I received this question after a post last week titled, 5 Costly Ebook Mistakes to Avoid. One of the mistakes we mentioned was making your ebook too long.
This post answers the question about ebook length.
But alas, it’s not as easy as saying, “Make your ebook 100 pages.”
The answer to the question, “How long should my ebook be?” depends on why you’re writing the ebook and for whom.
Decide why you’re writing the ebook
If you are writing your ebook to use as a sales promotion or giveaway on your website, then 5-20 pages is a good length. If you are writing it to sell, then 30-120 pages are ideal for a nonfiction ebook, depending on how much information you are sharing. If it’s a sales promotion you are using on your website, for instance, then you may be sharing information in a general way. The aim there may be to introduce readers to the subject. So the length should be shorter.
If you are selling the ebook, you may be interested in sharing more specific information. Your ebook may include anecdotes, research, graphics, etc. In this ebook, you may be more interested in showing someone how to do a certain thing or laying out a compelling argument for a certain viewpoint. It may take you 100 pages to do that properly.
If you are converting your printed book into ebook format, then that ebook may be a bit longer than if you were writing an original ebook from scratch. That is because printed books tend to be longer than ebooks. So if you are doing a straight conversion with no revisions, then the length would be the same as the original. But if you use the conversion as a time to update the book and edit, lean toward reducing the page count.
Who will read your ebook?
Another consideration when writing an ebook is your audience. Are you writing for busy professionals who want to get in and get out? Are you writing for beginners who don’t mind taking a little more time to read and learn how to go about doing the thing you are teaching? Are you writing for a casual user or someone who has already invested a lot of time and effort in learning this topic?
You want your reader to perceive she has gotten good value from your ebook, but you don’t want the book to be so long that she stops reading.
Are you writing a novel instead of nonfiction? A novel contains a story that must be fully developed and told in a way that doesn’t leave the reader confused or feeling as if the story was incomplete at the end. So a novel will be longer than a nonfiction ebook, typically. It needs to be long enough to tell the story. Even so, don’t make your first novel 400 pages. In most instances, that means you’ve written way too much, so you need to go back in and tighten it up.
Readers tend to stay with ebook novels, but will read nonfiction ebooks off and on, or stop reading altogether, according to a recent report.
Determining why you’re writing your ebook and for whom you’re writing it will help you decide how long it needs to be.
What ebook length do you usually like to read and why?