Following with interest, as horror is my deepest literary passion.
Some miscellaneous thoughts I've had while pondering the state of the genre as it relates to indie publishing:
- The horror lists seem to have a tremendous amount of overlap from other genres, notably thriller and paranormal/urban fantasy. Quite a few of the horror best sellers don't seem to be horror at all, which is frustrating from a reader perspective.
- I suspect a good portion of the reason for this is that horror does not serialize well, and the current trend in publishing (particularly among indies) is series. One-shot horror novels would have the same discoverability problem as any other type of one-shot story by an unknown.
- That said, I KNOW that there is a hungry audience out there. Creepypasta is hugely popular and widely read. There are a great many writers on Tumblr and Reddit doing really interesting short-form horror stories; check Unsettling Stories, Sixpenceee, the entirety of the r/nosleep subreddit. Lots of cool stuff happening out there. On Wattpad, it seems like horror is one of the more popular genres, coming in behind romance but seeming to keep pace with or outstrip fantasy and sci-fi.
- I suspect a big part of that is the millennial generation. There's a whole group of us who grew up reading R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike, graduating to Stephen King in our teens and who are hungry for more scares. Add to that the pervasive spread of anxiety (and anxious people frequently LOVE horror stories) in our modern lives, and I personally think we are poised for a horror renaissance.
Is that a wish fulfillment fantasy on my part? Well, maybe. I just know I would LOVE to see more true horror on the page, and I really hope I'm not the only one!
One thing I can confirm: the horror fandom, in my experience, tends to be much more closely knit, loyal, and passionate than other genres. Horror fans love horror in a way that readers of other types of stories often don't; horror forms a greater part of a fan's identity than you see in other types of media.
All of which is to say: I think there is a tremendous amount of potential in the horror niche right now that has not been fully tapped, but it's going to require some creativity to solve the discoverability problem.