As both an author and agent, people are always asking what are some “hot” Amazon subgenres or trends. This is always a loaded question and one that is very difficult to answer.
I recently reviewed some interviews from some of the biggest traditional publishers on this topic. Most of them refused to give an answer, and those that didn’t dodged the question.
Why is it so hard to give an answer?
Simple, a good answer doesn’t exist, at least in the traditional sense. Traditional booksellers take educated guesses on a books potential performance in the market, and they often get it wrong. Sometimes they may have better luck divining water in the desert with a forked stick.
Gauging a books success is extremely difficult—but it’s not impossible.
Amazon, the world’s largest bookseller, contains a wealth of information on what subgenres and trends are “hot”—if you know where or how to look.
Nothing is hotter across the entire spectrum from non-fiction to fiction, and from picture books through adult, than own voices manuscripts. Editors want to see proposals that embrace diversity and are also written by people of various colors and creeds.
For decades, movies and books embraced the trope of the funny African-American sidekick, but now publishers desire to elate the sidekick to the level of protagonist. If you want to catch this trend, you need to write stories with a more diverse cast of characters, including your min characters.
The own voices movement extends beyond color or creed, it also embraces disability and sexuality.
Hapa comes from the Hawaiian word for half. The term is used to refer to persons of mixed heritage with one parent being of particularly Asian-Pacific American descent.
The HAPA trend is an offshoot of the own voices, and publishers looking for HAPA books are looking for writers of Asian-Pacific American descent, or they are looking for stories with dealing with HAPA characters, culture, or situations.
This subgenre is hot, hot, hot? A few LitRPG books have blasted into the top rankings of Amazon recently, and this tight community of readers and writers are fighting for its own subcategory listing under the Science Fiction and Fantasy category.
But what is LitRPG? I can best explain it this way, imagine you were playing a game of Dungeons and Dragons, and the whole time you played, someone wrote a story about it. This story would include all the minute details and statistics charts. The main character would grow in power throughout the story and his personal growth would be recorded in the many charts peppered throughout the book.
Does that sound fun? Then you probably would love LitRPG!
If that sounds like a nightmare, then this subgenre is not for you.
Classical genres like historical fiction and romantic suspense will always sell, but understanding the trends of today will help you diversify your stories in a way that will make them more palpable to modern readers, and more importantly, it will make them more attractive to editors and publishers.
Have you seen these trends in stories you’ve read?