One of the benefits of writing mystery fiction is that readers are immensely loyal. If they like a sleuth, they want more. This means that many mystery authors write series.
Some of these series run for years, with many novels. A reader who buys one book in a series, goes on to buy others. So, the Mystery, Thriller & Suspense genres offer wide scope for authors.
To help you to make the most of the opportunities in mystery fiction, we’ve just released: Write Your Bestseller: Write HOT Mystery, Thriller & Suspense.
A common question I receive is: what’s the difference between a mystery and a thriller?
Mystery fiction genres: what’s the difference between a mystery and a thriller?
- A mystery is a puzzle. You’re giving readers clues to solve the puzzle along with the sleuth. In a mystery the murderer is revealed only at the end of the book. In a sense, you’re writing a puzzle for readers to solve.
The story question in a mystery is: who did it?
- A thriller or suspense novel engenders suspense. Readers read for hits of adrenaline. The murderer or bad guy is revealed early, sometimes at the start of the book. This gives readers time to enjoy the suspense.
The story question in thriller or suspense fiction is: can the bad guy(s) be stopped? (Readers love it when the sleuth lands on the killer’s hit list.)
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense fiction sells
Here’s the home page of MTS on Amazon.
You may not be aware that Mystery, Thriller & Suspense (MTS) is a genre with several sub-genres — and that those sub-genres have their own sub-genres. Investigate the sub-genres in the left sidebar of the MTS home page.
We looked at MTS earnings in Genre Fiction Tips: Write What Sells Today (Location, Location), so check that post for earnings.
Today, let’s look at a couple of reasons mystery fiction is profitable for authors: readers, and ease of plotting.
1. Mysteries and suspense novels sell in series: sell one, sell many
Series are HUGE in MTS. This means that if you manage to write a series character readers adore (example: Sherlock Holmes) you can make money from the series just about forever. Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot novels sell more today than they did while their author was alive.
When a reader finds your series, if he likes your book, he’ll buy the rest of the series — and he’ll buy pre-orders as well. Popular mystery series coin money.
2. Unlike other fiction, mystery and suspense plotting is easy
I enjoy writing mysteries because they’re a snap to plot:
- You research to discover an intriguing crime; then…
- Create a murderer (or other evil-doer); and…
- Develop a sleuth, and you’re good to go.
In essence, in mystery fiction, you plot the crime; then you plot the solving of the crime and intertwine your two plots.
This is a lot easier than it sounds. I often suggest to new authors that they start their fiction writing by writing a mystery because there’s less chance that their plot will go off the rails.
If you’re struggling with plotting, try writing a mystery. Not only is plotting easier, but you’ll have a lot of fun with it.
NEW, “Write Your Bestseller: Write HOT Mystery, Thriller & Suspense”
Word for word, mystery authors earn more than authors of most other genres, including romance.
Check out our new report, “Write Your Bestseller: Write HOT Mystery, Thriller & Suspense”. You’ll discover how, why, and what types of mystery fiction are selling today, and how to develop a mystery writing career.
When you write in series, you're giving yourself more chances to sell with every novel you write.More info →
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