January 29, 2024
Episode 55: Quality Over Quantity:
The Short Book Success Formula
Why it is better to have a short, high-quality book than a longer, average book
Episode 55: Quality Over Quantity: The Short Book Success Formula
We live in an era where time is a luxury and attention spans are at a premium. This means that the art of conveying powerful ideas in fewer words is not just a skill, it’s a necessity. In this episode of The Author Switch Podcast, I will unravel the secrets behind writing short, impactful books that capture your ideal prospects’ attention.
Recap & Takeaways
- 01:21 Attention Spans Getting Shorter
- 02:17 Expert books are short, too
- 03:10 The Power of Conciseness
- 04:18 Quality Content
- 07:53 Short Book Writing Tips
- 12:04 eBook vs Physical Book
Episode 55: Quality Over Quantity: The Short Book Success Formula
Imagine if your message, your words, could be said in half the amount of time, but with greater impact. That’s what I’m going to be talking about today in this episode of The Author Switch Podcast, when I talk about quality over quantity. Because a lot of people feel that their book needs to be 200, 300 pages in order to make an impact, but that’s just not the case.
You can say what you need to say and attract higher quality leads if your book is about 100 pages, sometimes even less.
Hi, my name is Carma Spence, and I am the host of The Author Switch Podcast. I help entrepreneurs write a lead attracting book in 90 days or less. And this is episode 55 of The Author Switch Podcast.
So I’ve got some information here for you I wanna share. In 2019, researchers at the Technical University of Denmark published a study suggesting that the overall global attention span is lessening due to information overload.
Dr. Gloria Mark, a psychologist and Chancellor’s Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine, studies how people interact with technology in their everyday lives and has found that attention spans have been dwindling over the past 20 years.
And finally, a study conducted by Words Rated in 2022, looked at 3,444 titles of books, both fiction and nonfiction, from 2011 to 2021. And they found that bestselling books are getting shorter. The average length of the New York Times bestseller decreased by almost 52 pages during those years.
And there are numerous gurus, experts who are jumping in on the short book craze and they are doing very well.
Seth Godin’s book, Purple Cow, is only 160 pages. John Morrow recently wrote a book called AI Writer, and that’s 149 pages. Frank Kern’s Convert is only 75 pages. And Grant Cardone, who wrote The Millionaire Booklet, How to Get Super Rich. His book is only 44 pages, which, by the way, is the same number of pages as my book that came out in January 16th, and it’s only 44 pages, and it’s called It All Starts With an Idea, and you can learn more about that by going to CarmaSpence.com/book1ajs for Autheneer’s Journey series, because it’s the first book in the series.
First, I want to talk about the power of conciseness. There’re several things you need to understand about why conciseness, aka a book that is about a hundred pages or so, can be so powerful.
And one of the reasons is reader engagement. A short book is better able to keep readers engaged with the book than a longer book. They don’t lose interest. And because you have to be very clear, get straight to the point with a short book, it is more impactful. It’s more action oriented. It grabs your reader’s attention and keeps it to the last page because there aren’t that many pages.
Number two, message clarity. If you want to get your message across in a short book, you have to do so quickly, clearly, and succinctly. That means you have to do all this thinking before you start writing the book because you need to be crystal clear on what it is you’re trying to say.
You can’t ramble in a short book. You can in a longer book, but that’s part of the reason why people don’t always finish a longer book.
Now I’d like to talk about quality content. So with quality, when you’re writing your book shorter, 75 to 100 pages, it has to be quality because if people pick up your book and they go, this is crap, they’re not going to work with you and they’re not going to finish the book and they’re certainly not going to buy any further books. So you have to really be sure that what you’re giving them is high quality information and writing.
And on top of that, you want to go into depth rather than breaths. So with your short books, you go into one topic very deeply. So for example, my Authoneer series, each book goes into one topic deeply. This month’s book is all about how to identify a good idea for a lead generating book. And it goes deep into that.
It gives you a framework for it. That’s what it talks about. That’s all it talks about is how to get that idea.
