Fun With Survey Results

So about a month ago I ran a survey. I thought you might like to know some of the results. I didn’t mean to be trixy, though I was. I was trying to get at some specific information, and meanwhile learned some other good stuff too.

So my survey included round-about questions, warm up questions, and “I’m just curious” questions.

So would you like to know more about you?


Here we go!

First thing to remember with an online survey is that is it self selecting: People who answer are likely to enjoy surveys and be online regularly. You’d be surprised (or maybe not) how many of my readers do not fall into either or both categories.

The survey was up for 2 weeks and c.2680 took it, some multiple times, and some skipped questions.

About You & Social Media


I actually would have guessed this, after a conversation on the Parasol Protectorate Group on Facebook delved into this territory. Since I’m published in various overseas territories, this isn’t too surprising. Oddly enough this was not an elimination question. So long as you read English and read electronically, that’s all I was really looking for.

Here’s a bit more about you, from raw sales data: (so above is volunteered via the survey, below is my actual sales distribution for the ebook of Poison or Protect).


So, despite the fact that Australia beats out everyone else roundly on social media by reach (except US & UK) Germany actually buys slightly more of my ebooks. I have a big fan base in Germany, and it’s common knowledge that, if possible, the Germans will read the original English language version, but that they would go for ebooks? And more than Australia? Fascinating.

I’d also like you to note that non-Amazon (Kobo, Apple, Nook) accounts for less than 13% of my sales. No, I’m not going to go KU exclusive or anything silly like that, but please see why I don’t stress when it takes Nook twice as long to get everything posted? And why I usually put Amazon links on my social media? It’s merely a matter of statistics, and trying to make the most people I can happy.

Back to the survey…


Speaking of Facebook, almost 78% of you said you were on Facebook everyday. This tells me a lot about your age, gender, and kinda surprised me. (Although, frankly, Facebook also tells me such things.) I mean, I’m on FB all the time, I didn’t know others were like me! Shouldn’t be surprised, after all I’m my own demographic.


This was interesting as well. The Chirrup went out first so I think that partly accounted for why it had the highest draw. The Facebook Page and Group pulled pretty evenly, and taken together FB accounted for more than the Newsletter. Twitter (which accounts, normally, for almost 50% of my Klout) was a measly 9%, which I think is partly because of its real time disappearing act (I didn’t pin the survey tweet) and because most of my major interactions are with other writers and peers on Twitter. The neck-to-neck nature of blog post v Goodreads was interesting. Firstly, it told me I should give Goodreads a bit more love. I may do a giveaway in future. Also, it told me that my blog posts have less reach than I thought, possibly because of the immediacy of other social media venues, possibly because the very idea of the blog is fading. You’ll still find me using it (as per right now) but I may allow myself a less strict schedule going forward. Right now I do 3x’s a week author blog posts (2x’s Retro Rack) and I may pull back a bit on those, free up more writing time.


OK  so this was fascinating. The 14% who don’t do Social Media, I presume you come from the Chirrup or Blog (*waves*) I’m afraid I can’t really tailor things to you going forward. (Carry on as you are, please. I love you. I won’t forget about you.)

About 60% like to read but don’t want to participate. This pertains to an old staple of the Internet (like the 1% rule). 15-20% engaged commenters is actually pretty high (its usually more like 10%, but I suspect willingness to take a survey skews this), with 60% passive consumers, and the remaining 20% either not there at all or some other option. This tells me a lot about the voices I’m hearing from. I get the opinions and interactions of 20% of my online relationships. A 20% voice of the people, if you will. Is that an adequate representation? I certainly hope so.

About You & Reading


Almost 70% said they read electronically. So I’d say that’s very well reflected in my recent sales data from Poison or Protect. It’s not how my traditionally published data falls out. I think this reflects more on my online survey than my general readership, but then you are also my reach when I self publish a new novella so… come here my babies, let me hold you.

30%, however, is no small number. It certainly tells me going forward I should continue producing print editions.

I really wish I’d divided this survey question into three answers, with audiobooks separate. I’d like to know what percentage ONLY does audio, as that is proving a difficult field to hoe. Much as I love audio, I wonder if it’s truly worth my while or if I just happen to have a small cadre of audiobook readers who are super noisy.


20% of you read a new book of mine within 24 hours! That’s amazing. And 40% within the first 2 days. And 30% in the first week. That 90% read in the first week! No wonder I get feedback so quickly. That is truly remarkable. I was utterly shocked. What will this help me with? Developing a spoiler policy for the PP FB Group among other things.


Read life balance. I’ll just say to that 52.6%… solidarity and I salute you.


