Reader survey 2015 – a sneak peek

Deep in survey numbers at the moment so I thought I would share a few early charts to whet your appetites. The full report will be available soon.

The question below prompted my first survey in 2012.

Why do you read historical fiction? 0 = not important, 5 = most important

2015 why read HF

THOSE WHO READ A LOT OF HISTORICAL FICTION rate the importance of these factors higher than those who read less HF.

537 authors responded to the 2015 survey – I was blown away!

As an author, what time periods do you write about?

2015 author time periods


LATER TIME PERIODS FASCINATE AUTHORS – 423 authors write in the periods from the 19th century to today (note: authors could choose more than one option)

Social reading is another topic I’m interested in, so I asked readers for their input.

How frequently do you use social media for reading purposes such as book discovery, book reviews, author interaction, book discussions?

2015 social media use


Those who took the survey and provided their emails will receive a message informing them of the survey results. In addition, the survey report and subsequent analysis will appear on A Writer of History. Stay tuned!

I am pleased to have others reference information from the survey and only ask that you include my name, M.K. Tod, and blog

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.

Reading historical fiction varies by country – part 1

After looking at survey results through a gender lens, I thought readers might be interested in a country lens. I’ve chosen to compare US and UK, since these countries had the most participants. One hypotheses is that favourite authors will vary – let’s see what emerges.

NOTE: I’ve looked for questions prompting significant differences rather than minor variations that are unlikely to be statistically relevant. Additionally, on a percentage basis more men participated in the UK group than the US.

What type of story appeals to you?

Story Preferences US & UK

Preferred time periods:

In some cases, US and UK readers prefer different time periods.

  • 3000 BC to 1000 AD: UK 34%, US 16%
  • 6th to 12th centuries UK 44%, US 27%
  • 17th Century UK 19%, US 33%
  • 18th Century UK 25%, US 45%

Reflecting on your favourite historical fiction books, how relatively important are the following factors?

While factors such as superb writing and the dramatic arc of historical events were of similar importance to US and UK readers, other factors showed wider variation.

Characters both heroic and human: UK 51% said it was very important, US a whopping 65%

Romance and/or sex: UK 56%, US 37% said this factor was unimportant; Hmm that’s interesting.

Where do you purchase/acquire books?

There was a marked difference in library usage with UK at 25% and US at 38%

What book format are you reading?

While e-book usage and mixed e-book and print had small variations, mostly print books showed a larger discrepancy: UK 50%, US 39%

Price Considerations:

On average, UK readers look for cheaper pricing of e-books than US readers

Where do you find recommendations for good books?

From Facebook, Goodreads or other social media: UK 39%, US 55%

And in contrast, browsing the book store: UK 53%, US 39% and from the books section of my newspaper: UK 23%, US 11%

Do you use blogs, social media or other online sites for reading recommendations or discussion?

Yes: UK 68%, US 83%

My head is spinning, so I’ll save the conclusions and insights for you, dear readers. On Thursday I’ll post the favourite authors by country.