Survey Says!

I almost didn't make it! I'm up way past my bedtime trying to not fail on my first attempt to blog every Tuesday. That week went by in a blur.

I had to do some work on my end to figure out who won the copies for this past contest and I think next time, I'm going to have to try something different. Still, thanks to everyone who participated and the winners have been selected:

Bee (Is your name Bonnie?)


Rashelle Workman

Randomly selected from a spreadsheet made with love. E-mail me at hashbrownwintersATgmail.com and I'll send you a copy.

Now, I need some help from the faithful parents, teachers, librarians, and readers of books out there. This is a legitimate request, so please, shower me with your knowledge. In about 2 months I'm going to be presenting a middle grade writing workshop at the LDStorymakers Writing Conference. I'm honored for the opportunity, but a little panicky about what to talk about. I've definitely got some ideas, but I need some stats (cold hard data.) I want to compile a survey of some information about young readers. Specifically, I would like to know what you think the top 3 turn offs are for a kid when they're picking out a book to read. Please give me your opinion and if you could ask the kids you know, that would be SO helpful.

If you want to comment on this post with your responses, that would be awesome. But you can also e-mail me, facebook message me, or send me a letter in the mail (do people still do that?)

I really need your help and this information is critical for my presentation.

Again, the top 3 turn offs (dislikes) for kids when they're looking for a book to read. I'll probably be asking another survey question in a week or so, but for now this will work.

Also, Deseret Book just received a large shipment of The Guardians of the Hidden Scepter for all the locals. Walmart carries it now. It's at Barnes and Noble, Costco, Seagull Book (I think), Borders, online. Really, there are plenty of ways to put this book in your hands.


- jeana said...

turn off's besides the thickness of the book and the size of the font?? =) i have boys that choose books based on those criteria =)

i'll ask around today at school... =)

Heather B. Moore said...

I'm not sure about turn-offs. But my kids are really drawn to good covers. Also, my 11 year old likes to know what each character looks like, even if they are a very minor character. She also likes humor mixed in with plenty of suspense.

Kate said...

Frank, I could probably take a short survey into a couple of classrooms (at least) for you if you want.

A.J. Dub. said...

My 9 year old starts with either the cover image or the title and if they don't look/sound exciting or funny, he moves on. If the cover art or title suck him in then, the thickness of the book is next in line (more pages is usually a turnoff for him unless the cover is WOW, then he doesn't care. He rarely looks at the summary. He did surprise me this week though by picking up my Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. And he is still reading it.So there are no hard and fast rules when desperation kicks in. (My daughter was reading the book he wanted, which was The Guardians of the Hidden Scepter.) My 11 year old daughter however looks at title, then summary on the back or in the jacket and then skims the first few pages to see if it catches her interest. The cover art rarely factors in for her.

These are parental observations, and I will poll my kids when they get home today.

I enjoyed both your newest books! The Guardians went by way too fast. I was so sad when it was done. It was very fast paced, which will be fun for my son, I think. He devoured The Phantom of Pordunce and thought it was super cool that you signed it. Thanks!

Melissa said...

Definitely covers. If it's not pleasing to the eye or doesn't look cool, then it's not going to be read. Also the first couple of paragraphs have to be amazing. Even I do that as an adult...if the first page isn't spectacular and catches my interest, I move on.

Frank Cole said...

Kate, please do! A survey with the kids would be very helpful. If you can do that, Jeana, as well, that would be great.

Heather - thanks for asking your kids. I look forward to seeing you next week. Will your new book be out by then?

AJ - thanks for the info and thank you for reading Guardians. Would you consider doing a review on Amazon for me?

Melissa - 1st paragraphs are key. I need to work on mine. :)

Susan said...

Teacher observations:
1. cover
2. title
3. thickness
4. number of characters (too many to follow they get confused)
5. Boys---seems to be a story about girls
6. Girls--stories about sports or heavy action
7.font size
8. story starting too slowly, the only books I have been able to get them through when they start slow (lots of background building) are ones I read aloud and continue to promise it will get better. Plus, what choice do they have?I am reading it out loud.

I will survey my 4th graders tomorrow and come up with a list for you.

Frank Cole said...

Thanks Susan. I knew I could count on you guys. I'm looking forward to whatever you come up with from your class.

- jeana said...

so i polled my fifth graders yesterday...

top three turnoffs:
yucky cover (their word not mine)
stupid title
boring beginning

can you tell we are visual first? i love that they at least take the time to read the first page or two before passing judgement (sometimes). i'm trying to teach them that you can't judge a book by it's cover...it's hard.

hope that helps!

A.J. Dub. said...

I would be happy to review your book on Amazon. I hope I can do it justice. :) Come to think of it, maybe I should have my son or daughter write it.

Anonymous said...

My 4th graders says their turn offs are (sorry I didn't limit it to 3):
-boring beginning
-the story is all sad
-boring title
-character has a perfect life
-starts slowly
-weird cover
-the summary on the back doesn't sound good
-too big
-characters names are boring
-no action