What is the ideal KDP book-length when writing a non-fiction book? Is a long book better? 

Many would-be authors worry that readers will not take a short book seriously. In fact, the average nonfiction book on Amazon is 10,000 words, which translates to 80 pages. Many of the misconceptions on the ideal book-length are leftover from outdated publishing industry standards.  In years past, a thick book spine was the advertisement for the title on a bookstore shelf. It represented more shelf-space and made it more visible to shoppers. Not so today, especially when it comes to self-publishing. Most self-published books today appear online, and they get the same amount of listing space on Amazon as a 1200 page book.

Consider Writing A Series of Shorter Books 

If you’re writing about a lengthy topic, you might want to think about breaking your topic down into a series of shorter books. Rather than spending many months writing one long book, you can write several short books over a period of time.

While there is no minimum or maximum length for self-publishing on Amazon, I personally recommend at least 10,000 words for non-fiction. That said, if you can cover the subject effectively with fewer words, do that. The point is, your book should provide the information the reader expects. No more, no less.  Evaluate your book’s length based on your readers’ needs and the questions they’re asking. Don’t fill space just to have a certain number of words. Answer your readers’ most pressing questions and solve their immediate problems.

In the post, Secrets to A Speedy First Draft, I talked about my Note Card writing system for making your writing go much faster. If you followed that technique, go back to your stacks of note cards and see if you can organize them in different ways. Try to come up with a series of shorter book topics that you can self-publish on Amazon. For more tips, download my Faster Writing Cheat Sheet

Consider How Length Impacts Your Printed Book

It’s important to realize there are some page restrictions for printing and binding a paperback book. When setting up your print file on KDP, Amazon will notify you if your book is not thick enough for the title to appear on the spine. Also remember, a large number of pages means higher printing costs. That means you would need to charge a higher price in order to make a profit.

Position Your Book For Kindle Short Reads

Amazon does not make all categories available to self-publishers. You’ll see a list of category selections when you first set up your book on Amazon, and you’ll notice the open categories will change from time to time. If you write a high-quality short book, Amazon may automatically place your book in a restricted category called Kindle Short Reads. This is a hidden category that you won’t see among the category choices when first uploading your book to KDP.   A book is considered a Kindle Short Read if it takes the reader anywhere from 15 minutes up to 2 hours to finish it. The page count can go up to a hundred pages, or less.

Because this category isn’t open to everyone, it will have less competition. So, if you write a high-quality book that ranks in Kindle Short Reads, you may be able to target more categories, keywords and build a bigger audience more easily. When my books earned a spot in these categories, they ranked higher for certain keywords and categories. I wasn’t even aware Kindle Short Reads existed until the day I noticed my book was placed there, but I was happy to learn about it!

When writing your book, you can position your book to fit the Kindle Short Read parameters. Over time, if Amazon does not automatically place your short book in this category, contact Amazon Author Central and ask them to consider it as a Kindle Short Read. To do this, complete the Contact Us form on your Amazon Author Central Page. Make sure to include your ASIN (your book’s Amazon number) and specify if this request is for an ebook, paperback book, or both.  

Set Your Target Number of Words

By setting a predetermined length for your book, you’ll write smarter. You’ll avoid wasting time. You won’t write more than necessary, and you’ll eliminate extraneous information. When you have an idea of how long you want your book to be, you’ll write faster and more efficiently. To learn more, watch my video tutorial below.

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