10 Findings about Historical Fiction

Readers offer their input on the much-loved genre.

10 Findings about Historical Fiction

A third comprehensive historical-fiction reader survey took place during April and May, reaching 2,033 participants (84% female, 16% male) from all over the world. While all participants are readers, 537 identified themselves as authors, 92 as bloggers, 61 as librarians, 26 as publishing-industry professionals, and six as book retailers.

While some results remain to be tabulated, the following are highlights from the main report:

  1. The Survey Attracted High-Volume Readers: 69% of participants read more than 20 books a year, and 50% read more than 30; 839 participants read more than 50% historical fiction.
  2. More Recent Time Periods Fascinate Authors: 423 of the authors who participated (79%) enjoy writing stories set from the 19th century to today.
  3. Authors Prefer Writing about Fictional Characters: 60% of authors prefer to write about fictional characters against a backdrop of great historical events; fortunately, readers have similar attitudes.
  4. Poor-Quality Books are the biggest frustration for those blogging about books.
  5. To Bring the Past to Life is the dominant reason for reading historical fiction.
  6. The Top-Three Preferred Historical-Fiction Story Types are those offering strong female characters, adventure, and ongoing series.
  7. Historical Characters Come Alive through interesting and complex personalities and behavior that readers consider realistic to the time period.
  8. 60% of Participants Regularly Use Social Media to Support Their Reading. However, men are much less likely than women to use social media for reading purposes.
  9. Gender Makes A Difference: Women read more than men, and men and women prefer different types of stories.
  10. 50% of participants agree with the statement: “Social media has changed the way I read.”

The full survey report is available on A Writer of History. Future articles will report on favorite authors, favorite historical fiction, and other topics in more depth.

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, Nook, Kobo, Google Play, and iTunes. Mary can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

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