FAQ: How to create a journal?

I am often asked how I created my journals. Not the actual content, but how I design, print and share everything. It’s reached the point where writing out the same response without ‘saving it’ has taken its toll and my flesh would love to shout ‘ASK GOOGLE’ to the next person who asks me how I create my journals…because that’s exactly what I did!

Before I briefly share my method, my cheeky, frank yet necessary message is: It is incredibly important to do your own research…please ask google, watch a ‘how to’ YouTube video. Embrace the trial and error process, because it is such a great way to learn and refine your approach to any task before you. I will share how I did things…but do not take my way as the only way or the right way. Finally, just because someone else has done something similar to what you would like to do, does not mean that you are exempt or disallowed from doing it too. No one will do it like you or have the same impact as you. Support those who have gone before you, but know that you are not limited to their creative expression.

Designing

I create everything myself! From the cover design, interior design, to the written content. I have always been resourceful and when I know that I have the capacity and the resources to do something myself, I will always choose DIY over outsourcing a task. These were my essential resources for designing:

  • Laptop/Desktop
  • Adobe Creative Cloud subscription (£) (mainly Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Acrobat Reader)
  • Microsoft Word
  • Patience

Nobody taught me how to use Adobe applications except YouTube and myself through playing around and learning via trial and error! So back to my first point…do your research, use YouTube ‘how to’ videos. I certainly won’t be detailing my entire designing process because I’m not a graphic designer, but I will point you in the right direction!

There are a number of free tools for designing covers (ask Google), however, for me, none have the functionality and options quite like Adobe Creative Cloud! It allows me to save my font type, colour palette and general settings, which cuts down my design time. The software is made for designing prints, which makes everything I create look clean, professional and fit for purpose. Moreover, Adobe allows you to create the exact measurements and settings required needed for the printers!

I used good old Microsoft word for the written content and simply converted it to a PDF file. I was then able to merge my exterior cover designs (which were in Adobe PDF format) with the written part of my journal to eventually create one file for printing.

 

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Printing

Printing my journals is the easiest part of the process, however, there are certain elements of the printing process which require close attention. Firstly, your essential resources for printing are:

  • Money (£££)
  • Printing company
  • Clear communication
  • Patience

Use Google to find printing companies in your area and send them your draft design to receive quotes on how much printing would cost per journal (+VAT)! In requesting a quote, you must be clear about how you want your journal to look, for example, whether you’d like it wiro-bound or saddle-stitch book bound; softback or hardback and so on. You must also have a fair idea of how man you would like to print as for most printers, the cost per journal decreases as the quantity of the order increases. Finally, you need money. Printing fair to high-quality journals is not cheap, so have your capital ready ahead of printing!

Selling

I sell my journals via Amazon UK and occasionally in person. It is very easy to set up an Amazon UK seller account (How to sell on Amazon) and they provide two options, which are:

  1. You provide the stock of products; in this case, journals, and Amazon will fulfil any order (ie. they will ship it, at a cost to you)
  2. You keep the stock of products and you fulfil the order by providing the postage and packaging which has been paid for by the customer. (Still, pay a small fee to Amazon per order)

I actually love to pack and post my journals. I use the Royal Mail Online Postage service, which saves me having to trek to the post office to buy stamps or join a queue. I haven’t thought about selling via eBay or creating an online store like ‘Shopify’, but these are also options if they fit your clientele. Finally, sell your journal at your chosen price! Factor in the time, effort and cost of production. My journals cost between £7-10 to produce; depending on how many I order in one stock order, the colours, additional foiling and so on. There are times when I give out journals at a discounted price, and there are times when they remain full price. Do as you’re led when it comes to ‘selling’. Obviously, don’t make a poor quality journal with a hefty price tag. Be wise.

So this is the part where I should say, ‘if you have any questions do let me know’. But I’m sure you all have gathered the gist by now. Ask Google! Haha, love y’all. God Bless all your endeavours!

Love,

K x

 

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