Friday 13 October 2017

Angsty Teens?

I ran a poll for my readers asking simply how old they are.

I was motivated by a comment on reddit implying that the readers of grimdark were typically angsty teens, and by the many comments that imply I write grimdark.

All polls (elections included) are flawed. But this does not make them useless. When you invite votes on the internet that tends to skew results toward a younger demographic because the young are over represented online. I posted the link to the poll on Twitter and Facebook. These have their own demographics within the (generally younger) online community.

I have nothing against being read by angsty teens. Look, here's me at 19 all in black. I was into New Order and The Cure! The YA market is huge. Bring on the teens!

At the time of writing there are 820 answers on the poll. That's a sizeable number. With truly randomized sampling (which I don't have) you can accurately predict the outcome of an election involving tens of millions with a poll sample of ~1000.

It's good to see I have no (or very few) readers younger than 12!

The mode of this distribution is 31-40

The mean (most commonly used average) is 35.3

I appear to have more readers in their 50s than I do teenage readers, certainly the 51-60 bracket is as populous as the 17-21 bracket.

I have more than twice as many readers in their 40s than I have readers younger than 22.

Put this together with the poll I ran on my readers' gender, and we see that I have more women in their 40s reading my work than I do teens of any flavour.

So, the strong implication is that either angsty teens are not the main consumers of grimdark. Or I don't write grimdark. Or both.

Me at 50.


  1. Could you try out a new poll asking people how old they were when they started reading your books? Some of the 22-30 crowd might spill into 12-16 and 17-21 demographics. I say this because that's my own situation... I read Prince of Thorns when I was about 16-17, from what I recall. However, I am now 22 years old. I still love your books all the same, though. ;-)

  2. Is that a hobbit door behind you? 😃

  3. I distinctly remember it being 2011 when I bought Prince of Thorns. I was 17.
    I jumped age brackets just before The Wheel of Osheim came out.

    - I won a book voucher at school and spent it on The Way of Kings: Part 1, and Prince of Thorns. I shortlisted PoT because Robin Hobb endorsed it and the cover/title made a compelling argument. Then the blurb sold me on it.