Learn how to print your own planner. In today’s video, I’ll show you my top recommendation for the best printer for planners if you’re just starting out with a small print run (less than 100).
Bulk Printing >1,000 Planners
If you’re bulk printing 1,000 planners or more, then check out my other video on How to Buy From Alibaba to work with overseas manufacturers in China. This is how Erin Condren, Whitney English of Day Designer and many others do https://youtu.be/dVO03zs0k8U
Professional Printing for Small Print Runs
Want to have spiral bound planners professionally printed for you like Chalene Johnson’s SmartLife PUSH Journal? Then this is the best printer for you.
Sell Your Planner on Amazon
Plus, they allow you to sell directly on Amazon from their site with print on demand options.
Do you have a book or planner that you would really like to have printed and sell, or maybe deliver as a freebie, or bonus content for one of your coaching programs, or one of your online courses? Well, I have a solution for you and it doesn’t include Kinko’s because I know that was probably your first thought and it doesn’t include going to an overseas manufacturer where the minimum order count is 1000. So, today we’re going to talk about my number one recommendation and why I didn’t recommend some of the others.
Hi, I’m Lisa from Pretty Fabulous Designs and I help online business owners create beautiful digital downloads using Adobe InDesign. Now, if this sounds like you, or something you might be interested in, make sure to hit the subscribe button below. I post new videos every Monday and Thursday.
Today we’re going to be talking about how to publish your books, whether that is a workbook, it is a planner, it is something small, you want it higher quality than what you can get at Kinko’s, but you don’t need to order in bulk of a 100, which is sometimes the minimum that is required by many printers over in China or in Vietnam or overseas where the prices are a little bit less expensive.
So, for me, I just wanted print out a 30 day planner, and this one actually has a stain on it, but I wanted to print out a 30 day planner and I didn’t really need a lot. I only needed 100 and I had tabs in here. Now, tabs, you’ll notice, if you don’t have tabs, I will say there were other printers I found that were less expensive and were just as good, but they were not able to create tabs. So, the ability to create tabs, especially in planners, is something that is, I wouldn’t say very difficult, but it was very challenging to find someone who would print tabs and also someone who would print colored tabs for me, right? So, my tabs were pretty involved. They had a quote on them and they also had text, obviously on the edge of the tab.
I looked at a ton of vendors and I never want to say anything bad about anybody, so I’m happy to share that in private if you PM me or ask me about somebody in the comments below, but as far as the best quality and finding someone whose really good at customer service because, let’s face it, it’s really important, especially when you have these smaller orders that you’re getting customer service because maybe this isn’t something you do all the time and it’s … If you’re ordering 100, it’s probably because you can’t afford to order 10,000.
I think it was, I don’t want to say it was John Lee Dumas, there was another guy who’s like this big online personality and he was interviewed by Joanna Penn recently and he said he ordered 30,000 books because he had $100,000 just laying around to do so. And because of that he was able to sell them all out and that’s great. And he was obviously able to make a profit because when you’re buying in bulk that high, you are making a huge net income, but for the rest of us printing out, even just 100 is very cost prohibitive just to our business and to our bottom line.
I went with Vervante. Now, Vervante, if you look at them in a … I’m going to share my screen … They were one of many people who do offer this as a service. It’s not just Amazon or IngramSpark, there are many people that offer this service. For some reason they still create CD’s and DVD’s and flash drives, as well. So, in here you’re going to want to go to either books, if you want a binding. So, if you want something that has more of a bound spiral, not a spiral, a stitched binding or glued in, you’re going to look at books. But, for me, I really wanted a journal or workbook. I know you’re thinking calendars, don’t go to calendars, that’s actually a wall calendar, that’s what they mean by that. And you’re going to go to journals and workbooks.
Now, in here they can create spirals, the only thing that I really wanted that they weren’t able to do was give me purple spirals or let me send in spirals like rose gold or do a metal, aluminum spiral, and they aren’t able to do that. They can only do the plastic spirals. They’re a little less expensive. I think, I could be wrong, but I think that’s why Chalene Johnson’s Smart Life PUSH Journal, she switched from a, more of a stitched. She used to have these really beautiful stitched planners like this, but I think to save money she switched over to these cheaper plastic coils.
