A day or so after my original post Amazon went ahead and added a bunch more categories to their storefront. I took the weekend to go ahead and recalculate the top twenty Amazon categories based on this new hierarchy. The methodology was largely the same, but this time my sample was books ranked 20-81.
I skipped categories that were entirely represented by sub-categories. Romance Mystery/Thriller has a Romance Mystery and Romance Thriller category so that’s really all there is to it.
Best sellers remained relatively consistent by genre; there were few outliers to account for. The increased granularity in category means that we have a better view of what kinds of stories readers buy. This lead to some categories rising in the ranks as higher-ranked categories were broken down more specifically.
Last time I presented a top 20 ranking, but in the top 20, the difference between “Contemporary Romance” and “Horror” is only 3000, which isn’t a lot when you consider how many books are available. As a comparison, Cyberpunk has a six-figure average.
Which Categories Sell
A more useful breakdown might be as follows:
|Contemporary Romance||Thriller Suspense||Mystery|
|Romantic Suspense||Erotica||Paranormal Romance|
|Historical Romance||Historical Fiction||Action/Adventure|
|New Adult Romance||Women Sleuths||Urban/Paranormal Fantasy|
|Sword and Sorcery||Epic Fantasy||Fantasy Romance|
|Police Procedural||Westerns||Romantic Comedy|
|Horror||Romance Western||Romance Mystery|
|Sci Fi Adventure||Crime||Werewolf Romance|
|Spy Thrillers||Vampire Romance||Sci-Fi Military|
|Hard-Boiled Mystery||Space Opera||Private Eye Mystery|
|Gay Romance||Time Travel Romance||Legal Thrillers|
|Fairy-Tale Fantasy||Military Romance||African-American Romance|
|Historical Fantasy||Hard Sci-Fi||Occult Horror||Historical Mystery|
|British Detectives||Mystery Series||Ghost Romance||Sports Romance|
|Dystopian Sci Fi||Witch Romance||Multicultural Romance||Technothriller|
|Sci-Fi Romance||Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi||Ghost Horror||Angel Romance|
|Sci-Fi Anthology||Demon Romance||Cozy Mystery||Gothic Romance|
|Alt History||Space Fleet Sci Fi||Fantasy Anthology||Lesbian Romance|
|Medical Thriller||Time Travel||Dark Fantasy||Space Marines|
|Alien Invasion||Genetic Engineering||Coming of Age Fantasy||International Mystery|
|Psychic Romance||Steampunk||Political Thriller||Mystery Anthology|
|Superhero||Metaphysical Fantasy||Cyberpunk||Sci Fi Colonization|
|Metaphysical Sci Fi||Galactic Empire||Arthurian Fantasy||Space Exploration|
|First Contact Sci Fi||Mythic Fantasy||Horror Anthology|
Again, let me say that these rankings do not imply that the books in said category are of a given quality, or that individual books will not sell well or poorly. They are simply observations of the average overall sales-ranks in a given category, and how well a random book marketed in that category might be selling.
I like steampunk. I write a lot of steampunk. Steampunk books, by and large, do not sell well, but that doesn’t mean a steampunk book cannot sell well. While the average rank is in the 60,000s for steampunk books ranked 20-81, the top ranked Steampunk book is in the 3000s.