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Reader Magnet Length: How Long Should It Be?

The average reader magnet length is between 5,000 and 25,000 words. This brings the average reader magnet length to around 15,000 words.

If you decide to make a short story, novella, or novel your reader magnet then you’re likely wondering how large your word count should be. In this brief guide, we talk reader magnet length in-depth to ensure all your questions are answered.

How Long Should a Reader Magnet Be?

There’s no right or wrong answer to reader magnet length, however, you should aim to present a story with a complete arc. If you’re writing a short story, then you’ll be looking at around 8,000 words whereas a novella will be in the 15,000 to 25,000 range.

Can a Reader Magnet Be Too Short?

Yes, your reader magnet can be too short. If you cannot present a fully fleshed out and satisfying story in under 5,000 words then you should aim for a larger story.

Remember, it’s called a reader magnet for a reason. You want this to not only entice readers to sign up for your email newsletter but you want them to read and love your reader magnet so much that they (pay for) and devour your backlist, plus any new releases on the horizon.

But remember, word count aside, you should always prioritize quality over length.

Does It Need to Be a Complete Story?

If you decide to go with a story as your reader magnet then you do need to present your email subscribers with a complete story arc. Remember, this is supposed to make them want to read more of your work (and pay money to do so!) so you want to ensure you are telling a fully fleshed out and satisfying story.

What If I Don’t Want to Give Away 15,000+ Words for Free?

First, I’d recommend changing your perspective from ‘giving work away for free’ to ‘making an investment in future readers’. Reader magnets are a form of advertising and they either require monetary investment or something else of value (in this case, your words).

However, I get the lack of appeal in giving large chunks of your writing away without direct compensation. Luckily, there are alternatives for those who don’t want to use short stories or novellas as your reader magnet. These alternatives are less wordcount intensive and include options like maps of your world, a behind-the-scenes peek at your writing process, and extended additions or cut scenes.

You can get more ideas in our complete guide to reader magnet ideas.

The First Step to Creating a Successful Reader Magnet

Creating a successful reader magnet is certainly not as easy as slapping together a story and throwing it into the ether. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you enjoy the challenge like some of us), being an author comes with so many technical skills that stretch beyond putting words to paper.

However, the first step to creating a successful reader magnet is to decide what type of magnet you’ll be creating. If you’ve determined that’s a novella or short story then you’ll want to next explore competitors in your genre who use the same types of reader magnet. From there you can see what you do and don’t like about their magnets and use your intel to construct your own.

Remember, not every reader magnet will be a major success and you’ll have more than one during your career. Now get to writing!

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