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  • Writer's pictureSean Dollwet

Fiction vs Non-Fiction: Who Wins in the Game of Publishing?

Updated: Feb 1

So you’ve decided to get into the publishing business.


I’m always happy when a new entrepreneur is born, especially when it involves publishing ;)

One thing you should know as you embark on this new journey…

The landscape is vast, meaning you can explore different avenues and paths to match your style of writing.

But one of the most common questions I get from new writers is “which is better – fiction or non-fiction writing?

And isn’t that the question!

Both genres are fairly popular, but while one wins in the popularity contest, the other is SIGNIFICANTLY easier for beginners.

Fiction - The Writer's Imagination Gone Wild

So what is fiction writing?

At its core, fiction is the plot, setting, and characters that come from our imaginations. You’ve more than likely seen the results of these stories on the page or on the screen.

Some of the best pieces of literature are fictional – take the adventures of Sherlock Holmes or the growing magical world of Harry Potter.

Fictional characters – such as Hercule Poirot, Jack Torrence, the Mad Hatter, Dorothy Gale, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, etc – are familiar to us because of the stories they participate in and, in some cases, the lessons they teach us.

For those whose minds are full of ideas or stories, diving into fiction is the perfect place to get those ideas down and out to others.

Non-Fiction – The Historian’s Love of Events (and People)

Now you know what fiction is, and some examples of where we’ve seen this genre, let’s look at non-fiction.

Non-fiction is content that focuses on stories about actual events or people.

Think autobiographies, essays, journalistic stories, etc. Historical events, such as stories based on a particular war (World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, etc), are also common for non-fiction.

If history is your pastime, non-fiction might just be the right avenue for you.

Fiction vs Non-Fiction

Between these genres, you’re probably wondering which one is better…

More importantly, which one should you choose?

As with many choices, this one is based on preference – if you’re someone who enjoys telling creative stories, creating characters and settings, then fiction is the genre for you.

However, as mentioned, if you’re someone who enjoys discussing events and/or people – both past and present – then non-fiction might be the one you choose.

Again, this is all personal preference.

For me, I’ve found working in non-fiction to be easiest for beginners to start in and it has provided me with more passive income.

Fiction requires a bit more work – creating plots, settings, characters, etc – so there’s also considerably more time involved.

This isn’t to say that you can’t receive passive income with fiction – you absolutely can! – and if that’s your preference, or you have experience as a creative writer, then go with what you know.

What about Creative Non-Fiction?

In 1966, American author Truman Capote published the book, In Cold Blood, a non-fiction novel that detailed the 1959 murders of the Cutter family.

At the time it was published, journalistic novels like this weren’t a thing, allowing Capote to create a new sub-genre of non-fiction.

I mention this because Capote’s novel also introduced another type of genre, one that blends together fiction and non-fiction -

Creative non-fiction.

This type of literature has the basis of factual events that you would find in non-fiction, but the events are told in a compelling and dramatic manner. The goal, as author Lee Gutkind describes, is to “make non-fiction stories read like fiction” so readers are equally enthralled as they would be with a fantasy novel.

As you can see, there are various paths in both fiction and non-fiction that you can use to start or build a publishing business. And you aren’t confined to one or the other…

You can definitely start with non-fiction to start building up passive income and then move on to fiction – in fact, many of my members in Royalty Hero do that exact thing.

Publishing is evolving to meet the needs of a WIDE variety of readers, so stories – whether fiction or non-fiction – will always be in fashion.

To learn more about publishing fiction or non-fiction, why not connect to the source?

Join our Royalty Hero community, full of authors and other publishers, ready to share their experience and expertise with people just like you!

To join us, just click the link below:

Here’s to your literary success!


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