2013 Readers’ and Writers’ Survey RESULTS – You Guys Rock!

Before I get to the results of our little survey, I just want to say “thank you!” for participating. We received a total of eighty-seven responses to the survey. That’s not too shabby … not too shabby at all. We are so grateful to each of you for taking the time to respond and tickled that the questions got many of you thinking more deeply about where you are with your writing (and – where you want to be in the future).

So – without further ado – here are the results of the 2013 Live to Write – Write to Live Readers’ & Writers’ Survey:


Almost half of you write some kind of genre fiction (sci fi, fantasy, mystery, etc.), nearly a third of you write creative non-fiction, and a little over a quarter of you write literary fiction. As you can see from the graph, you also tackle everything from memoir to business writing. Responses to the “other” category included (much to my chagrin since they are some of my favorite types of books) middle grade, young adult, and children’s picture books. Many of you also listed “blogging.”


The top formats you write in are short stories and novels, but essays don’t lag far behind and we also have a fair number of columnists and feature writers among us. Responses to the “other” option included poems, business copy, and technical documentation.


When looking to the future, it looks like most of you are already writing the type of work you’d like to be writing since genre fiction, literary fiction, and creative non-fiction remained the top three answers selected. For all three, more of you hope to write in these categories in the future than are writing in them today:

  • Literary Fiction: 26% of you are writing it today; 36% of you want to be writing it in the future
  • Genre Fiction: 45% of you are writing it today; 50% of you want to be writing it in the future
  • Creative Non-Fiction: 32% of you are writing it today; 36% of you want to be writing it in the future

The two categories that seemed to hold the least appeal were poetry (down 6%) and business writing (down 5%).


In terms of the formats you’re interested in writing in the future, there were three clear “winners:”

  • Novels: While 47% of you write novels now, 65% of you hope to write them in the future
  • Features: While 14% of you write feature articles now, more than twice that (31%) hope to write them in the future
  • Novellas: While only 9% of you write novellas now, more than three times that (30%) hope to write them in the future

Of least interest were essays  (36% of you are writing them now, but only 33% of you hope to in the future). Short stories maintained a high level of interest with 48% of you writing them today and 51% of you hoping to write them in the future.


The vast majority of you consider yourself to be beginners. 35% say you’re “just getting started,” while 38% say you’ve been writing a while but are just getting started professionally. “Other” responses included comments ranging from “I’m a hobbyist/dabbler” to “I teach Advanced Placement Literature & Composition.”


You can see by looking at this chart that there were some clear preferences around the types of blog posts you like to read. “Tips & Tricks” were the #1 choice at 79%, followed closely by “Behind-the-Scenes (confessions, etc.)” at 64% and “Inspirational” (encouragement, success stories, etc.) at 59%. Your least favorite types of content were interviews and book reviews, but you do seem interested in Resource Lists with 48% of you checking that option. In the “Other” responses, several of you requested more humor, saying it helped inspire you.


Favorite topics were clearly “Craft” and “The Writing Life.” In second place were the complementary topics of “Publishing” and “Productivity.” Basically, you like a well-rounded collection of topics that cover both the work and the life you lead doing it. We like that!  🙂


We were delighted to learn that about 40% of you have been reading Live to Write – Write to Live for a year or longer. We were equally delighted to learn that the other 60% of you were new to our pages and had either been reading for just a few months or had only just found us. To those of you who’ve been hanging around a while – thanks for being here! For those of you new on the scene – welcome, we’re so glad to have you!


Almost half of you (47%) prefer to read the blog via email.The other half read the blog either right on our site or via a blog reader.


We were pleased to learn that many of you would be interested in professional services offered by our bloggers. Much of the feedback in the “other” responses indicated a concern about cost and an assumption that professional services would not be within reach financially.


Overwhelmingly, you have discovered Live to Write – Write to Live via WordPress. For that (and many other reasons) we love WordPress. In the comments, several of you indicated direct ties to a particular blogger on our site. If any of you reading this can help me answer the question further, I’d love to know more about how WordPress aided in discovery. Several of our posts have been featured on Freshly Pressed, for instance, and there may be other directories that I’m not aware of.


