Which Genres Sell Best for Indie Ebook Authors?

| Posted in Amazon Kindle Sales, E-publishing |


Whether you’re just getting into e-publishing or you’ve been staring at your sales numbers for a long time (and wondering why they aren’t higher), you might be interested to know which indie ebook authors are doing very well and what genres they’re doing well in.

Up-and-coming cyberpunk author and number-cruncher extraordinaire, Derek J. Canyon, has compiled some information and created some handy charts you’ll want to check out.

He focuses on authors selling a minimum of 1,000 titles a month. Even if their ebooks are priced at 99 cents, he points out, that’s $350 a month or $4,200 a year (not bad for a hobby). Authors selling their 1,000+ ebooks at $2.99 (the minimum to qualify for the 70% royalty category at Amazon) are making at least $2,000+ a month or $24,000 a year. Now we’re talking, eh?

Some stand-out points Derek makes:

  • The top 4 genres are romance, paranormal, thriller, and mystery. But, there is a wide variety of additional genres. It looks like the club is open to almost any genre.
  • Most of the authors selling 1,000+ units…have more than one title available.

This sure makes me want to get more ebooks out there (too bad I don’t write in those popular genres)!

One thing I noticed from some of the comments is that novellas can do well in ebook form. This covers that broad range from about 15,000 to 40,000 words–essentially stories too long to sell to magazines and too short for book publishers. There are no rules when you’re an indie author publishing ebooks though. Novellas might be an option for those who want to get more titles out there but who just don’t have time to write multiple full-length novels a year. There’s no reason you couldn’t sell some of these at $0.99 at Amazon to add to your title count.

Go check out those charts. They’ll probably get you thinking the same way they’ve gotten me thinking!

Derek is a fellow speculative fiction writer, so please support him by checking out his ebook: Dead Dwarves Don’t Dance.

We SF/F people have a pretty small slice of that genre chart, so we need all the help we can get!

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Comments (9)

Checked out the post. It’s very encouraging. I’ve been cruising some of the author’s blogs to see what they’re doing right.

Thanks for the link, Lindsay! You have a nice blog here. I especially like the 3 Ways to Make Extra Money post.

Thanks for commenting, Reena, and thanks for stopping by Derek. You’re welcome for the link!

Just stumbling – I love the cover of emperor’s edge! Who made it?

Thanks for popping in, Derek. Glendon Haddix from Streetlight Graphics ( does my covers.

It’s interesting to see the breakdown by genres and explains a lot about the sales for my books. I was surprised to see that Science Fiction only commands a small proportion of the market, when you think that in movie terms Star Wars, Star Trek, Xmen, etc are so popular.

My first book ‘The Discovery of Mars Magellan’ has seen steady sales, but would I have chosen another genre if I had known the figures.

Also check out my second book due to be published soon. ‘Morgan Burdett – Bite The Bullet’ a Gangster/Crime Fiction novel.


An interesting note to start with. I live in the UK Lindsay and just ‘Googled’ – Amazon’s best selling genres and this link was on the first page yet the last comment was 2011? I am a 13 month indie newbie but have been lucky to sell 27,000 + ebooks in that time, varying between £2 and £1. I am now looking to broaden my reach and thought tis might help me. Besides Erotica (which is hardly erotic) and paranormal, it seems a good mystery is the answer but as you know, this takes research, patience and at least 16,000 words to justify even a £1 sale. The erotica of 1,000words for $1 is making Amazon think again. It has to stop as it is crap. I spoke to Author Central recently and they are rethinking there policy as it is damaging their credibility. Good luck with books Lindsay. Anthony.

I notice that paranormal is listed as one of the top genres. People who have reviewed my books tend to list them as paranormal, but that genre is not an option for those of us who write adult fiction. It’s not that I have extreme violence or sexuality in my writing, I just write about people who are past their teen years. Any advice?

I don’t think paranormal necessarily refers to teen fiction (in fact, there should be a separate YA category with paranormal in it). If you’re not sure where yours should fall, try checking on the books of authors who write similarly to you and see where their stuff is categorized.

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