Chris Gardner

The joys of self-publishing.

What’s a good length for an ebook?


Is there one? I find I don’t have the same staying power reading ebooks as I do reading a paperback but maybe that’s just me. Not having read short stories in the past I now find myself actively searching for them on Amazon. I even published a collection myself but it hasn’t done as well as my novels have–‘Stony Creek’ at 60 something thousand words is still doing very well so maybe the length doesn’t matter as long as the story’s engaging. Of course that’s still quite short for a novel but I don’t think I’ll ever write a 100,000 word story–I’m more of a ‘let’s get to the point’ writer and reader.

My latest publication is around 11,500 words, which apparently qualifies it as a novelette–too long to be a short story but not long enough to be a novella. I think it’s a good length for an ebook, but certainly not long enough to be in print. I’d like to thank everyone who suggested titles for this one; I was tossing up between Innocents and Innocence but finally decided on Dark Innocence. It’s not the only book in the world with that title but I think it says more about what I’m getting at. Without giving away too much of the story it’s about teenagers in the sixties, in a country town in Australia; they’re all innocent, naïve really, but they cause things to happen and it’s their very innocence that prevents them foreseeing the possible results.

‘Dark Innocence’ will be free on Amazon from the 12th to the 14th May and I’d appreciate a quick review if you like it. I grew up in a country town in Australia in the sixties and it was kind of fun re-living some of that. Some of the language could be confusing to some people but I’m hoping most of you will understand that thongs worn on the feet have nothing to do with a g-string! In Oz we’ve been watching English and American movies and TV shows for many years and we understand the lingo–I hope you understand ours!

It was Mothers Day here yesterday and I realise it’s Sunday now for most of you, so Happy Mothers Day to all the mums. I have two sons who live locally and they both dropped in for a visit, which was lovely; I also have one currently honeymooning in Thailand who sent me a facebook photo/message and two others out of town who rang. And I rang my mum of course. So all good. Mothers Day for me is all about being in touch, in one way or another, not about new washing machines!

‘Dark Innocence’ link for UK

‘Stony Creek’ for UK




Author: cmsgardnerblog

I'm a writer of fiction and non-fiction, for teens and adults. I live in Central Victoria, Australia and my books are available at

6 thoughts on “What’s a good length for an ebook?

  1. I think my books are all a bit long.. Over 100,000 words. Totally flawed that GB bucks the trend of the entire English Speaking world on the Mother’s Day front. Here in GB we have a church thing called Mothering Sunday on a set Sunday in Lent. So it moves about, like Easter. There’s a slightly out of body feel to reading everyone’s Mother’s Day posts months after it’s been and gone. Phnark. Happy day anyway. 🙂



  2. I should probably have known that. Happy non-Mothers Day to you then.

  3. I like to get to the point, too. I had only ever written short stories when I decided to try NaNoWriMo in 2011. It was a struggle writing 50,000 words, but I did it, and again in 2012. I think the right length for a book is however long it takes to engage the reader and tell the story. 🙂

  4. Can I suggest a more practical approach? I’ve been looking at this lately and there’s a few considerations. For a start, what you’d say is the reader’s money’s worth for the price. Working backwards, I reckon at least $2.99 for a price, because this is over the threshold for the 70% royalty and, just as importantly, makes any 99 cent promotion more than a 50% discount. There are a few guides around, but generally books around 20-25K words minimum rate a price of $2.99.
    So my two cents worth is at least 20K words, because it justifies a $2.99 price, which allows the 70% royalty and at roughly one-quarter of a “normal” (100K) book represents a reading experience beyond a short story.
    I’ve decided that these shorter books shouldn’t be regarded as just kind of “lazy” not-really-long-enough attempts at a novel, but rather extended short stories of the ilk that were popular in the early/mid 20th century and were a challenging format of their own.

    • Good points, Graeme. That 70% versus 30% on Amazon does make a big difference–it means writers are better off publishing one book at around 25,000 words than three or four at 10,000. That’s definitely a practical way of looking at it.

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