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Book genres – which ones are popular, ‘hot’ or pay the most right now? I haven’t written any books yet, because I have so many wonderful ideas. Which book genres should I consider writing to make lots of money?

– Heather

Book Genres – Which Ones are Hot or Popular?

* * *

Dear Heather,

Your question about which book genres are best or most popular makes me think of an author I met at a writers’ conference years ago.

The woman had paid the writers’ conference committee money to meet with me for a one-on-one “pitch session.” And the first thing she said when she sat down with me was, “I’m here to see if I’m wasting my time working on this novel.”

Much to her surprise, I immediately said, “Yes.”

I then went on to explain (gently) that if she was going to give me, or anyone else, that kind of power over her and her writing, she might as well stop writing. It’s important to study the market, to make your work more marketable (pay attention to which book genres are hot or popular)…

But great writing (and agenting),
begins in the heart.

Book genres love heart

When I first became an agent, I asked
the same questions you’re asking:

Which book genres are popular?

Which book genres are best?

Which book genres are hot?

book genres list

I identified the trends and provided timely, hot projects to editors. It worked and I sold books. But, as time went by, I started trusting myself more… and that made me more successful.

In other words, I stopped looking at a book genre list… started thinking less about “hot book genres” and “popular book genres” or… which book genres I thought other people might like… and I started focusing more on which book genres I liked (and, which book genres I thought others should like).

If you can forget (or, rather, ignore) which book genres the trends are talking about (and follow your heart), you’re much more likely to be successful and enjoy your writing more.

Another story…

Which book genres flatiron building NYC

I was having lunch with a well-known publisher at a restaurant in the famous Flatiron building seen here (home to St. Martin’s Press, Tor/Forge, Thomas Dunne Books, etc). The publisher told me about a literary agent who’d pitched him on a project the year before. The publisher, after reviewing the material, turned it down.

But then the agent told the publisher that he was wrong. The agent insisted that the book was a great project, and the publisher needed to understand that fact. The publisher then bought the book.

Much to my surprise, the publisher told me that he doesn’t trust his judgment regarding what the next big book will be (or which genre book is going to be hot). He relies on agents to tell him.

I sat there, absolutely dumbfounded.

Understand your power.

* * *

Which book genres are best?

If your book explores themes you’re intimate with, your voice is strong and unique, and you have an original premise, you can write whatever book genres you want. You can blend book genres. You can create new book genres.

Writing in the book genres you want takes a great deal of courage (and rationale to support it), but it also makes it much more likely that you’ll eventually rise to the top… and find yourself in a place where few, or none, can imitate you.

Book genres trendsetter

Although they will try, because you’ll no longer be
a trend follower. You’ll be a trendsetter.

All my best,

Mark Malatesta

Your “Undercover” Agent

P.S. – Choose one book genre and stick with it until you get published. You’re much more likely to achieve mastery of this way. That also means you’re much more likely to convince a book agent you’ve achieved mastery… and get a major publisher.

P.P.S. – If you’re reading this article and wondering: “What are book genres?” They’re simply a book category.

P.P.P.S. – Click here to see a complete book genre list.

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