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%
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%
Book Clubs & Mail Order -6.7%
Keep in mind that the worst performing subgenres were:
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.
Cons and Card Games
Historical and Exploration Adventure
Intrigue and Espionage
Survival and Disaster Stories
Foreign Places and Exotic Locales
Horrific Historical Crimes
Murder Where You Live: Family and Lover Crimes
Murder's Not the Only Crime
Street and Prison Life
True Horror: Violent Crimes and Criminals
Wise Guys: Mafia Crime
Back to the Land
Reflective Environmental Stories
Science and Math
Adventures in Science
Deep Science (Story and Subject Matter)
History of Medicine
History of Science
Scientists and Science Enthusiasts
Historical Biography: Caught in History's Web
History's Darkest Hours
Ideal of History
Natural Disasters and Disease Epidemics
The Settings of History
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
Outstanding In Their Fields: Professional Biographies
Problem Solvers and Experimenters: Science Biography
Memoirs and Autobiography
Coming of Age
Self Discovery:Explorations in Identity
The Immigrant Experience
Working Life Memoirs
All in the Family
All You Need is Love
Challenging Family Stories
Gentle Family Reads
With a Little Help from my Friends
Character Profiles: The People Are the Story
Of Our Culture and Society
Of Our Histories
Of Our Surroundings
Of Ourselves and Each Other