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Ebook Answers #6 – How Many Pages Does My Ebook Need to Be?

If you’ve never written anything longer than a letter to grandma, the idea of writing an ebook must seem daunting. A huge barrier that you need to overcome… And I think a lot of that fear comes from the idea that your ebook has to be 100 pages long, or more. (I just heard an […]

If you’ve never written anything longer than a letter to grandma, the idea of writing an ebook must seem daunting.

A huge barrier that you need to overcome…

And I think a lot of that fear comes from the idea that your ebook has to be 100 pages long, or more. (I just heard an audio recording of a guy that took 10 months to write his book…LOL!)

I got this question from Donahue just a few days ago. He wrote…

Someone already asked my question…what is a good rule of thumb for length. I have seen 16 pages to 97 pages. My favorite is Triumph of the Stupid. (not just cause you wrote it).

Thanks, Donahue!

One thing I noticed instantly about this question was that the page count was relatively low. Several of the other questions had the count much higher.

And some of the other comments I received, from people who had actually finished writing their books, was that they had written over 200 pages. And I was on the phone with someone today who said the same thing!

200 pages!

I was astounded, actually.

Why?

Because an ebook’s value is not determined by it’s length. It’s determined by how well it solves the problem or completes the mission set out by the title and the marketing.

The book needs to keep your promise to your customer by providing the information.

And it needs to motivate the reader to USE the information.

So how long should an ebook be?

Exactly as long as it takes to do both of those things.

I can’t remember where I heard this, but the most valuable weight loss ebook in the world would be only three pages.

So what is in the three-page weight loss ebook?

Page 1: "You’ll be happier and healthier when you’re thinner."
Page 2: "Eat Less"
Page 3: "Move More"

Okay, so that’s a bit tongue in cheek (though I’m sure someone will actually do this some day). But it makes the point.

Now, I’ll tell you this…

You need to think like a marketer when you’re writing your ebook. And that means you need to look at this from your customer’s perspective.

And consumers really want one thing and one thing only…

To push a button and have their problem solved.

If you think about it, no one wants to go on a diet.

What they want is to be thinner.

And if you give them a choice between reading an ebook about a diet, and then having to actually DO the diet, versus taking a pill and waking up thin, they’d take the pill every time.

So let’s look at your ebook again.

If you are going to teach him to "quickly and easily make money in the stock market" or "build muscle fast" or "Drive a golf ball 50 yards further in 10 days", they’re NOT going to want to slog through 200 pages of content to do it.

At least, I wouldn’t.

I’m a busy guy, and I haven’t time to read 200 pages on 8 1/2 by 11 paper.

Do you?

I don’t think so. You want your solution QUICK, and if it seems like WORK, you’re going to say NO to the offer.

So do you think it actually adds value to say your book is very large?

I don’t think so.

If it were me, and I’d cranked out 200 pages on my topic, I’d start ripping out some of those chapters and making them into bonuses.

* I’d much rather read a 60-80 page ebook.

* Of course, I’d first read the 20 page quick-start guide.

* And then the three bonus books to take what I’ve learned to the next level.

BOOM! Did you see that?

We just turned our 200 page war-and-peace-sized monstrous ebook into a healthy 80 page ebook, and FOUR BONUSES!

Which do you think would sell better?

I agree with YOU. 

I’ve got more easy bonus-creation techniques, too. I teach them to my private consulting clients.

But I’m thinking of doing a quick webinar to teach you this, and lots more of my Big Money Ebook concepts. Here’s what I have in the course outline so far…

  • My two best writers-block crushers, so you never get stuck wondering what to write next.
  • The basics of building an ebook. How do you do it? What goes where?
  • 12 Easy ways to increase the usability and quality of your book.
  • How to reduce refunds and returns, and increase sales for your NEXT ebook or other product.
  • A video on how to use the ebook template
  • My 7 Best Methods for building the Marketing Into your ebook so the book sells itself
  • …and a long list of things that *might* make it into the course.

If there’s anything specific you want to know, let me know NOW what it is so I can include it for you. Even if what you want was already left in a comment by someone else, or I listed it in my quick outline, please repeat what was already written if it’s important to you.

Because if it’s important to you, it’s important to me.

So bring it on. Leave a comment below. Tell me what you need. Last chance — I’ve been getting great feedback from you all week.

