Size Matters

August 17, 2021

Have you noticed how the size of your favorite brand items in the stores have shrunk while the prices remain the same or are higher? You’ve probably observed how your grocery bill has increased while portion sizes have gotten smaller.

milk bottles

While I was writing A Bad Hair Day Cookbook, I had to adjust recipes that called for box sizes no longer available. For example, cake and pudding mixes come in smaller boxes than in the past. This means less dry ingredients for your recipe. Take a look at your older cookbooks or family recipes and you’ll see what I mean. For other items, the bottle sizes have shrunk or the items inside are no longer as large or as plentiful. The manufacturers benefit while we get less and pay more.

Tomato Sauce  Pickle Jar

Does this also apply to book lengths? Do readers today, with short attention spans, prefer shorter works?

I looked at a few books from popular indie mystery authors and came up with these averages:

My books – 291 pages
Author A – 336 pages
Author B – 163 pages
Author C – 171 pages

What does this say? Those last two averages are considerably lower than mine. Does this mean readers prefer shorter and more frequent works? My books come out an average of once a year. If I wrote short, how many more stories could I produce? Being prolific isn’t my goal. I like to write a meaty story and that will take as long as it takes.

Another factor I noted is that all three of these authors have their e-books exclusive to Amazon in Kindle Unlimited. They are successful with this choice, but I don’t care to keep all my eggs in one basket. I’d rather offer my e-books wide. I do get sales from these other venues, including libraries, so it’s been worthwhile for me. My print books, too, are available wide through IngramSpark and KDP.

But this still begs the question – Do readers prefer shorter books that are quick reads with more frequent releases? A subscription service like Kindle Unlimited? Or books that are available from a variety of sources in varying lengths? What’s your opinion?

Do book lengths matter? #indiepub #publishing Click To Tweet


Enter Here Aug 1-18 to win a free book from Booklover’s Bench cozy mystery authors

Booklovers Bench Monthly Book Giveaway

• Posted in Blog • Tags: , , , |  6 Comments

6 thoughts on “Size Matters

  1. I think people will follow a series because they enjoy the characters, whether that is a longer read or shorter. I’m sure there are people who want more often releases for the instant gratification thing. I know readers who won’t start a series until there are a number of books in it so they can binge. As a reader, I just want a good story and I will wait for that next book no matter how long. As a writer, I tend to write lean and am working towards longer books such as yours that are meatier! I agree with being wide. I have a Nook and appreciate being able to buy for my Nook.

    1. I’m glad you prefer books that are “wide.” I agree with your remarks as a reader. I like a good story and will wait for it from my favorite authors. That said, I prefer books that are on the longer side so I can savor them for several days. A good book is like a treat to look forward to each night.

  2. Nancy, I like your books just the way they are and I have read all of them.
    If I wanted a quick read I would read a short story. Don’t change.

    1. Thanks, Kay. I have no intention of changing my technique. The latest book I’m working on, Styled for Murder, clocks in at 289 pages. I’m hoping for a Nov. 16 release date. I miss seeing you at the library meetings.

  3. A few years ago, readers were looking for novella-size stories. They were either too busy to read a full-size book, or lacked the attention span. I understand. Sometimes we just want a quick and entertaining read.

    I think the pandemic changed that outlook a little. We stayed at home and wanted to immerse ourselves in a long read and fascinating characters. I believe the size of your books is perfect!

  4. Thanks, Mary. I do believe the pandemic brought some people back to reading. As a reader, I like to immerse myself in a world and then I’m reluctant to close the last page. It’s why reading is an escape for me, but I can understand the need for short and sweet sometimes.

Comments are closed.