01 February 2007

Survey Information

Nearly two months ago, I post links to our Unusual Historicals surveys. My husband is in market research and turned me on to Survey Monkey for this purpose. It's not overly elaborate, but here are the preliminary results of the reader survey. I'll post the author survey when we have a gap in the blog posting calendar.

Please take our survey if you have not. Links are at the top of the sidebar.

1. If you write book reviews, in what medium are your reviews published? Select all that apply.

73% personal blog; 18% print magazine; 9% each income-earning online magazine, income-earning online review site

2. How frequently do you obtain books from the following sources?

Brick-and-Mortar: 64% often; 14% not often; 7% each always, sometimes, never
Library: 36% sometimes; 29% never; 21% often; 14% not often; 0% always
Online Store: 50% often; 29% sometimes; 14% always; 7% not often; 0% never
Online Bookswap: 62% never; 15% each often, sometimes; 8% not often
Used Bookstores: 31% each often, sometimes, not often; 8% never; 0% always

No surprise, but actual real-world bookstores still hold sway over purchasing trends. The two results that stood out to me were the 29% of respondents who never use the library and that every respondent has used an online bookstore at least once.

3. Consider the books you have purchased IN THE LAST TWO YEARS. Which of these historic periods featured in those book purchases?

Pre-History/Old Testament (to 3000 BC): 82% none; 0% few; 18% many
Ancient (3000 BC-400 AD): 36% none; 45% few; 18% many
Early Middle Ages (400-1000): 45% none; 36% few; 18% many
High Middle Ages (1000-1300): 25% none; 58% few; 17% many
Late Middle Ages (1300-1500): 23% none; 62% few; 15% many
Renaissance/Age of Exploration (1500-1650): 17% none; 58% few; 25% many
Pre-Modern (1650-1800): 21% none; 50% few; 29% many
Napoleonic/Regency (1800-1830): 17% none; 17% few; 67% many
Victorian (1830-1900): 21% none; 50% few; 29% many
WWI/Roaring '20s (1900-1930): 50% none; 50% few; 0% many
Depression/WWI (1930-1945): 75% none; 25% few; 0% many
Pre-Contemporary (1945-1980): 42% none; 58% few; 0% many

Regency still holds the top prize, and the big loser is pre-history and Depression era tales. No real surprises here, and the results are fairly evenly spread among the other categories.

4. Consider the books you have purchased IN THE LAST TWO YEARS. Which of these geographic locales featured in those book purchases?

Africa: 58% none; 42% few; 0% many
Australia: 50% none; 42% few; 8% many
Canada: 50% none; 50% few; 0% many
Caribbean: 42% none; 50% few; 8% many
Central America: 58% none; 42% few; 0% many
China/Japan/Korea: 67% none; 33% few; 0%
England/Wales: 7% none; 29% few; 64% many
Europe; Other: 23% none; 46% few; 31% many
France: 42% none; 50% few; 8% many
Germany/Switzerland/Austria: 67% none; 33% few; 0% many
Greece: 58% none; 42% few; 0% many
India/South Asia: 67% none; 25% few; 8% many
Ireland: 23% none; 62% few; 15% many
Italy: 50% none; 42% few; 8% many
Mexico: 67% none; 25% few; 8% many
Middle East/Turkey/Central Asia: 67% none; 33% few; 0% many
New Zealand: 67% none; 25% few; 8% many
Other: 50% none; 50% few; 0% many
Russia/Ukraine: 67% none; 33% few; 0% many
Scandinavia: 75% none; 25% few; 0% many
Scotland: 7% none; 64% few; 29% many
South America: 75% none; 17% few; 8% many
Southeast Asia: 67% none; 33% few; 0% many
Spain/Portugal: 67% none; 33% few; 0% many
USA; Midwest: 31 none; 46% few; 23% many
USA; Northeast: 15% none; 77% few; 8% many
USA; South: 23% none; 62% few; 15% many
USA; West: 21% none; 57% few; 21% many

Again, England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland corner the market. A large number of categories received heavy "none" replies. So many places are hardly explored at this point in the publishing world.

5. In the genre of historical romance, which of these historic periods ACTIVELY interest you TODAY?

Pre-History/Old Testament (to 3000 BC): 55% none; 27% some; 18% great
Ancient (3000 BC-400 AD): 8% none; 42% some; 50% great
Early Middle Ages (400-1000): 9% none; 55% some; 36% great
High Middle Ages (1000-1300): 0% none; 58% some; 42% great
Late Middle Ages (1300-1500): 0% none; 62% some; 38% great
Renaissance/Age of Exploration (1500-1650): 7% none; 29% some; 64% great
Pre-Modern (1650-1800): 8% none; 23% some; 69% great
Napoleonic/Regency (1800-1830): 25% none; 42% some; 33% great
Victorian (1830-1900): 21% none; 43% some; 36% great
WWI/Roaring '20s (1900-1930): 21% none; 29% some; 50% great
Depression/WWI (1930-1945): 23% none; 54% some; 23% great
Pre-Contemporary (1945-1980): 25% none; 58% some; 17% great

The Renaissance, Ancient times, and WWI/Roaring '20s take top prize here, with the High Middle Ages following closely. Interest in the Regency period is heavily split, and the most strident "no interest" replies, oddly, were for the pre-history and Victorian eras.