To Your Success,

–Mark Widawer

P.S. I just realized that I didn’t tackle the question of "how short is TOO short." Well, I’m not sure there is a "too short". I have heard of 16 page ebooks selling for $100 dollars. It’s rare, but it happens.

Some information is VERY rare and VERY valuable.

Would you pay $100 for tomorrow’s winning lottery numbers? I bet you would. And you can do that in far less than 16 pages.

Interestingly, although that sounds like a joke, there’s some truth in there. If you build your ebook with the marketing inside, so that it is APPARENT that your customer will be better off WITH your ebook than his fifty bucks, they’ll BUY LIKE CRAZY!

That’s what my Big Money Ebook course is going to be about. Building the Marketing inside, and making it all easy and do-able.

Let me know what you need to know!

-M

 

15 replies on “Ebook Answers #6 – How Many Pages Does My Ebook Need to Be?”

You don’t even have to write anything, if you do it right. And I’m not talking about outsourcing.

Cindy Cashman made a fortune with a book where every page was blank.

It was called “Everything Men Know About Women.”
🙂

Hi Mark,

I sure am one of your fans!

I would like to know also how to promote and to prepare my E-books launch in the best way there is, through my list and in other methods.

Thanks,
–Ronen

Mark,
I would be interested in the course.

My question centers on pricing an ebook. Don’t you need to build affilliate commissions into the ebook price? What commission do you offer your affilliates? What’s the difference between a $47 ebook and a $97 ebook? (besides $50) Is it the hotness of the topic? The potential gain from acquiring the knowledge?

Look forward very much to the webinar. Please make it in the evening, not daytime. My questions relate to creating upsells for the e-book with videos.I am a highly trained dentist, and the first ebook is comprehensive. I am also publishing in paperback. I wanted to know whether, if the video is not ready, is it a mistake to promote it in the “sales page” for the e-book? When should one promote it?

Hi Mark,

I would like to learn this in addition to your listing.

Repeatable process for creating the content..starting with plr? researching amazon? buy clickbank and deconstruct products,etc
or is it best to start with blank slate?

Having been in my field for over 6 years, I wonder which aspect of my experience to write an ebook about…keyword research only, writing ad copy only, competitive research only.

Also is it necessary to create optin pages when selling low cost ebooks?
…and the following
* My two best writers-block crushers, so you never get stuck wondering what to write next.
* The basics of building an ebook. How do you do it? What goes where?
* 12 Easy ways to increase the usability and quality of your book.
* How to reduce refunds and returns, and increase sales for your NEXT ebook or other product.
* A video on how to use the ebook template
* My 7 Best Methods for building the Marketing Into your ebook so the book sells itself
* …and a long list of things that *might* make it into the course.
Best regards,Art

Arts last blog post..Writing Pay Per Click Ads using the Medicine Bottle Technique

I like the increase sales for the NEXT book.
Lauch is crucial. I agree with RD.

A quickie session should allow people to finish their ebook during the duration of the course. Maybe you set up pre-requisites like write down 3 things you are passionate about. Then you narrow it down to 1 by asking certain questions of elimination, then you think of X amount of chapter headings, all before you begin the course. Then during the course, people have very definite homework assignments each night, minimum 30 minutes 2X per day to take them through the writing of the book. Even if they have to go back after the course and add content through research, they will have their personal book with its framework intact.
Here’s a link to an article I need to turn into an ebook: Corporate Tai Chi article, 7 Elements to Show Why Five-Minute Corporate Tai Chi is Profitable Now

Diane Golds last blog post..Why Corporate Tai Chi Now?

Mark–I really touched a nerve!
I am the author of one of the 200+ page books!
It really is a book-book not an ebook but for reasons you will appreciate, the publishers don’t want books by authors without “platforms” (variously defined)

So I am going to go the Ebook route as well. And first. Partially to build a platform. But as I prepped both versions I realized even the intended bound book was too long.

I had already decided to break it up as you indicated–some of the chapters being ebooks themselves or bonuses but wondered whether it was sensible to even consider it as a whole, complete book for the Internet.
Sounds like it isn’t!

But the bonuses will work and so will mini websites offering the sequestered topics all leading to a main blog and website.
Thanks for the input!

I would love to know the best way to promote my eBooks. I don’t have much of a list yet… Only about 25 people b/c I’m re-starting my biz… I have lots of friends and family 🙂 Is it better to market it online somewhere or try to sell on Amazon or ….?
Loved your blog; great info!
Thank you!
Pamela

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