I had the pleasure of meeting an avid writer recently. She mainly focuses on writing vampire stories and anything regarding fantasy-romance. I was surprised when she revealed that her books contain no less than 80 pages, which amounts to 48,000 words or more.
Likewise, she was surprised when I revealed the length of my own stories, which make my books look like thin pamphlets next to hers.
But hey, this is the great thing about Kindle publishing: Flexibility. Once I explained the reasons for keeping my stories much shorter, she was fascinated by the idea due to the vast differences in length.
If I’m not mistaken, she also implied that one day she might try to take that route in addition to the word length she normally abides to.
She’s clearly a talented, creative and fast writer, often writing no less than 20 pages per day, according to our conversation. If she does, in fact, take on shorter stories one day, her income could potentially explode in a matter of months, if not weeks.
At the time of this writing, my books are not about fantasy-romance or anything supernatural. I’m an erotic writer, which gives me the advantage of publishing shorter, straight-to-the-point stories as opposed to typical novels.
As I have mentioned before, my ebooks are between 4,000 to 6,000 words, although more often than not I stick to somewhere in-between those figures. This length has become the standard in the world of short, mindless erotica.
I have also looked into other authors’ erotic shorts, and it seems that they are also following the same guidelines.
What About Non-Fiction?
I have also noticed that the case of writing non-fiction is somewhat neutral. Things related to how-to guides, self-improvement and real-life subjects have the advantage of being as short or as long as they need to be without much regard for word count. In other words, write until you’ve covered all there is to cover on said subject. A good rule of thumb is to always ask yourself, “Would I buy this book as a customer? Would I feel satisfied and not ripped off?” If you have lingering doubts in your head, do not publish it until your work is finished. Do further research and visit websites beyond your search engine’s first page; you’ll be amazed how many underrated, informational websites you will find. And yes, many of them trusted and authoritative.
So, how long should ebook stories be? The short answer is that it depends on your genre. I have witnessed authors get hammered with poor reviews based on their stories’ overall length, despite having written tens of thousands of words. This is usually seen on genres in which people expect epic adventures and exceptional story-telling skills (such as fantasy books, ala Twilight and such.) On the other hand, I have personally never received a negative review based on word count despite my “low” word count average, which again reinforces the fact that complaints largely depend on genre.
As a word of advice, however, I suggest you always disclose the total word length in your book’s description to avoid potential issues, regardless of genre. These issues mainly consist of unhappy customers who expect a lot more than what you’re offering; thus, disclosing the book’s length can save you from a deadly negative review. While a single review is generally not too bad, it is also quite noticeable if it happens to be the only bad review on your book. So, always remain truthful and do not misguide your readers in any way, shape or form. Apply the same techniques with Kindle publishing as well as any other sources you currently use.