Author Topic: Survey Results: The State of Indie Authorship  (Read 553 times)

Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Survey Results: The State of Indie Authorship
« on: February 02, 2024, 04:13:41 AM »
Sorry if someone else has already posted this.

https://www.writtenwordmedia.com/survey-results-the-state-of-indie-authorship

Twenty-five percent of Indies write romance. Click link to see the graph.

Analysis
Romance is big in multiple ways. First, it’s a broad category. There are many romance subgenres that often don’t have much in common. Second, romance is popular among readers and authors. If we asked readers to pick one genre to read for the rest of their lives, it might look a lot like this chart.

Another important data point is that 83% of authors surveyed write in multiple genres. So, while this graph measures what authors view as their “primary” genre, many authors are writing in two or more genres.

It’s common to hear authors discuss which genres do best in KDP Select. So we wanted to look at the genres of authors who had all books in KDP Select vs. Authors who had no books in KDP Select. Largely, there weren’t many differences, but in the chart below we’ve called out the 3 largest differences and highlighted romance.


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PJ Post

Re: Survey Results: The State of Indie Authorship
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2024, 04:49:35 AM »
I found the marketing section interesting. Writers are spending a lot of time and money following the same old strategies from 2015.

When everyone is doing the same thing, there's opportunity.
 
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LilyBLily

Re: Survey Results: The State of Indie Authorship
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2024, 04:57:55 AM »
Yeah, I'm not. Once I finish my western series (writing two other books comes first), I might apply to the usual channels to see what happens, but I'm not holding my breath. Can I use the same ads I used in 2016 to sell the same books now? All I know for sure is they will cost more. Also, I fell asleep during the last webinar I attended about how to do Amazon ads, which certainly shows my interest level in them these days. 
 

Lorri Moulton

Re: Survey Results: The State of Indie Authorship
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2024, 06:25:54 AM »
I'm surprised the separated mystery from cozy mystery, but not very steamy and erotic romance from romance.  Nothing against very steamy/erotic romance, but if they think cozy and other mysteries deserve separate graphs...

Author of Romance, Fantasy, Fairytales, Mystery & Suspense, and Historical Non-Fiction @ Lavender Cottage Books
 
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Bill Hiatt

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Re: Survey Results: The State of Indie Authorship
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2024, 12:56:41 AM »
The emphatic thumbs-down on generative AI for book content is interesting.

An average 15 hours a week spent writing isn't a lot. But that data would be more useful if it was disaggregated based on whether or not people had day jobs or their primary source of income was writing. People whose job is writing obviously spend more time. 15 hours might be all someone with a job could spare.

Up to a point, having more titles helps, which makes sense.


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The Bass Bagwhan

Re: Survey Results: The State of Indie Authorship
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2024, 11:16:19 PM »
A problem I have with these kinds of analysis is how while it recognises Romance as a significant market, it doesn't allow for how utterly different that market is compared to others. The  voracious appetite that romance readers have for more and more books, often very similar in every way, just isn't replicated in other genres.

Plus, I didn't see any allowance for book length or size. Yes, some authors have produced 200 books and that's a real achievement. But they can be 30-40k long at best. Again, it's a different workflow and creative process. Don't get me wrong ... good romance writers have to very good at their craft and deserve any success they get. I'm just saying that it's a genre that has many unique factors that skew all-inclusive data like this.
 

Hopscotch

Re: Survey Results: The State of Indie Authorship
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2024, 02:59:26 AM »
This survey suggests we may be looking at achieving writing success from the wrong end of the telescope.  Romance is the biggest genre by sales.  So big that genre cats should be limited to "Romance" and "All Others."  Women buy 80% of all novels in all cats, except scifi.  We all (not just 25% of indies) should be writing romance from a woman's perspective to make the big bucks. 
. .
 

Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Re: Survey Results: The State of Indie Authorship
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2024, 05:58:56 AM »
This survey suggests we may be looking at achieving writing success from the wrong end of the telescope.  Romance is the biggest genre by sales.  So big that genre cats should be limited to "Romance" and "All Others."  Women buy 80% of all novels in all cats, except scifi.  We all (not just 25% of indies) should be writing romance from a woman's perspective to make the big bucks.

I don't usually read romance novels as I find them predictable (you know they are going to end up together, but I suppose that is the point of the story). However, I originally put my Headmaster story in romance as a friend who acted as one of my readers and enjoys romance said it was a romance story. But I ended up with a bad review from a romance reader who claimed it didn't follow the rules of romance novels as there is a twist in the end. I then tried it in contemporary fiction because there didn't seem to be a 'general fiction' category. Another reviewer enjoyed the story but said it was difficult to categorise but thought it probably fitted romance. :icon_rolleyes:
It then won a chick-lit award. But that category seems to have disappeared.
I am now trying again and risking putting it in the rom-com category. Going to try a BargainBooksy ad. Will see if I make Big Bucks  Grin 

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Bill Hiatt

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Re: Survey Results: The State of Indie Authorship
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2024, 11:58:20 PM »
This survey suggests we may be looking at achieving writing success from the wrong end of the telescope.  Romance is the biggest genre by sales.  So big that genre cats should be limited to "Romance" and "All Others."  Women buy 80% of all novels in all cats, except scifi.  We all (not just 25% of indies) should be writing romance from a woman's perspective to make the big bucks.
Understanding the market is a good thing. I'm not sure that trying to force oneself to write in a genre one isn't really feeling is a good idea, though. Some people can force themselves that way. Others will produce weaker writing if they try.

