Thursday 22 August 2013


So, I'm running a POLL inviting readers who liked Prince of Thorns and intend to read the rest of the trilogy to register their age and gender.

The numbers are fairly small (235 when I looked last) which means each category has only a few 10s of votes at most, which means we can't place too much meaning on the result. Additionally, it's not sampling my readership as a whole, just my readership who pay attention to my online ramblings and like to vote in polls.

However, it's still fun to take a look.

Two things are immediately apparent and both probably have some grain of truth to them.

- Firstly that the gender divide is closer to 2:1 in favor of males than the 1:1 in the population as a whole.

- Secondly the age break-down for women is the opposite of that for men.
      - For the men the readership is shaded toward the younger groups.
      - For the women the readership is shaded toward the older groups.

Once the results are gathered the speculation begins.

Does the slant toward older female readers mean that more mature readers are better able to shrug off messages they might get from society about what they should be reading?

It should also be noted that the majority of the response here comes from reddit which _is_ known to have far more male members than female, and that my publisher (who have much better market research) tell me my readers are actually closer to a 60:40 split with female readers in the majority.

How does the gender divide compare with that of:

a) readers as a whole
     - A US study showed 62% of women read a work of fiction in the previous year and 48% of men.

b) fantasy readers
    -  I don't have stats here, so I'm gathering them with a POLL -- obviously this will be skewed toward my readers unless I manage to spread the word widely.

c) epic fantasy readers
    -  I don't have stats here, so I'm gathering them with a POLL -- obviously this will be skewed toward my readers unless I manage to spread the word widely.

[we now have a couple of hundred votes in the fantasy/epic fantasy polls - I don't think the sampling was very broad though as the numbers are similar yet we know epic fantasy is only as small corner (sales-wise) of fantasy and so with a brosd sampling of fantasy readers we would expect many fewer voters in the second poll]


  1. I just have to say, sadly, that this is the first poll I've taken part in where I'm lumped in the same age bracket as someone in their 50's. Thanks for ripping my heart out and making me feel old, Mr. Lawrence.

  2. Mark,
    You are a revelation to me. First, I blindly stumbled upon your series and can't express to you how much I enjoyed it. It is right up there with any series that I have read to date. Second, you seem refreshing in that you "seem" different from other authors in the genre and in general I suppose. You don't seem to be caught up in your shadow and simply work freely. I could be wrong but the ease to which these three books seem to come out and how natural it felt reading it was a nice change of pace. Although I am sad to see one of my top to favorite characters go; I appreciate the way with which you ended the series and wish more authors had the cojones to do it. I will most definitely be sharing this work of yours with anyone with ears. Best of luck to you and I eagerly await your future works.

  3. Just finished the series two minutes ago with my 3 year old daughter asleep On my chest. Took me less than a week to finish Emperor, sorry but I couldn't put it down, cliche I know but true. Loved all 3 books. I've read an awful lot of "epic fantasy" but read a lot more besides. Missed the poll but I'm a 43 year old male. I make video games for a living, maybe I'll sculpt Jorge!

    1. Good to hear!

      & the polls are all still open - just click on the word POLL where it shows

  4. I'm not really sure you can generalise from so small a sample - especially since you are only polling those readers who have actually found this blog. Maybe a higher percentage of your young male readers read internet blogs? I mean, I'm only here because I had a random, I wonder what his Welsh connection is, given the names I've seen so far of his children. Which is no doubt the sort of random thought we older female readers (45 in my case) have. But perhaps not all of us go on the internet to see if there's an answer. Perhaps older male readers are even less likely to find a blog? Just a thought.

    And by the way, I read a fair amount of fantasy, and I agree, this series is one of the best out there, really thought out, and well-written :-)

    1. entirely true - though I did also poll on facebook, twitter and reddit. Plus the two general polls were retweeted widely. It's still a poor sampling though.

  5. Might be interesting if you were able to do a paper poll as well - questionnaires in libraries or conventions or something? Might change your results (at least in terms of ages, I think it may well be true that more men than women read these sorts of novels) - but that might end up being a bit pricey! (And a bit more involved than you might actually want to get.)

  6. It's also worth noting that reddit is a huge community pretty much comprised of 80% young white men. I tend to stay out of that community because a lot of it is very white centric (and has some gross subreddits) Off topic, but you'd get a lot of your votes from there and it's a very big and very male community so I would tend to agree with Carrie here.

  7. Hi Mark, I am a 40 year old, non-white Hispanic female. I am a huge fan of your Broken Empire series, just started reading "Emperor of Thorns." I would not have read or enjoyed reading this series when I was in my teens or 20's. Back then I would have probably stayed away from something this dark. Now that I am older I can appreciate the darker themes.

    Anyway, I look forward to reading "Emperor of Thorns" and more of your other books in the future.
    Best regards.

  8. I rarely lose and when I do, takes me a week to get over it enough I'm not haunted by the replay behind my eyes when the lights go off. Speculating that's why Jorg is so compelling yet repellant. Riveting tale you've spun and looking forward to the finale.