3 Solid Reasons Why Small Books Sell Better than Big Books

3 solid reasons why small books sell better than big books ... one of which even James Patterson openly agrees with

3 solid reasons why small books sell better than big books … one of which even James Patterson openly agrees with

How long should a book be in order to be considered a legitimate book by readers? 30,000 words? 60,000 words? 90,000 words? Even more? How many chapters long should it be? 10, 15, or more? Which old wives’ tale has you filling your manuscript with extra (not necessarily useful) information just to meet someone else’s theoretical and unsubstantiated recipe for success? Here are 3 solid reasons why small books sell better than big books … one that even mainstream author James Patterson openly agrees with.

3 Solid Reasons Why Small Books Sell Better than Big Books

With non-fiction books of any kind, your number one priority is to understand your readers’ question/problem, and then answer/resolve it for them as clearly and simply as possible. Where fiction and poetry are concerned, you want to entertain readers and help them escape from reality for a while.

No matter what kind of book, the trick is to stop people running through their busy lives and pay attention to your message. In this day and age filled with distractions in every direction, brevity is your key to success.

Reason 1: You’ll Appeal to a New Audience of Non-Readers

Even mainstream thriller author, James Patterson, has jumped on this band wagon with his BookShots line. His reason for publishing small books is discussed in Alexandra Alter’s New York Times article titled “James Patterson Has a Big Plan for Small Books.” It’s all about appealing to a new audience of non-readers.

…Mr. Patterson is after an even bigger audience. He wants to sell books to people who have abandoned reading for television, video games, movies and social media.

So how do you sell books to somebody who doesn’t normally read?

Mr. Patterson’s plan: make them shorter, cheaper, more plot-driven and more widely available.

…He aims to release two to four books a month through Little, Brown, his publisher. All of the titles will be shorter than 150 pages, the length of a novella. (Alter, 2016)

I suspect Mr. Patterson knows another great reason for releasing multiple small books every month. One of the greatest keys to success for any author today is this: prolific publishing.

Reason 2: You’ll Improve Your Author Ranking Online

There is a form of book sales and marketing, known as “rapid release” publishing, that many of today’s independent authors are using to sell literally thousands of books every year. This system utilizes the power of SEO to organically increase your author ranking on ecommerce sites like Amazon in much the same way businesses increase their website ranking on search engines such as Google.

Some of these authors are earning six-figure incomes from their ebook sales alone. Many of them use this program to sell multiple fictional novels in a series, much like James Patterson is doing.

In my research, I’ve found that non-fiction authors are also great candidates for this form of book publishing. Why? Because of your diverse demographics (e.g., seniors, adults, teenagers, children, males, females, et cetera) and the varied subject matter you can cover within your respective industries.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Caterers can recommend different types of foods (e.g., canapés, fruit appetizers, vegetable appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, kebabs, deep fried appetizers, et cetera) for all types of events.
  • Health and fitness entrepreneurs can write endless non-fiction copy about different muscle groups, exercises, food groups, diets, et cetera.
  • Interior decorators can make countless recommendations about floor plans, lighting, artwork, framing, Regency, Georgian, et cetera.
  • Hairdressing professionals can cover long hair, short styles, curls, braids, updos, colours, et cetera.
  • Online and distance educators can repurpose weeks of lesson plans for do-it-yourselfers who prefer a more solitary learning environment. Turn your lesson plans into ebooks or audiobooks for sale online.
  • Automotive service technicians can advise readers on vehicle maintenance and repair for all kinds of different makes and models, various automotive parts and how they work, et cetera.

The list goes on and on. The possibilities are endless for business owners who wish to publish non-fiction books to expand your client bases.

Reason 3: You’ll Open Up More Cost-Effective Printing Options

Authors who wish to sell physical books through local retailers have to factor each retailer’s profit share into your manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). Retailers and wholesalers buy publishers’ books at steep discounts in order to turn their own profits. They also expect your title to be marked as “returnable” (for a full refund) in case it doesn’t sell.

For professionals who sell books and merchandise at speaking events, printing costs are par for the course. Large print runs may save you on a cost-per-unit basis, but what you save in printing you end up paying in storage fees.

All things considered, it’s easier and more cost-effective to mass-produce smaller books, particularly when you stick with standard book sizes. For example, does your book have to be a perfect bound paperback? Or, have you considered a square-backed saddle stitch before? Sometimes, the latter option not only makes more sense; it can save you production time and money. The right printer will be able to recommend various options to you.

How About a Picture Book?

No time to write? Or simply don’t enjoy writing?

Children aren’t the only ones who can enjoy a picture book. Picture books containing “how-to” illustrations or graphics throughout (e.g., exercise routines, hair styling techniques, before and after automotive repair examples, et cetera) can be very helpful to adult learners.

It’s time to change your thinking on what constitutes a legitimate book, a useful book. The way the world reads is changing, and the way books are written and published is changing along with it.

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