Introduction to E-Books

Lets talk E-Books in simple terms.

E-Books are HUGE.   The sales of E-Book readers are increasing and people are becoming more and more aware of how easy it is to carry a reader about with them as opposed to the thick wads of paper we see adorning bookshop shelves.

The costs of producing E-Books are tiny in comparison to the books that retailers hold, and any business can have their own stamp on what they say, and how they say it.  They are electronic files that contain the content that any paper version of a book will contain.  They have the benefit of not being heavy to carry around and can be read on a huge amount of devices and readers.   Most smartphones will even have applications which will allow you to read books on them, eg Kindle seems to be universal and work on almost any Laptop, Netbook, Smartphone, Internet Tablet or PC.

The majority of self published E-Books tend to be built for sale directly as digital publishing files, or through Amazon, ITunes, Smashwords or Lulu.

Some of the questions that I am asked most about E-Books are:

  • How long is long enough for an E-Book?
  • How many words do I need to put in my E-Book?
  • How do I lay out my E-Book?
  • How much do I charge for my E-Books?

1 –  How long is long enough for an E-Book?

This is something that I simply can’t just tell you.   The length of your piece of work needs to be determined by the market that you are trying to get to read your E-Book.

An E-Book can be as long as it needs to, and as long as you want it to be.  If you are putting a book into print, then you will be expected to have upwards of 150 pages or more for it to be economically published, and eventually profitable for the publisher.

Even if you were going to self publish a book in print, it would need to be at least 50 – 70 pages as a minimum, and even at that, you may not be able to have the title on the book on the spine as the book would simply be too thin.  Anything shorter than that for print, is more likely to be looked as a pamphlet or a report.

2 – How many words do I need to put in my E-Book?

Looking at this, it is largely dependent on what you need to achieve.   Word count will be in direct proportion to your page length unless you are creating books in large type, or for children who need few words.   If we look at an average page at approximately 250 words each, then to get a book of 60 pages, you are looking at approximately 15,000 words to get a book of that length.  For commercial novel writing you would need to plan towards 60,000 to 80,000 words as a rule to make the project viable.

E-Books don’t have the commercial page constraint and can easily be as long as you need them to.  You need to determine the question that you are trying to answer with your material, and if you can answer it in 25,000 words, then your book is finished in that time.  It can also be determined by how much money people are willing to pay for your book.  If your reader base wants short and snappy E-Books with guides and pointers in a step by step approach, you are not going to be successful with an 80,000 prose which is laid out in long chapters like a novel.

There are E-Books out there that are simply one page.  I wouldn’t part with hard earned cash for something that short, but it can happen.

3 – How do I lay out my E-Books?

Layout and professionalism are all things that you need to take into account for yourself.  It could cost you nothing to produce an E-Book or it could cost you hundreds.    It depends on your budget, your market and what you want to achieve.    You can lay it out in chapters in the same way that you do in a book, with an introduction, synopsis and a taster of other books that you have published at the end.  The layout is up to you.

4 – How much do I charge for my E-Books?

This is probably the easiest question to answer.  The only way to find out is go looking for books in your field.  You can give away your books free, or you can charge hundreds for them.  What you want to find out is the optimum price for your products, and how much people will be prepared to pay for your knowledge on the subject that you are providing information for.

There is no set price for any writing projects.  E-Books that do well are providing information to people who want to buy it.  They may be marketed well, and they may have many supporters out in the land of social media.

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