Should you write what’s popular, or should you write what you want to write? In my opinion, if you’re writing and self-publishing to Amazon (and other vendors), then most likely you’re hoping to earn some money off of this. But sometimes, when you’re looking to make money, you have to make a few compromises, especially with writing, because making money while writing is not easy. If it was, then the entire landscape wouldn’t be littered with writers who quit when they only made $15, or are barely making enough just to scrape by. As I said before, if making money is your sole reason as to why you’re doing this, then you’re better off looking elsewhere. Making videos for Youtube will most likely net you a bigger gain than writing.
That’s why it’s not uncommon to see self-published authors chasing genres. By that, I mean writing books for popular genres, like romance, erotica, or vampires, because of the huge built-in audience voraciously buying books. Most authors will rationalize it as: “I write X amount of books in this specific genre, so that I can afford to write books in my preferred genre a.k.a. what I really want to write.” It’s a solid strategy, so no hate from me, but for a lot of us, we don’t have the patience to dabble in something we don’t want to write about.
So, what do I propose? Tweak your story so that it does fall in line with a widely read genre. I’m not talking about wholesale changes, but just adjustments here and there so that familiar tropes are present. Like I said, some compromises have to be made if you want your book to be marketable, because let’s be honest, your story about a dinosaur who does pizza delivery service is not going to sell. But tweak your story a bit, where it solidly falls in line with a genre, where it tickles the fancy of what people are looking for and expect, and you could be in a very good place. And luckily for us, a lot of genres are popular. It’s not just the 3 aforementioned genres I listed. There’s horror, sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary, etc. Yes, some genres are more popular than others, but you won’t lack an audience.
So it’s definitely possible to write what you want, and still make money for it. And who knows, maybe tweaking your story can give you ideas on how to progress/expand/elucidate your story.