Short Is Sweet! This has always been my take – in non-fiction and fiction alike. Many readers today are reading on digital devices. They are not judging a book by how thick it looks on the shelf, an the physical dimensions of a book are no longer immediately visible. What counts is whats on the indie, under the cover. If you deliver there, in the most efficient and effective way, you will have a winner on your hands.
I see many people make the mistake of trying to put the world and her grandma under one cover.
The Benefit of More Touch Points Reaching Readers
If, in your non-fiction book, you have 10 points you want to make – why not create 10 short books and make one point in each? That’s 10 opportunities for people to discover your books on Amazon instead of just one. Take that one point and expand on it – come at it from several different directions. By the end of the book your reader will have grasped that point in full. Do the same for each point you want to make.
This simple strategy also then gives you the choice of wrapping them up into boxsets or packaged deals. Another touchpoint.
The Benefit of Also-Boughts and Interlinking
For fiction, I tend to write in series or collections. A series has some continuity that follows through from book to book. In a collection the books are standalone but have an overarching theme that tie them together. I have also played with the idea of a serial. In a serial the story continues from book to book with the same characters and story line. For me this did not work so well as having each book as a standalone read, but still connected to the next book. It really does depend on your genre, and the audience loyalty you have built.
Amazon also automatically link books specified to be in a series, and offer the other books in the series to buyers of any one of the series titles. Every book becomes a little sales person for the others. This alone is powerful.
The Time & Testing Benefits of Shorter Books
Short reads (10-20K words) also cost less in time and money to write or get written. They allow you to test and try a market without spending thousands of dollars. They are versatile and can be boxed in various ways.
It is definitely worth looking for sub-sub-genre markets that embrace these shorter books. It is a great way to quickly build a readership, and then you can offer some longer books to an already established fanbase whom you know will ensure your higher investment gets a good return.
Do be aware however that not all markets like short. This should be part of your research. Some genres expect epic tomes. It would be hard to sell short to these readers because their preferences disqualify you as a worthy read.
One place worth looking if you want to bypass some of the in-depth research for what categories you might target is K-Lytics. They have reports on specific genres, as well as a monthly option that opens new market research each month. Some of the reports are too detailed for my creatively wired brain capacity, but are a perfect place to start if you want a super-detailed overview of potential markets that you are considering.
Now, go write. Don’t overthink things. An audience is waiting to hear your voice, and it would be a shame to keep them waiting until page 788 is complete if 70 pages would be enough to get them started and primed for part 2.