These are so cheap and the reason they’re so cheap is because these break pretty easily. And when I say break, I don’t mean they’re going to crack, but what happens is they get bent. When they’re in your bag or your purse, the coiling falls out part way through. So you’ll notice the coil, sometimes, will be at the bottom and then that gets bent. So, they’re not meant for the long haul and they’re not meant to be very sturdy, if you have a ton of things in your bag. So, just something to keep in mind if you’re thinking, “I’m going to give someone a one year planner.” Most people don’t use their planner throughout the year, but if you’re giving them a one year planner, they’re going to be very unhappy, probably come month, even four, or five, it’s going to start fraying, it’s going to start showing. But, Vervante did an excellent job.
Now, my file, you’ll notice, all these pages lead to the edge. The color leads to the edge and in order to do that you need to make sure that you are creating documents that lead to the edge. So, you can’t use Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel. I mean, I suppose you can, it’s just going to look really, I think, it’s going to look really, really bad. Also, they did an excellent job on the colors and the shades. So, you’re going to have to make sure, when you send this file in, that you make sure you send a CMYK file so it’s print ready. So, don’t send an RGB file because that is for the computer and your colors may, I shouldn’t say you shouldn’t, but your colors may or may not turn out exactly the way that you want them to turn out. So, that’s something else to keep in mind, as well.
The text looked very crisp, everything was perfect. The only thing I would say is if you’re a little worried, I think I had another video where I showed you there was a huge mistake I made on the layout. So, I’m not sure if you can see this, but you can see this is wrong, right? The week does not start on Thursday and go to Wednesday. I clearly, this is the end of August and this is the beginning of September, so I had my two page spread incorrect.
Now, for a very, very tiny fee, I think it was $50, it really wasn’t a lot, you could have your file given to one of their in house graphic designers and that’s what I did, even though I am a graphic designer. I had everything created myself, but then for the final layout for printing, I gave it to their graphic designer because their already familiar with the standards and honestly if something were screwed up in the final production, they would be responsible and not myself. So, again, I think it goes without saying to make sure you order a sample copy just for yourself and understand that there is a huge lead time. So, don’t think, what’s today, today is Wednesday the 10th, don’t think you’re going to order it today and it’s going to be like Amazon overnight delivery. It’s going to take a while for the graphic designer to get done. They’re going to send you proofs back. You have to sign off on those proofs and then it will be sent off to be printed. And then it will be shipped to you. And there is a huge, significant cost to expediting that shipping because again, it’s not Amazon. I don’t know if you’re like me, I’m an Amazon Prime member so, I’m used to overnight delivery for free on pretty much everything. So, I know some of us get a little spoiled with that.
Just keep in mind it will not be overnight. I think the best lead time, for you, is to take an entire month. I know it sounds like a long time, an entire month, just to make sure you get the book right. That’s working with the designer. That’s looking at your proofs. That’s looking at the samples that are sent to you in the mail. And that gives you enough time to do at least two iterations and then have another month just to get the printing sent to you because they do have some delays on their end. They might have a big order coming in, you just never know.
That is my top recommendation. You need two months out, at least, for when you plan to have those books ready to go and ship out. Now, I’m not saying you can’t do pre-sales because we all know you can do that. In fact, I did pre-sales and created a video just with the sample that I had and that got the ball rolling for revenue to come in, even though I hadn’t put the final order in to have all the books shipped. That is something that you could do.
Now, if you are not doing spiral bound, they also do have stitching, like I said. And the other really nice thing that I liked about Vervante is they are hooked in directly with Amazon. So, when you list something with Vervante, and it’s a little more of an involved process I’m not going to get into today, they will list it for you on Amazon. And that’s both as a digital and as a physical book, so that it can be sold through them and you just have one sort of, I guess, dashboard for selling everything and you don’t have to open up separate accounts everywhere. So, that was a huge, huge bonus for me.
I hope that was helpful. And, if you want more options, especially about working with overseas manufacturers, or how to put those orders in and how to work with those vendors, then make sure you enroll in my planner design course where I teach you five weeks, all about just creating different designs. And then, a whole set of, I think it’s four different lessons, on just how to do production design and everything else that goes with it.
I hope that was helpful and I will see you guys next week. Bye.