Reader Surveys

The chief cook and bottle washer at A Writer of History, also known as M.K. (Mary) Tod, has conducted international surveys examining reading habits, preferences, and interest in historical fiction on four separate occasions. How did this come about?

While writing Lies Told in Silence, I asked, “why do people read historical fiction?” and when I went looking, found almost nothing. That serendipitous question lead to the first historical fiction reader survey in 2012 and then to surveys two (2013), three (2015), and four (2018). Following each survey came interviews with authors, from famous to debut, with bloggers, and with readers. The resulting data and insights offer answers to this initial question and many others.

In addition, each year participants provided their favourite historical fiction authors and in 2015 readers also proposed favourite historical novels. Collectively more than 5,000 people responded from all corners of the world.

While the original intent was to inform my writing and blogging, over time the intent became to illuminate the genre for all stakeholders—readers, writers, bloggers, agents, editors, and others who constitute the reading ecosystem. Almost 100 posts on A Writer of History contain information and analysis based on the data.

Highlights from each year as well as the survey reports can be found below.

2012, Reader Survey
2013, Reader Survey
2015, Reader Survey
2018, Reader Survey

If you wish to browse further, use the search function to explore topics such as ‘historical fiction survey’, ‘favourite authors’ and ‘gender differences’. And if you have questions, get in touch here.

As a panelist speaking about WWI novels at the 2017 Historical Novel Society conference, I also conducted a survey on reading about WWI, including a question on favourite WWI novels.

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