When I’m first working with a new client, one of the questions that ALWAYS comes up is:
How long should my book be?
I get it, you want to write a book that has enough heft to it that people really think they are getting a lot of bang for their buck.
Let me ask you a different question, though:
Have you ever read a book, article, or report that was clearly inflated with “filler”? This was a trick many of my peers in University writing classes would do: write their paper then go back and insert a sentence BETWEEN every sentence that was there in the rough draft. Bang! Instantly the paper doubled in length. But these new sentences were just filler sentences and didn’t add any substance or depth to the paper. (It was VERY common for research papers!)
These papers might have started out well-researched and well-thought out but they ended up to be flimsy and full of loose, extraneous writing. I understand that a college research paper HAS to be a certain number of pages but your book that showcases your expertise does not!
When you’re writing your book, you want to give the reader enough details about your subject that she will put down the book feeling that she really understands what you’re talking about, her life has changed for the better because she read your book, and she has a clear idea of what she needs to do next to continue to change her life.
(On the flip-side you don’t want to put everything you know into a book, either!)
Trust me, there’s a fine line between clearly outlining the steps to your information and giving away the farm!
As you’re writing, it’s okay to get everything out on paper. And I mean EVERYTHING! After you have a draft, you go back and take out everything that isn’t tightly related to your subject.
Here’s an example from one of my clients who coaches people to better health through eating healthy. She’s creating a cookbook filled with healthy recipes and tips on how to eat healthy. In her business, she also teaches how to shift your mindset around food to increase your health and vitality. For THIS book, all she’s focusing on is just the recipes and tips.
When people buy her cookbook looking for healthy recipes, they won’t be disappointed. And when someone buys her cookbook ONLY looking for healthy recipes, they won’t be overwhelmed with the 4,798 steps needed to have a mindset shift. (That’s tongue in cheek, there!) They WILL have information about how to contact her, however, so when they’re ready to make that mindset shift, they know who to contact.
Coming back to the original question: How long?
It’s better to have a shorter book that is tightly written around a single theme then to try to solve ALL their problems and not be able to go into enough depth about any of them.
I fully understand that it’s a fine line and that you may have no clue WHERE that line is. But don’t forget, that’s where I can help you!