Firstly, a very big thank you to everyone who filled in the survey and a special thank you to those of your who shared the post regarding the 2019 WLW fiction survey. In the end, we had around 230 forms filled in. While this is less than the 600 replies from last year, that survey managed to hit traction within the mainstream market and therefore got a higher number of replies. With this smaller data set, we can be assured that it is the thoughts of people who actively read our genre.
As always, when looking at this data I urge people to keep in mind that this is still a relatively small dataset and was predominantly gathered through social media outlets. This will, of course, skew some of the data and it cannot be taken as an overall market snapshot. That said, there are still key takeaways that can be seen in the data and can be used by authors and publishers.
Please also be aware when comparing this year to last year (or the year before), that some questions have been removed, reworded, or added.
Unsurprisingly, Amazon still dominates our marketplace and is clearly the main distributor for us all. However, there was a slight drop this year in people buying directly from Amazon with a small increase in those buying directly from publisher website. Kindle Unlimited subscribers have again increased, from 30% in 2017, to 41% in 2018 to 45% now.
Over 30% of respondents state that chart position sometimes influences their decision to purchase.
When it comes to pricing, there has been a slight increase in respondents who believe that WLW fiction books are on the expensive side. Interestingly, there has been a sharp decrease in what a standard length ebook should cost, from $10 in 2017, to $2.99 – $5.99 in 2018, and again in 2019.
In contrast, respondents have increased the amount they believe a paperback should be priced at from $10 in 2017, to $12.99 in 2019.
90% of respondents would consider paying more for a book from a certain author. Only 9% would consider paying more for a book from a certain publisher.
This year, I included some questions on perceived interest and crowding of the market. 64% of respondents said that they were felt they were able to find more books that were of interest to them than they were able to find the previous year. 13% were unable to answer the question as they are new to the market. This indicates that our market is growing in terms of readers, and authors. Only 5% of respondents consider the market to be too crowded.
Author brand has increased in importance when it comes to book buying decisions, price has become more importance, as has blurb, publisher identity has fallen to its lowest level.
There has been a slight increase in the perception of covers currently in the market, and a large increase in the importance of covers being a factor to readers. The importance of good blurbs remains high and the perception is that there has been a small increase in the overall quality of blurbs, but there is still work to do. Editing is also still considered very important, with respondents indicating they have seen a slight increase in editing quality year on year.
Author newsletters and social media are still the primary places where people hear about sales taking place, third place went to I Heart Lesfic which ranked above publisher newsletters. For new releases, social media and then author newsletters were the top spots, followed by publisher newsletters, Amazon marketing, and I Heart Lesfic. 60% of respondents had heard of MyLesfic.com. In 2018, 76% of respondents said they connected to authors on social media, in 2019 this increased to 91% (note – as this survey was predominantly shared on social media, this is not surprising).
In the newly added awards section, only 16% of respondents said that they were more likely to buy a book which has won an award, 15% said they might consider it depending on what the award was.
55% of respondents know what GCLS is, and 65% know what Lambda is.
Check out all the results for yourself, I would like to particularly draw your attention to the freeform boxes where people have typed in responses, as per last year this is a very interesting glimpse at the market.