The mansion made from THE SHACK

July 9, 2009

Audience demographics – who are the 7 million people who bought The Shack?

The Shack, by first time author William P. Young, has sold 7 million copies according to Windblownmedia the company formed initially to “self-publish” the novel.  This amazing feat demands attention from anyone interested in reaching a large audience. So, who is the 7 million-strong audience of The Shack ?

The following  statistics  (from show who visits This is a pretty good sample for our 7 million, assuming the people visiting the site correlate to the people who bought the book. As you can see from the graph below, this group consists mostly of Gen X and Boomer,  affluent, female readers.

Shack Dem

This overlaps with broader purchasing data about who is dominating book buying in the US, published by PubTrack and viewable here:

Female book buyer

Whether by design or accident, (and without going into the story – which I recommend for its courage by the way) The Shack brought a mix of thriller, mystery detective, inspiration and speculative fiction to an audience of well-resourced buyers already active in the market. The book categories (or genres) combined in The Shack align with female purchasing preferences:

Today's book consumer 3

Having bought and enjoyed the book, its pathway to recommendation followed word of mouth as well as social networking, given the under girding influence of women aged 30-44. This was a core group in the buying breakdown (above).

Age breakdown - social networks

This data suggests that The Shack was pitched into the middle of the heaviest book buying traffic in the US with a mix of categories they already knew and liked. Using categories is pretty well a baseline formula for any successful publishing. Going a step further with a fresh twist on the question of “Who is God?” took The Shack from the baseline to what might well be a record in self-publishing. William P. Young is to be congratulated as a fearlessly original writer. But his “self-publishing” pit-crew deserve just as much praise for a well designed assault at the main artery of book buying in the US today. They really handed the pros a lesson in how to maximise sales impacts using demographics.

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5 Responses to “The mansion made from THE SHACK”

  1. robindickinson Says:

    Love the generous and detailed analysis, Ben. This would make a great series.

    Well done, Robin

  2. Judy Croome Says:

    Thanks for sharing this info. You’ve saved me hours of work as I’m doing market research for my e-book due out in May 2011. My story, like The Shack, crosses genres and to plan a proper marketing startegy I needed to see what market The Shack tapped into. You’ve provided this info in a clear and detailed manner. Thank you!
    Judy (South Africa)

  3. Katie Says:

    How can we buy “The Mansion” ?

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