I’ve been debating this ever since I started to write short books for Amazon Kindle… Should I write fiction novels, or write short info-guides that are focused on a tight niche?

There are pluses and minus to both, and I’ll explore them here.

The benefits of writing short, info-packed guides to address small niche topics I can see quite plainly.

  1. I can write the book, edit, create the graphics, and upload to Amazon’s Kindle store all in less than 2 weeks. Sometimes it just takes one week if it’s a topic I know inside and out.
  2. I have a good idea within a month how successful the book will be. Is it selling over my average? Is it smashing records? A dud? I’m able to tell really fast how well it will do. Now, this doesn’t mean that books that start out slow won’t go anywhere, but so far the first month’s sales have been a good indicator how well the book will do in the longer term.
  3. If I do hit a good niche – I can write a couple of other books in that niche or in parallel niches to see if I can grab more of the buyers interested in that subject.
  4. There seems to be little competition in the tight niches right now. Getting in now and becoming a bestselling author is easier in these little pockets.
  5. I’m the type of person that must see the results of what I’ve done rather quickly – or I get bored. Short book projects where I’m writing on various topics seem ideal for my ADD mind.

The negatives of writing these short books:

  1. It’s usually a guess as to whether the niche will hold buyers or not. You must write a book and put it for sale in the niche to find out.
  2. I’m running out of niches I want to write books in. If I continued like this, soon I’d be writing books I couldn’t give two shakes about. How fun would that be?
  3. None of them really kill it. I think the book that sells the most right now is selling about 50 books per month. That’s $100 per month.

There are some positives about writing long fiction novels too…

  1. There is a large audience that is always craving more. If you kill it with one book, you will have a successful formula you can follow to write more books that go stratospheric. One successful book by Lovic would sell a whole lot more books that may, may not even be any good, just based on buyer hope that other Lovic books are gems.
  2. The sense of accomplishment I feel after completing a 100,000+ word book is immense. It’s like I just conquered the whole world.
  3. I can really create an elaborate masterpiece that is all the result of what’s in my head – not facts. That’s enticing.
  4. It could be turned into paperback or a movie.
  5. I’m more likely to gain an audience over time by writing fiction. Fans are great to have because they are the source of a writer’s income throughout the course of his life.

Negatives of writing long fiction books:

  1. I have to conquer ADD each and every day I write, so, when writing a book that takes a couple of months – it’s a monumental effort that often just dies mid-book.
  2. Because it’s such a total effort to crank out a fiction book of some length, it’s also a devastating failure when the book flops. You just wasted months of time in which you could have been writing short nichey books that almost definitely sell to some degree.
  3. It’s a stressful few months of writing. My mind is like a sieve. If I skip even 1-2 days of writing, I have forgot names I’ve used, who characters are, settings. Here’s another example how my mind works. We get a DVD movie to watch. We watch it. My wife will ask me about something in the movie the night before and I can’t remember much at all. I don’t know where the hell my mind is during a movie, but I can’t remember much at all once it’s over. I’m all into it when it’s playing. In the present – I’m there. When it’s over, it’s over and it leaks right out of my memory as fast as it went in.
  4. I’d rather slice happy faces into my toes with a rusty wood-screw than edit my own novels. Next one I write I’ll seriously consider paying someone.
  5. Competition is enormous. It takes a lot for fiction readers to take a chance on buying and reading a new author. I’m like that. Joe Konrath was the first new author I’ve read in a long time. I read it because he’s going gangbusters in the Kindle book store. I actually liked “The List” though. It was good enough to make worthwhile for the $2.99 I paid. Oh wait, I got it for free at his site. Never mind that.
  6. Until you write a successful fiction novel you have NO IDEA if you have what it takes to be a successful fiction writer. You can think you’ve got it all you like. Until you’ve got it, all you really have is your hand in your pocket and whatever you find in there.
  7. If it takes 4 months to write one, and it flops, I’ve just not written 8 shorter books that would have continued to make me money for a long, long time. It’s quite a risk to write a longer book before you have one bestselling book.

Any other benefits / negatives you can think of?

Which do you write? Why?