Not all genres are equal.
By David Grete | May 18, 2020
Books are a great way to earn passive income through royalties. However, you will only earn if your books actually sell. First, let me say that both fiction and non-fiction books can earn enormous amounts of money, if they get lucky. Luck is not always on your side, so let’s try to turn the tide in your favor. Which is more profitable, fiction or non-fiction books? Take a guess now and let’s see if you’re right.
Argument #1: Fiction is Easier to Write
Fiction books are easier to write. All you need is your imagination and what you write doesn’t even have to make much sense. Lewis Caroll wrote a nonsensical poem called “Jabberwocky.” It’s a very popular classic poem that makes no sense to most people.
On the other hand, non-fiction books are typically restricted to reality. Encyclopedias, biographies, etc. These are also very heavily research-based, which can take hours and hours of time.
Argument #2: Fiction Doesn’t Need Updating
Fiction is timeless. Classic fiction books such as 1984 by George Orwell stand the test of time. It hasn’t been updated, but is still being bought and read by thousands of people in this day and age.
On the other hand, non-fiction books typically contain the subtitle “third edition.” This is especially true for reference books such as physics textbooks. As the study of physics progresses, certain theories are proven wrong. Thus, the physics books of ten years ago effectively become obsolete. This isn’t a problem for fiction books.
Argument #3: Fiction Sells More Copies
Let’s be honest, who wants to read books like “A Guide to Filing Taxes.” It just isn’t interesting. Though non-fiction books typically cost more, they are bought significantly less often. Most people pick up books for entertainment before bed, for a quick read on the subway, and for relaxing in general. Imaginative and entertaining books, such as fiction books, are what people gravitate towards.
Argument #4: Fiction is Memorable
No matter how well-written your non-fiction guide book is, it probably isn’t going to gain popularity. It’s a hard fact of life, but the media enjoys writing sensational articles because it gets them more hits. Think of all the movies based on books that you’ve seen. What percent of those movies are based on fiction books? What percent of those movies are based on non-fiction books? Fiction is memorable and people love it. If you’re hoping to write next season’s most talked about novel, the fiction route is the way to go.