What Length Book Is It Best to Write?
I know, the obvious answer is to write books to the exact length that they need to be to best meet the needs of the story. No more. No less. This observation is only from the writer’s point of view.
From the publisher’s point of view there is probably a page length that produces the maximum profit at each given price point.
My question is from the marketing point of view. Especially from the point of view of an individual author and the choices she makes about book length.
As a marketing person, I would prefer to promote an author who writes five or six short books a year (160 to 190 pages) than an author who only writes one long book (400 plus pages) every one to two years.
Now this is only from a marketing view. An author who writes one long book every two years might be making a lot more money. I’m sure this will depend on sales and contract provisions. But let’s assume that both authors make the same amount of money on a per page basis. (Quite an assumption I know.)
Consider these marketing advantages of publishing frequent shorter books.
1. having more books published a year will generate more interest in the author.
2. more books generate more book reviews which generate publicity.
3. more books create more opportunities for current book signings. (The best thing about a book signing is the free PR you can get in the media with the book signing announcements. Perhaps 10 people come to your book signing while over 100,000 may see and read about your book signing which should include the title and your author tag. You do have an author tag, don’t you?)
4. a lower price for your book makes it easier to attract new readers. (Who would you be more likely to try: a new author with a $3.99 book or one with a $14.99 book?)
5. with more books you could have a greater selection of popular themes on the market quicker. This will give you more ‘hooks’ to pull new readers into your reading world. Some fans buy books by themes. (I love ‘Runaway Bride’ theme books.)
6. your books will ‘read’ faster and thus be more likely to be completed. If a new reader gives up on your book, that reader is much less likely to buy another one of your books. (This is especially true if your books are long and expensive.)
7. you’ll have more books on the bookstore shelves at any given time and this will help your point of purchase (POP) sales,
8. with more published books sooner, you’ll have more opportunities to sell from your backlist. The more books in your backlist, the more valuable your personal marketing efforts become. (For example: blog interviews.)
9. more new books coming out will generate more blog tours.
10. more frequent publicity creates the impression that you are a more popular author. It’s like being the resultant that is always full of customers.
11. a lower cost to buy your own books makes it possible to give more away as prizes on blogs. (How many books can you afford to give away at a cost of $3.00 each compared to one that costs $9.00 each?)
12. having a lot of books validates that a lot of people like your books otherwise why would the publisher keep printing them?
13. more books generate more opportunities to win awards. Winning awards generates publicity and a powerful reason why a new reader should give you a try. (I’ve bought books because they won awards.)
14. a prolific writer projects an image of someone who has something to say or has many stories to tell.
15. writing a lot of books moves you up on the desirability list of feature speakers at writing events. (You can give great speeches or have at least joined Toastmasters, haven’t you?)
16. the more books you have published the more chance you have of having one of them looked at for a screenplay.
17. the more books you have to sell, the more interested and accommodating a bookstore will be in hosting your book signings.
18. readers like to find new authors (to them) who have many books in print. If they like the author, they know there are many more books immediately available to read.
19. writing many books makes your research efforts all that more useable.
20. you are more likely to be an extra motivated writer because there is an excitement in starting a book and finishing a book. Since the 'sagging middles' are not as long, you’ll have a lot more magic writing moments a year!
What If You Don't Write Long Books?
No problem if you are as successful as you want to be. Otherwise I would suggest that you write a short book between long books. I think this could well make your long books better.