The ideal book length for self-publishing on Amazon may depend on your goals.

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 Many of the misconceptions on the ideal book length are left over from outdated publishing industry standards.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 are sold 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 and publish several short books over a period of time.

While there is no minimum or maximum book length on Amazon, I personally recommend at least 10,000 words for non-fiction, unless you can cover the subject effectively with fewer words. The point is, your book should provide the information the reader expects – no more, no less.  You want to evaluate your book’s length based on what your readers need and questions they are 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

Keep in mind 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 – which means you’ll need to charge a higher price to customers in order to make a profit.

Position Your Book For Kindle Short Reads

Amazon does not make all categories available to you as a self-publisher. 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 to finish it anywhere from 15 minutes up to 2 hours. 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 your short book is not automatically placed in this category, you can contact Amazon Author Central and ask them to consider it as a Kindle Short Read. You’ll need to visit the Contact Us form on your Amazon Author Central Page. Make sure to include your ASIN (which is your book’s Amazon number) and specify if you’re making this request 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 by writing more than necessary, or including extraneous information. When you have an idea of how long you want your book to be ahead of time, you’ll write faster and more efficiently. To learn more, watch my video tutorial below.

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