If you were one of the 5715 readers who filled in the MM Romance Reader Survey 2022: thank you SO much. As MM authors, we’re so freaking happy with this number of responses, and it’s given us a lot of food for thought. In this post, I’ll share some of the main takeaways with you. Please note that readers could skip any question they didn’t want to fill in, so not all questions have been answered by all respondents.
We had 5715 responses, which was absolutely phenomenal (we had 2000 responses in 2020). A lot of MM authors shared the survey with their readers through social media and newsletters.
That being said, this is still a small number of the total number of MM romance readers, though definitely a sample large enough to draw conclusions. The results will be skewed toward our more active readers, as we only reached readers already connected to us on social media or through newsletters.
We had a few questions that gave trouble. The question on ranking social media didn’t give the option to say readers didn’t use a platform, so that’s definitely something to change for next time. The question where readers had to indicate which percentage of authors were automatic buys (Which percentage of each type of author do you read?) confused some readers, as to them “favorite authors” and “one-click buy/read” were the same. We’ll also word that differently a next time. And we had some small issues, like the tropes and subgenres not being exhaustive (though that’s near impossible considering how many tropes there are…).
The demographics of MM readers haven’t changed much since 2020, which is when we did the previous survey.
And this was the result in genders for those that chose to answer the question.
And for sexual orientation (respondents could pick more than one choice here since these are not mutually exclusive in all cases).
We already knew that MM readers are prolific readers, and this survey confirmed that again. 38% reads 3-4 books a week, and 23% 5-6. Add to that the 19% that reads more than 7 books a week, and the picture is complete. Around 53% read mostly MM romances and 27% read only MM. Again, these numbers are not fundamentally different from 2020. 75% of respondents have a KU subscription and 64% have an Audible subscription.
A new question we asked was how long people have been reading MM, and this one was fascinating to me because it shows the growth of the genre. 28% has only been reading MM for 1-3 years and 27% for 3-5 years. That demonstrates how much the genre has grown in the last five years.
Another new question was which subgenres they read in MM, and this also offered some fascinating insights.
Readers were crystal clear that they don’t have specific requirements for point of view and tense. 45% also didn’t care what the heat level was as long as the book was good, but 38% preferred high heat. I think that confirms what we as authors have noticed as well. As for angst, 19% preferred high angst, including relationship angst, 16% were fine with high angst but only external, 47% preferred medium angst, and 18% wanted low angst.
We asked for favorite tropes as well as tropes readers were getting a little tired of. Both lists are too long to show, but here’s the top 5 of preferred tropes:
- Friends to lovers
- Grumpy and sunshiney
- Enemies to lovers
- Bisexual awakening
- Fated mates
And the top 5 of tired tropes:
- Daddy kink
- Professor – student
Lastly, some random interesting tidbits we learned:
• The blurb and a recommendation from another author were the two most important factors in a reader deciding to try a new author (75% and 57% respectively)
• Announcements about new releases and teasers from upcoming releases were the two most popular things in author newsletters (91% and 67%)
• Facebook remains the most used social medium, followed by Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram. A lot of readers also use YouTube and Snapchat.
• 33% of readers never leave a review, 22% do it most of the time, and 19% only if they loved the book.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. What do you think of the results? Do you recognize yourself in these?
The results are super interesting. I belong to the majority, when it comes to age (39) , fav subgenre, fav tropes. But I don’t use FB much, I use IG mostly. However, on IG most of the active MM bookstagrammers are younger, and like dark romance. This has been giving me anxiety, fomo and looking at this results I realise I’ve just been comparing myself to the wrong segment thinking that I was a minority! Thank you for this survey, it’s been so useful to me! ❤️
Janet Gibbons says
This is fascinating. And surprising. Really thought more gay men would be reading but it doesn’t affect my choices. I love this genre and am so glad I found y’all. Thought there’d be more 70 year old ladies like me reading because we have the time. Thanks.
Sara Barney says
This was insightful and I am a nerd for these kinds of stats so thanks for doing this and I look forward to the next one
RA Frick says
Question about this: “Readers were crystal clear that they don’t have specific requirements for point of view and tense.”
Does that mean they all came out about equal?
71% said they don’t care as long as the book is awesome, so that’s an overwhelming majority.
