Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Reader survey for historical fiction

Mary Tod, a historical fiction writer who has guest blogged here in the past, has put together a survey on historical fiction reading preferences.  Please take a moment to help her out by clicking on the survey link below, following her introduction.  There's very little data on the readership for historical fiction out there, and the more responses she gets, the more useful the results!  -- Sarah


Mary Tod writes historical fiction and, along with her agent, is working hard to secure a publisher. She blogs at and at While researching for a blog post, Mary conceived the idea of conducting a survey to discover more about those who read historical fiction and those who do not - demographics, story preferences, favourite time periods, reasons for reading or not reading this genre, sources of recommendations and so on.

Please take a few minutes to complete the survey. To add to the robustness of data collected, please pass the survey URL along to friends of all reading interests.

Here's the link: 

Many thanks!  ~Mary Tod


  1. Interesting survey. Although I'm also a reader, I mainly read historical fiction, so I took the survey since I do have some pretty strong opinions about what I do and don't like in the genre. :)

  2. Sarah, thanks for posting this link to Mary's survey.

    Back in 2000, I conducted my own highly unscientific Historical Fiction Survey via the pages of the pirate fanzine No Quarter Given. Then (unlike now) historical fiction was considered a hard sell in the publishing world, and I wanted to know if anybody was still reading it, and why.

    My small but vociferous group of respondents were only 45% female to 55% male (and, given the venue, most had a preference for nautical fiction). Back then, on the cusp of the digital age, respondents bought on the average 4 hardcover books a year and 12 paperbacks.

    What seemed overwhelmingly evident was that readers were less interested in a specific genre, locale, author, or time period, than in finding a good story. As long as the story and/or characters captured their imagination, readers were willing to follow them into all sorts of unchartered waters, be it Romance or sci-fi, Shogun-era Japan or the Third Moon of Endor. And that is one thing I'll bet hasn't changed in the intervening years!

    Thanks again; I'm looking forward to the results!

  3. Thanks for taking the survey, JR!

    Lisa, that's fascinating about the earlier survey. I hope the findings of this one show similar results. Based on my experience, alas, I'd be (very pleasantly) surprised if it did. Placing review books set in far-flung eras and settings with reviewers can be incredibly challenging. Once past that barrier, the level of enjoyment is pretty evenly distributed among the genres, locales, eras, etc. I'll gladly travel wherever and whenever (in historicals, that is!) but I'm not sure if I'm the norm. That's one reason I'm curious to see the survey results this time.

  4. Fun stuff! Off to take the survey...