This one made me a little sad, actually. Even if it’s not my book, the single nicest thing you can do for an author (aside from buying their book in the first place) is to leave a review. Doesn’t have to be more than a few sentences. It doesn’t even have to be positive. Why? Because these days careers genuinely live or die based on the number of reviews. I’d rather a nice review than a good cup of tea… and that’s saying something!


Random Moments of Interest


This was sweet, that 77% would like to come see me if only I was visiting locally. About 20% have seen me at least once, and the remaining don’t do live authors. (I know. But I’m horribly witty and I tell secrets in person. Just saying.) Since I can’t actually travel everywhere, and I have put it to the vote in the past, I don’t quite see a way to see more of you. I’ll keep trying, though.


I can’t tell you how happy this made me. The wikia was so much work to get up to speed. To know half of you use/used it is a profound relief.

For Your Information


For the 38.8% mystified by this question an ARC is an advance reader copy. It is a digital or print copy of the book released before the actual release date (sometimes prior to the final editing pass, when it can also be called a Galley/Uncorrected Proof). These are provided to reviewers and publicity publications so they may review the book closer to when it comes out to better capitalize on publicity.

My guess is that 15.4% who answered yes also guessed what I was after with this survey.

Oh and 130 of you were Librarians or Booksellers! Hooray. I love you guys.

So what now?

Thank you to everyone who participated, I learned a lot! Mostly about how to better do surveys.

What’s Next?

Part the First:

I’m looking for no more than 10 people. Yeah, you mostly guessed why. Familiarity with the universe (reread patterns for both series and if you’re totally caught up) got me down to 500, familiarity with certain software platforms/social media musts eliminated a further 250. Communication skills, an ability to work on Word, and turn around times were also key, which left me with 40 possible. So, I may adore you and you may have been perfect at a different time in my career, but… I’ll be sending out tentative emails to 5 shortly.

Part the Second:

A few of you guessed this one. For this, I want to interact in a specific way online. That plus my own personality quirks and your reading speed meant I whittled responses down to 1000. Then I used frequency of reread and online engagement to get it down to 500. After that I went hunting for variety. I wanted people comfortable on lots of different corners of the internet. Eventually, I settled on 40 possible. These will likely get special requests via email to proceed further.

I need to draft these next stage emails carefully. But expect a ping this week, check your spams!


{Gail’s monthly read along for October is The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey.}


  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Outline.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.
  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novella? Novel? Who knows.
    Status: Rough draft.
    Something new and different for Gail, contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.


Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?


Your Moment of Parasol . . .


1870s mid Fashion Plate via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Octopus Meets Underwater ROV – Tentacled Tug of War Ensues

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Delightful History of Steam Technology podcast

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

How to Write (and Not to Write) an Author Bio

Book News:


Fan Art Lefoux Akeldama Tea

Quote of the Day:

“Touched, by his hands and his body and his unintended mercies, I needed my distance back.”
~ Glitterland by Alexis Hall

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!

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Posted by Gail Carriger

10 Responses

  1. Ashley Dunn said:

    I love reading about the results on the survey! It really is quite fascinating. It sounds like it has been fun all around, and even helpful.

  2. Lisa said:

    The results from the survey are fascinating. Thank you for sharing them with us. It was great seeing you this past weekend, at Gaslight Gathering. I was SO disappointed to have to leave your panel before your reading was completed, but I had to go teach a panel myself. Yours was a delight in every way. Thank you for visiting us in San Diego.

  3. Deborah Gill said:

    I love seeing the results of the survey. It is very interesting. From reading the results it looks like you were able to get a lot of information about your readers. I do sincerely hope to be one of the selected readers.

  4. Christine Thompson said:

    Finally got answers to the two questions. I would love to dream that I am one of the chosen few, but either way, I am happy that you were able to get some answers for yourself. *off to listen to her Gail Books for the upteenth time*

  5. Dana Clemmons said:

    Fascinating! I do wish there had been another option for the ARC question; I would actively pursue ARCS, but don’t know how to go about it! Also, I’ve made it a point, since your post, to regularly review books.

  6. Jo said:

    Wow! It’s fascinating to see that so many other people were responding with the same answers as I did! But if I may offer a suggestion, I found that many questions didn’t have the answer that I might have put if asked personally. I’m not a massive social media user, but to be perfectly honest I would be happy to learn/adapt/expand if asked. I’m sad that this deficiency put me and the other readers who I am sure are like me out of the running, so to speak.

  7. Sarah Helgeson said:

    I like reading your blog! Facebook does not always allow me to see your posts, and this is a good way to still see all the important details. Plus, you are so knowledgeable about vintage fashion and adore reading those posts.

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