Recently I got asked this question, “What is the ideal length (word count wise) for my first book?” and I ought to answer it.
If you’re new to self-publishing on Amazon and wondering, just how much should I write for my Kindle book?
Then this post is for you.
I actually don’t think it matters too much, for a few reasons.
As a Kindle book buyer and reader myself, I don’t care about the length whenever I am looking to buy a book.
The only thing I care is whether or not the book would solve my problems.
Sure, I may get attracted by its beautiful cover (like I always do), or the sizzling title, or the irresistible book description and eventually buy the book.
But the book length?
That’s almost always the last thing I would consider when buying a book.
For you – dear authors, the only time you should take note about the word count is probably when you are hiring someone for editing and formatting because the more word count you have, the more the service is going to cost you. However, that’s out of our discussion today.
Let me explain this with a step further.
Say, you’re looking to buy a book about investing.
Both books are sold at the same price, would you rather buy a 50-page book written by Warren Buffett, or a 500-page book written by someone else?
I guess the answer is obvious?
(I know, you’re not Warren Buffett, we will get to that point later.)
My point is, you should concerned about producing good content first, rather than worrying about the word count.
The fact is, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) doesn’t have any hard rules on how long your Kindle book should be.
Really, no minimum nor maximum.
But they care very much about the quality of the books sold on Kindle Store.
By quality, I mean both the content and presentation. They have made it clear that all authors who publish on Amazon should pay close attention to their books quality.
Somewhere around 2013, one author shared a letter from Amazon on KBoards.com (one of the popular forum for Kindle readers and writers), that said, “Content that is less than 2,500 words is often disappointing to our customers and does not provide an enjoyable reading experience.” after his or her book was removed.
Does it mean Amazon has set a bare minimum to say all Kindle books published has to be at least 2,500 words? I don’t think so.
What it does imply is, again, it proves how much Amazon cares about their customers!
And what do the customers care most?
They care this,
“Does it worth it to spend X amount of money in buying Y? Will I get satisfied?“
Therefore, if a Kindle ebook is unusually short and badly produced with disappointing content – you bet – the readers would feel that they are shortchanged. And hence, they’re more likely to complain that to Amazon, so that they could do something about it.
Now, let’s get back to the point that you might just be starting out as a self-published author.
And you may still want to know what is a reasonable word count for your book.
Here is what Kristen Eckstein from The Book Ninja had to say about how long your Kindle book should be.
If the content is step-by-step and high quality, 15 pages is enough for a 99 cent Kindle book or a freebie used for lead generation. 15 pages of text at normal PDF page size is about 30+ pages of text on the standard Kindle. Add screenshots or other graphics and you’ve got a nice-sized eBook. — Kristen Eckstein
Take a typical 250-word per page, 15 pages of good content contains around 3,750 words.
Another recommendation by Tom Corson-Knowles from TCK Publishing.
Personally, I recommend at least 10,000 words for nonfiction, unless you can do it justice in less. For fiction, I recommend 5,000 words or more for short stories. For a novel, I would recommend at least 50,000 words in length. For a compilation of short stories, I would shoot for at least 30,000 words. — Tom Corson-Knowles
These are all good guidelines for you to follow.
The point is, you really can’t go wrong with the book length.
Get started, get done.
Then send your book draft to your editor or beta readers. (Wikipedia: Beta readers are not explicitly proofreaders or editors, but can serve in that context.)
If the feedback is that the book is too long, then break the content into more books; or else? Do the reverse!
Even if your Kindle book is live on Amazon, you may still take it down from the shelf, improve it to The New And Expanded Version and re-launch your book into the market again – at any time.
Having a too short or too long Kindle book isn’t a permanent irreversible mistake on self-publishing on Amazon. Period.
And now you have it:
1. Set your bare minimum to at least 2,500 words, or follow the guidelines above to start.
2. Go after quality. Focus on writing what is useful and valuable to your audience.
3. Let your audience and the market decide.
4. Adjust and make changes for the better.
How much do you usually write for your Kindle book?
Are you looking to write a “perfect length” for your book?
Let me know below!
Plus – Do me a quick favour: if you know someone who have been wanting to write a “perfect length” book, forward this on to them.