Is Writing Non-Fiction More Profitable Than Fiction?

Is Writing Non-Fiction More Profitable Than FictionWriting non-fiction has many advantages

While fiction and particularly romance seem to dominate self-publishing, non-fiction has a number of advantages when it comes to making money from your writing.

The biggest is that non-fiction offers enormous potential for online discoverability.

By this, I mean that the topic or subject of a non-fiction title is much easier to promote by using good keywords and SEO.

Keywords, of course, are gold when it comes to readers searching for and finding what they are looking for, either on Google, Amazon or by any other means of Internet search.

This, of course, is an extremely difficult task for fiction titles.

The second advantage of non-fiction is that there is an enormous market for ebooks in particular, as they offer a rapid means to access information and answers to questions that readers are hunting for on a particular topic.

These topics are almost unlimited, but a good starting point for a little research is the BISAC site, where you can find the categories that are used by Kindle. You can find the overall subject heading here, or the self-help listing here.

Another advantage is that Kindle ebook buyers, in particular, are very willing to buy self-published non-fiction ebooks.

As the following three graphs courtesy of Author Earnings show, self-published and small press titles have a more than substantial market share.

Is Writing Non Fiction More Profitable1

Is Writing Non Fiction More Profitable2

Is Writing Non Fiction More Profitable3

While non-fiction is only 30% of total ebook sales, self-publishers and small press have in excess of 50% of the market and revenue.

This makes it a lucrative market as it is most certainly less competitive than the fiction and genre fiction market. Finding your niche though is the challenge.

For those who might be considering writing non-fiction, Joanna Penn wrote a terrific step-by-step guide to writing non-fiction, which is highly recommended reading.

Lastly, and probably most importantly, non-fiction books tend to be much shorter than fiction – in the range of 20-35,000 words.

While there is obviously more research involved, the actual writing time for a non-fiction title is obviously faster than for a novel of 100,000 words.

So, if you are currently writing fiction and not feeling that you are getting the financial rewards you would like, perhaps it is time to do some research and look at what possibilities there are in non-fiction writing for you.

Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

One thought on “Is Writing Non-Fiction More Profitable Than Fiction?

  • Hi Derek,

    Thanks a lot for this one. I have been thinking over this subject for some time. Finally, you have helped me stick to the non-fiction genre.


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