5 Explosively Popular Book Genres and Why You Should Write in Them (2023)

Confused about what book to write? The best place to start is by picking the right genre.

The only problem is that there are so many genres out there. It can be rather overwhelming.

Don’t stress; we’ve got you covered! We have the current trending literary genres you can try out right here!

What Is a Genre?

Before we dive into what genre sells the most books, let’s discuss what a genre is. A genre is just a category in which your book falls. This will be evident in the underlying theme and storyline of your book. It helps readers decide what books they would most likely enjoy.

Someone who loves romance books won’t want to read a book where the hero doesn’t fall in love with the man of her dreams. In the same way, someone who picks up a crime book is not going to be too happy if the book is focused on the relationship between the detective and the witness instead of actually solving the crime.

5 Explosively Popular Book Genres and Why You Should Write in Them (1)

Now, you definitely can have different elements of multiple genres in your book.

So don’t think that if you picked romance, for instance, you can’t have an element of crime, mystery, or sci-fi laced throughout the book. You most certainly can! But the overarching theme and the thing that will be highlighted will be the romance. The same goes for every genre

How to Pick the Right Genre for You

Picking the right genre for your book might seem like a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be.

When you are thinking about the genre you want to write in, you are targeting a specific audience. So, think about:

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  • Who you want to reach?
  • What does your ideal reader look like?
  • What would they like to get out of the book?

Once you have these answers, you can develop your book. The best way to understand what a reader wants is to read the most popular books in that genre. All genres have bestselling books. The reason is that those books gave the reader what they wanted.

Another great tip is just to write what you enjoy reading. You probably already have a specific genre you are drawn to or that you always find yourself picking up.

This is your preferred genre and will be perfect for you to write in. You are already familiar with the writing style and direction of the storyline.

For non-fiction books, the genres are not as broad. Here, you can write about a topic you are familiar with or passionate about. If you have a skill or idea you would like to teach people, then writing a non-fiction book is the way to go.


There is no way a reader will like every book in a specific genre. It’s just too broad, which is why subgenres exist. They help guide the reader into a more specific book niches

Picking your books subgenre is just as important as picking the genre. It will help you write in a specific direction that will appeal to a certain type of reader.

There are so many different subgenres for each genre, so you are definitely going to have to do your research. Chances are that you already have a subgenre preference, even if you don’t know it yet.

Really analyze the books you commonly read and see if there is a common theme. If you find it difficult to pick out the subgenre, try doing a quick Google search. You should be able to find out the subgenre in no time.

Why Choose a Popular Book Genre?

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Genres help readers pick books they would like to read. People naturally gravitate to the types of books they have enjoyed previously. Once a book becomes popular, people look for other books in the same genre. This is how genres grow in popularity.

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You can really boost the profitability of your book if you pick a current popular book genre. More people will be interested in picking it up. This means more potential readers for your book.

Places like Amazon and Play Books commonly suggest books to readers based on what they have read. So, writing a book in a genre that people are interested in reading could really increase traffic to it.

What Genres Sell the Most Books Right Now?

When making this list, we have also taken into account subgenres. Take a look at them and see if the book you want to write falls into any of these categories.

1. Romance – Contemporary and Historical

Romance is consistently one of the top-selling book genres and has been so for many years. In fact, it has never fallen out of the top 5 bestselling book genres.

Romance books are categorized by having an emotionally satisfying and often positive ending. These books take the reader on a journey where they become invested in the characters’ love story.

There are many subgenres in romance that are constantly fighting for the top spot. Right now, the most popular subgenres are contemporary romance and historical romance.

Contemporary romance is set in the present time. Anything set anytime after World War II would qualify. Because it is more current, you are free to explore the themes and ideas of current events. Some examples of these are Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Historical romance, on the other hand, is set anytime before 1945. The plot of these books relies on a solid portrayal of the era it is set in. Think Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole.

2. Crime and Thriller

5 Explosively Popular Book Genres and Why You Should Write in Them (3)

Crime/thriller and romance seem to be the two most popular genres for fiction books. They are always competing for the top spot. It has to do with the emotions they evoke.

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While romance gives readers a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, thrillers engulf the reader in the darker side of life. This is exactly what readers want when they pick up the likes of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn or basically anything by Lee Child.

When people speak of a page turner, it is usually a book falling in this category. If written well, readers can burn through these books faster than most others. I mean, who isn’t curious to find out who had done it!

3. Religious and Self-help

These types of books have a huge following, both as ebooks and printed copies. People are more interested than ever in improving themselves.

