Saturday, 13 April 2013

Aurealis Statistics

Last night, hubby and I were talking about the Aurealis Awards shortlist and the topic of there being more fantasy books published by Australian authors than science fiction or horror came up. In the course of events, I went to have a look at the entries for this year's awards and before I knew it I had a spreadsheet and graphs and things. It just happened.

So since I have these graphs, I thought I might as well share them with the world. I don't think they reveal anything ground-breaking or terribly exciting, but I'll let you be the judge of that.

The abbreviations I use in the charts below are the same as from the Aurealis entries page:
  • SFN = Science Fiction novel
  • SFSS = Science Fiction short story
  • FN = Fantasy novel
  • FSS = Fantasy short story
  • HN = Horror novel
  • HSS = Horror short story
  • YAN = Young adult novel
  • YASS = Young adult short story
  • CN = Children's fiction (EDIT: told primarily through words includes short stories and novels!)
  • CPB = Children's picture book
  • AC = Anthology/Collection
  • IW = Illustrated Work

EDIT AGAIN: And then someone pointed out another error I made in counting fantasy categories, so I've fixed it and updated all the graphs. Sorry folks!

First up, the number of entries in each category:

So among the short stories, no surprises that fantasy are the most numerous. Perhaps slightly surprising that there were 1.5x as many horror as science fiction. Keep in mind, however, this counts works submitted to multiple categories as one entry per category, so many of the horror and science fiction short stories could also have been submitted as fantasy and so forth. Also no surprises in the novel categories, except perhaps that there were more children's novels than YA (well, I find that surprising at least, but other probably won't). EDIT: Since CN includes children's novels and short stories, this is suddenly less surprising.

If we turn the above data into a pie chart to show the proportion of all the reading that was done for each category... we get something that probably shouldn't really be represented as a pie chart, especially given the multi-category entries I already mentioned, but eh, pie charts are fun. For these purposes, I'm counting children's picture books as short stories (EDIT: but remember that CN also includes actual short stories).

Then we come to entries which were submitted in multiple categories. The next chart shows the percentage of entries in each category that were submitted to one or more other categories as well.

Children's picture books, as well as graphic novels and collected works which I omitted from the chart, do not have any crossover. Not surprising.

Making equivalent pie charts but only looking at entries into one category each... we don't get anything terribly different to the first set of pie charts except that most YA short stories are also entered into other categories. Given that they short stories have to be spec fic due to the nature of the awards, perhaps what we should be surprised about is that not all the YA entries also made it into other genres.

So do these results surprise you? Alarm you? Make you go "hmm"? Let me know in the comments!

EDIT: Upon request from Alisa Krasnostein on Twitter, I crunched a few more numbers and I give you the break down for self-published entries only. I should point out, these are entries I flagged as self-published myself. It's possible I missed some, especially if they're listed as <author's self-pub company name> or if it's through a vanity press I've never heard of. But I think I caught most of them.

First we have the number of self-published entries per category by themselves and as a fraction of the rest of the category.

There was one self-published short story entered and all the novel categories and the collected works had some self-published entries.

And the multi-category self-published entries:

Next, because my like of pie charts hasn't suddenly evaporated, the pie-charty genre breakdown for self published entries. Aside from the inclusion of collected works (which I skipped in the earlier pie charts) and the removal of the horror novel category, there isn't an awful lot of difference in the distribution of SF, fantasy, YA and children's. So to a first approximation, the distribution of self-published genres is similar to the distribution of the entire sample.


  1. Nice to see the stats - thanks for that.

    Not sure if you realised this, but Bowman Press is my own imprint so the Hal (Spacejock|Junior) titles this year were all self-pubbed.

    1. Yep! I included them. That was what made me realise other authors could've done something similar without me picking it up.

  2. So, do you draw any conclusions here? And why just lump together all the children's and YA ? What's the category breakdown there? Interesting there's one self-pubbed short story, though not surprising; you can do that easily now, on-line, without it

    1. I'm not sure what you mean about lumping children's and YA together. I left the categories as they're given on the Aurealis site. That's also why anthologies and collections are the one category here, despite there being two awards. (Admittedly, I probably should've just excluded the children's categories from the pie charts, but the pie charts are fairly meaningless here anyway — the real info is in the bar graphs.)

      Or are you interested in the genre breakdown within YA? That would be easy enough to work out for the books/stories entered in other categories as well (ie 40% of the YA novels), but going through and googling all the just-YA-entered works is way more fiddly effort than I'm willing to spend on a weekend after a fiddly slog of a week at work.

      Anyway, I'm not particularly trying to make any statements. As I said in the post, I don't think the data reveal anything startling, but since I worked it all out, I thought I might as well share.

      I will say that I'm a bit surprised that there are almost as many horror as fantasy short stories, that there are zero self-published horror novels (I'm pretty sure that wasn't true last year) and that there are only twice-ish as many fantasy as as science fiction novels. I do also think it's interesting to note that the genre breakdown (which is kind of easier to see in the pie charts) doesn't change very much between the whole sample and the self-published books. It implies that (in this sample for this year, at least) self-publishing isn't especially filling a genre niche left empty by large and small publishers. I would tentatively put that down to our healthy small press scene.