If you are out there wondering, “What the heck should be the length of my nonfiction book? Short or long books, which is perfect for business? Can I even make a profit from both categories?” Worry no more; the answers you are looking for are right here.
I’m going to explain in detail the advantages of short and lengthy books, the sale differences between both of them, and in fact, make a detailed comparison. Today, you’d know exactly how long your Kindle Book should be. So let’s get right into it.
How Long Should A Nonfiction Book Be [Video Guide]
Comparison Table (My Recommendations)
|SHORT BOOKS||LONG BOOKS|
|Number of words||About 15000||About 30000 at least|
|Number of pages||80-100||160-200|
|Profitable niche||Cook and Diet guides||Business|
|Accounting and Finance||Real Estate
|Children’s books etc.||Relationship, self-help etc.|
|Use of Images||Yes||Yes|
|ACX||Less Profitable||Very Profitable|
|Timespan in Amazon||Short||Long|
Don’t wear a frown just yet. I would explain to you why I made these recommendations below.
On Short Books About 15.000 Words
I won’t lie to you; books with a shorter length can be bittersweet. Why did I say so? They are easier to write, edit, and publish. In short, the overall production is stress-free. In case you decide to have a ghostwriter team writing your books, they are produced faster and more cheaply.
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Now the problem (if any) comes when the book is a paperback.
Many customers expect to see a substantial number of pages for a book they purchased. When their order arrives, and they realize that the book feels light, they conclude that it’s a scam. Only a few of them take the time to go through the content before making conclusions.
For the many that get mad immediately, they rush to the review section and leave a negative remark. We both know how terrible negative comments can be for your book sales. For this reason, I recommend 15000 words. WITH THIS NUMBER, YOU ARE ON THE SAFER SIDE.
Which Topics Are Ideal For Short Books?
Short books often don’t work for all topics in the market. Many times, you require more content to explain things in more depth. However, some topics work exceptionally well as short books. They probably wouldn’t even work as well if the book was lengthier, this includes:
- Cookbooks: You can easily get away with a 15.000-word book. A cookbook of this length can have up to 80 recipes or more.
- Children’s books: Often, they are read as bedtime stories by parents or by children from the age of 6, and thus, their content should be straightforward and not monotonously lengthy.
These books should also have plenty of illustrations to make their content clearer and more enticing for their readers. Although, sometimes shorter books also can work if you are smart about your content. You can easily see this in the example shown below…
When you think about accounting, you probably assume you would need a super lengthy book to succeed. Still, you may see in this listing a short manual performing exceptionally well, such as:
- Accounting Made Simple: Accounting Explained in 100 Pages or Less (only has 100 pages)
The author was smart about his book content and was able to get away with a shorter book compared to the other ones listed. Also, customers can’t complain about the length of the paperback they received, or at least they shouldn’t, but we know how that works since the subtitle already describes the number of pages.
So, you shouldn’t view the size of a book as a black and white problem. You can reduce your expenses by smartly choosing an appropriate book title.
For LONG BOOKS About 30.000 Words
You can already tell that this would require more time and money to get those pages filled and published. On the brighter side, this is where the dough is. Long books are like gold mines because you can potentially make a massive amount of money worth more than your labor and cost.
The two reasons for this are:
- Long books make more money in Audible.com (I will later explain this more in detail)
- Long books often sell for more extended periods compared to shorter ones.
Besides, buyers believe that lengthier books offer more valuable content. Just the opposite of what we said about shorter books. I mean, have you ever heard complaints like “This book is way lengthier than what I wanted…”
Which Topics Are Ideal For Long Books?
The best part about long books is you can dive nearly into any topics you could imagine, such as business, spirituality, self-help, etc. You should also understand that having a long book isn’t always enough.
For example, ‘real estate’ is very profitable, but note that it is also competitive. So you should be sure to look out for that factor.
When I search for the keyword with KDSPY, I can see that all of the books there are super lengthy. A short book possibly won’t sell here because buyers compare yours with others, and think your book won’t offer much value. So, 15000 words short manual won’t work for every niche.
By the way, KDSpy is a useful application for your publishing business. With KDSpy, all the books appearing when you search for a keyword in the Kindle store are seen in a single window. Not only that, but there’s also information about the price, sales rank, and the number of pages (which is how I knew books on real estate only sell when they are lengthy) of the books. Check my KDSpy review here for more information about this great tool.
