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Your Books in the Information Marketing Business



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I’m almost finished with my most recent book. As I was importing it from a text file into MS Word I noticed that my current word count is around 30,000. The majority of business books run 50k or above.

What to do?

The most important thing to remember when you write a book is write until the topic is DONE. That might mean your book is 85,000 words. It also might mean that your book is 12,000 words. It doesn’t matter.

Shorter, “single-topic” books are very much in vogue. I hate using the same example over and over again, but think about Seth Godin’s book, “The Dip”. It’s a great LITTLE book with somewhere around 10,000 words. If there are a lot more words in that book than I think, there certainly shouldn’t be. I can give you a very good synopsis of the concept in three sentences.

The obsession to make your book a certain, pre-determined length probably goes back to our early programming as kids. The thicker and meatier the book, the more VALUABLE we thought it was.

NOTHING CAN BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.

I remember a customer telling me that they had bought a program from one of my competitors. It was two huge binders FILLED with all kinds of information. MUCH of it completely useless. The author thought it was important to make the book a certain length because people would think it was more valuable.

NONSENSE.

In fact, I asked my customer this question: “Would you have been willing to pay slightly MORE than what you did if the author had given you a very slimmed down, JUST THE FACTS version of what you bought?”

The answer as a resounding YES!!!

Why? Because we all buy books for a reason. If it’s a non-fiction, how-to book it’s all about trying to learn something and GET ER DONE. No one gives a rat’s ass about having it achieve some magical page or word count. It’s about giving people the information in a form that is digestible, easy to follow and easy to understand and implement.

So as I finish up my book, I’m talking to myself. Those of us who spend or have spent a lot of time in New York City tend to do that! I am reminding myself that the number of words in my book is not the ruler/standard by which I’ll judge when it’s complete. I’ll make that determination based on whether or not I’ve finished the book and given my readers exactly what they need.

NO LESS, NO MORE!

I suggest that as you start putting together your own info products that you do the same. Never worry about how long a product is, worry about whether it gives people what you promised them.

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One Response to “Your Books in the Information Marketing Business”

  1. John Soares on May 30th, 2010 2:38 pm

    Fred, this is such an important point.

    I read a lot of nonfiction books, almost always because I think the author has valuable information I want to know.

    For so many of them I wind up skimming quickly just to find the meat. I have seen many instances of an author taking an entire book to say what could have been said in 3000 words.

    The biggest problem with this: readers can lose the real message as they wade through all the fluff and try to sort out what’s important and what’s not.

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