Write Short Kindle Books: A Self-Publishing Manifesto for Non-Fiction Authors by Nathan Meunier
Publisher: Kung Fu Grip (January 9, 2015)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
The Kindle self-publishing revolution is here! Are you in?
In this title, Nathan Meunier offers an alternative to writing full-length books the traditional publishing way, describing the benefits of successfully publishing short books to the Kindle platform.
Among the topics covered:
- Why writing shorter Kindle books is the best approach for many non-fiction authors
- The benefits of boosting your volume with many shorter, high-quality books
- How to price your short ebooks for maximum success
- Ideal word counts for Kindle books
- How to break larger book ideas down into numerous smaller books
- How to brainstorm, outline, and write books faster and more efficiently
- How to save money on covers, editing, and Kindle book formatting
- Why building a team of Beta Readers is crucial
- How to bring your book from final draft to launch
The Real Benefits of Writing Short Kindle Books
A lot of aspiring authors don’t give any immediate consideration to what happens next beyond completion of that first magical book they’ve always dreamed of writing. I understand why. If you’re just starting out, the process of simply hunkering down to complete one traditional length book can feel like climbing a mountain. When you’re at the base looking up at the steep challenges ahead, it can be tough to imagine yourself making it to your goal intact.
Now you can see why so many would-be authors always seem to be caught in perpetual stasis. “I’m still working on my book” syndrome is a hard affliction to beat. Those who do make it and persevere to see their book through to launch, however, soon learn that having that first book out in the world feels amazing, but it’s not enough.
One book should be a starting point for authors, not an end-game. That’s a short-sighted approach that trips up a lot of authors. If you wanted to make a living as a freelance writer, would you call it quits after selling your first article? I would hope not. Being a successful independent author requires as much foresight and bigger picture planning as it does effort and fortitude.
Your chances of “hitting it big” with your first self-published book are dreadfully slim, but you can do quite well by building momentum and laying a foundation with numerous shorter books. Pushing towards critical mass is going to be a lot easier if you shed the old school mindset that your books have to be hulking 75,000 word digital tomes to be considered legit books. Writing and releasing books is a pretty epic endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be an ordeal.
It’s time to write smarter, not harder.
For example, why not consider breaking bigger book ideas into multiple smaller topics that can become the focus of their own individual books? Rather than writing bulky one-off books on a subject, start thinking in terms of writing in series and developing multiple titles within a specific niche or across multiple niches.
As many others have said before, there are no “magic bullets” in self-publishing. But if you work hard, put out high quality books, and spread your writing across numerous shorter Kindle projects, you can accelerate your skyward trajectory towards a lucrative and rewarding writing life. Here are some of the other benefits of the low word count, high volume (and high quality) approach.
1. Writing shorter ebooks is a lot easier
When you whittle down the size and scope of a book project into something more bite-sized and manageable, it makes the planning process a cinch. With less up-front work to do, you can move from the outlining phase to writing your book in quick order. Shorter books are also much easier to see through to completion.
Now take that daunting mountain I mentioned before and slice it down into an easier-to-manage hill. That’s what you’re doing by embracing the flow of writing shorter, more streamlined book projects. Apply that to your writing project, and suddenly writing a book seems a lot less scary, doesn’t it?
You’ll be surprised how much of a positive boost the mental shift of focusing on more manageable projects can give you. When you’re aiming for a lower target word count, a little progress goes a long way. You’ll make bigger gains with less effort, cutting way back on your stress levels in the process.
2. You can write these books quickly
It takes far less time overall to write several shorter books within a given topic than it does to write one larger comprehensive book that covers it all. Narrowing a book’s scope also makes it easier to stay focused and stave off the procrastination that can set in with larger projects.
Knowing it takes a lot less time and effort to complete your shorter book will also help push you to keep writing – even when you’re distracted by other things you could be doing. I know I’m way more inclined to sit down and bash out a few hundred or a few thousand words at a clip when I know it’s going to make a big dent in the current book I’m writing.
Once I start writing, I find it’s easier to stay in the groove for longer stretches at a time. I subconsciously push myself to see just how far I can go. Will I finish a quarter of the book? A third of it? Half? Anything is possible when you’re talking thousands of words instead of many tens of thousands.
