Self-publishing romance is the king (or queen) genre in ebooks.
If you are writing and self-publishing science fiction, historical fiction, mystery or detective stories, perhaps you should consider a change of genres.
One genre is dominating ebook sales in particular.
No prizes for guessing that this genre is romance.
In an article on Flavorwire, which looks at the success of 50 Shades of Grey, and why the self-publishing boom may be over, it contradicts itself towards the end of the article with this very interesting statistical snippet.
Yet romance has stayed steady in print, and it’s simply exploded in e-book sales: in 2010, it occupied 19 per cent of the e-book market, and by 2014 it had grown to 24 per cent, which means for every four e-books sold, one is a romance.
In this long article, which traces back on the success of the self-publishing romance genre, there are some interesting insights into why it is such an attractive, and lucrative genre for writers.
MacLean, who’s been publishing with HarperCollins since 2010, has observed the fervent reading habits of romance fans up close. “Romance readers are tremendously passionate about their books, and they read on average ten to 12 books a month, which is way more than most readers do,” she says.
The appetite of romance readers has been a particular boon for self-published authors, with most cranking out their stories at a quicker clip than your typical traditionally published author. MacLean averages about two books a year, while Erickson, as Monica Murphy, completes a book roughly every two months.
Romance ebooks represent 24% of the market!
So, if you are considering changing genres, could you write for a readership that represents 24% of the book-buying market? The following quote from the article makes it pretty clear as to what is necessary.
What makes a romance novel successful?
Books break out because they fulfil the very intense criteria of the best of the genre. Romance needs to hit beats that are driven by emotional investment in the story.
The form, in some ways, is very prescribed, and what makes books interesting is what they do with that form. “It’s a very visceral experience for readers,” says MacLean, who also writes a romance review column for The Washington Post.
“Many readers see themselves in the stories and are able to imagine their lives in different ways through romance, and those things are not to be discounted.”
Romance readers want to feel everything, to care deeply about the relationship in the story, getting both turned on and thoroughly invested in whether or not the central relationship has a shot in a world that suffers cruel and delicious twists of fate, right up until the happy ending.
If you’re an author, perhaps it’s time to forget about spaceships, aliens, pirates and alcoholic detectives and write for an audience, which is buying ebooks like crazy.
Are you self-publishing romance? Food for thought.
You can read the complete article on Flavorwire here.
I started my working life as a lithographer and then spent over 30 years in the printing and publishing business.
Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland 20 years ago. My days are spent teaching English, writing and wrestling with technology while enjoying my glorious view of the Alps.
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