RESULTS: Urban Fantasy Market Research- Ideal Client Feedback

Here’s the background on why I launched this research. The survey was posted for a couple of reasons:

  1. To satisfy a class assignment for my ENT 645 class in Entrepreneurial Marketing
  2. and to gauge positioning in the market for Author A.D. White

I am posting the results of this analysis because of the overwhelming amount of reader respondents who wanted to see the results of the survey. The majority of whom answered the survey from a link on the Fans of Urban Fantasy! Facebook Group. A big thanks to the avid readers in that group who took the time to complete this survey.

The purpose of this six-question survey monkey designed survey was to poll readers who frequently read urban fantasy books on three main topics:

  • Purchase behavior:
    • Price point
    • Frequency of purchases
    • Deciding factors for choosing a book
    • Openness to trying a new author
  • Determine top competitors
  • Gain detailed insight into what readers look for in the genre


The methodology was first to post the survey on both my personal Facebook page which has 606 friends and the A.D. White author/business Facebook page which had 110 followers at the time. I also posted the survey on my blog with tags like: books, fantasy, and urban fantasy. The link was posted on both Facebook pages and the blog for one day 7/11/18 and only 6 responses were received. This was done to test my theory that even though some people I know like the urban fantasy genre, simply releasing to a mixed demographic was not going to get the data I was looking for.

On 7/12/18 I posted the survey on a Facebook group page that I had recently joined called “Fans of Urban Fantasy!” which has 4,191 members. I posted the link to the page at 7pm and by 10pm the survey had 66 total responses, including the mere 6 responses from the previous day. I closed the survey on Saturday 7/14/18 at 9:00 am with a grand total of 181 survey responses. While the first 4 questions offer mainly quantitative insight into the ideal clients’ purchase behavior. The last 2 questions offer a spot for more qualitative narrative responses from readers.

“Urban Fantasy Market Research” Survey Responses by Question:

Question 1:

How many urban fantasy novels have you purchased in the past year? (4 options)

181 of 181 responded to this question



Question 2:

Rank how important the following factors are to you in choosing an urban fantasy novel? (8 ranking options)

181 of 181 responded to this question

I made an assumption that the survey tool explained the significance of the rank order and it did not. However, in polling folks who answered on Facebook, most ranked with 1 being the most important and higher numbers being less important. There was some deviation from this method, so these rankings are somewhat flawed.



Question 3:

How much do you usually pay for an urban fantasy e-book? (6 price range options)

174 of 181 responded to this question



Question 4:

Are you willing to purchase a novel from a new or relatively unknown author? (yes or no)

179 of 181 responded to this question



Question 5:

Who are your preferred authors in the genre? (open ended)

174 of 181 responded to this question

This question was a bit hard to analyze because some people listed full names, some only last names and there were multiple answers per open ended response. Now that I have tallied the top names, I will ask this question as a drop-down or list in future surveys.

Question 6:

What comments do you have that might help an author in the genre understand their readers’ preferences? (open ended)

145 of 181 responded to this question

Because the feedback provided on this question varied widely from style preference, to content preferences, to book length and beyond, I won’t post the verbatim comments and instead group themes into: truths, trends, and unique but insightful ideas.

General Insight on Open Ended Preference Question:


  • Good grammar and editing.
  • Well-developed and engaging characters.
  • Voice matters. 1st or 3rd person is preferred. Don’t switch between.
  • If you label the book as urban fantasy, don’t go to heavy on romance or sex scenes. Write sex and romance as it is necessary for the story; it shouldn’t dominate the book.
  • Listen to your readers (social media, blog, ask them opinion, etc.)


  • Audio books are a must to compete in the market
  • Use humor, snark, and wit
  • Write good action scenes
  • Strong lead characters
  • Strong female characters
  • Relatable, flawed, complex characters
  • Clear “blurbs” and book synopsis
  • Don’t change or reinterpret mythos too much

Unique Ideas:

  • Write a dog or two into your stories
  • Don’t stretch a story line past 5 books, preferably. Even popular series need to wrap up by the 10th
  • Get beta readers
  • Read top 100 reader reviews for the top sellers in urban fantasy for more info on what readers like and dislike
  • The story line or “world-building” can’t be so fantastical that it alienates the reader. The reader has to relate to the story as a human
  • Choose your group of readers and be consistent in the genre


Text analysis by number of times a word was used in the comments:

Q text analysis

General Insights on Purchase Behavior

Price point:

  • Readers typically expect to pay between $2.00 and $9.99 for an e-book
  • The highest percentage 33.61% typically pay between $6 and $9.99
  • Anecdotally, in comments readers did say they would and do pay more for books from favorite and best-selling authors.
  • D. White is priced well in the market with his e-books selling for $2.99 and paper books selling for $7.99-$10 depending on outlet.
  • Only 1% of respondents reported paying more than $15.99 for an e-book

Frequency of purchases:

  • Readers who prefer this genre are avid readers. A whopping 110 (60.7%) of respondents read 10+ books per year

Deciding factors for choosing a book:

  • It is important to mention that the ranking on this question is flawed because the rank order was not explained.
  • However, the three items that stood out were:
    • Book synopsis
    • The mythological or paranormal topic
    • Recognizable author

Openness to trying a new author:

  • Readers in this genre are very open to trying the works of new or emerging authors with 171 (95.5%) of 174 who answered the question saying they are willing to read a new author’s work.

General Insight on Competitors

In general, because of the open text format of the question, this item was a bit difficult to analyze. I was able to tally authors by mention. Here are the top 10 favorite authors by number of mentions:

 Q author analysis

Note: Ilona Andrews was most likely mentioned 66 times when line 3 and 7 are combined. It’s also possible that Patricia Briggs has a total of 90 mentions when combining lines 1 and 7.

Final Conclusions:

The insights from these 6 questions lends great knowledge to determine A.D. White’s positioning in the urban fantasy market. I will do some further analysis and post a positioning grid for my ENT 645 classmates.


Author: blueridgemtntwinmama

Blue Ridge Mtn native. Trying to live my best life and achieve "good person" status. Wife to a freelance/self-publishing author, A.D. White. I'm an HR & OD leader and my most fun title is "mama" to my cute, funny, and mischievous b/g twin babies. I also have a day job as an HR, OD, Engagement, and Leadership professional in the hospital & health care industry. I have an associate's degree in Art, a bachelor's degree in Ethics and Social Institutions, and a masters' degree in Entrepreneurship. I write about my gorgeous life in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western NC, raising twins, strengths-based leadership, and I even write about business and the entrepreneurial spirit sometimes. Dang, I love a good side hustle!

One thought on “RESULTS: Urban Fantasy Market Research- Ideal Client Feedback”

  1. Hi Nancy!
    I have to say your survey succeeded much better than mine did! I only had a paltry 22 people respond. After reading how you went about finding a larger population, I will certainly know how to get more responses for future market research endeavors. I think it is great to see the lay of the fantasy reader landscape here! You have acquired a goldmine of information for positioning A.D. White in his market. This information may even help him write additional books, although perhaps he should consider wrapping up any series at around five books (wink.) I can’t wait to see your positioning for him and get your conclusions for this data! Great job! JOY

    Liked by 1 person

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