“The end is approaching”
Am I there yet? A checklist:
- You feel that you are nearing the end of your writing process.
- You said what you wanted to say, you shared your message.
- All chapters have been completed and are preferably about the same length.
- Each chapter has a small introduction and a conclusion.
- All the loose notes you had have been given a place.
- The illustrations are in a separate folder and you have clearly indicated where they should be in the book.
How many words or pages do you need for a real book?
There are no rules about how many pages a good book should have. It’s not about the number of words you wrote. The most important thing is that you get your message clearly on paper. Don’t write more, don’t write less.
I know from experience that it is useful to have some kind of guideline, so here it comes: usually, the length of a (paper) book is between 40,000 and 100,000 words.
Having a lot more to say will make the book too thick, which may put off some readers. A thick book is also more expensive for you to edit, design, print, and send. You can slightly compress a book with many words by using a smaller font and less white space, but that can make the book less attractive. You could also break down a large topic and make it into a series of several shorter books.
Don’t be afraid to publish a thin book, as long as the content is valuable. Remember that everyone is busy, both you and your readers. Short stories have become increasingly popular in recent years. There is even a special category (Short-Reads) for these books on Amazon.
If you have few words/pages in a paper book, the readers may (wrongly) get the feeling that they are not getting their money’s worth. In that case, your designer could ‘blow up’ the book a bit by using a larger font, using more white space, and adding some illustrations, for example. You can never run out of words for an ebook. An (e-)book can also contain only 5000 words.
In short, don’t focus on the number of words or pages in the first place, but on conveying the knowledge you want to share…
‘Kill your inner perfectionist’: good is good enough
Have you ever heard of the Pareto analysis or the 80-20 rule? The bottom line is that you can do 80 percent of the work in just 20 percent of the time. But if you want to go from 80 percent to 100 percent, that last 20 percent is going to cost you 80 percent of your time. So aim for 80-90 percent for your book, not 100 percent. That small difference can save you a lot of time and energy. This does not only apply to writing a book, but to any project you can think of!
Done is better than perfect
Bringing out something that you feel is not yet perfect can give a contradictory feeling. However, what is a ‘concept version’ for you may already be valuable for others. What’s more important: continue to get that last 10 percent perfect (which may take forever), or make your valuable input available to others right now?
Perfection is unattainable. It is better to publish a ‘good enough’ book than to just miss the finish line with an almost perfect book. You owe it to yourself and your followers, your readers to get your idea, your book out into the world.