“A good speech is like a mini-skirt – long enough to cover the essentials and short enough to be interesting.” Anonymous
Before you started getting critical, she’s a married woman with kids. And good at what she does. The point is for us to get the point.
Between these two pictures, which is more likely to grab and hold audience attention? Be honest.
Even if this lady was not a celebrity, the picture by the left will attract your attention. You’ll notice her presence even if she is nobody. The reason: long enough to cover the essentials and short enough to be interesting.
How does this relate to Self-publishing your first book?
Imagine you just finished your first book on ‘How to trade Stocks’ – its 380 pages long.
Then there is reality. Nobody knows you as a finance expert. You don’t have a following on social media; neither do you have a blog platform with an email list.
As a matter of fact, your only fans are your cousins and siblings.
Why in the world should anyone throw in their precious time to read your 380 page chronicle? eBook for that matter. My younger self would rather be reading a lady on mini-skirt. For my older self, I’m better off staring at the ceiling all day.
Very often I meet with writers, online and offline, who have 300 to 400 page books they want to publish. This may be a good idea if they want to publish through publishing houses. But to self-publish online, with your epistle, you’ll need to work several times harder to get attention and give your book momentum.
Let’s quickly look at seven reasons why your first eBook should be like the first picture of Omotola – long enough to cover the essentials and short enough to be interesting.
I’m more of a non-fiction writer. So this may or may not apply to fiction writers.
Your first eBook should attract the audience that will read your next content:
According to The 2010 Survey of Book Buying Behavior, theprimary factors that influence readers to buy books are Author reputation (52%), Personal recommendation/word of mouth (49%), Price (45%), Book reviews (37%), cover artwork (22%) and advertising (14%).
If you look closely, you’ll notice that personal recommendation comes after author reputation has been established. For instance I won’t recommend a book I have not read to a friend. And if I want to make the best of my reading time, I’ll rather read from an author I’ve heard about or ask a friend for recommendation.
As an upstart author, you don’t have much of these factors working for you. You need to apply every weapon within your reach to grab attention that will be transfered into your next book, coaching or training program; whatever your goal may be.
You want to build your reputation and gain followers. Writing a concise and punchy eBook will make your job easier. You get the chance to introduce yourself and demonstrate your expertise without overwhelming your readers.
When you have gained the author reputation, you can make your future books as long as you want. I’m sure Omotola wasn’t dressing like the second picture when she was seeking her first few roles in acting.
You want to first be initiated into author-hood
It is said that your first impression is your last impression. How can you make that first impression without first getting the attention?
Joanna Penn in her free eBook Author 2.0 Blueprint said, I paraphrase “You expect your first book to change the world but in reality your first book changes you.”
This statement is very true for most writers.
We often possess the feeling that our content; blog post, article or eBooks, will change, if not the world, at least our industry.
By the time you publish your content, and get treated with that deafening silence, you come to experience the writer’s life of isolation. You begin to realize the importance of building a community, marketing and networking. You realize that it’s not about how bright you think your work is but how many people you know.
Writing a short eBook will give you the opportunity to dive into the self publishing world, get a dusty taste of it and gain experience that will change your perspective about writing, authoring, marketing and business.
Take advantage of self-publishing and internet marketing
The biggest mistake you’ll make as a writer is to spend long months to write and publish a book that no one wants to read. Talk about classic tragedy.
The advantage of self publishing and internet marketing is that you can test your ideas to see if people are really interested in it or not
Rather than write the next encyclopedia for personal finance, you can pick a sub-section of the topic and write a min-skirt sized eBook that is both engaging and covers essential information. The feedback from your work will convince you to either go ahead with the main content or try something else.
You need Kindle reviews to sell more Books
Kindle is currently the best third party platform to self-publish your book. Any serious writer would want to look into this platform.
No writer wants people to skim their work. You want them to read your book to the end, form an opinion about it and write a review. If you publish your book on Kindle, you need reviews to sell more books. Writing a long eBook will discourage most readers from reading to the end, let alone write a review.
I didn’t have a problem reading Guy Kawasaki’s 400 page eBook, Author Publisher Entrepreneur (APE). By the way, I recommend you get and read that book if you are serious about self-publishing a book. He is an established authority in his field; former Chief Evangelist for Apple and advisor for Motorola business unit, and has authored bestselling books.
I will not devote such time reading an eBook half that size from an author I have no clue about. Let alone write a review on Kindle.
A concise Kindle eBook will make it easier for readers to finish your book and write you a review, which will help you sell more books.
Get to the point
Most times, books do not reach 400 pages because of too much information to share. Sometimes its because it has to maintain the tradition that books should be long. Some authors repeat ideas, add content readers don’t need and take a lot of unnecessary space, just to make the book long.
With an eBooks, most readers are looking for straight to the point information. There’s no point beating about the bush. If you stick to the rules of brevity and avoid unnecessary repetitions and emphasis, you’ll likely end up with an eBook that is neither too short nor too long.
For a new (even established) author, readers don’t have the time to read you long introduction, definitions and analysis. They expect you to grab their attention and hold it to the end. That should be your primary focus – grab attention from the beginning and hold it to the end.
Quit procrastinating. Finish the Book and get it published
I just completed my third eBook written to be published on Kindle, I hope. It’s less than 50 pages long with several images. I started and finished the book over the weekend. Ok. I admit some of the content has been writing in the past. I just assemble them.
If I had to write a 300 page eBook, I may not be motivated to complete it soon enough. Moreover, the title of the book does not require a large volume to pass the needed information across.
The important thing is to get to the point, tell readers what they need to know, leave off the dancing around, complete the book and get it published. Don’t wait to write the ‘Bible of Relationship’ before you publish your first book on the subject.
Stop procrastinating and finish something, and drop it like it’s hot.
You’re threading on a strange land
As an entrepreneur, a term every writer should get used to, you need a strategic plan. Writing is a business and should be treated as one. Admittedly, money should never be your primary motivation as a writer.
But you want your book to get in the hands of people who need to read it. Even more so, you want to write a book with a hungry crowd waiting. It takes entrepreneurial skills to get this right.
Since you are new to self publishing, you are better of starting small, testing the market, and adapting as you learn from experience.
To put everything into perspective, this is why every writer needs a platform. With your blog or social media account, you can ask questions to find out what your prospects want and get feedback.
The key to creating successful content is to identify a hungry crowd and feed them what they starve for. Your next book can be the food an audience is waiting for.
By the way, I heard from a reliable source that there is a starving crowd for ladies on mini-skirt. I hope you don’t end up writing a concise book on that.
Your comment is welcome.