I recently received the e-mail below from Don who had contacted me earlier about writing books and book marketing:
Directly below his e-mail is my response.
I finished writing and printing 500 copies of my book. I wrote you around June 1 of this year for advice on how to start. I wrote a 200 page book that my critics said was too short and risked being sued for libel (truth is a valid defense but defending costs a lot of money). My second book is 360 pages and more positive and instructive in tone.
I also followed your advice about getting things done so the website is kinda crude and the book has about 30 minor typos that I will fix should another 500 or 1000 copies get printed.
RESPONSE TO DON
Regarding your book of 200 pages, I am not sure what it is all about. But for books in general, if someone tells you that a 200 page book is way too short, they don't know what they are talking about.
People who don't know what they are talking about lie a lot. Results don't lie, however!
In fact, in a lot of cases, the shorter the book — the better the book! Who Moved My Cheese is less than 100 pages and has sold over 11 milllion copies. The gift book Life's Little Instruction Book has 40 words per page and has around 160 pages, so it has about 6,500 words at the most. It has sold over 9 million copies.
Still more, I purchased a hardcover gift book that has less than 600 words and has sold several hundred thousand copies. It's called The Twelve Gifts of Birth and was originally self-published before Harper Collins took it on. The book sold about 300,000 copies by the author. HarperCollins has sold 158,947 copies so far but this doesn't include box store and gift store sales, which would be big for this book.
When it comes to e-books, you don't need more than 35 pages. This information about e-books comes from Eben Pagan, who has made over $100 million in seven years marketing on the Internet. Eben Pagan knows what he is talking about. Again, results don't lie. But critics and misfits and even misguided academics with PhDs lie a lot.
Fact is, most book and marketing experts with Ph.Ds have not made one cent marketing on the Internet and they have never had a best-selling book (over 100,000 copies sold. They also wouldn't know anything about Using Viral Marketing to Make Your Book a Bestseller or How to Arrange 101 Book Deals Without Going to the Frankfurt Book Fair.
As Eben Pagan says, "Be a smart marketer instead of a dumb expert!" According to Eben, the vast majority of academics fall into the latter category when it comes to book marketing and creating products that people really want.
In short, more is not better. A book of a few hundred words can be much better than a book of 100,000 words.
What's more, the problem with a big heavy book is that once you put it down — you can't pick it up again!
Here are a few quotes about books relating to lenght and quality vs. quantity:
A big book is a big bore.
— Callimachus (c. 260 B.C.)
In every fat book there is a thin book trying to get out.
— Unknown wise reader
There's no thief like a bad book.
— Italian Proverb
The covers of this book are too far apart.
— Ambrose Bierce
Your book left me begging for less.
— Author Unknown
Regarding your first book and the possibility of being sued, I can't comment aside from the chance that you mention me in the book.
If you have mentioned me in your book, I must quote Mark Twain:
"I can't do no literary work for the rest of this year because I'm meditating another lawsuit and looking around for a defendant."
Check out some more great quotes about writers and writing on my newest website.
Also check out the quotes about education.
You may want to use this one with your critics:
"I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly." — Michel de Montaigne
So long for now,
Best-Selling Author, Innovator, and Creativity Consultant
Author of the Bestseller How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free
(Over 125,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)
and the International Bestseller The Joy of Not Working
(Over 250,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)