Thinking About Publishing a “Blank Book” (Journal/Diary)? THINK AGAIN!

Thinking About Publishing a “Blank Book” (Journal/Diary)? THINK AGAIN!

We received a manuscript at the other day that was actually very well-done. The pages were beautifully designed with pictures, swirly things, and beautiful quotes all around the edges. In the middle of each page were just…lines. It was a diary that buyers could write in.

And, unfortunately, we had to reject it. Any book that is primarily white space (or contained lots of lines) is considered a “blank book” in the industry. They are very easy to create because, let’s be honest, almost no writing is involved. Some we’ve seen have the exact same thing on every page. And, many just have lines.

I guess, at some point, self-publishers started flooding the market with these easy-to-design manuscripts. Also, some of the descriptions of the books weren’t on the up and up. The descriptions made it appear they were real books with, you know, WORDS, when they were anything but.

Awhile back, Amazon started refusing these books. Our printer and distributor followed suit. Since the one we received did indeed have beautifully designed pages, I sent it to our printer for a look-see. Our rep wrote back the next day and said, sure enough, it was considered a “blank book.” So, I had to reject it.

I’m sure some of our competitors would accept a manuscript like that, collect thousands from the author, and then tell them later they’re out of luck. We don’t do business that way.

If you do have a book that has space for people to write directly in the book, don’t make it in diary format, and only leave a bit of white space on a page. For example, you can have a section about, say, “my best boss ever.” You can fill up approximately 2/3rds of a page with paragraphs about that topic, and then leave an inch or two at the bottom for the reader to briefly write about his/her best boss. And, do NOT use blank lines. Having those is a sure-fire way to have your book labeled as a “blank book.”



Angela is not only the publisher of She is President & CEO of,
a self-publishing services company that has been in business since 1998. Ask her anything.