You’re a Kindle author. You’re into indie publishing, and you want to know how to sell more copies of your ebooks. The answer’s simple: give readers what they want.
To do that, you need to pay attention to genre.
Which fictional genres sell?
Readers of fiction read genres, even if they’re totally unaware of what a genre might be. Basically, genre is simply a category. Readers read in a genre because they want entertainment of a specific kind.
E. L. James introduced millions of readers to erotica, for example. Four years ago, with the publication of Fifty Shades of Grey, she made erotica a hot genre. It remains hot today. Thousands of authors are publishing erotica, and making money, thanks to Fifty Shades of Grey.
E.L. James not only reinvigorated a popular genre, she played her part in heating up a new genre: New Adult. The publisher St. Martin’s Press coined the term New Adult in 2009, but without the success of Fifty Shades of Grey, New Adult would be just another genre.
H.M. Ward’s a popular New Adult author, and she doesn’t need publishers. She does very well on her own:
“A book in the top ten sells around 5-10K copies per day. Let’s take the average and give the book some wiggle room and say it’s selling 7K copies a day @ $2.99. In 7 days you’ll have made (net, not gross) over $100,000.”
$100,000 in just a week? E.L. James helped to make New Adult a real money-spinner.
Why do New Adult authors rake in money? They give readers what they want.
To sell more copies of your ebooks, give readers what they want
I’m not suggesting that to sell more copies of your ebooks, you need to write New Adult fiction.
Your subconscious mind, the wellspring of your creativity, works the way it works. I couldn’t write New Adult fiction with a gun to my head. Well, maybe, with a gun to my head. 🙂
There are many profitable genres. Mysteries and thrillers will always be popular, as will horror fiction. Paranormal’s a genre which authors like Stephen King have made popular. Stephenie Meyer gave vampire romance a big boost with her Twilight series.
If you give readers what they want, your books will sell more copies.
Keep genre in mind, while you’re writing
You start writing your novel, or short story. You’ve decided that you’re writing a romance. Mid-way though your story, you realize — oops! — no romance. You seem to be writing a mystery.
That’s OK. You’ve always got choices. This happened to me recently. I started writing a romance under one of my pen-names, and got to 40,000 words before I realized that the romance was totally missing. Ho hum.
I like to bowl right through my first draft, making notes for changes in the second draft. However, this wasn’t a minor change. I had to change the main characters’ interactions completely. Not to mention their motivation, and character arcs. So I decided on several new scenes, wrote them, then went back to the beginning, and rewrote. By the time I’d done all that, I’d reached my word count, and the mystery turned into wallpaper, but that’s OK. I wrote several more scenes, and called it good.
I wrote what readers want to read. The ebooks under this pen name sell well, so I had to keep giving readers what they want.
Be prepared to rewrite, if you wander too far from genre. It’s necessary, if you want to sell.
“Genre” equals a market: it’s what sells
Genre shows you what’s selling, and if you want to sell more copies of each ebook you write, pay attention to what readers of that genre want.
If you do that, you’ll automatically sell more copies. For new authors, this can be challenging. As with my book above, your book will morph as you write it. Whack it back into shape when it strays outside its genre. You’ll have happy readers, and many more sales.
Updated: January 2, 2017
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