Long eBooks and Short Titles Sell Best on Smashwords
Last year Smashwords CEO Mark Coker released the results from data that was mined during an 11-month period from May 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013. This data studied trends of more than $12 million in sales for 120,000 Smashwords eBooks. One key finding was that longer eBooks actually do a little better.
Coker stated on his blog that; ‘The top 100 bestselling Smashwords eBooks averaged 115,000 words.’ When we examined the word counts of eBooks in other sales rank bands, we found the lower the word count, the lower the sales.’
Coker also notes that some authors might have undermined an eBook’s true potential by splitting it into a series of novellas. This is a difficult decision for authors who know that producing multiple eBooks can often help them to sell more and build their author brand.
This type of data is always important to self-published authors who decide on the price of their eBooks as well as the length. Most authors I have spoken to go through a ‘trial and error’ process before they get it right. Therefore, if your eBook is not selling then you may want to review these key components.
Smashwords’ Mark Coker Findings
Short titles also sell better than e-eBooks with longer titles. The 100 top-selling Smashwords eBooks had an average length of 4.2 words in the title. As you get lower on the list, the titles get progressively longer.
When it comes to pricing, free and $2.99 seem to be the most popular price points. In correlation, the cheaper the book, the more copies it tends to sell. However, eBooks for $1.99 do not sell well comparatively.
But one price didn’t conform to the rule.
On average, $3.99 eBooks sold more units than $2.99 eBooks, and more units than any other price except FREE,’ Coker wrote. ‘I didn’t expect this. Although the general pattern holds that lower priced eBooks tend to sell more units than higher priced eBooks, $3.99 was the rule-breaker.’