What you want: member survey results

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Earlier this year we ran a few surveys to find out how we can better serve the Victorian writing community. We heard back from 118 members, 90 non-members and 87 former members.

Of our members, two thirds live in Melbourne and the remaining third lives in regional Victoria. 16% identified as writers with a disability and 7% write in a language other than English, including Italian, Thai, Chinese, Greek and Dutch.

The survey highlighted what’s important to our members. 86% said that writing and publishing information in The Victorian Writer and our weekly enews is the most essential service we provide. Many of you expressed interest in a digital version of The Victorian Writer so we’ll be looking into some options for you next year. Don’t worry, this will be in addition to the printed version, not instead of it. And don’t forget, you can already switch to a PDF version of the magazine if you’d prefer. Just email Sally to update your preferences.

You may have noticed a few changes to our members’ enews over the last month. Some of you told us that you’d like to receive them more often, and some of you said less. In order to make sure there’s something for everybody, we will now send you our usual jam-packed enews every two weeks. On the alternate fortnights, you’ll receive an in-depth feature or one of our hugely popular Writing Workouts. We’ve also introduced a monthly non-member enews for the first time.

Our members also value information about paid writing opportunities, course and event discounts and mentoring. So we’ve just added a blogging mentor and theatre mentor to our team.

Most respondents were interested in weekend and weeknight courses. There were many requests for workshops to be held outside of the CBD, throughout greater Melbourne and regional Victoria. We’re currently working with writing groups and regional organisations to take Writers Victoria courses wherever there is demand.

We also floated some new course ideas with you; half of our responding members were very interested in online courses and distance learning courses via email, while 41% were interested in online workshops. Weekend intensives, ‘Novel in a Year’ and residential masterclasses also rated well.

In terms of next year’s program, fiction writing remains our most requested course topic. Other popular areas include novels, how to get published or self-publish, short stories, editing, blogging and life writing. The most popular genre was literary fiction, with auto/biography, historical, crime, drama, fantasy, comedy, speculative fiction and mystery also piquing your interest.

We’ll be using the information provided in these surveys to help shape our services and better meet the demands of writers around Victoria. Thanks to everyone who took the time to complete it.