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about the market

Please note this was using data sourced in 2021

  • Over the last 5 years, Adult non-fiction revenue has grown 22.8%

  • Young adult non-fiction revenues have grown 40% over the same period

  • Memoirs and biographies for young adults grew 26%

  • Memoirs and Biographies is the #1 best-selling hard copy book, non-fiction book category on Amazon

    • It comes in ahead of 

      • Self Help

      • Religion and Spirituality

      • Health, Fitness, and Dieting 

      • Politics and Social Science

  • For e-books, memoirs and biographies come in second behind religion and spirituality

  • Non-fiction is more popular in print format than digital (source)

There is a rapidly growing genre of new authors – everyday people in everyday jobs – that have helped catapult memoirs into one of the fastest-growing areas in publishing. Gone are the reality-TV stars. Now it’s teachers, blind people, doctors, sports people and ex-military taking centre stage. Publishers are focusing mainly on memoirs that are about resilience and overcoming. About acceptance and facing challenges head on. About real life.

Sales for books has been record breaking in 2020-2021, sales of memoirs in the UK have surged 42% in the between May 2018-May 2019, to 2.5 million, according to Nielsen Book Research (May 2019). And that is largely thanks to ordinary people writing memoirs such as Christie Watson (nurse who wrote about her experience with children at GOSH), Aeham Ahmad (giving his account of his life in the Syrian war and as an immigrant), Sinead O’Gleeson (charting her chronic illnesses in memoir- come -essays), and Zena Cooper (blind author about how blindness helped her ‘see’ the inner self therapeutically)

There is a demand for a moving first-person account of major life (and often traumatic) events. Perhaps the raw honesty of these moments are what have struck a chord with so many readers. They can identify with the authors’ stories in their own lives, a far cry from the kiss-and-tell memoirs of a celebrity sitting on a yacht in St Tropez.  

In other genres, sales of self-help books via lifestyle and wellbeing have reached record levels in the 2019, as stressed-out Britons turn to real people, doctors, psychologists and internet gurus for advice on how to cope with uncertain times and health issues.  Three million such books were sold – a rise of 20% – according to figures from Nielsen Book Research (2019), propelling self-improvement or pop psychology into one of the fastest-growing genres of publishing. People are seeking more and more ways to understand and fix themselves through biology, spiritual practice, nature, actions and consumption.

Books such as Silence and Walking both by Erling Kagge, With Nature in Mind by Andy McGeeney and The Science of Fate by Hannah Crithlow are constantly sought out and are ever increasingly popular in the field of medicine and spirituality with their application by meditation teachers in their teachings and encouraged as lifestyle changes by GPs and the NHS, and cover topics that feature in my book.

In addition, Angela Duckworth’s Grit, Gabor Mate’s book on addiction, Guilia Enders’ Gut, Norman Doidge’s incredible medical science based books series starting with The Brain that Changes Itself and The Perpetual Now a story about amnesia, memory and love by Michael Lemonick have all been on the best seller list (UK and international) and have longevity, some appearing on the best seller list year after year.

More relevantly is the seemingly large appetite and thus potential of success for a book about having a brain injury and the affects it has on the person.  Books such as My Brain on Fire (Susannah Calahan) and My Stroke of Insight (Jill Bolte Taylor) have received much critical acclaim, topping UK and US/ NY Times best seller lists, with both authors featuring on all shows from Oprah to ABC News, in magazines from New Scientist to Cosmopolitan, giving TED talks and invited to talk at public and corporate events as well as (My Brain On Fire) being made into a documentary film that had both cinema and Netflix original release world. The author of My Stroke of Insight was named one of the world’s most influential people by The Times in 2008 because of the impact her book had on understanding the changes in the experience of self and the world due to having a brain injury.

“All of this is a reaction to the shitshow of a world we’re living in right now. People want to read about good people doing good things.” 

My book covers so much of the many genres and books topics mentioned above. I realise most publishers are eager to categorise a book into a genre, but like my life, my book's genre isn’t black nor white. It is all the colours and textures of living in the grey.

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