How many words are needed for a book to be viable.  This is a difficult question to answer with precision as each subject and each group of readers have different tastes and reading habits.

As a rule of thumb for Business Books you want to stick to about 120 pages which works out at about 30k words for the whole book.  You can of course supplement words with diagrams and pictures and reduce the word count significantly.

If your audience is more academic then you want to be aiming closer to 60k words.

However, don’t get to overwhelmed with word count – let the words flow too many is better than not enough and a book is easier to edit down than up.

It is also worth noting that people really do not read like they used to and so there are some guidelines for PM Press Publishing house Guidelines.

  1. Keep sentences short.  If the sentence gets over a couple of lines, consider breaking it into two sentences.
  2. Paragraphs of 3 sentences.  More is OK for academic work but for business books 3 sentences is ample usually.
  3. Chapters contain ideas.  A single chapter a single idea.

When you are actually free writing your work, don’t worry too much about the number of words or the sentence or paragraph sizes, keep that for your first edit (author’s first edit).