2018 Reader Survey Report

This year’s survey report is now available. It’s taken me quite some time to compile the results because … as you know I spent the last five weeks recovering from a plane crash.

The survey attracted 2418 participants from around the world – 84% female and 16% male.

A few highlights to whet your appetite.

  • AS IN PRIOR YEARS, THE SURVEY ATTRACTED HIGH VOLUME READERS– 72% read more than 20 books a year; 55% read more than 30
  • 49% of participants USE SOCIAL MEDIA REGULARLY TO SUPPORT THEIR READING 
  • GENDER MAKES A DIFFERENCE– among the differences—women read more than men and use social media more regularly in support of reading; men and women prefer different types of stories and different non-fiction
  • PRINT BOOKS REMAIN POPULAR– Of 2418 participants, 75% frequently or exclusively use print books
  • Not surprisingly, ENTERTAINMENT IS THE DOMINANT REASON FOR READING FICTION

Reasons to read fiction

  • Readers say that FEELING IMMERSED IN THE NOVEL’S WORLDis the most important factor for their reading
  • THE TOP TWO FACTORS when choosing a book are SUBJECT MATTERand GENRE
  • AGE MAKES A DIFFERENCE – among the differences – interest in fantasy decreases with age; the highest use of phone-based e-readers is for those between 30 and 50
  • FRIENDS ARE THE TOP SOURCE FOR BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS– chosen by 61% of participants when asked for their top three sources
  • For reading purposes, CONNECTING WITH THE AUTHOR OF A BOOK is the social media functionality most valued by participants

Click HERE for the full report.

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. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

The Mystery of Storytelling – Julian Friedmann

Source: Blake Friedmann website
Source: Blake Friedmann website

Some time ago, I listened to a TED talk given by Julian Friedmann on The Mystery of StorytellingJulian Friedmann represents both book and script writers through the agency he established in 1976, now called Blake Friedmann in partnership with Carole Blake.

I’m sure each of you would find other memorable points from this talk, however, these stood out for me.

Storytelling is about the audience – it’s not about plot or characters and certainly not about the author.

Writers have to be experts in human behaviour – why people are who they are and do what they do

Stories define us and Aristotle defined the formulapity, fear, and catharsis. Pity for the characters – an emotional connection. Fear for the characters – readers have to care in order to be fearful. Catharsis when the character is released from the fearful situation.

Pity, fear and catharsis can be reframed as suffering, struggle and overcoming. The triad extends to the notion of beginning, middle and end. Clearly three is a magic number.

How do audiences use stories? Julian’s answer is readers use stories to rehearse their fears. Fears about death, failure, marriage, parenthood, loss, tragedy, aging, disease, disaster, and so on.

To be effective writers need to:

  • develop accessible characters
  • provide upbeat endings
  • think movie and offer less dialogue
  • create strong visual aspects because we believe what we see more than what we hear
  • create shorter scenes to allow your audience to fill in the gaps
  • enable readers to look at themselves

A great list to post on my bulletin board the next time I develop a story.