Results of My 2013 Reader Survey and a Roadmap for the Writing Road Ahead

[Tweet “”When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” — Yogi Berra”]

turn left keep right road sign

After interviewing pastor and über-blogger Carey Nieuwhof about the way he’s grown his blog, I was encouraged to send out my first reader survey. Though he has 100s of 1000s more pageviews than me, I thought his insights into conducting a yearly survey were spot on.
While I only had 19 respondents, I was grateful for their answers. Here are a few takeaways from that survey, as well as how they might factor into my writing and blogging in 2014.

Expected Answers

A majority of my readers are slightly younger than me, most live in The Great State of Texas, a vast majority are Christian, and most of the readers who took the survey are personal friends of mine. Since my blog’s still small, this isn’t too surprising.

Somewhat Surprising Answers

I asked the very nosy question of whether the respondent had read or purchased a copy of my book. Though there may have been a bit of ego in that question, I was more interested to know which was more popular with my blog’s readers: the print version or the ebook version.
Turns out that none of the respondents bought the print book, while nine of them bought the ebook and four of them gifted the ebook to someone else. A few people plan on buying the ebook or the print book. I was a little surprised by these answers since sales of the print version have been exceeding my admittedly low expectations.[ref]Then again, my sample size isn’t huge, so I know I’m extrapolating much from little data.[/ref]

Shock Me Amadeus Answers

I also asked how much someone would be willing to pay for an ebook. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 1 chose free.
  • 0 chose up to $0.99.
  • 2 chose $1 to $2.99.
  • 6 chose $3 to $5.99.
  • 6 chose $6 to $9.99.
  • 0 chose $10 and up.
  • 2 preferred print versions.
  • 1 preferred audiobooks.

In other words, most would pay between $3 and $10 for a quality ebook. I was surprised by these answers since I’ve read so much that espouses indie authors to price low so their books have an easy entry point for a reader.
My ebook is currently selling for $3.99, so these answers gave me courage to keep that price the same, especially when you can spend a few dollars more and get the print version … which comes with the digital version for free thanks to the Kindle MatchBook program.

How much do you prefer to spend on ebooks?

Funny Answers

I asked about the three topics that people think I’m most knowledgable about. This was more to help me think through what kind of content should grace my blog more often.
Those responses were varied, but there were some easily known themes: Christianity, Breaking Bad, and writing. Some of the other suggestions were: your wife, random things on the Internet, social media, and drumming.
My favorite answer? “Personalized bowling balls, sarcasm, and SCIENCE!”
I don’t know much about science, but it’s an inside joke. I do own a personalized bowling ball, even though I’m not a great bowler.[ref]It was a gift.[/ref] And I don’t know anything about sarcasm.

Answers that May Tell the Future

I asked how often people might read my blog if new content were to appear at certain intervals. I was encouraged to read that most people would read this site at least once per week, with two to three times per week running a close second. Because I need the discipline (and I really like my new home office area), I’ll be posting three times per week for the near future.
My final question asked what topic I should tackle in my next book. There were a few mentions of another Gospel According To book (TGAT The Amazing Race, TGAT David Foster Wallace, etc), but that’s very unlikely. Breaking Bad captivated me in a weird way, and it would take a lot for me to want to dive into another series the way I did with that one.
One person suggested covering the history of Christianity in the movies. I know of a few books in that vein, but I do wonder if any have looked at the entire history of it.
There were a few insanely encouraging answers:

  • “anything 🙂 “
  • “No idea, but I’ll buy it.”
  • “Something beautiful. Whether heavy, light, serious or funny, there is great beauty behind your words. I hope to read something beautiful in 2014.”

Words like these refute every negative review.
Lastly, one person answered, “what he learned while writing/self-publishing a book and how his faith has grown because of it.”
This won’t be my next book, but it will be my blog’s topic for the near future.

A Book and A Blog in 2014

I would like to release another book this year, but I don’t know what it will be about quite yet. I have more ideas for this blog than anything else right now. I know that these last few posts have been rather me-centric (and long-winded), but that will change soon. By processing my last year with you and looking forward to the year to come, I hope that I’ve provided a small glimpse into what this blog may be transforming into.
If you know anyone that’s interested in learning more about self-publishing, send them this link to subscribe to my email newsletter and/or all of my blog posts:
Thank you to the 19 readers who took part in my reader survey, and thank you for reading!