The most popular publishing genres also show up as the most popular in self-publishing. When books are read for entertainment, readers focus on genres they like. Writers who want to self-publish and make a living at it should consider writing in the genres that have large readerships.
Half of Amazon’s self-published e-book bestsellers are category romance, science fiction, and fantasy novels! Their readers are devoted to these easy-to-read and engrossing novels. They offer sheer escapism. And, readers of these genres have clearly defined interests that authors can appeal to.
Romance is the most popular genre. Happy endings and escapism have made romance an enduringly popular genre. Science fiction, fantasy, mystery and crime are also leading genres.
The Romance Category
Romance as a publishing genre has the lion’s share. Romances have forty percent of the market share of Amazon’s e-book sales. Like other genres, romance has subgenres as well such as contemporary romances, historical romances, romance mystery, Christian romance, westerns, and erotica. Even though “Fifty Shades of Grey” is in the erotica genre, erotica actually has a very small market share of the romance genre.
Bestselling romance writers, like Lindsay McKenna, are able to move from traditional publishing houses to self-publishing with some success. McKenna started self-publishing in 2014, after leaving Harlequin. In 2015, she joined Kensington; however, she did not leave self-publishing behind.
Science Fiction and Fantasy
Almost half of the science fiction and fantasy books sold on Amazon are self-published. Books in this genre invite readers to immerse themselves in alternate universes.
The Mystery and Thriller Categories
Mysteries and thrillers also sell very well. Readers who enjoy problem solving and getting their hearts thumping for entertainment enjoy this genre.
The successes of self-published authors indicate there is room for many more such success stories. Books by Deborah Bladon, Vi Keeland, Tijan, and Penelope Ward made it to the New York Times bestseller list for digital books in 2015.
The self-publishing option is becoming more mainstream. Crossover authors are on the rise in both traditional publishing and self-publishing. These hybrid authors make the most money, according to a survey by Digital Book World. Crowdfunding remains a popular platform for publishing projects. If you are worried about money, explore the crowdfunding option. Keep in mind that to build readership, many series book authors have offered the first book for free.
For any genre, marketing is the key to success. If you do not want to write a genre book, you can remain true to your vision and see how it goes. Readers will notice if you have to force your writing. Consider generating some crossover appeal, if making a living as a writer is your goal.