For traditional publishers, the length of a book is often dictated by how big, or perhaps how thick a book will be, and therefore how it will present on a bookstore shelf.
In other words, how much noticeable space it will occupy and hence have a better chance of gaining a potential buyer’s attention and start making money for the publisher.
As a general rule of thumb, books in the range of 110,000 to 130,000 words do this job admirably in paperback and hardcover versions.
But not all books sit on a store shelf.
So, what about ebooks?
But an ebook doesn’t run by this rule at all. It isn’t thick, big or wide.
It’s just a thumbnail cover image and a small electronic file of text and code. So it is impossible to apply the same rules to an ebook.
Ebook pricing and making money from ebooks is a world away from the traditional bookstore, and there are no similarities at all in pricing that can be applied.
To begin with, even the bestselling authors struggle to get much beyond the $9.99 ebook price barrier, and most e-books are generally in the range of $3.99 to$ 5.99.
Then, of course, there are thousands upon thousands of e-books priced at $0.99, or free. So how do you price your e-book and hope to get a return on your work?
If you have written a solid book of say 110,000 words, the very best a self-published author could expect to sell at is somewhere between $3.99 to $5.99, and have a chance of gaining reasonable sales.
However, there are many, many e-books at a slightly lower price that have a much lower word count.
A quick check on Amazon will show that e-books with 40,000 words or less easily achieve sales at the price point of $2.99.
So now, let’s say that you cut your 110,000-word book into a three-part series, and write an extra 10,000 words to tie them together, and then sell each one at $2.99.
Your book will now have a collective sales price of $8.97. This is a much better return than even the highest price point of $5.99 for your original 110,000-word ebook.
Then later, if or when your three books gain some sales traction, perhaps publish a trilogy or box set, and price it at around $6.99, and then skim a little more profit from your work.
Do the sums yourself, develop an ebook pricing strategy, but think about the value of the words you write when it comes time to publish your e-book, and how to obtain a better return and making money from all your effort and hard work.
I started my working life as a lithographer and then spent over 30 years in the printing and publishing business.
Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland 20 years ago. My days are spent teaching English, writing and wrestling with technology while enjoying my glorious view of the Alps.
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