How long does a book have to 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? Five, 10, 15, or more? Which old wives’ tale have you heard that has you filling your manuscript with a bunch of extra (not necessarily useful) information just to meet someone else’s theoretical and unsubstantiated recipe for success?
Leave the Fluff Out. Period.
Throw away any pre-conceived notions you may have about what constitutes a useful book—particularly when it comes to word count. I’m here to tell you that it’s more important to focus on the quality of your content than the quantity of words you’ve written. There is absolutely no need to add a bunch of unnecessary fluff into a non-fiction book just to get it to a certain word count. Basing a book’s value and saleability on word count is old-fashioned thinking. 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 easily as possible. That’s it, that’s all.
There is a form of online book sales and marketing known as “rapid release” publishing that many of today’s most successful independent authors are using to sell literally thousands of books every year. Some of these indie authors are earning six-figure incomes from their ebook sales alone. In my research, I’ve found that non-fiction authors are among the perfect candidates for this form of self-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 (e.g., weddings, bar mitzvahs, corporate functions, children’s parties, theatre events, et cetera).
⁍ Interior decorators can make 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 and weeks of lesson plans for the do-it-yourselfers of the world who prefer the more solitary learning environment of an ebook or audiobook lesson to a social classroom setting.
⁍ 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.
How to Write for the “Rapid Release” Publishing Process
Does a book have to be 60,000 words and 10 chapters long in order to constitute a useful book? Or could each chapter be a mini ebook in its own right—part of a “mini series” of individual topics that allow readers to choose which topic they wish to read and buy that one alone on any given day?
Let’s say you want to complete one mini ebook within a three-week time period. If you’re already running a business full-time, that means you probably only have two or three hours of writing time available per day during the weekdays; but if you’re truly dedicated to this “rapid release” publishing process, then you’ll take at least another six hours per day on the weekends, if not more. That gives you a conservative 81 writing hours in total.
Commit yourself to this schedule. You’ll be amazed by what you can accomplish once you make a firm decision to write for this many hours each week.
Now break it down by hour. How many words can you write in one hour? 100 words per hour will result in an 8,100-word mini ebook at the end of three weeks. 300 words per hour will result in a 24,300-word ebook. 500 words per hour will result in a 40,500-word ebook at the end of three weeks. Don’t get too hung up on the word count because, as I said earlier, quality is more important to your readers than quantity is. I added this mathematical exercise here simply to demonstrate what you can accomplish in a short amount of time. When you break it down like this for yourself, it suddenly appears more achievable, doesn’t it? And when your goal appears more achievable to you, you’ll be more apt to stick with it and see it through to the end.
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. Let’s say your goal is to create a 20-page picture book, within three weeks, that contains only one or two sentences per page. Well, including the cover, that will be 21 pages to complete—equivalent to one page per day over a three-week period. Totally doable, especially when it’s your passion!
It’s time to change your thinking on what constitutes a useful non-fiction book, because the way the world reads is changing, and the way books are written and published is changing along with it.
Want to learn more about “rapid release” publishing and how it works? Click here.
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