Chris A. Baird | June 12, 2020
What Is A Good Word Count?

There are a lot of writers who aren't sure about what exactly is the ideal word count. Take a look at how I started my self-publishing journey with this matter.

Today's question has three answers. The third answer is a secret that can cost you more money on your books, assuming you're going for a low word count. So the question that was sent into me was,
what is a good word count?

So when you're writing a book you have to decide, "am I going to write a book that maybe only has a thousand words or maybe 50,000 words?".

Or you're thinking "I need to crank out a lot more content to reach that minimal level so that the book that I put on the market is going to sell and not get negative reviews."

There's a whole series of things that you're going to want to balance here. When it comes to deciding on the word count.

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So let's get on with it. When I first started self-publishing, I wasn't quite sure what the word count should be. So I read several books and I watched videos and podcasts and took courses and things.

Some people would say that "no it needs to be 10,000 to 15,000 words". Another said, "if you do 30,000, actually less would be better, to break it up into multiple books".

There was a period where everybody was coming out with really short books. A thousand words or three thousand words somewhere in that range. Amazon was paying you per download of those books.

So people were making a ton of money off of very short books. And since then, it has become popular for many people to say 30,000 words is the correct link. I've actually tested out.

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I think my longest book was 60,000 to 80,000 words. And my shortest would be only maybe a single page. So it would be a thousand words as my shortest book.

It Depends On People's Preferences

So that was where I got started, testing out the different ones. Then, comparing for years and years the difference in sales between those books. To find out some answers to the question.

The first answer to this is it depends upon what the audience expects. An easy way to know is to look at your genre and other books that are just like yours. To see how many books each one of those is currently selling.

So the top sellers in your genre, how many pages do those books have in them? Often your audience is going to expect you to have at least as many as they have in those books.

And if you have a lot lower or a lot more, they can be frustrated one way or the other. Never making it through or feeling disappointed that the book was so short.

I was surprised by the 170 books that I have put onto the market. The 3000-word range books do incredibly well. Especially if you take the 3000-word books then group them into bundles.

So they tend to be making me more money than the long books at 25,000 to 70,000 words piece. Now, it may be the case in your genre or niche that you're writing books for. That people do expect it to be a lot longer, I'm dealing in the nonfiction niche.

Check out this related article: More Money With Paperbacks Or eBooks?

In the fiction niche, you sort of do need to get to them up to 50,000 range. That is from what most people have said, but in nonfiction, you can have short. People have a problem and they want you to solve that problem.

The secret is number three. It is if you decide to go for the low end of the spectrum on the word count, then you do not want to go under 3,000 words. And the reason is, under 3,000 words, you're not going to be able to have the books as paperbacks. 

Vital Contents For Readers

Paperbacks needs to be at least 24 pages worth of text and 3,000 words, assuming you're using a good formatting program. I use Jutoh. It's the best because you can have your Kindle format and you can have your paperback format altogether.

So you have to make sure you have 3,000 words. Then you're going to have a Disclaimer on your Copyright page and such and your front content. That gets you to your 24 pages but usually, it's about 28 to 30 pages.

I don't end up getting seeing a lot of one-star reviews against these books surprisingly. It is because people find the books helpful. The contents get in and it tells them something they're looking for.

Some sort of training for their puppies or maybe it's some vertical plant gardening or maybe you're dealing with another fad or a diet. Something that can be summarized very quickly.

Many of the readers get in there, they read these short books. They really enjoy it. You also can take these short ones and turn them into audiobooks.

Check out this related article: Are All Kindle Books Audio?

So there's no problem at all. And then you are paying less money for the production of those audiobooks. That also comes down to the amount of money you make on Audible.

If you compare coming out with 2,000 to 3,000-word books, as opposed to a 6,000-word book, you will see you'll make more money off those 3,000-word books, at least from my experience. Different people have different experiences on this.

Why don't you tell me what you've found? What length is the perfect length for your books? Have you found that you make more money off of the longer books or the shorter books?

Go ahead and tell me below in the comments and also check out my other blogs and videos for another answer to questions just like yours.

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