A vast majority of you (80%) enjoy other writing blogs in addition to ours. Approximately half of you also read print magazines and participate in online communities. Slightly more than a third of you count printed reference books among your resources, while approximately 25% subscribe to digital newsletters and take writing classes (both online and off). Only about 12% of you belong to any professional associations.


Almost all of those who responded enjoy Facebook, while slightly fewer (61%) are on Twitter. Clocking in between 34% and 41%, the next three favorite social sites are Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Goodreads. Several of the comments under “Other” made the point that social media is a “necessary evil” and “not necessarily enjoyed.” In addition, some commenters noted that although they have accounts with some of these sites, they don’t know how to use them to their full potential.


Sorry guys. Based on the survey participants, our audience is 75% women and only 25% men.


Finally, according to survey responses, more than half of you are between 35 and 54 years-old. Happily, the other half of our readership covers a diverse range of ages from 18 all the way to 74.

In the final question, we invited you to share any additional comments or feedback about the blog. 24 of you chose to do so, mostly to show your appreciation for the blog (we’re blushing – thank you). A couple people suggested that we host a virtual coffee hour via a live chat of some kind. (Sounds like fun!) Someone else talked about writing as a visual art form. (Sounds fascinating). There were several requests for content geared towards absolute newbies. (We can do that!)

Overall, we were super pleased with the turnout, participation, and detailed responses. Thank you  (again!) for taking the time. We know you’re busy and are touched that you cared enough to click through and share your thoughts with us. Like we said, you rock. 

PS – Congratulations to the winner of our random drawing (selected via Random.org): Jamie Drake of My Happy Promise. Congratulations, Jamie. I look forward to talking with you soon! 

30 thoughts on “2013 Readers’ and Writers’ Survey RESULTS – You Guys Rock!

  1. Wow, Jamie! Thank you for putting the survey out there and collating all the info. And THANK YOU READERS! It is so helpful to have an idea of who’s reading the blog, what you do, what you like and what you want. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Deborah.

    • My pleasure, Deborah. I loved having the chance to get to know our readers a little better, and was even more pleased that so many of them not only participated, but felt that taking the survey helped them evaluate their own writing practices and goals. Now, that’s a win-win! 🙂

  2. Congratulations to Jamie, the winner of the drawing. To all the writer’s of this blog Thank You for all you do. The survey made me think of what type of writing I am doing, what my strengths were and yes, even my weaknesses. It made me re-evaluate where I will be putting my writing energy. Well done. Keep up the Great Work you provide to us that are blessed with being part of your universe.

    • Hello, Dame Gussie! Always nice to see you here.
      Thank YOU for being part of this community. I’m so glad if any part of the survey piqued your interest enough to invite further exploration of your own goals. Fabulous! 🙂

    • Thanks so much. It really is pretty fascinating, and we hope to do justice to what we learn from you. 🙂

  3. Wow, my eyes crossed over each other looking at these charts and statistics, thanks for the optical impairment for the day….lol, fascinating work, thanks for sharing, Red Crow.

    • Oh dear, Michael. Didn’t mean to give you a headache or anything! 😉
      So glad you found it interesting. Thanks for taking the time to say so!

      • Lol, I’m okay…my eyes aren’t crossed any longer…lol. Have a blessed day…

      • Phew! I didn’t want to be responsible for that! 😉
        Happy writing.

  4. I probably found you on freshly pressed ages ago when they used to make it the first page to come up when you enter the site. Since they have not done that for a long time now I have not been checking out freshly pressed – purely because I already follow more blogs than I can handle! But if I want to find a blog on a particular subject, like writing, I use the topics part of the WP blog reader which I think is based on how you tag your posts.

    • Thanks so much for sharing that additional detail. I will check out the WP blog reader more closely. I use Feedly myself, so I’m not all that familiar with WordPress’ version.

      Really appreciate it! 🙂

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  6. So now I am part of the 25%! Well, I keep hearing that men are the minority sex in the U.S.A. and soon caucasians will be a minority, so i suppose it is all part of the trend. It has been so long since I remember answering this poll I had forgotten you did it. I am surprised with your number of responses, because when i do a poll on my blog I am lucky to get anymore than a handful of responses. Perhaps that is a function of the greater amount of visitors you have.

    It is interesting to see the trends. I know many times people follow trends due to comments about this genre or that one becoming the next growth area. I am trying to stay in the one I know suits my writing style so that I am more likely to see success.

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