The recent furor caused by Hugh Howey and the team at Author Earnings helped publishers and authors rethink the concept of “secret data,” but unfortunately, it’s been slow to have a lasting impact on how publishers and retailers guard their sales information. But one author, Edward W. Robertson, published his own look at how titles were selling in different genres, not so much in terms of actual individual sales figures, but more in terms of how different publishing methods fared across several genres.
Robertson looked at the bestseller lists on Amazon and used those rankings to compare to the method of publication, and found some interesting results. According to his post on the genre bestsellers, romance, science fiction, and fantasy titles in the top spots were doing as well as or better than traditionally published titles, with typically half of the top titles having been self-published.
But when the titles moved into genres like mystery or thrillers, the number of self-published titles at the top dwindled rapidly. Only 11% of the titles in the top 100 for those two genres were self-published.
Robertson quite freely admits that he only looked at a very small sample for each genre compared to the total number of titles published, and unlike the Author Earnings report with its thousands of titles to base its report upon, the focus of this glimpse wasn’t sales, but how publishing method affected ranking.
One thing Robertson was kind enough to point out–apart from stating very eloquently that self-published authors do sell a lot of books–is that authors in the thriller and mystery genres may want to keep their options open when it comes to choosing to publish traditionally, with a small press, or by themselves.
Robertson’s full breakdown of how the genres fared for each publishing method, as well as how these figures related to total Kindle sales, can be found HERE.