Short Vs. Long Audiobooks – Which One Is More Profitable?
ACX means Audiobook Creation Exchange in full. It’s an avenue to convert your books to audiobooks. Afterward, your audiobooks are promoted in Amazon, but also in Audible.com. Both platforms belong to Amazon. So with ACX, you have another stream of money for your books.
Although this is not too profitable for short books, you could still use it for children’s books. Now for cookbooks, hmmm… let’s say very few people enjoy listening to a recipe book. It’s not profitable because a 15000-word book amounts to a 1-2 hour narration, which sells for about $7-$10.
With ACX, you can make a ton of money from your long books. Long books equal more hours of listening, which automatically means more money. Another crazy way you can make money from your long books is by making audiobooks bundles. What do I mean by ‘Bundles’?
It’s combining a group of 2 or more of your published audiobooks in the same niche into one massive audiobook. Let’s imagine you have two books with about 3 hours each, once you combine both, you get one with around 6 hours. An audiobook this long would sell for about $25, as shown below.
The mistake some people make with audiobooks is that they decide to split royalties, and this is a bad idea! You should pay your narrator upfront, once and for all. If you adopt this strategy, whatever money you make from the audiobook would be for just you.
Which Book Size Should You Go For And Why?
Now we have some background on the market response for short and long books. If this is not enough to make up your mind yet, then let me share some nuggets to help you decide.
There is no minimum or maximum book-length.
With all I have said about the number of words and pages, I don’t want you to think there is a standard limit or something. It all boils down to what you want for your book or publishing business. I have observed that about 15000 words for short books and about 30000 words for long books are the best ranges for both categories. What I just did was give you a guide based on my experience with tangible reasons.
The most crucial factor to consider when you are deciding on length is the book niche you want to write on and the amount of money you are willing to invest. Here are a few extra tips to help you decide…
1) Your Book-Length Should Target Customer’s Satisfaction
You are not publishing those books to stack in your bookshelf and feel good. You are producing them to SELL! So when you want to publish a book, you want to consider those already selling. Let’s say most books listed for your subject have over 200 pages, then always ask yourself, “How can I help my readers?”
If you think you need to add more details or remove some things to make it right, then go ahead. Remember it is quality above quantity.
When you have a main keyword or niche, it’s smart to write a book to address a specific need in that niche. Do the research and find out what people want to know about that topic. This will give you hot sales. Remember that it is what is in demand that would be profitable. So you should know what the customers are asking for and proffer them.
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2) Use Images To increase Book-Length.
This tip here is a bonus. Images come to the rescue when you need to fill up space, and you have little content as children’s books, diet, and cooking guides are interesting niches for short books. You can quickly increase their size by adding relevant images. Everyone knows that children like colors. They find colors enticing and captivating. For cookbooks too, people want to see images showing how each dish looks before they cook them.
So it’s not about you trying to exploit people but giving the customers what they want. Do you feel me?
Advantages And Disadvantages
In addition to all that I said, let’s highlight the advantages and disadvantages of the two categories.
- Cost-effective: This is good if you are on a tight budget and don’t want to spend all your money in a book.
- Good for a start-up: If you are a newbie in the publishing business, short books are better. If anything goes wrong, you won’t lose so much money.
- Cheaper Audiobooks: shorter books have less narration time, and therefore, you make less money per sale.
- Short time in Amazon: After about six months, your book sales start dropping in Amazon. Of course, this isn’t always the case; for instance, with the “Accounting Made Simple” book I mentioned before, it has been selling for several years.
- Better sales: you justify selling your paperback at a higher price. You can make more money from them on Amazon. Even better since they have a longer duration in the kindle store.
- Extra buck from ACX: converting your long books to audiobooks is good for more sales. Mad ass profit when they are even in bundles.
- Last Longer: usually, these books sell for a more extended period in Amazon. Sometimes these books may sell for years to come.
- Expensive: The high cost of production.
- It takes more time to produce: Either you write them, or a ghostwriter company, these books take longer to get done.
In a nutshell, I hope I have been able to guide your decision and clear your confusion. Now that you know both categories are profitable in their ways go on, and be the publisher that you are! Oh..oh… but wait a bit, I highly suggest for you first to take a closer look at the following guides…
If you have any questions related to self-publishing, feel free to leave it right below. Thanks for reading.