If you plan carefully and stick to a steady writing routine, it’s possible to knock out a finished draft of your book in a matter of a few weeks – even if you only write 500 words a day. Alternately, you can marathon your sessions and complete your book in a much shorter time frame. Prolific writers may find they can plow through their first “vomit draft” in a single weekend.
3. Volume boosts your visibility
It’s a fact: having more books out in the wilds will positively impact your visibility on the Kindle marketplace and beyond, particularly if you have a successful launch and can rank well in your book’s category. Every new ebook you launch also provides another opportunity to plug your work as a whole, get your name out there in your niche of choice, and draw more readers into your midst.
Because shorter books take less time to write and they’re easier to finish, you can release a lot more books in a given year than you would be able to otherwise. Launching books at a strategic pace and then heavily promoting each one can generate sales of your shiny new title as well as your extensive back list.
Remember: if readers love one of your books, there’s a very good chance they’ll be open to buying others you put out. If you can hook people and turn them into true fans who’re inclined to buy anything you release, it can have a huge impact on your overall sales and success.
On a personal note, when I really enjoy a book written by a given author and find it useful, I’ll often seek out related books by the same author. It also makes me more inclined to take a chance on their other work that might be outside of the specific topic I’m looking to learn more about. Food for thought!
4. Variety is a great thing for authors and readers alike
Hammering away at writing one book at a time can be creatively draining when it’s not coming together the way you need it to. Spinning your tires on a project is a horrible feeling, but when that happens sometimes all you need is to shift gears for a little while to get unstuck.
Thanks to their limited length and focus, writing short books lets you juggle multiple projects at once, which can be a real lifesaver. Being able to work on writing several smaller books at once gives you welcome flexibility to bounce back and forth between different projects. It’s a great way to stave off writer’s block and recharge when your creativity is waning.
The benefits of variety spread well beyond the writing process too. Readers who like your work and want to learn more about the subjects you cover will appreciate having other related books to check out.
Also, while there are a lot of reasons why a potential reader might not buy one of your books – whether it’s because the title doesn’t grab them or the specific angle doesn’t quite fit their needs – that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in something similar. One of your other related books might be just what they’re looking for, opening the door to entice them to read more of your work.
Bottom line: offering a broader variety of related books gives you more lures to hook readers with, and it benefits everyone.
5. Short ebooks can be more cost-effective to create
Readers are accustomed to buying Kindle books within a certain comfortable price range. For a lot of people, that falls somewhere between $0.99 and $2.99 – aka “impulse buy” territory. That’s not to say that people won’t shell out more for your books or that it’s not worth pricing them higher in some instances, but you’ll find that selling a larger number of copies becomes a lot easier within this affordable sweet spot.
As such, authors sometimes get into a catch-22. It doesn’t make sense to spend months cranking out a 75,000 word how-to guide only to sell it for a few dollars. On one hand, pricing longer books at a more premium value certainly improves your royalty income return per book sold, making it easier to recoup your initial expense. On the other hand, it can also turn off many prospective buyers who don’t usually venture outside of the “impulse buy zone.”
Writing shorter books – as long as you don’t skimp in the quality department – lets you price them within this range without feeling like you’re shooting yourself in the foot. This maximizes the value of your time and energy without hiking up the price for consumers. You may not earn as much money per book sale, but you’re far more likely to get more sales overall. This makes it easier to trigger Amazon’s algorithms to kick in, which can provide a big spike in your visibility on the marketplace.
6. You get more mileage from your ideas
Something magical happens when you shift your way of thinking away from “what big topic could I spin out into enough material for a 75,000 word book?” towards “how can I break down a big topic into as many different bite-sized book ideas as possible?” Don’t be surprised if you suddenly find the floodgates come bursting open, and you have to race to capture all of the ideas that come pouring out.
The process of brainstorming potential book ideas transforms into a very different animal when you train yourself to think in terms of creating a series or writing several related books on a subject. A series can be an amazing way to establish yourself as an expert in a niche, and it’s a killer way to boost your brand. Even if you’re already working on a larger book project, consider cannibalizing it to create a punchier run of short books.
