of the listed price.)
Secondly, setting up a base of clients to get ratings, reviews, and a better spot in the listing is tricky. You have to find as much of a niche as you can while making sure there is still a market. And then it seems you have to dabble a bit in advertising. I started by just asking my friends and family to purchase and leave reviews and ratings. While there were many generous purchases made by my caring community, very few left the ratings/reviews that were the vital part. So I tried an Amazon Ad since they offered a $100 promo. It was a bit of headache to actually get the credit applied to my account, but in the end, I spent around $8 of my own money to make around $55 in profits, so that was a helpful exercise. However, despite far more purchases I'm still lacking in reviews and ratings.
Thirdly, if you'll be using AI to generate some of your coloring images, it's more difficult than you think. I'll be writing another blog on that soon! My best tips are to find what prompts work for you in as few words as possible so that AI can focus on the unique element of the prompt. For example, writing "no shading" doesn't seem to work yet so you might as well leave that out of the prompt. Toy around with the differences for you with "black and white" vs "no color" vs "vector image" etc. The element that tripped me up was missing "AI Oopsies" and only realizing after I received my own copies of the coloring books that there were horses with 5 legs and dogs with 5 paws or birds with 1 leg. AI is learning and growing and will probably be able to do these things soon enough, but for now you have to be vigilant in your visual checks of the images. And if possible, avoid hands. Dear goodness the hands [rubs forehead stressfully!]
So my first three months have been a mixture of experiences, but I would say I'm still keen to keep learning and creating. So far, I've only netted $131 in royalties. Keep in mind that I've spent around $80 for Midjourney and advertising. My hope is that this endeavor is a slow burn as making $50 over 3 months of hard work is obviously not worth the time put in as of yet.
So here's to the journey and tinkering with what works!
Being a lifelong learner means intentionally seeking out experiences that enforce growth and personal development.