Silly Season Stats Fun – Author Tag Frequency

I may be struggling with reviewer’s block, but my mind is still thinking bookishly! I was selecting the tags to accompany my post for this Saturday’s #6degrees, and I was struck by how some letters of the alphabet are more represented than others in author’s surnames.

Cue a graph!

Strictly speaking, what I’ve charted above are author ‘categories’ not ‘tags’, but the terminology isn’t important. It does show though, with nearly 2100 posts including nearly 1600 author tags/categories, that there is probably a statistical correlation to surname populations in general. Note, my figures include multiple uses, so the figure for ‘Q’ of 3 comprises 2 books by Joe Queenan, 1 by Matthew Quick.

I went off in search of some statistics. I also discovered that I’d done this back in 2017 before too, so it was fun to compare.


The USA stats are from the 2010 census. The most up to date stats I could find for the UK were from the late 1950s, divided between England, Wales and Scotland. Given that, until recent years when I started reading a lot more in translation, the majority of my reading was from the UK and USA, it’s probably still fairly representative.

As you can see, the USA and England figures correlate fairly well, although ‘W’ comes further down for me now, and ‘T” no longer features in my top ten. Although, if I were to look to my bookshelves, I’d discover a particular ‘W’ surname that dominates: I wrote about that before HERE.

Do you have a surname that dominates your shelves with multiple authors?

Does one first letter occur more often in your authors’ surnames tags and categories?

One thought on “Silly Season Stats Fun – Author Tag Frequency

  1. A Life in Books says:

    Not a well researched answer by any manner of means but I often have trouble trying to fit authors whose surname begins with W on my shelves (they’re not all Welsh!) with M a close second. I do read a lot of American and Irish fiction.

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