ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Hottest Non-Fiction Topics For Your Next Book

Updated on March 20, 2011

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:





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




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


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


Scientists and Science Enthusiasts



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


Natural Disasters and Disease Epidemics

New Perspectives

Secret Histories

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

Historical Biography

Outstanding In Their Fields: Professional Biographies

Problem Solvers and Experimenters: Science Biography

Sports Biographies


Memoirs and Autobiography


Coming of Age

Foodie Memoir

Humorous Memoir

Multicultural Experiences

Overcoming Adversity

Self Discovery:Explorations in Identity

The Immigrant Experience

Working Life Memoirs



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


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!!!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • adorababy profile image


      8 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 !

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      9 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"

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

      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:

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 

      9 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 imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      9 years ago from Toronto

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

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      9 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.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)