Also, a man writing exclusively from a woman's perspective is going to set off alarm bells with some people. Some male writers of romance have used female pen names, but if their real identity comes public, that can be awkward, at best.


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Hopscotch

Re: Survey Results: The State of Indie Authorship
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2024, 11:58:34 PM »
Another route into the biggest-money genre?:

What is romantasy? The best-selling book trend, explained.
Washington Post   Feb 11, 2024

“Romantasy is hot, in more ways than one. It’s one of the fastest growing genres, according to market researcher Circana, with sales increasing by 42 percent, from 2022 to 2023. [Sarah J.] Maas alone has sold 40 million copies of her books worldwide….

“These books feature all the fantasy hallmarks, such as magic systems, mythology, high stakes and abundant worldbuilding but the love story is central to the narrative….without the romance, the book falls apart….the #romantasy tag alone has some 800 million views on TikTok…”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/books/2024/02/11/romantasy-explainer-maas-yarro/
. .
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: Survey Results: The State of Indie Authorship
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2024, 12:15:03 AM »
Sarah J. Maas is outstanding!

I wonder if readers are receptive to male authors of romantasy. That's always been a problem with romance. (Well, a problem for male authors, anyway.)

I just finished the Throne of Glass series. It's interesting to note that Maas does have a HEA structure--but the characters really, really have to work for that happy ending. War, torture, curses, crazed dictators, evil forces from other planes of existence all block the way. And while the main characters get that ending, some of the secondary characters don't. (I recall that from one of her other series, Court of Thorns and Roses, soon to be a TV series.)

Also, at least in TOG, the viewpoint shift and isn't always female. In fact, quite large chunks are done from a male viewpoint.

In other words, it seems a little more like fantasance to me than romantasy--the fantasy elements seem predominate. The love interest is central, but it shares the stage with an enormous number of other threads.





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Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Re: Survey Results: The State of Indie Authorship
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2024, 12:36:57 AM »

The love interest is central, but it shares the stage with an enormous number of other threads.

At a book launch that I attended, John Gordon Davis, author of best selling Hold My Hand I'm Dying, said that every book should have plenty of URST (unresolved sexual tension)  Grin

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Bill Hiatt

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Re: Survey Results: The State of Indie Authorship
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2024, 04:24:17 AM »
A cross-genre trope? Interesting!


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elleoco

Re: Survey Results: The State of Indie Authorship
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2024, 04:35:53 AM »
Also, at least in TOG, the viewpoint shift and isn't always female. In fact, quite large chunks are done from a male viewpoint.
Just for info - it's probably more common these days than not to have dual POV in romances. There are successful male romance authors, some known to be male and at a guess far more that have pen names and aren't known. I admit the one I tried didn't work for me, but then the vast majority of authors of the several genres I read don't work for persnickety me.

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Re: Survey Results: The State of Indie Authorship
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2024, 11:32:07 PM »
It's nice to here that male authors can be successful in romance. There was a common belief a while ago that that wouldn't work. I remember conversations I had with a male author using a pen name who was literally afraid to write under his own.

I probably won't end up writing romance, but some of my books come pretty close to romantasy. In fact, the big finish at the end of my longest fantasy is a final HEA for major characters with fraught relationships. In that regard, the structure is similar to Sarah J. Maas's, though I wouldn't put myself in the same class she's in.


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elleoco

Re: Survey Results: The State of Indie Authorship
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2024, 11:31:08 AM »
Just to be clear. I don't know of men who write romance under obviously male names or otherwise make it known. Maybe there are some, but my knowledge of the genre is pretty superficial (I don't do things like X and FB, just lurk on a couple of romance forums for readers.) Male romance writers I've heard of either use female pen names, initials, or names that are unisex. It's just that one way or another it gets around in the romance community that so and so is a guy. And after it's known, if those authors have been doing well, they keep right on doing well.

So I'm no expert, just a lucky outlier whose Western historical romances hit with enough readers back in 2010-11 that I have relied on word of mouth for what is for me a decent supplemental retirement income. And reader rumors can't be trusted. Since I haven't published for several years, I saw speculation on one site that I'm dead, which almost made me get in gear again.

Hopscotch

Re: Survey Results: The State of Indie Authorship
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2024, 10:02:48 AM »
Here is what we’re really up against:

How many books did you read in 2023? Are you in the top 1 percent?
Washington Post   Jan 5, 2024

“Of 1,500 Americans surveyed, a less-than-ideal 46 percent finished zero books last year and 5 percent read just one….Reading five books put you in the top 33 percent, while reading 10 books put you in the top 21 percent. Those…who read more than 50 books are the true one-percenters: people who read more books than 99 percent of their fellow Americans….”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2024/01/05/how-many-books-did-you-read-2023-see-how-you-stack
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Re: Survey Results: The State of Indie Authorship
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2024, 11:43:15 AM »
“Of 1,500 Americans surveyed,

That's a non-sample.

That's too small to even be credible.

15,000 minimum on that sort of survey to just be credible. 150,000 to be useful.
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