Does the size of your book (page count) matter?
Historically, publishers have determined the price of the book primarily based on the page count. Many of the hard costs incurred in publishing a book – raw materials, shipping, printing, binding, etc. – were directly proportional to the size of the book. Basically, the bigger the book, the more it costs to produce. And relatedly, the bigger the book (i.e., the higher the page count), the more value consumers will perceive.
A basic example of this is: a publisher believes that a consumer will pay $25.99 for a hardcover book that is over 220 pages. The size of the book plays a factor in the consumer's end decision. If the book was 90 pages, there would be a huge hesitation to charge $25.99. That’s what the publishers believe.
When a traditional publisher contracts with you to write a book, there will be a stipulation in the contract on the word count, not the page count. Most nonfiction trade books are contracted at somewhere around 45,000 - 55,000 words. Not pages, word count. You must know that because it’s a big mistake writers often make.
“Not pages, word count.”
Here’s where self-publishing can be a big disruptor for traditional publishing: The size and the price go out the door when the solution provides more value than both.
Let us give you an example. If you were struggling in your marriage and a friend suggested a book that had saved their marriage, you would purchase that book without hesitation. Page count and price become secondary considerations. If it was only 90 pages but cost $25.99, you wouldn’t stop to ask, “Shouldn’t this book be bigger – I am paying 25 bucks!!!” The value proposition (saving your marriage) outweighs the other purchasing factors.
Pick a genre - weight loss, business, parenting - everything hinges on the value proposition. Whether it’s “have a new husband by Friday” or lose 18-pounds in 10 weeks.
We can’t say this enough: Your value proposition is the foundation of your book. No matter the length, if you haven’t identified this, your book will struggle to find readers. Now, this doesn’t mean you can charge $100 for a 25-page book, but maybe you can if your solution is so good and your audience says “Yes, please.” Focus on the value your book is bringing to your audience. That’s the biggest size that matters.
What if you had the secrets of the publishing industry explained to you? Imagine having a mentor walk with you step-by-step to getting your book published?
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