In this blog and the next 2, I will answer some of the frequently asked questions I get on writing, publishing and marketing a book. This blog covers FAQs on book writing.
1. How long should my book be?
Answer: Your book should be as long as it needs to be to get your message across. That could be 30 pages or 300 pages or longer. Keep in mind that most people don’t read 300 page books any more, particularly non-fiction books. In fact, the average reader gets through just 18 pages of a non-fiction book before putting it down and not getting back to it; so if you write a short book with the most important information on your topic, your readers will appreciate it. Besides, if your main purpose is to use your book to get people to recognize your expertise, then a short book is fine.
2. How many words do I need to write for a 100 page book?
Answer: The number of words you need to write depends on several factors, including the dimensions of the book, as well as the size of the margins, the type and size of the font and the quantity and size of any images, graphs or charts in the book. A common size for books is 6” x 9”. There are about 250 – 300 words/page using normal margins and font, and no images. So a 50 page book in 6” x 9” without pictures is about 12,500 – 15,000 words, and a 100 page book is roughly 30,000 words.
3. What if there are lots of other books on my topic?
Answer: The fact that there are lots of other books on your topic is actually a good sign – it means there is lots of interest in your topic. How many weight loss books are there out there? And yet there’s always room for more. Most of the information in books is available on the internet for free anyway, so why would anyone buy a book when they can get the information for free? Because it can take hours to find good quality free information, and information in a book is perceived to be good quality. In addition, books are generally well organized, provide guidance and action steps toward overcoming whatever it is that the book talks about and thus save time, energy, effort and money for the reader.
4. How do you find the time to write a book?
Answer: This is one of the biggest issues for business owners and professionals who are already overburdened with work. There are three key steps to finding the time to write a book. The first is determine whether your book is truly a high priority for you. If so, then you’ll make it happen; if it’s not, then you’ll find other issues taking up your time, and you’ll lose interest. The second step is to understand why it is important for you. When you know your why, it will help you evaluate whether to work on your book or do something else that has come up. The third step is to create a plan for getting your book done. The plan would identify when and for how long you will write, where, when you will be done with the writing, etc. You need to schedule the time just as if you were scheduling an important meeting, and keep to your schedule unless issues of greater priority intervene. If you can carve out even as little as 15 minutes per day, you can make progress.
5. How do I find a topic that my audience would be interested in reading?
Answer: I have a 5-step process for this. Basically, you want to identify a topic that solves a problem that your target audience faces. It doesn’t have to be entertaining. Provide value: save money, save time; make things easier, get over a hurdle; reduce aggravation or pain; increase revenue; obtain some other benefit. Once you’ve identified the topic you want to write on, you should confirm interest in that topic. You can do that by conducting a survey, or hold a focus group, or reach out on social media. You can also do market research on Amazon or Google, or on blog posts and YouTube videos.
6. How long does it typically take to write a book?
Answer: That depends on many factors, such as
✔️ the length of the book you are writing,
✔️ the amount of time you devote to it,
✔️ how much material you have already created on the topic of your book that you can incorporate into your book,
✔️ how clear you are on your topic and how much research you need to do, and
✔️ whether you will do the writing yourself or hire a ghostwriter.
If you are writing a short book (50 pages) yourself, you are clear on the topic, and you don’t need to do any research, then if you can spend roughly 5 hours/week, you can get your book written in about 2 to 3 months. That does not include the time for editing and other post-manuscript services, but is a ballpark timeframe for the writing of a first draft of a short book.
Do you have questions on book writing that you want answered? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you with my answer.