6. In the genre of historical romance, which of these geographic locales ACTIVELY interest you TODAY?

Africa: 42% none; 17% some; 42% great
Australia: 0% none; 42% some; 58% great
Canada: 15% none; 46% some; 38% great
Caribbean: 17% none; 42% some; 42% great
Central America: 27% none; 36% some; 36% great
China/Japan/Korea: 50% none; 25% some; 25% great
England/Wales: 0% none; 46% some; 54% great
Europe; Other: 9% none; 9% some; 82% great
France: 18% none; 55% some; 27% great
Germany/Switzerland/Austria: 9% none; 64% some; 27% great
Greece: 18% none; 27% some; 55% great
India/South Asia: 45% none; 18% some; 36% great
Ireland: 0% none; 55% some; 45% great
Italy: 17% none; 42% some; 42% great
Mexico: 33% none; 50% some; 17% great
Middle East/Turkey/Central Asia: 27% none; 27% some; 45% great
New Zealand: 8% none; 50% some; 42% great
Other: 38% none; 38% some; 25% great
Russia/Ukraine: 17% none; 42% some; 42% great
Scandinavia: 33% none; 33% some; 33% great
Scotland: 7% none; 43% some; 50% great
South America: 25% none; 33% some; 42% great
Southeast Asia: 45% none; 27% some; 27% great
Spain/Portugal: 9% none; 45% some; 45% great
USA; Midwest: 33% none; 58% some; 8% great
USA; Northeast: 17% none; 75% some; 8% great
USA; South: 23% none; 54% some; 23% great
USA; West: 23% none; 62% some; 15% great

It warms my heart that there is a die-hard group of readers who still have "great" interest in reading Westerns! The losers in this category are the most "exotic" locales, such as the Far East and South Asia. Interest in Middle East/Turkey/Central Asia surprised me, but that category is, not surprisingly, quite split. The overwhelming reply here is that European locales are king.

7. Without regard to the quality of the writing, which time periods or locales would you definitely NOT consider PURCHASING?
There's really not ANY period I'd completely rule out if the book looked interesting enough.

Ancient times Asia, Africa, South America

I'd never say never, as a favorite author can tempt me into something I don't normally choose, but I have come to accept I was born without the nineteenth century gene.

Hard to say, but I'm pretty tired of Regencies at this point, and don't go out of my way to read them.

The 80s, anything closed in : ghetto, kibboutz, quaker, hippie commune. Anything with prisons, slavery, military prisons, hostages. Heavily religious themes. Cavemen, prehistoric, anything before writing/speach.

Regency. Most of those stories I consider to be "Lifestyles of the Rich And Boring." The only exception would be paranormal regency.

Some with the wars in them as a big part of the them, I usually don't like. Too 'depressing' to read.

Victorian, Roaring Twenties, WWII, Pre-modern

I wouldn't reject any period or setting out of hand, but there are some that I'm less likely to pick up (assuming that the cover or title hints at setting/period. I'm not really interested in American Westerns or pioneer stories, and I have a knee jerk reaction to Old Testament settings.

War-time eras (WI, WII, Civil War, etc.) The South The West Russia/Ukraine China/Japan/Korea

I am skipping questions eight and nine because they deal with how readers discovered the site. I'll work on integrating their feedback.

10. What topics would you most like to see addressed on the Unusual Historicals blog and/or Yahoo! group? (Replies are in categories "most interest," "average interest," and "least interest.")

Book release information: 69% most; 31% average; 0% least
Publication information, updates & news: 75% most; 17% average; 8% least
Discussion of unique periods/locales: 86% most; 14% average; 0% least
Author networking: 33% most; 25% average; 42% least
Links to applicable authors/books: 64% most; 36% average; 0% least

So do your job, contributors. Discuss your unique periods and locales. The readers demand it.


Vicki Gaia said...

This is really an interesting survey, and I can see my choices of story setting are very 'hard sells!' ~ World War II and the Sixties did not bode well. But, I'll certainly take this into consideration for future books!

Tess said...

Very interesting!!! Would have liked to have seen more readers interested in France as a setting, though *g*.

Marjorie Jones said...

Great feedback. I guess I'm okay in Australia, but my time period is a hard sell, for sure. But I'm a rock-the-boat kinda gal, so now I'm thinking about what the depression was like in Peru LOL...dagnabbit. I can't start a new project right now grrrrr.

Jacquie said...

Wow, this is incredibly informative. I find it interesting that the readers' interests and the publishers' releases don't mesh,and there is lots of room for authors like us.


Lisa Yarde said...

This is interesting information, and I noted the news about Westerns. I read an article in HNS' Solander which talked about whether or not the Western was truly dead. Glad to know it's not since I grew up reading them.