As a self-publisher, I've written over 50 ebooks and have been selling them online since 2002. This was long before self-publishing became as popular -- and profitable -- as it is nowadays. And with e-readers like the Kindle and Nook selling in the millions every year, there's never been a better time to pursue your self-publishing dreams. There are many twists and turns in the road for aspiring authors and one of them is, "How long should an ebook be?"
I get a lot of questions from new self-publishers about this very topic. One emailed me the following:
I wrote a paperback then made a copy in epub. Both on Lulu. Short novel, 30,000 word or so. After reading how many books you write per year, I just wondered as to the length or word count of these books? I published two smaller ebooks on Kindle few days ago. 3,000 worder and 4,000 words respectively. So my question is what would you consider the minimum word count for an ebook?
So, Just How Long Should an Ebook Be?
There's no across-the-board answer to this question. In my experience, it mainly depends on a couple of factors, eg, (i) genre in which you write, and (ii) what you're writing about (ie, your topic).
For example, I've written over 50 ebooks in the "how-to, non-fiction" genre. Most of these are on subjects I'm intimately familiar with, eg, self-publishing, freelancing writing, SEO copywriting, and internet / affiliate marketing. They tend to run 40 and 60 pages. As far as word count goes, that's between 10,000 and 15,000 words; roughly 257 word per page.
I've written almost 30 fiction (mostly romance) books to date. One of my best sellers was right at 10,000 words. Most of my romances are in the 15,000 to 30,000-word range. You can see all available FICTION titles here.
As an aside, I don't think about how long an ebook I'm working on is gonna be. I simply write until I feel like I've addressed the topic at hand in sufficient detail. As it happens, most of mine tend to fall in the 40 to 60 page range (for non-fiction). This length seems to be optimal for the niche topics I cover in my how-to ebooks.
Out of curiousity, I Googled the topic of "how long should an ebook be" and found various responses, ranging from:
Short non-fiction ebooks might be as little as 24 pages (6000 words), while longer ebooks are often between 10,000 and 20,000 words [Source: WarriorForum.com discussion on how long an ebook should be]; to
From 30 pages to 100 pages-that is the "average" size for most eBooks for sale online. This is usually long enough to be impressive but short enough to keep your audience enthralled throughout. [Source: WordsYouWant.com]
Writing an Ebook: The Bottom Line on Page Count and Publishing One That Sells
Readers purchase ebooks for many reasons, eg, to be transported by a story (fiction); or to learn how to do something (how-to, non-fiction).
Hence, how long your ebook should be is not the central issue. The more important thing to focus on when writing an ebook is to know your audience; your reader base. Try to determine their demographic, eg, how old they are, education level, gender, etc. And yes, this type of stuff will take some digging (clue: start interacting on social media to get to know your target audience).
Once you know something about your potential readership, it will help to clue you in as to why they are likely to buy your ebook. Then, give them a quality product that fulfills their need. If you do this, you'll find success writing ebooks that sell - no matter how long or short they are.
About the Author: Yuwanda Black has been in the publishing industry since 1987. She heads Inkwell Editorial Publishing, an independent publishing firm that specializes in novellas (short novels) - romance, erotic romance and crime. She is also the webmster of InkwellEditorial.com, one of the leading sites on the web for how to start a successful freelance writing career. Ms. Black is the developer/teacher of a seminar for aspiring self-published authors: How to Self-Publish an eBook for $0.
Connect with the Author: Learn more about Yuwanda. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.
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