If you’re writing a vertical slice on a topic that might wind up being a 1,500 to 2,000 word chapter in a larger book, how hard would it be to break it down further? Why not add more detailed subheadings and flesh that out into a 10,000 to 15,000 word standalone book? You’d be surprised just how easy it is.
Now imagine taking five or six of the BEST core chapter topics from a larger book project you have in mind and spinning those off into their own separate books. Suddenly you’ve just written a whole series of connected books that you can launch on a rolling basis. There’s tremendous power in creating a string of books that are individually different but tied together in a way that lets you easily cross promote them across the whole series and your other work.
7. Short ebooks involve less risk
Experimentation is an important aspect of self-publishing. The flexibility that comes from being able to move quickly and adapt on the fly is invaluable to you as an independent author. It helps to be able to try out a lot of different things to see what works and what doesn’t, then adapt your approach armed with this important intel.
Not every idea or every book you crank out will be a winner, though the silver lining is you can learn from every project you create and use this knowledge to improve future books. There’s a lot of tinkering you can do with your books post-launch – everything from reworking the material to re-branding your books altogether. In that regard, short books can be an ever-important canary in the coal mine for self-published authors.
If you’re gunning to be more bold in your experiments, it’s a lot safer to do so with short books that don’t take a lot of time and resources to create. For example: if you’re considering creating a new series in a different niche, you could launch the first short book to test the waters. If it tanks, then you can retool your approach and recover without having invested an excessive amount of time and resources. If it’s a hit, then you know you’re good-to-go.
A formula for success?
Writing short ebooks in and of itself doesn’t guarantee an instant win, but there’s a lot you can do to help speed things along. The core principals of this book can be boiled down to three basic points: write short, write well, and write often. But there’s a lot more that goes into carving out a successful niche as an author by writing shorter books, as you’ll soon learn.
Excerpt from Write Short Kindle Books by Nathan Menuier
Reprinted by permission of the author and publisher.
“This short new book by Meunier, a hybrid indie manifesto and how-to guide, features one core argument: the publishing industry is changing and it’s okay to write and publish “short” Kindle books.
At about 20,000 words, it’s no coincidence that this book is its own case in point. Told in Meunier’s usual approachable voice, he lays out his argument neatly and with unrelenting passion and encouragement to the reader. I’ve definitely read much longer books that conveyed a lot less information.
This book is both an argument for and one of the best examples of the right way to write a short kindle book. If you are at all considering writing for Kindle, you should absolutely read this book.” Verified Amazon reviewer, thesolecist
“Like all of Nathan’s books, this is well written and has a lot of character, but this one is especially great because of how it changes your approach to publishing. This book really encompasses how publishing is changing in this new age, and how it is a better idea to release your product as a series of smaller books, rather than a large comprehensive tome.
I really enjoyed this book and it is something I will continue to reference and flip through as I endeavor further into my publishing career. If you are planning to publish something on Kindle, you must read this book before you start getting really serious about it. It can steer you in a more manageable and profitable direction.” Verified Amazon reviewer, Alexander P Delia
“One of the best short kindle books I’ve read to date. No fluff or recycled content. Great real life advice that, if followed, will help you write one short book after another. Nathan knows what he is talking about and his expertise shows in the pages of this book. Refreshing!” – Amazon Reviewer
“This book was a refreshing read that delivered very usable content without any fluff, relevant for a wide range of authors or prospective authors. Meunier’s style was engaging, personable and downright fun to read. I could easily picture this book as a series of conversations with a good friend over a cup of coffee. A friend who knows what he is doing, sharing what has worked and what is working right now. No hype, no shenanigans, just good solid content and some humor for good measure.” Amazon Reviewer
About the Author
Nathan Meunier is a freelance writer, author, and indie game developer.
For most of the past 10 years, he’s covered video games, tech, and geek culture as a freelancer. His work has appeared more than 40 publications, including Nintendo Power, PC Gamer, GameSpot, PlayStation The Official Magazine, EGM, GameSpy, IGN, Official Xbox Magazine, GamePro, The Escapist, Ars Technica, and many others. Prior to writing about video games, he spent over five years working as a reporter for a weekly newspaper.
Nathan is the author of five books to date, and recently launched the new Indie Author Success Series.
For more information about Nathan Meunier’s work, visit nathanmeunier.com.