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Image of survey boxesOn the verge of closing the 2015 survey I’m sharing suggestions from readers on how to strengthen the next survey. Perhaps I need my head examined?

  • I wasn’t sure if I could respond with my favorite authors for historical fantasy (for example, basically anything about King Arthur or Terry Pratchett’s “Nation,” which centers around a re-imagined Victorian period, or H.P Lovecraft, whom I LOVE, but isn’t exactly historically accurate in any way whatsoever).
  • Perhaps you could include some questions on the periods and locations of historical fiction that readers would like to see more of, and if we would want more translated historical fiction.
  • I think you should give us a chance to list more authors in the “favourites” section of the survey. Prolific readers usually have a large selection of authors they like.
  • Not clear why two questions seem to invite similar response: favourite novels and favourite authors.
  • Define social media; I included book reviewers.
  • One thing I should have liked to have seen would have been questions about whether people do or do not like sex in their romances.
  • In future surveys, I’d like to see a couple questions about audiobooks.
  • It might be useful to have other genders (at least a catch-all “other”) not just male and female. Your results may be a bit skewed by forcing an impossible choice on some respondents.
  • When identifying oneself, you might want to differentiate between published fiction author, unpublished fiction author (in other words, aspiring). I’ve had several non-fiction books published, but felt like a bit of a fraud for filling out some of the other areas, like publicizing books
  • I’d like to see a similar survey looking into fantasy demographics/opinions, if you haven’t done one yet.
  • My favorite historical author Alan Furst does not fit your definition because he was born too early. Change your def to period book is set in, not lifespan of author? Jane Austen is historical fiction to me though to her original readers she was contemporary so you wouldn’t include her.
  • I thought the early time period choices were much too broad. I frequently read books set in the 11th and 12th centuries, but have read only a handful of books set in the 6th to 10th centuries.
  • Surprised there wasn’t a section on favourite books read in the past year, if this is an annual survey.
  • Social media DOES give me a voice–that’s a factual statement. I would like to be asked if I USE that voice.
  • Perhaps ask a question as to the quality of today’s historical fiction versus that of previous decades.
  • I had wished there were comment boxes underneath more of the answer categories as the check marks were not nearly enough to explain the choices of what was marked.
  • I was surprised there was not a mention of the Twitter chats both weekly, monthly, and quarterly.
  • Need sharper differentiation between favourite authors and favourite books.
  • How do readers rate the reviews of historical fiction found on Amazon and Kindle? And how could these reviews be improved? What does the reader want to see in a review of a historical fiction book? Why?
  • Would the reader be interested in joining some kind of special non-industry review agency set up to provide detailed, in-depth, professional reviews of historical fiction books? Would the reader be interested in providing independent, anonymous ratings of reviews of historical fiction books written by Amazon Reviewers, so as to improve the social proof mechanisms in social media?
  • On future surveys, perhaps you could ask questions regarding opinions on the presence of typos & grammatical errors (not including what is necessary to make the character real).
  • It would be nice to see alternate history explicitly included in the survey (particularly questions 10-13), as it is considered a branch of historical fiction.
  • Please consider offering something, even of minuscule value like a discount, to those who complete the survey. Authors AND survey-takers should receive appropriate, direct compensation for their work, don’t you agree?
  • The last series of questions was obviously skewed to praise social media (which, incidentally, should be plural). Not a subtle approach.

Well – that’s a lot of useful suggestions and comments! Thanks to all who added their thoughts. For the record, I’m just one person doing these surveys and there is no compensation involved. I’m also a full-time writer 🙂

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION follow A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE is set in WWI France and is available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. Her debut novel, UNRAVELLED: Two wars. Two affairs. One marriage. is also available from these retailers.

Mary can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.