Let’s get this out of the way right now – none of us really write for money. It’s easy to recognize a book that was written just to earn the author some money. It’s usually called something irresistible and ideal, such as How To Write A Book In 10 Minutes And Get Rich Within A Day. I exaggerate, of course. But I will bet you there were at least three books on that basis that you’ve had in recommendation the last time you visited Amazon. There, check it out.
It doesn’t work that way in the real world. It’s something that gets written and swamps our screen for a couple of days and then is forgotten. To be honest, there are books that deal with writing process in depth that are meant to help. Even I’m working on an outline. But those books won’t ever tell you you’ll be famous and rich as soon as you read them.
Don’t get me wrong, I like that people are writing and trying. But there’s just too much sensationalism on the covers and it’s inescapable. Those are the kind of books I can tolerate as gifts when I subscribe to a site – but I know there is no formula for a perfect book. There’s just a set of principles, and all we, bloggers, do is explain the principles from our perspective and we give a bit of flavor to the approaches that are universally recommended.
But there must be some pattern in writing and earning money!, I hear you say.
First off, I’m a huge believer in self-publishing. I like the control and freedom authors have in the process and I like keeping an eye on things. I recommend everyone who writes in a language eligible for KDP – a problem for me since I write fiction in Serbian, so my sweetheart is translating, then I edit, then I edit again the finished manuscript – see how much I go through? But I love it!
Okay, I’m getting to it. I’ve researched the market and I wasn’t surprised. Nothing has changed in the last decade. So, here are:
5 Genres That Sell The Most
I’ve made a few calculations based on the reports I could find and I’ve compiled a list of the top 5 genres that make the most revenue.
This genre is worth just under $80 million. And trust me, that’s not a big number compared to the rest. But, genre’s lead by Stephen King whose profit is estimated to be at $400 million.
If you’d consider yourself to have a wild and a bit twisted imagination, you won’t regret writing a horror. But, exactly because this genre is popular, the readers have a certain standard and they do have expectations. So, read horror and see what you can do differently, see new ways to scare people. Some are scared by what they don’t know while others fear the reality – pick one and stick with it!
4. Sci-Fi and fantasy
I hope you’re sitting down. This genre is worth just over $590 million. Good old J.K., Tolkien, Suzanne Collins and George R.R. Martin are the first names that come to my mind when I think of fantasy. Of course, fantasy and sci-fi genre a great place for imaginative authors to write but it’s not easy.
Nevertheless, this genre is wildly popular since it can be made into films and TV series, so the money keeps coming. It’s very dear to children and teenagers but I don’t mind reading exciting fantasy neither. In fact, I love reading it and hope even to write it when I feel I’m ready.
3. Religious and inspirational
Surprised? So was I, but we shouldn’t be. With horror you scare people, with fantasy you detach them from the reality for a minute, but this genre helps them face that reality with confidence. No wonder it is worth $720 million.
If you’re not particularly religious and prefer writing fiction, then best avoid any attempts at writing in this genre. But people do need a boost from time to time, so self-help books are popular enough to make sure you get some cash. Still, I wouldn’t recommend writing to earn some quick money. It helps your wallet but it could potentially ruin your reputation.
A very important fact is that every hotel buys The Bible so that helps boost this genre a bit. It’s the most printed book and the first printed by Gutenberg, so it does have its audience. Many, dare I say it, spin-offs were quite popular as well.
2. Crime and mystery
Just a bit above the religious books, this genre is worth a bit over $728 million. It’s a predictable spot but you know how it is – people love getting confused and reading to find out if they were right. If you’re particularly good at this genre you’ll have no problems here.
People love clever twists and surprises and so do I. It’s a perfectly natural sensation. As a reader, it might be my ego, but if you outsmart me I’ll love you to death! And I’m not trying to say that I’m the cleverest person in the world, just that I like guessing the answers and searching for clues. So, a good story, fine writing and a clever twist is what sells your book.
Of course, it has to be mentioned. These are a sort of books I’d read on a beach, once, and I probably wouldn’t re-read them. But if you’re really good at it, it will be noticed and your readers will be the next one as well.
1. Erotica and romance
Surprise, surprise. Who’d have known that sex sells? After all, Orwell’s 1984 showed how we can be distracted from anything by some steamy erotica. This genre is estimated to be worth a staggering 1.4 billion!
Free us, oh Lord, of our philosophical minds for a minute so we can enjoy in erotica! There is no need for some deep thoughts and examinations of life’s worth when writing in this genre. But don’t overdo the sex thing, it gets boring after a while. If you have some ideas that would tickle your readers’ minds, by all mean do it – write erotica. It indeed is a great way to relax a bit and shut down the other senses. This genre has a large market and the quality of works can be debated, but I’m not going to. I like writers, I like readers, I like books.
So, there you have it. The top 5 genres that bring money. Of course, drama is nowhere near this list because life gets rough and it isn’t easy reading about it. That’s why we read it in high school, before it gets as rough for us – just to get to know the genre.
I must repeat, once again, don’t pick a genre because of its worth. Pick a genre because of your worth, the intellectual worth. If you like writing drama and tragedy, there is an audience for it. Don’t sit down and write to become famous and rich. The readers are clever – they will sense that you wrote something just to become popular and earn money. Write when you have something to say, write when you feel like you have a good story!
Author: Mladen Reljanović
Mladen Reljanović is the founder and lead writer at Writer to Writers. He is the author of Oaktown stories, senior student of communication and a pianist.