Sarah Schuster says
This was my first time taking this survey, so thank you for it.
I recognized myself in the majority of the results. I noticed that the majority of MM readers are cisgender women. As for reading MM I’m in the first category of 28% meaning I’ve been reading just over a year and a half.
Linda Cruce says
Thanks for the results, very interesting to read so much current info. I don’t use any social media (Facebook stuck in Portuguese-weird!) and it was good to see so much info from such a large pool. I too am so over Mafia, Billionaire, and Daddy Tropes and love the contemporary, rom-com, grumpy/sunshine and friends to lovers best usually, but open to any and all if well written and interesting. Thanks for doing this! Well done.
Kathryn Waywell says
Oh dear – three of the tired tropes are my favourites. Must be behind the times (again).
That’s what I was about to comment all my favorites are on the tired list. Mafia, Daddy and insta love.
Dito! My absolute favourite trope is daddy kink (bonus for throwing in some age play and ABDL) and I was like: nooooo, please don’t take this survey too serious! *lol*
Sue Milkovich says
This is the first time I participated and I thought it was great. I will do it again. To me it shows you care. I wish more people would review. I review every book I read because when I’m finished I want everyone to share the experience. Amazon has banned a lot of people from leaving reviews. I was shocked at the number of people who lost that privilege. Also I’ve had Amazon hold my reviews for up to 12 days before they publish them. Anyway, it was a great survey.
Really interesting results, I said low angst is my preference which it absolutely is but for me I mean whereby th characters don’t have will they/won’t they or the big third act break up, I like books that can still have suspense i.e danger etc but the MC’s relationship is fairly easy if that makes sense!
Jeanette Waters says
I’m part of the 26% that always reviews. And my favorite tropes are the ones everyone else is tired of. I don’t remember the survey in 2020, but will continue to fill out in future.
Laurie S says
I’m so glad you posted the results! It’s nice to know my fellow readers and their preferences. It reassures me I’m not quite so out there. I also was surprised/sorry that more gay men aren’t reading this genre. I was hoping there was some truth to the fiction and also a true understanding of that segment of the popation’s perspective. Oh well, it.is fictiom and I very.much enjoy the authors I’ve found thus far. Thanks for what you do to bring entertainment and, dare I say, awareness and understanding to those of us outside the LGBTQIA community.
I hope people don’t stop writing daddy kink! I actively search it out. With or without age play, I love it all! Nora, I especially like your stories with the younger daddy, older boy. So sweet and such a great take on the subject. I’m also surprised more men aren’t reading gay romance. I still read MF, I have favorite authors there as well. But mostly romance, I read to relax and escape from reality, I read enough for work, I don’t want to read to learn anything else in my “me time”!
I can guarantee you I’ll be writing more Daddy kink! I love it.
I love seeing the results of that survey. I was hoping it would be shared and so glad that it was. It is amazing seeing the explosion of MM authors recently, as that only means there are so many more good books to read in the MM categories.
(I’m straight, cis female, 40-something.)
Cindy L Sorensen says
I am a newer demographic at 65 and reading less than 2 years. But I read 7-8 books a week and love all the favorite and ALL of the least favorite tropes. Guess I break the mold! Still love my Mafia and Daddy books and read almost 100% M/M. If you guys write it, I will read it!
I always find it fascinating to compare myself to survey results. I love that if asked, most on the street would never say that it’s straight, cis females who make up the majority of MM readers.
It would be great if more people would leave reviews as they are actually what I go to, after the blurb, to see if I’d like it, even just a couple of lines. I never used to but since becoming an ARC reader, I understand how important they are for the book and author.
Thank you so much for this Nora! I look forward to seeing how things change/progress next time 🙂
I was bummed because I missed filling out the survey by a day. How often do you plan to send it out, every two years?
I try to do these every year but we skipped a year in the pandemic.
I am a cis-gender heterosexual female and almost exclusively read MM books now… so it was nice to see I’m not abnormal. I wish I could put my finger on why I prefer the genre so much, but I really can’t. These results are just really interesting to see. Thank you for summarizing them!
Not me too. Cis female, straight, mid twenties and I haven’t been able to put the MMromance books down ever since I discovered them on Wattpad and everywhere else. I seem to prefer high heat too.