Religious books are basically self-help books, but they are founded on religious doctrine. Of course, your readers will be those who follow that religion you are writing about.

If you are planning on writing a book in this genre, think about information that would be helpful to people. There are so many options here that you are only limited by yourself, your own ideas, and experiences.

Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty, The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, and You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero all fall under this category.

4. Children’s Books – Humor

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Children’s books are massively popular in both print and ebook versions. Children typically read more books than adults. This is because it is fun for them to get lost in an imaginary world. Anything that sparks a child’s sense of adventure and creativity is something they will enjoy reading.

The sweet spot, in terms of age, is children between the ages of 8 and 12, but even books for younger kids are still very popular. Knowing the trends and characters children are loving will help you write a children’s book that will captivate your young readers.

Adding humor to kids books is a rising trend. Kids love to laugh and so do the parents who will definitely be reading the book as well! Having a funny element really captures the child’s attention. The BFG by Roald Dahl is a great example of this.

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But honestly, who doesn't love a good laugh?!

5. Fantasy and Sci-fi – Young Adult

Readers of this genre are incredibly loyal to it. There are many subgenres, but the books geared towards young adults have become the most popular. Most of the stories in these books take place in other worlds or in this world but with a twist.

About half of the books on the 20 bestselling books of all time are from this genre. Think The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe.

If you are worried that you will have to compete with these huge titles, then there is some good news for you. About 48% of this genre’s total book sales were either self-published or Amazon published.

Bonus Tip: Strong Female Lead

There has definitely been a rising demand for books with a strong female lead. Books that have an empowered heroine in it are getting attention. This is across all genres and niches, and we are here for it!

Kids are looking for female role models to look up to and adults are looking for someone to inspire them. Because of the lack of strong female leads in the past, it is understandable why representation is being asked for.

Final Thoughts

Picking the right genre can definitely help boost your book sales, but there’s more to it than just picking the top trending literary genre. Make sure that whatever you decide to write will capture your audience and give them what they are looking for.

Choose a genre that you know you will be able to write well. This way you can build a following of loyal readers who always enjoy your books. If your book falls into one of these categories, then that’s a huge bonus for you!

And even if it doesn’t, that doesn’t mean you should scrap your book and start anew! The best piece of advice is to write something you would be proud of and would enjoy reading.


5 Explosively Popular Book Genres and Why You Should Write in Them? ›

Poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, and prose are the five main genres of literature. Writers can then further categorize their literature into subgenres.

What are the 5 genres of popular literature? ›

Poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, and prose are the five main genres of literature. Writers can then further categorize their literature into subgenres.

What are the 3 most popular book genres? ›

You're not alone if you said poetry, classics, or romance novels. These three genres, according to our data, are at the top of the popularity list among readers globally, with Romance dominating and outselling fantasy, classics, poetry, adventure books, and all other genres.

What is the most popular book genre right now? ›

The bestselling book genre is romance and the most profitable fiction book genre.

What are 6 examples of genre? ›

Primary film genres include action, adventure, comedy, drama, fantasy, horror, musicals, mystery, romance, science fiction, sports, thriller, and Western. War films and zombie films are examples of themes that can span various genres, like action, drama, or thriller.

What are the 4 main genres of literature? ›

In the landscape of literature, there are four major genres: poetry, drama, fiction, and creative nonfiction. While there are certain key recognizable features of each genre, these are not so much rules as they are tools, or conventions, the author uses.

Why is genre important in writing? ›

Genres also provide the writer with general organizational patterns that can help them arrange what they say and when they say it. For readers, genres help organize information so that they can more easily make sense of what they are about to read.

What are the main 7 elements of genre in literature? ›

These elements are character, plot, setting, theme, point of view, conflict, and tone. All seven elements work together to create a coherent story. When you're writing a story, these are the fundamental building blocks you should use. You can approach the seven elements in any order.

What is the most common genre of literature? ›

Romance: Romance novels are perhaps the most popular genre in terms of book sales. Romance novels are sold in grocery store checkout lines, in monthly shipments from publishers to readers, and online, as well as via self-publishing services. Readers tend to be loyal to their favorite authors within the romance genre.

How many main genres of literature are there? ›

There are four main literary genres: poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama. The works within each genre share certain characteristics that place them in the same category. Furthermore, categories of literature can be divided into sub-genres.

What is considered popular literature? ›

popular literature, any written work that is read, or is intended to be read, by a mass audience. In its broadest sense, popular literature may include best-selling nonfiction books, widely circulated periodicals, and certain kinds of digital texts.


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