NaNoWriMo Completed for 2017, What Is Everyone Writing About?

Books and NaNoWriMo What genres dominated 2017?

Each year in November millions of writers subject themselves to something called NaNoWriMo (Nah-noh-wry-moh) or National Novel Writing Month. The month of November challenges any writer interested in novels, and now inclusive to any works, to write 50,000 words between November 1st and November 30th.

The results have actually led to some best sellers, such as Marrisa Meyer’s Cinder, a Young Adult fantasy combining robots, fairy tales and future sci-fi.

More often, writers of all levels including several participating schools are encouraged to get past their habit of thinking of the best story and get it on paper, or past habits of overthought, overwrought writing to produce a first draft. The goal is to get those words on the page and then spend time editing and sculpting your masterpiece.

The challenge is used by many to have a fresh start or continue a work, to dedicate time as part of a challenge with support and forums and in person meetings versus going it alone. Writing is by definition a solitary exercise and having the extra encouragement is a positive boost, as well as a definitive deadline. Having words to edit wins over thinking of the perfect unwritten novel every time.

What was very interesting this year was a report on the self identified genre’s selected by writers this year.  The fantasy genre is by far more popular than any other, and if we were to consider it in comparison to world events, we might think some escapism is desired.

  1. Fantasy: 25.20%
  2. Young Adult: 13.32%
  3. Science Fiction: 10.30%
  4. Romance: 6.13%
  5. Horror/Supernatural: 5.56%
  6. Personal 4.88%
  7. Fanfiction 4.53%
  8. Thriller/Suspense 4.3%
  9. Adventure: 4.1%
  10. Literary: 3.63%
  11. Mystery: 3.52%
  12. Mainstream 2.4%
  13. Women’s Fiction: 2.4%
  14. LGBT+: 2.26%
  15. Historical: 2.14%
  16. Children’s Fiction: 1.95%
  17. Satire/Humor: 1.70%
  18. Religious/Spiritual: 0.86%
  19. Erotic: 0.67%
Genres of NaNoWriMo 2017
Image courtesy of NaNoWriMo 

Comparative Sales

How these genres compare with traditional publishing sales:

According to, the following are the top genres for traditionally published books through the agent / publisher route.

  1. Literary Fiction
  2. Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
  3. Children’s
  4. Non-Fiction
  5. Science Fiction/Fantasy
  6. Romance

In the self publishing world:

  1. Romance/Erotica
  2. Crime/Mystery
  3. Religious/Inspirational
  4. Science Fiction/Fantasy
  5. Horror

Purchased vs. Read

These match up rather well with sales listed direction on Amazon. However, for the first time, Amazon is also now listed the most read books for kindle / ebooks. This is an interesting statistic as book sales are one thing in print, but as global book consumption becomes more of a digital story, the statistic of content read / consumed becomes another value for compensation.  As digital publishing has exploded this is an important statistic to thin the herd in terms of quality. Basically people want to read what was written.

Writing For the Sake of Writing

There are multiple other reasons for writing. Some write as therapy, some to tell stories they’ve had spinning in their heads. Some want to tell their family story and memoirs to just share with family and friends and pass on important stories. Others want to be published. Writing is both a communication and art form.

What do you think of contests for creative efforts? Should there be more? Have you done any? We’d love to hear about it in comments.