The next book will be. How to write your outline and the next book will be about the writing process and then the next book will be about launching and marketing and the final book will be about using the book to build your business.
Yes, I could put all of those into one book and eventually I just may. In fact, I intend to, but because these are short books, they go into one topic deeply. And that is more appealing to your potential clients. Because it’s an inexpensive book. It doesn’t take much of their time. In fact, my, the book that drops this month takes you about an hour. Depends on how, how slow you read. Took me a little longer because I’m a slow reader.
And the last point here under quality content is reader value. Basically, you want to ensure that your book is of value to your readers. And that’s why it’s succinct. It’s tight. It goes deep into a message. So you’ve got conciseness that’s high quality.
Now, before I go into the next two topics, which are some tips on how you can do this, and I’m going to talk about e books versus physical books, I want to share with you a short commercial break.
Have you ever felt lost in a maze of book ideas, searching for the one right idea that resonates with your true voice and your audience? Hi, I’m Carma Spence, and I’ve written a few wrong books on my way to the right idea. I remember the countless drafts, the doubts, but every misstep got me closer to the right idea.
Now I’ve decoded the process for you. Let me introduce you to my latest book available now on Amazon. In it, I share a simple three step process for identifying the right idea for a book that will be best positioned to attract your ideal clients. Using this process, you’ll be able to move forward and create a quality book that makes an impact with authenticity.
Join me on this journey. Let’s make your author dreams a reality. It all starts with an idea by Carma Spence. Available now on Amazon. com.
Hello and welcome back to The Author Switch Podcast. I am your host, Carma Spence, and I help entrepreneurs write a lead attracting book in 90 days or less. In the first part of the podcast, I talked about why short books are really a growing trend. I also talked about quality, and I talked about conciseness.
Now I want to share with you some tips on how you write these short books. I’ve got three tips to share with you. First, and you’ve probably heard this one from me before, and that’s start off with an outline. If you have a strong, clear outline, you are better able, number one, before you start writing, you’re able to identify what goes in the book and what doesn’t need to be in there very clearly because you’ve got your outline.
As you look at your outline, you’re like, Hmm, that topic doesn’t work so well. I wanted it in there. Maybe it goes into another book. Maybe it goes into a blog post, but it doesn’t belong in this book. And an outline helps guide you while you’re writing because it shows you the way. And if for some reason you find yourself stopping on your little road trip down your book to go visit the largest ball of yarn, your outline will help you come back so that you can stay on track.
It is not prescriptive. You can change your outline if you find as you’re writing it, gee, this topic really does need to be in here, or gee, this topic really doesn’t need to be in here. Outlines are really powerful. And a lot of people complain about outlines because they think, Oh, it will stunt my creativity.
But you know what? Research has proved otherwise. Creativity is actually fostered by rules and limits. You actually are more creative when you have constraint than when you don’t.
Tip number two. Edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit yourself, hire a professional editor because what editing does is it helps trim the chaff. Just trim that chaff, gets rid of the too many notes and helps you write your words more concisely. I have such respect for the editors I’ve hired to work on my book because they always, always help me say what I was intending to say better, clearer, and more concisely. Because I sometimes throw in extra words that don’t need to be there, because that’s how I talk. And when you’re writing, your writing wants to sound like how you talk without really sounding like how you talk. So edit your work yourself, then hire someone to edit it for you as well.
And my third tip is to include engaging narratives. This means include stories that illustrate your points because this basically takes your esoteric idea and brings it into something that the person can relate to.
So, for example, let’s say I’m going to tell you all about how you can sell anything. You can find an audience for almost anything you want to sell. With that idea, I usually tell the story about when I was in elementary school, I’m going to say about second grade, maybe third. There was this Sinbad movie, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. It had come out and one of the characters in the book had an eye upon her hand. And I just thought that was so cool. So one day in class, I took a pen, and I was drawing an eye on my hand. And. One of my classmates saw that and thought, Oh, I want to do that.
And so she started drawing an eye on her hand, but she didn’t like the way her eye turned out. So she said, Carma, will you draw? I like your eye. Will you draw an eye on my hand? I’m like, sure. Okay. She goes, I’ll pay 25 cents. I’m like, okay. So she paid me 25 cents and I drew an eye on her hand. Well she told a friend who came to me and said, Hey, I’ll pay you 25 cents.
