How to Research Your Genre & Find Out What’s Selling

In the last blog, How to Write a Great Book, we discussed finding out what’s selling before you write, so that you can find the audience that works for you and write both a great book and a selling one. This might sound like we are trying to dampen your creativity, but no, you can find the genre you love and cater it to fit what people want to read! 

It’s about going into book writing with your eyes wide open. If you want to make writing your business, then you not only have to think like an artist but also like a businessperson. We’ve got all the tips and tricks you need to get you started on the first step of how to write a great book. These tips can work for both fiction and nonfiction. It’s all the same game when you’re trying to find a genre that fits a wide audience. 

In this particular post, we’ll cover: 

  1. How to identify the genre you want to write in
  2. How to identify your reader. Who do you want your audience to be? 
  3. How to research your genre effectively
  4. How to “piggyback” on others’ success in the self-publishing world
  5. How to use market research to help you create the book people want

Identifying Your Genre

Let’s say you already have a manuscript ready, or you’re preparing to write one. You need to identify your genre, especially if you aren’t quite sure where you lie. Remember beneath the giant list of genres are so many subgenres that are popular these days such as psychological thrillers or paranormal romances. 

Look at genres that are doing well.

So you need to find out what your genre is, and one way to do that is to find a genre you like that’s doing well. Take a look at the Kindle Bestsellers List or someplace like the New York Times, who also publishes ebook bestsellers. You might either find your genre there or something “genre adjacent” that is on fire on the bookselling charts. Go from there. 

Look at what's hot.

You can also check out well-selling comparable titles that sort of fit the genre you think you might be. What’s their style like? Read a few from the list and see if you can see yourself writing something similar or if it fits the manuscript you’ve already written.

Use keywords.

Another way to identify your genre is to use keywords to find other genres that are similar to yours. It could be as simple as typing in something like “books about dragons” into Google. You will find a whole host of books and genres that might fit something you’re interested in. 


Finally, a great way to learn about your genre is to actually do some research on various genres to make sure you have found the category you’ve already written under or want to write under. 

Identifying Your Reader/Audience

Your readers are the ones who make you a success. You want to give them what they want. Creativity is all well and good, but if your audience isn’t enjoying what you’re producing, then really, what’s the point? Maybe you know what category your book fits under now, but you’re not sure exactly who your readers are or even what kind of readers you’re hoping to attract. 

Look at what's selling.

There’s an easy enough solution. Find out who your audience is by looking at the books selling in your genre. That’s an easy way to find out what your audience likes.

Look at book covers.

Another way is to look at book covers. You can find out their style. Check out book reviews and read book descriptions that are all in your sector. 

Know who you're targeting.

Now, you’re armed with the personality of your readers. If you’ve not yet written your manuscript, you know exactly who you’re targeting now. You know just where to hit them and how to give them just what they’re looking for in a book. 

Researching Your Genre

Go through the same process as identifying your genre and your audience. Now that you have those two things in mind, you can start researching your own thoroughly. Do this by:

  • Reading a popular books in your category.
  • Reading the reviews on those books.

Read a few books in your genre (ones that are successful of course) to help you frame a clearer idea of what your category actually is and how it’s working in the bestselling book market. 

Read reviews to learn about reader praises and complaints. This is an easy way to get “feedback” without taking personal criticism. Read up on your genre. If you think you fit into paranormal romance, then find everything you need to know about it. Look at styles, sales, common themes, etc.  


Using Market Research Effectively

Market research is the way you find out how well your genre is doing and how to go about creating a book that people want to buy and read. Check out the stats for your genre sales as well as the sales of other genres. 

Study your competition.

  1. Why are they so successful?
  2. What have they done to bring about their success?
  3. Research author websites.
  4. What else are they doing to add to their success?

Maybe they offer audiobooks in addition to their books. Perhaps they even have spinoff stories or accompanying workbooks that really fill out their book package to its fullest extent. 

Get in contact with other authors of your genres to ask them any tips/suggestions. Goodreads is a great place to do this! You can actually make comments on the authors’ sites, ask them questions, and a lot of times, you get a response!

Extra Tools

As an emerging author, you can use all the tools you can get! Check out these other great sites full of excellent tips and suggestions to help you find out what’s selling and research your genre to help you produce the best book possible for your audience! 

This is one of the first steps to producing a quality book that gets good results in the market. It takes time, but it will be well worth the effort. You’ll not only understand your own genre better, making you a better writer, but you’ll also be able to achieve the success that you deserve! And you’ll be better equipped to keep writing great books. 

Have a great idea, but the idea of picking a genre is overwhelming? Let our team of experts help! We can turn your ideas into a polished manuscript that is ready to publish. Check out our services!


Kerilee Nickles

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published