Readers tell us why they read historical fiction

As of today, 1944 people have taken the 2015 reader survey and 104 took the time to comment on why they read historical fiction. A sampling of responses:

Man Reading - John Singer Sargent
Man Reading – John Singer Sargent

 

The “educational” part is important to me and I tend to pick authors for whom historical accuracy is important.

 

There is nothing like being transported to another time and place and getting to live a different life you could never live in reality.

 

Of course I am fascinated with history but I think historical fiction is particularly good at showing the universality of certain feelings and thoughts–of getting at the great truths that transcend time. I also think the distance of history often allows readers a “safe” space to ponder events and issues in their own lives that might present as too painful in a closer/more contemporary setting.

 

Woman Reading - Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Woman Reading – Pierre-Auguste Renoir

My favorite thing about reading historical fiction is finding out about the every day lives of people in the past.

 

I like immersive fiction and good histfic is notably immersive!

 

To better understand how we got to where we are now as well.

 

To explore what the author sees as timeless human qualities.

 

My historical fiction reading motivates me to do further reading on time periods and people. It doesn’t stop with the novel in question. The novel is merely the beginning.

 

Sounds daft I know, but it makes history live again

 

Just a few responses, later I will categorize and see if any themes emerge.

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, 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.

Sneak peek at survey results to date

With 1377 responses – a wonderful accomplish in three days – I thought you might like to see a few charts courtesy of SurveyMonkey. Bear in mind that the survey will be open until May 14th so things will likely change! Participation so far is composed of 84% women and 16% men; 64% US and 15% UK, 4% Europe, 5% Australia and 9% Canada.

 

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Just a teaser – more results will be available after the survey closes.

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.

 

It’s Survey Time Again

Announcing HF 2015 SurveyYes, I know some of you will think I’m crazy!

However, the topic of reading is always on my mind and this time, with advice from historical fiction editor and blogger Jenny Quinlan and New York Time best-selling author Beatriz Williams, fellow panel members at the upcoming Historical Novel Society’s Denver conference, I’m releasing a 3rd reader survey.

Topics include:

  • preferences regarding famous or fictional characters
  • what makes characters come alive
  • favourite historical novels (yes, this will be complicated)
  • favourite historical fiction authors (let’s see how the rankings change this year)
  • effects of social media on the reading experience

Please take the survey and share the link with friends, family, and on as many social media venues as you can – https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GXRD9B7. The survey will be open until May 14. Many thanks for your help.

A few highlights from prior surveys:

  • HISTORICAL FICTION IS MAINSTREAM: Less than 2% of participants said they rarely or never read historical fiction.
  • GENDER MAKES A DIFFERENCE: Women and men differ significantly in their reading habits and preferences and their views of historical fiction.
  • AGE MAKES A DIFFERENCE: Those under 30 have different preferences for genre and time period 
and have different patterns of consumption and acquisition.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA IS HAVING AN IMPACT ON READING: Social media and online sites play an increasingly significant role for those choosing, purchasing, and talking about fiction.
  • BOOK BLOGS ARE VERY POPULAR: 1,473 participants listed one, two or three favourite blogs.
  • GEOGRAPHY: Responses to questions such as the use of online tools for recommendations and purchasing and preferred setting for historical fiction varied by geography.
  • PRICING: Sadly, readers are pushing for low prices. For example, 60% want e-books at $5.99 or less and 66% want paperbacks at $10.99 or less.
  • ONLINE BOOK CLUBS ARE GAINING POPULARITY: 21% belong to online clubs while 15% belong to clubs meeting in a physical location
  • VOLUME OF BOOKS READ MAKES A DIFFERENCE: for example, high volume readers have different expectations for book reviews, a higher interest in tracking their books, and higher usage of online tools and social media to augment their reading experience.

A Writer of History has many posts on survey results and insights and you can find summary reports and other popular articles here.

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.