Thanks for taking my survey! Want to see some graphs and numbers?
Alright, so I created a survey a few weeks ago and got a lot of interesting insights. To those who took my survey, thanks! If you didn’t, there’s a good chance it’s still open. Let me know your thoughts!
My next survey is live. Help me with Arachnomancer’s cover!
I was having a small debate with a friend about author brands a week or so before the survey. I told her that I wanted to embrace humorous writing as a core element of my author brand. I said my short stories (The Pink Knight and Daughter Princess and A Shadow in the Darkness) did not represent this brand.
Probably worse, The Pink Knight is titled in a cute/could-be-funny way. I felt these short stories betrayed my readers who, after reading Arachnomancer, would expect something far less sad and serious.
My friend believed that my readers would stay with me across genres. Of course, I would lose some readers, but each genre would introduce my backlog to a new audience. People read in multiple genres, so just because something is different, that doesn’t mean it’s bad.
She makes a valid point. However, I want someone who reads one of my books to be excited to read my other books. The hardest business element of an author is attracting new readers. It makes sense, to me, that I should create as much content as possible for a very specific audience and keep those readers across many books.
77.78% of my readers—who filled out the survey—are not looking for a serious book from me. This doesn’t necessarily mean they wouldn’t read a serious book from me, but they prefer something funny or funious (a portmanteau of funny and serious).
This means that 22.22% of my readers want something serious from me. However, only 11.76% of my readers only want to read something serious from me.
Now, we’re not working with a lot of data, but for now, I feel confident in pursuing humorous stories. I’ll start adding surveys to the back of my books to help me better understand my readers. If you see one of my survey links in the future, please help! They almost never take more than two minutes to complete.
What About Genre?
Here’s the graph. Oooh, pretty colors. Lots of bars!
Alas, only four people—FOUR people—wanted a monster trainer/Pokemon-based GameLit. I say “alas” because I’ve written two stories of what I call MonLit. One is a full, heaven-based isekai story similar to Arachnomancer, and the other takes place in my main universe (Dungeon Runner, The Pink Knight, and about thirty other, unpublished series).
Oh well. They are on the back burner for now. It’s quite possible that as I get more responses from end-of-book surveys, the popular sub-genre/game mechanic will change.
Zombies. Who doesn’t love zombies? 90% of my survey-taking readers, that’s who (it’s actually 65%; the percentages are odd because readers can choose multiple genres). 🙁 What I find interesting is, 5 of the 6 people wanting a zombie book, want it to be funny.
My first big push into GameLit—and the reason I coined the genre—was my virtual reality, zombie survival contest. After rewriting it for the billionth time, I decided I didn’t like how dark and serious it was. At this point in my author journey, I didn’t remotely consider writing humor. Now it’s all I do. Crazy.
It would be a fun challenge to write a funny zombie survival story with game mechanics. Maybe one day.
Tower Defense! I absolutely love tower defense games. In fact, and probably of no surprise—especially given all the other genres I’ve talked about—I’ve written a tower defense story. And it’s totally bonkers. So maybe this will be my next project after Arachnomancer.
I like tower defense games SO DANG MUCH that I just might build a tower defense game for the book. It wouldn’t be anything too crazy: pixel art graphics with some basic game mechanics based on the book. I just think that would be fun.
For those who don’t know, I’ve developed an Xbox 360 game called 7Strains : The Infectious (I just discovered this video someone made; cool!).
Two of the five votes for vampires want something serious. All of the others are fine with funious or funny. I have a vampire story—no, really?—that’s mixes vampire lore with a battle royale game mechanic of vampires vs hunters. I’ve written a part of the first chapter and think it could be a cool story.
General Fiction & Short Fiction
I’m probably most surprised by how many people simply want general fantasy or science fiction, getting the most votes out of all other genres.
My survey-making skills suck. I don’t know if these readers want me to write in the general genres (abandon GameLit) or if they want a fantasy/science-fiction world for my GameLit stories. This is something I’ll dig into more with future surveys.
It’s nice to see some love for short fiction! The next two stories coming out will be Challenger Sarah’s origin story (Gameus, bored with heaven’s war between Light and Shadow, decides to welcome fresh souls to a game of battle royale) and Dungeon Runner 3, which will take a turn into a haunted house dungeon for an October release.
All but two of my survey monkeys liked the amount of game mechanics in my books. I call that a win. One wanted more; one didn’t care about game mechanics. And that’s that. I’ll include better game mechanic questions in the future, but for now, things are good.
17.64% of my readers want a book every 1-2 months. Everyone else is happy with 3+ months. 29.41% of readers want a book every 6 months.
Arachnomancer 2 will have taken about 7 months to write. Going forward, I’d like to aim for every 3-4 months. However, this second book is about 1/3rd longer than the first. The extra length has added extra time to the writing process. Instead of rushing it out the door, I’m just taking it one day at a time, working to ensure it’s a fun book for everyone.
I will be doing something interesting in October. I call it the challenge novel. I’ll be taking challenge requests from my readers (likely via a survey) and then I have to write a novel in 10 days using those elements. I’ll publish the novel under my pen name. If you want to be involved, make sure you subscribe to my newsletter!
Thanks for checking out my little—not so little—article. I really enjoy getting insight from readers on these surveys. I hope that by including my short links at the back of my books, I’ll get a lot more data to help me decide what you guys want the most. I’m full of stories and wouldn’t be here without your support. 🙂
Don’t forget to help me with my cover survey! https://dustin.link/cover-survey. Thanks!