Learn German with Stories 2023

In November 2022, I created a survey and asked my newsletter subscribers and the members of my Facebook group five questions to get a better idea of how you are using the content I’m creating and what you would like to see in the future. In this article, I’d like to share the results of this survey with you and tell you what I think about them. The questions were answered by 144 people. Thanks to everyone who participated. 

Here are the questions, the results and my comments: 

1. Which "Learn German with Stories" materials are you currently using?

People could choose multiple options and the results were as follows: 

  1. Free resources on the website: 72.7%
  2. Books: 61.4%
  3. Materials from the Subscriber Library: 22.7%
  4. Magazine: 22.5%

It’s not surprising that the free website content scored the highest. I expected that more people would use the Subscriber Library because that’s what I’d do. As it’s not much extra work to create a PDF file for each website article, I’ll continue doing so. As far as the magazine is concerned, I’m a bit disappointed although the result was not totally unexpected. Consequences? I had planned to publish 4 magazines in 2023 but will cut this down to 3. Instead of 14 articles, each magazine will then have 16. That’s one article per week for me to write and for students to read with 4 weeks off. The magazines will be published in February, June and October 2023. 

2. I'm currently writing a book for advanced beginners (A2) that will be published in early 2023. I'd like to publish one more book next year. Which level should it have?

Here, just one answer was allowed: 

  1. B1: 43.2%
  2. B2: 38.6%
  3. A2: 13.6%
  4. A1: 4.5%

I wonder if the answers would have been different if I hadn’t said that the next book will be for A2 students. So the second book for 2023 will definitely be B1/B2. It was a bit surprising that only 4.5% want another A1 book because “Carla will nach Deutschland” sells very well. Only “Ein Sommer in Heidelberg” (B1) has sold more copies on Amazon in the last 90 days.

3. What topics/genres are you interested in and would you like to read about in German?

Here, people could once again choose multiple options and the results were as follows: 

  1. Non-Fiction – History: 61.4%
  2. Non-Fiction- Customs & Habits: 59.1%
  3. Fiction – Contemporary and realistic stories: 56.8%
  4. Fiction – History: 54.5%
  5. Non-Fiction Geography: 47.7%
  6. Non-Fiction – Current Affairs: 40.9%
  7. Non-Fiction – Science: 36.4%
  8. Fiction – Fantasy: 22.7%
  9. Fiction – Sciene Fiction: 15.9%
  10. Fiction – Romance: 13.9%

There was the possibility to make own suggestions but only three participants did so: 

  1. Biography
  2. Non-fiction or fiction cites: Leipzig, Dresden, Hamburg, Lake Constance
  3. Fiction that integrates customs, habits, culture, etc.

Ok, I’m relieved that only a minority is interested in romance. There will always be relationships but I don’t think I’d be able to write a truly romantic novel. It’s a bit sad that not many people are interested in fantasy because, in combination with history, it’s my favorite genre. 

No real surprises as far as the non-fiction content is concerned. 40% are interested in reading about current affairs. Yes, I understand it and I may write some articles for the website. However, I also think that it’s a pretty sensitive topic. There seems to be politics everywhere these days (The Soccer World Cup was politicized horribly in Germany), we all have our personal opinions about certain topics and sometimes, it’s difficult to stay calm and neutral. 

4. What new features would you be interested in?

Another question where people could choose multiple options: 

  1. YouTube Channel: 50%
  2. Short online course (4-5 weeks): 45.5%
  3. Email challenge: 40.9%
  4. Offline workshops: 36.4%
  5. Mini-group lessons (max 4 students): 34.1%
  6. Podcast: 31.8%
  7. Subscription-based membership: 22.7%

So that was a surprise. My niche is based on written stuff, mainly books. And there are lots of awesome YouTube channels for German learners. YouTube or video content is not something I’d like to do regularly. I plan to do some videos next year but mainly as part of courses. There will be short online courses and email challenges. 

Offline workshops sound awesome but are not that easy to organize. Offer them in Germany, Austria or Switzerland as part of an immersion week or go somewhere in the US or in Italy or wherever? So, it’s great that there’s interest but I don’t see myself trying it next year. 

Mini-group lessons will be available from January on. Watch out for more information here on the website and in the newsletter and Facebook Group in the next 2-3 weeks. 

5. What kind of online course sounds most attractive to you? Let's assume the course can normally be finished within 5 weeks.

The last questions was “Choose 1 answer” and these are the results: 

  1. Self-paced course – Start and finish whenever you want: 41.%
  2. Self-paced course with homework and personalized feedback: 29.5%
  3. Course with set start and finish dates, homework with personalized feedback and optional Zoom calls: 29.5%

Fortunately, all these three options can be combined, it’s mainly a matter of pricing the course. So yes, Learn German with Stories will offer courses starting sometime in spring 2023.