How Long Should an E-book Be?

Let's keep this short and sweet:

A lot of writers are intimidated by e-book writing, because they think writing an e-book is going to take a huge time commitment. That doesn't have to be the case.

There's no right or wrong length for your e-book. It should be long enough to cover your niche topic, and short enough that your particular target market will actually buy it and read it (or simply download it, subscribe for your list, etc. if you're giving it away for free).

Some e-books are under 20 pages. Some are over 200 pages. While length can play a role in  how much you can charge for an e-book, it shouldn't be enough to scare you away from writing an e-book in the first place.

(And if you want to write a short one, and don't feel comfortable calling it an "e-book," call it a "report." You can sell them, give them away, etc. all the same.)

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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7 thoughts on “How Long Should an E-book Be?”

  1. As a bit of a case in point, I spent Monday writing a 20-page e-book on dialogue writing, from outline to formatting. (The topic kinda hit me, and I had the time, so I figured I might as well.)

    Now, I’m waiting to read all your posts, Jenn, while I let my content cool for me to proofread it.

  2. Good job Misti. 🙂 It’s nice to see someone else demonstrate that you can write an e-book relatively quickly. If two of us could write short e-books within a day, I think most in the challenge will have no problem writing one in 2 weeks. 🙂

  3. Hi, I just wrote an E-book based on another person’s research. It’s a How-to-Book, and he asked me to be as concise as possible. I wonder if I’ve gone overboard by making it about 6 pages long. He intends to market and sell this book and I would imagine the length might put people off regardless of the value of the information. Your thoughts?

    • Personally, I wouldn’t buy a six-page e-book. I’d consider it more of a report than an e-book anyway. What concerns me even more is that someone couldn’t handle writing six pages themselves. I get outsourcing e-books — I even write them for clients. But if you want to sell a mere six pages, there would have to be a hell of a strong brand behind it (even if a personal brand — meaning that known personality had better shine through the writing, so it makes sense to write it yourself). More importantly, I’d say it would have to be newsworthy. Anything that short that’s evergreen you can find for free on a blog somewhere. Without knowing the niche or any more information, it’s really difficult to say if six pages is enough to make it a product people are going to want to buy. In general though, I would have to say probably not.

  4. Thank you Jennifer, I really appreciate the feedback, and you’ve echoed most my concerns about it. I started off with about 20 pages of information, but he is thrilled with how succint it is. Though the info is unique, I wonder how the consumer will feel about the brevity of the purchase. Thanks again

  5. To me, an e-book that short would better serve the client as a freebie — an introduction to a much more comprehensive e-book or report (or course, or something else they’re trying to sell). It’s more a taste than a complete product. E-book buyers want to feel like they’re really getting something for their money. If he’s only charging a dollar or two, 6 pages might not be bad for those buyers. If he’s charging much more, the buyers probably want more. People have certain expectations. I’m all for breaking them from time to time though, so who knows? Maybe it’ll work out well. Either way, I hope you’ll stop back and post a followup to let us know! 🙂

  6. Hi Jenn, I am new to the freelance writing scene. ebooks is an area I am considering focusing on. I have the writing skills, but unfortunately I am so new to the writing circuit I have no idea how or where to market my writing.

    My first question was how long should an ebook be, which this site has answered. Now how to market it? Any suggestions?


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