The Hottest Non-Fiction Topics For Your Next Book

Stand Out Among The 500,000 Published Books A Year!

So... you want to get your new book published? It should be an easy task, given that your book is so unique, different and could appeal to so many readers!

You'll find that it's not exactly that easy. Success is often stacked against new writers and even many veterans with a fair number of books on their resumes are having problems cracking the high brick wall that the book publishing industry has raised around itself.

According to BookWire, there were a total of 378,000 new books of all genres published in the UK and US alone in 2005, the last year we currently have final, complete statistics for. The American publishers cut back by 18,000 over the previous year. This could be good news only if you're British as the UK picked up almost exactly the amount that the US lost. UK publication was 206,000, up by 19,000 from the previous year. If we add on the English-language books published in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Caribbean and other countries, the total exceeds half a million.

Prices were extremely steady and actually underperformed inflation in those countries, thus it can be concluded that in a world where the price of a loaf of bread or a pair of shoes (and let's not even try to address a gallon of gas or a new house) is increasing in some cases exponentially, the "real-value" retail price of books adjusted for inflation is actually deflating. That means the market is TIGHT TIGHT TIGHT!

Adult hardcovers +3 cents to $27.55

Adult fiction hardcovers -7 cents to $25.01

Adult non-fiction hardcovers +3 cents to $28.52

Adult trade paperbacks +1 cent to $15.77

Adult fiction trade paperbacks -2 cents to $14.76

Adult non- fiction trade paperbacks +10 cents to $16.26

Adult mass-market paperbacks +7 cents to $7.42

Juvenile hardcovers -1 cent to $16.08

According to the latest figures available from the Association of American Publishers here is how all the book genres are performing as compared to the previous year. (Note, this is the entire U.S. industry, not just non-fiction.)

Juvenile Hardbound +59.6%

Ebooks +44.8%

Audiobooks +29%

Juvenile Paperbound +10.6%

K-12 Education +10.5%

Adult Paperbound +9.5%

Higher Education +5.3%

All Other +1.9%

Adult Hardbound +1.4%

Mass Market Paperback +0.2%

Professional -1%

Religious -6.1%

Book Clubs & Mail Order -6.7%

Keep in mind that the worst performing subgenres were:

Religion

Biography

History

Technology

With religious and especially computer books crashing to Earth with a powerful thud. So if your next book is a biography of a historical cleric who pioneered a new technology, you're in big trouble.

There are some sole elements that skew the statistics. You can pretty well discount the first genre, Juvenile Hardbound as if it were not for J.K. Rowling, the performance of that genre would be somewhere in the middle. And at the very bottom, if it were not for Oprah, Book Clubs & Mail Order might be down to -15% or worse. However, it is quite clear that if you've got a Book Proposal for a religious work, whether fiction or non-fiction, you're probably better off saving the postage stamps for the mailouts to the agents and publishers and keep it to yourself! At least for the next little while until that trend reverses.

You're going to have to do something to stand out among the half a million books that are being published each year in English alone, and there are no easy suggestions. If there was a quick way to publishing success, then everyone would take it.

You have to know the market. Check the statistics. Don't try to push a book in a dormant or moribund subgenre. Pick the right genre and you're on your way to increasing your chances for a sale.

Don't duplicate, innovate. There are 3,000+ books out on 9/11 and most of them have a conspiracy theme. Do you really think that it's time for one more? Try to find something that hasn't been written to death.

Go against the tide. At a time when everyone and his brother is screaming about fuel conservation, try a title like "How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love My SUV." (By the way, that's my title. Go get your own.)

Write superlatively. I can't seem to click on a website or read a newspaper article without being barraged by juvenile spelling and grammar errors. If you really want to gasp, pay attention to CNN's crawls. They're written by a 6 year-old. Try to base your writing on the styles of the great classical writers, not the YouTube set.

Take a Valium. It's not unusual to go three years between first draft and bookshelf. If you want to see your book in worldwide distribution by Tuesday, it's not going to happen. Take a long-term approach to your writing.

If you follow this advice and stick to the non-fiction subgenres below that are HOT then you are increasing the odds. But always remember: Getting a bestseller is a one in a thousand (or more) shot. Keep trying and never give up!

By using the subgenre classifications of the Non-Fiction Genreflection reference work: The Real Story, A Guide to Nonfiction Reading Interests by Sarah Statz Cords & Robert Burgin we can analyze where the "best estimates" are of successful subgenres in the publishing world of 2008. These "editor's choice" subgenres in the list below are identified by Bold Italic.

