Guest post – Ally Shields and her Reader Survey

I’m thrilled to welcome author Ally Shields to my blog today to tell us about the reader survey she did as well as book 1 of the Guardian Witch series, Awakening the Fire.

Welcome, Ally. So glad to have you here. First, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m a former attorney and juvenile court officer who lives and writes near Des Moines, Iowa. I’m the author of the Guardian Witch urban fantasy series, published by Etopia Press.

I’m curious to see the results of your survey. The blog is yours.

Reading clip art (MC900389134)

Reading Habits: Who, what, where, why?

Do you have a special place to read? A special time? How did you choose the last book you read? Price? Name recognition? Do you carry a book or an ereader in your handbag or briefcase or carry-on?

Lately, everyone seems to have a readers’ survey. Writers love them, and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to share mine. I tracked down some of my friends and neighbors, and here’s what they had to say.

But first, the disclaimers. This was not a scientific survey, and the information is anecdotal. I did not use spy satellites, phone taping, truth serum, or peek in windows to verify one single word. My “test subjects” were twelve women and two men, ages thirteen to fifty-seven. They are all readers, not writers, and they each read at least fifty-two books in the past year.

Without further fanfare, on to the questions:

1. Where do you read? Place, time of day.

Answer: Although four people said “everywhere,” the majority did their reading at home in the evening, typically in bed or on the couch. Not one armchair reader in the group.

2. Do you prefer print books or ereaders? Is that how you most frequently read?

Answer: They were split seven to seven on preference, but twelve of the fourteen did most of their reading on an ereader or tablet. Interesting that their reading habits did not mirror their preferences.

3. Do you read free ebooks? How often? Why or why not?

Answer: Only four stated they read free ebooks with regularity. Six additional readers stated they did upon occasion. The most frequently given reason for NOT reading them was a concern about quality.
All fourteen readers stated that if they already liked an author, price (high or low) did not figure into their purchasing decision.

4. Do you read books in one sitting or a little at a time?

Answer: This question actually generated the most interest among the readers and the widest variety of responses. While twelve of the readers said they often read a chapter a night or are interrupted in some way, there were three things that could change that pattern:
(a) weekends or vacations when they had more time;
(b) books by favorite authors;
(c) the rare book that just won’t let you put it down. It has to be finished, even if that means calling in sick to work or locking your doors and turning off the phone.

5. Rank the importance of these potential influences on your book choices (I arranged them here according to the results they gave*):
(1) cover
(1) genre
(1) author
(4) reviews
(5) book trailer
(6) publisher

*The first three were in a virtual tie of importance in first attracting them to a book. Reviews by readers, not professionals (they tended to believe those had been purchased), were often read if the reader had already been attracted by cover, genre or author. Book trailers were viewed and ranked high by three of the youngest readers, but hardly anyone noticed the name of the book publisher.

6. Do you finish every book you start?

Answer: Thirteen of fourteen stated they always finish a book they paid for. If the book was free or borrowed from the library, they would stop reading for various reasons including too boring, poor writing, poor editing, subjects not to their taste.

7. Where did you purchase your last book?

Answer: Amazon: nine; Barnes & Noble: three; ibookstore: one; Sam’s Club: one.

There you have it—a totally subjective poll on the reading habits of a non-representative group of readers. Does it prove anything? Not really. But oddly enough, it mimic trends in much larger studies.

With so many books and so many authors, it’s a good thing that reading is still based on individual taste. No matter what criteria they use, readers have more opportunities than ever before to find their “special book” and read it in any way they choose.

I hope each of you find yours. Thanks for spending a little time with me today. Happy reading!

Interesting results, Ally. Now please tell us about your Guardian Witch series.

AwakeningTheFire_ByAllyShields-200x300There are currently three books available in the series:
Awakening the Fire (Guardian Witch #1), Fire Within (Guardian Witch #2) & Burning Both Ends (Guardian Witch #3). Book four is scheduled to release in October 2013.

Book Blurb for book one, Awakening the Fire:

An ancient feud…

Twenty-three-year-old Ari Calin has sworn to keep the peace in the Olde Town district of Riverdale. Most of the time the vampires, werewolves and other magical creatures go about their business, living side by side with humans, until the foreign wolves arrive and a virtual reality drug hits the streets. When violence erupts, Ari needs more than her witch fire, weapons and potions to stop the madness.

Joining forces with a human police officer, Lt. Ryan Foster, and a way-too-sexy vampire singer, Andreas De Luca, Ari hunts the enemy—from the vampire strip clubs to the caverns under the city. Every step draws them deeper into an old feud and closer to the brink of a supernatural war.

The Guardian Witch books are available at most online stores including Amazon
and Barnes and Noble.

Thanks so much for visiting with me today, Ally.

Ally can be contacted through her website: or at any of the following:


Guest post – Ally Shields and her Reader Survey — 3 Comments