Updated October 2023
If you’re thinking about self-publishing your book, it’s important to remember that not all self-publishing genres have the same rate of success. The experts at Self-Publishing Relief know that while some genres seem to take off when self-published, others fall behind and have fewer sales. Find out whether your book falls into one of the top-selling genres in self-publishing.
Top 5 Most Popular Self-Publishing Genres
At 40% of the total Kindle market, the self-published contemporary romance genre is a perennial best seller. Competition is fierce, but the romance subgenres offer places where your book has a better chance of standing out and gaining attention. Romance readers tend to be loyal to their favorite authors, and their clearly defined interests make it easier for authors in this genre to target their sales efforts. And while erotica is lumped into the romance genre, it isn’t what drives the sales numbers: At the time of this article’s writing, the top-selling self-published book on Amazon is a new romantic comedy.
#2: Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense
Page-turners are definitely popular, and 20% of mystery, thriller, and suspense book sales are self-published books. While not as big a market share as romance, this genre still has huge potential! Like romance, it may be smart to drill down into subgenres to help differentiate your book from the others vying for readers’ attention.
With the rising mainstream appeal of the fantasy genre, we’re not surprised that it comes in at number three on the list of top-selling self-published book genres. About half of the fantasy best sellers available on Kindle are self-published, meaning that many talented authors have turned to self-publishing for this up-and-coming genre!
#4: Young Adult
Many young adult books are also mysteries or romance novels, so this genre is quite large and offers lots of subgenre opportunities. This is great news for YA writers! Once you determine your niche within the young adult genre, you’ll be more likely to find an audience for your book.
#5: Science Fiction
Self-published books command a huge portion of overall sales in the sci-fi genre: About 56% of Kindle’s science fiction e-books are self-published!
…And One Genre That’s Less Popular For Self-Publishing
Self-published nonfiction books don’t tend to make the top-selling lists. While this certainly doesn’t mean your nonfiction book is doomed to fail, it is important to keep in mind that the most successful nonfiction books are written by people who have the credentials to back up their topic, or who already have an audience.
Don’t let generalizations about which books sell best discourage you from self-publishing your book. Remember, no matter what’s trending, it’s important to write a book that’s true to your unique writing style and vision. Forcing yourself to write in a genre you’re not comfortable with just to jump on the latest bandwagon will result in writing that’s inauthentic—and readers will take notice! Trends change all the time; what’s popular now might be fading by the time you’re finished with your manuscript. You might want to consider adding some crossover appeal to your book—for example, adding a little romance to your mystery novel.
For any genre, the key to successfully selling your self-published book is to market it effectively. Even traditionally published books can end up in last place if they’re not marketed well. And in today’s publishing industry, more traditional publishers are putting the responsibility for marketing a book onto the author’s shoulders.
Question: In which genre do you write?