_____________________________

True Adventure

Cons and Card Games

Historical and Exploration Adventure

Intrigue and Espionage

Sports Adventures

Survival and Disaster Stories

War Stories

_____________________________

Travel

Adventures

Armchair Travel

Expatriate Life

Foreign Places and Exotic Locales

Journey Narratives

Literary Travel

Travel Humor

_____________________________

True Crime

Committing Crimes

Courtroom Dramas

Horrific Historical Crimes

Investigating Crimes

Murder Where You Live: Family and Lover Crimes

Murder's Not the Only Crime

Police Procedurals

Street and Prison Life

True Horror: Violent Crimes and Criminals

Unsolved Mysteries

Wise Guys: Mafia Crime

_____________________________

Environmental Writing

Animal Stories

Back to the Land

Natural Places

Political

Reflective Environmental Stories

_____________________________

Science and Math

Adventures in Science

Deep Science (Story and Subject Matter)

History of Medicine

History of Science

Investigative Science

Literary Science

Micro-science

Scientists and Science Enthusiasts

_____________________________

History

Defining Times

Epic History

Group Stories

Historical Biography: Caught in History's Web

History's Darkest Hours

Human Cruelties

Ideal of History

Immersion History

Individual Stories

Micro-histories

Natural Disasters and Disease Epidemics

New Perspectives

Secret Histories

The Settings of History

_____________________________

Biography

American Presidents and Other Political Leaders

Better Together;"Buddy" and Group Bios

Change-makers and Activists

Creative Life; Artists, Entertainers, and Writers

Guilty Pleasures: Celebrities and Superstars

Historical Biography

Outstanding In Their Fields: Professional Biographies

Problem Solvers and Experimenters: Science Biography

Sports Biographies

_____________________________

Memoirs and Autobiography

Autobiography

Coming of Age

Foodie Memoir

Humorous Memoir

Multicultural Experiences

Overcoming Adversity

Self Discovery:Explorations in Identity

The Immigrant Experience

Working Life Memoirs

_____________________________

Relationships

All in the Family

All You Need is Love

Challenging Family Stories

Community Life

Gentle Family Reads

With a Little Help from my Friends

_____________________________

Investigative Writing

Business Reporting

Character Profiles: The People Are the Story

Exposes

Immersion Journalism

In-depth Reporting

Political Reporting

_____________________________

Making Sense

Of Our Culture and Society

Of Our Histories

Of Our Surroundings

Of Ourselves and Each Other

_____________________________

Good luck!!!

More by this Author


Comments 6 comments

nicomp profile image

nicomp 6 years ago from Ohio, USA

I have a bb rolling around in my boxcar... a cat-faced guy rides from town to town helping people get justice, living out of his saddlebags, picking up the odd PC configuration contract to make ends meet.

Working Title: The H Team.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

The H Team! I love it! But I want all of Baracus' jewellery. Now that was SERIOUS bling! :)


Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

Another great article Hal!

"If you really want to gasp, pay attention to CNN's crawls. They're written by a 6 year-old."

LOL. I've been slowly working through my first non-fiction attempt, it's a self-help/existential awareness kind of item with a unique angle.

No mention of that sort of sub-genre above though, maybe I'm in trouble!

Anyway, I'm bookmarking this one, I enjoy your writing. I take this as a call to arms (or pens, or keyboards) your words are very motivating.

I wonder how you feel about self-publishing? I 'll check, it's probably in one of your gazillion hubs already!


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

Hi Ben. Self-publishing is all in the marketing. If you can really dedicate yourself and work hard at promotion, you can turn a profit. Most writers, unfortunately, would rather write than sell, and thus fail. Also keep in mind that this is the worst book market since pre-Gutenberg times. This link is to a Hub about magazines, but about the same applies to almost any print publishing:

http://hubpages.com/literature/Burning_100_Bills_T...


nicomp profile image

nicomp 6 years ago from Ohio, USA

The H Team! I love it! But I want all of Baracus' jewellery. Now that was SERIOUS bling! :)

I sense inspiration for a hub:

"The Jewelry of Mr. T"

"The Flying Skills of Murdock: from Glider to Passenger Airliner"

"The Favorite Cigars of Hannibal Smith"


adorababy profile image

adorababy 6 years ago from Syracuse, NY

I think the greatest thing about non fiction topics is that the possibilities are endless. Great list you have in here !

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