One of the most common questions prospective clients and aspiring authors ask me is, “How long should my book be?”
It’s an important question with a simple answer: It depends.
Your book needs to be long enough to accomplish its purpose. For some books, that could be as few as 5,000 words; for others, it could be 100,000 words or more.
What does that mean in terms of pages? Again, it depends. You’ll get more words on a page if your book’s trim size (the page size) is 8″x10″ than you will if it’s 5″x8″. You’ll get fewer words on a page if your book includes a lot of illustrations or if it’s designed with wide margins.
The length of your book (words and pages) is far less important than its message and how readers are going to feel when they’ve finished it.
There was a time when book buyers were skeptical of thin books, so information product creators added to a book’s page count with a generous amount of material of questionable value (extensive glossaries, forms, references, appendices, and so on). Today, that can cost you readers and generate negative reviews.
Most people are on information overload. They’ve got far more to read, watch and listen to than they’ll ever have time for. That’s why you’re likely to have a much wider audience for a shorter book than a longer one—especially if you’re using a book as a business marketing tool.
Here’s what to consider about your book’s length:
Did it fulfill its promise by giving the reader the information you committed to provide?
Will the value your reader receives be worth more than the time it takes to read the book?
Is it well-written, clear, concise, and complete without a lot of extraneous fluff?
If you can answer yes to those questions, your book is the right length.