More authors for your TBR list

Monday’s post included favourite historical fiction authors from 2015 chosen by more than twenty participants. Today’s post expands the list to include those with 10 to 20 mentions.

favourite authors 2015

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Lots of possibilities for your TBR pile.

  • There was no way to differentiate Dumas pere from Dumas fils.

A reminder of the 2015 survey demographics: over 2000 participants, 84% female, covering ages from under 20 to over 70 and from all over the world with 59% US, almost 17% UK, 10% Canada, 6.6% Australia. The main survey report can be found here.

PS – M.K. Tod received 9 mentions ūüôā

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, Nook, Kobo, Google 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.

 

 

 

Favourite Historical Fiction

In 2015, I asked readers to list their favourite historical fiction titles for the first time. Being a little more experienced I limited participants to three choices – clearly a challenge for many. What has emerged is more than 1700 different titles – and no, I won’t be listing them all today – and some clear favourites.

Favourite titles >40 mentions

I’ve grouped them into three parts: titles with more than 40 mentions, titles with 20 to 39 mentions and titles with 10 to 19 mentions. Given variations in spelling and the ability of readers to recall exact titles, it’s been a challenge to count the entries and I’ve spent weeks checking and double-checking to be as accurate as possible. I have chosen to put the titles in order but not to show actual counts¬†since I remain concerned about absolute accuracy.¬†For your information, FC means the book is concerned primarily about fictional characters, while FHF refers to famous historical figures.Favourite titles 20 to 39

** Despite a comment advising participants that Jane Austen did not write historical fiction, Pride and Prejudice attracted more than ten mentions.Favourite HF from 10 to 19

Participants could not restrain themselves from mentioning series and so I have done my best to accommodate them in the final counts.

No doubt there will be questions – such as: how much influence did the series Outlander and Wolf Hall affect the result? Does the inclusion of All the Light We Cannot See reflect participants’ ability to recall titles from the past¬†compared¬†with new releases? And then there are questions of how¬†the list varies with gender, nationality, and age. I hope to crank the numbers some more, however, right now I have a manuscript to edit ūüôā

If you spot any inaccuracies, please let me know.

FOR MORE ON INSIDE 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, TIME AND REGRET will be published by Lake Union on August 16, 2016. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Google Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

 

Authors Are Readers Too

Almost every piece of advice given to aspiring authors includes the suggestion to read as much as possible in order to examine and understand the techniques used by successful writers. It seems reasonable to ask what do authors read?

Over five hundred authors responded to the 2015 historical fiction reader survey: 77% female, 23% male, ranging in age from under twenty to over seventy with significant numbers from US, UK, Canada, Europe and Australia. 45% read more than thirty books a year. (Full survey report can be found here.)

Authors percent HFGiven the survey’s emphasis on historical fiction, it is not surprising to see 77% writing historical fiction covering time periods from pre-history to the first half of the twentieth century and a significant number reading historical fiction more than half the time (diagram is authors only). Based on write-in comments, many authors read to enhance their knowledge of a particular era and to improve their writing skills.

Sixty percent of these authors write about fictional characters within a backdrop of great historical events while less than 13% write about famous people. In contrast, while 85% of readers enjoy what writers prefer to write, 54% of readers want to read about famous figures (chart below shows readers only).

Readers characters and settings

Like general readers, authors choose historical fiction to bring the past to life and to understand how people lived in other times. When asked about their favourite time periods, these authors either choose from a wide range or read stories set in the 19th century and the 13th to 16th centuries (diagram shows authors only).

Authors preferred time periods to read

Like readers, authors who participated in the survey expressed a preference for stories featuring strong female characters or adventure (not surprising given the high proportion of women authors in the sample). However, unlike general readers, literary stories are also in the top three for authors. And interestingly, while more than half the readers expressed a strong preference for series with ongoing characters, less than 30% of authors agreed with them. (Chart is authors only.)

Authors fav story types

Asked what aspects make characters come alive in a historical context, authors look primarily for interesting and complex characters followed by behaviour that is realistic to the era and setting. Here’s a look at what authors appreciate in their favourite novels, which is likely what they try to write into their own novels.

Authors what makes characters come alive

In terms of social reading, more than thirty percent of authors use social media daily for reading purposes such as book discovery, book reviews, author interaction and book discussions. They place significant value on using social media to build new friendships with readers, tracking their books, connecting with other authors and discussing books with other readers.

As shown in the diagram below (authors only responding), over 60% of these authors agree that social media makes it easier to find books they like, gives them a voice concerning the books they enjoy, and enjoy the sense of community social media enables around reading.

Authors re social media

When I have a chance to analyze favourite authors and favourite books mentioned by authors, I’ll report back again. The full survey report can be found at this link.

Conclusions? I’m not sure, but would love to hear your thoughts.

FOR MORE ON INSIDE 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, Nook, Kobo, Google 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.