By recess, I had a line of people waiting to pay me 25 cents to draw an eye on their hand. They could have drawn the eye on their hand themselves, but they wanted me to do it and they were willing to pay for it. So if you’ve got the right offer at the right time, you can find an audience. There’s a story. It brings it into the real world and showcases my point.
Find your stories and include those in your short book so that they become even more engaging.
And now that was writing tips. Now we’re going to go on to eBook versus physical book. So just root, these are rules of thumb. I definitely recommend putting your short book out as an eBook. Now there are certain rules of thumb that you’re going to need to understand if you also want it to be a physical book.
First off, every book has an ISBN number and that is this, this long 13-digit number that usually is along with a barcode. That’s called an ISBN number, and it identifies your unique book, and every version of your book will have a unique ISBN number.
However, eBooks don’t require them. Now why is this important? Because the ISBN identifies a unique book, if you decide to do a new version of it, you need to get a new ISBN number. Now, I don’t remember how much they are per one because I usually buy them in packs of 10. And that’s, you know, a little over a hundred dollars, at least last time I did, because it’s been a while since I bought ISBN numbers, but they’re, they’re not cheap. They’re not expensive, but they do come with a cost. And so does the barcode. So every time you come up with a new book, just if you wanted to change the subtitle, you’d have to buy a whole new ISBN number, a whole new barcode and do the whole thing if it’s a physical book.
With an eBook, that’s not true. What you can do is if you do a new version, you can just re upload it, and then everyone who bought your original version will now have access to your new version, and your new version, new version will be available for new buyers. That’s what makes an e book a little bit more dynamic.
While many, many people will do the e book, they’ll do several versions of it until they get it right and they’re getting good reviews, and then they come out with a physical book. Also, there’s different distribution channels for e books and physical books. You can do just on Amazon, and it can be available in all formats.
Smashwords only takes e books, does not take physical books. And I, I don’t know for sure, but there might even be channels that have only take physical books and not eBooks, like for example, bookstores, you have to have a, you have to have a physical book if you want it in a bookstore.
So that’s the difference there.
Then there’s length. In order to make a decent physical book, your book needs to be at least 75 pages. So for example, the book I’m releasing this month, It All Starts With an Idea, is only 44 pages. I can’t make it a physical book. I’d have to pad in a bunch of blank pages or something in order to make it a physical book, so I’m not going to do that.
But that’s a consideration. So if you want to have your book available as a physical book, you want to make sure it’s at least 75 to 100 pages. Sweet Spot tends to be about 90 to about 125 for a short book. And why would you want it to be a physical book? If you want it in bookstores, that’s one, that’s the obvious reason.
But it’s a more impressive impact if you’re in person and you give someone a physical book rather than say, here, here’s a thumb drive with my eBook in it, or here’s a QR code to get my eBook for free. They’re less likely to get it. But if you hand them a physical book, then they’re going to go.
And they’re more likely to read it. And even if they don’t read it now, they’re going to read it at some point because it’s going to be sitting on their bookshelf, they’re not going to throw it away. So a physical book can make a bigger impact. And I do have systems that I share with my clients on how they can use a physical book to increase their lead generation activities.
So, it’s really what is your strategy? What is your endgame? And what are you trying to do with your book? What’s your strategy? Now, if you need help with that kind of strategy, then I recommend that you schedule a Curious Conversation with Carma. You can do that at Authorneering.com/schedule.
Or AuthorSwitch.com/schedule or CarmaSpence.com/schedule. They all go to the same calendar, and we can have a conversation about how I might help you come up with that strategy.
I hope you found today’s information useful. Again, you want to, when you’re doing a short book, you want it to be high quality.
You want it to be very focused. And you want to be clear about your strategy of whether it’s going to be an e book only or if you want it to be a physical book because that affects the length of the short book. This is the end of this episode of The Author Switch Podcast. This is Carma Spence your host saying Ciao for now.