Author Topic: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction  (Read 4619 times)

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Adelaide

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Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« on: December 08, 2012, 06:56:23 PM »
I write a little bit on fanfiction.net and was pondering getting a fictionpress account. My question is about receiving reviews. I've gotten quite a few reviews on my stories, but all some of them say are "Please update soon!" or "Really good, update soon!" or "When's the next chapter coming?" or "When is [plot point] going to happen?"

I usually have an Author's Note at the end of my chapters that explains a couple of things, like if there's something I wanted to mention that's not in the chapter or an explanation if I've been gone a long time. It usually consists of something like "Thank you for reading! [stuff I want to mention] If you have time, reviews an constructive criticism are always appreciated."

I'm considering adding a note that says something akin to "I've been getting a lot of messages like this lately, but please don't tell me to update or ask me when my next update is going to be. I'm in graduate school and I'm very busy right now, so my updates are going to be sporadic for awhile." (By sporadic I mean I post about once every eight or nine days.)

Would this come across as rude or condescending? It could be seen as me demanding that the courtesy gift of a review be tailored to my specifications. However, I'm honestly sick of logging on and seeing (literally) six reviews, all in a line, that say "Please update soon!" It kind of takes the enjoyment out of something I do for fun and in my spare time. I don't expect reviews, but I also don't like to be bombarded with demands for more content. Is there a polite way to say this, or if I said anything would it be automatically rude, sort of like preempting a Christmas gift with "And I want this, this or this, and definitely not that or that."

NyaChan

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2012, 07:01:50 PM »
Every 8 or 9 days is not sporadic, that's actually really good!  I would just do a standard disclaimer re: updates, but informational not scolding -  "I try to update this story regularly, however, school comes first and I am quite busy right now.  Thank you for your patience and support!"  Then I'd ignore all requests for updates. 

Bellantara

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2012, 07:38:06 PM »
I wouldn't worry about explaining. As NyaChan said, eight or nine days is not at all sporadic! There are people on FFN who think a review is just saying "update soon"; they can't be bothered to write an actual, thoughtful review.

AngelicGamer

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2012, 08:33:34 PM »
Yeah - the only time I reply back to an "update soon" is when I know that I'm not going to be working on a story for a long while or if they give me a bit more than just that. 

I do agree that 8 to 9 days for an update is really good.  It's better than me - I've got a story that I haven't updated since March.




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Lynn2000

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2012, 09:52:17 PM »
I'm considering adding a note that says something akin to "I've been getting a lot of messages like this lately, but please don't tell me to update or ask me when my next update is going to be. I'm in graduate school and I'm very busy right now, so my updates are going to be sporadic for awhile." (By sporadic I mean I post about once every eight or nine days.)

First, congrats on getting your writing out there! I write a lot but am way too chicken of criticism to post anything publicly. :)

Second, I think I would leave out the first sentence of your original wording. I know it's disappointing to think, "Yay, reviews!" and in reality it's only one line each, but I think requests for updates and other questions show a lot of interest in your work, which is itself complimentary. Kind of like asking for a second helping of the dinner you've made--they wouldn't ask for more if they didn't like it.

Archiveofourown has a feature called "kudos" which is basically a "like" button for stories, for people who can't or aren't interested in leaving even a single word as feedback. Of course they're really slow about adding new members (I was on the waiting list for three months) so the "kudos" feature is the only way guests can show appreciation for a work, I think.
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Adelaide

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2012, 10:05:49 PM »
<snip>

First, congrats on getting your writing out there! I write a lot but am way too chicken of criticism to post anything publicly. :)

Second, I think I would leave out the first sentence of your original wording. I know it's disappointing to think, "Yay, reviews!" and in reality it's only one line each, but I think requests for updates and other questions show a lot of interest in your work, which is itself complimentary. Kind of like asking for a second helping of the dinner you've made--they wouldn't ask for more if they didn't like it.
<snip>

Thanks. :) I mostly put out fanfiction stuff (I'm working on a Skyfall story) because I don't like posting original content as much.

And I suppose it's flattering, but would you suck down a dinner, turn to the cook, and quickly say "Well, when's dessert?" or "When can I get more?" without saying thanks first? I'd also like to add one more piece of information. A lot of people who do this are repeat offenders. They'll literally post "Please update soon!" within ten minutes of every single chapter being uploaded. (Though I am having this problem less on my current story, where people include at least two words before they say "Update soon!")

This may just be a "me" problem though. I've asked a couple of other people about it and they are of the "meh, let it go" mindset. It's just that when it happens on every chapter, as SOON as it's posted that this starts to wear thin.

CrochetFanatic

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2012, 05:00:39 AM »
This happens to me from time to time, and it drives me nuts.  You liked my story?  Great, I appreciate that!  What did you like about it?  You disliked my story?  I'm sorry to hear that.  What was it that you disliked, and is there room for improvement?  I don't even tend to count those as reviews, because it seems to devalue the time and effort that went into the story/chapter I just posted, and makes me less excited to continue.

Lynn2000

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2012, 03:41:15 PM »
It does sound rather weird, and I can see how it would get annoying. But it's real people taking the time to write something, right? (Even if it's only a couple of words.) It's not, like, spambots or something else that seems shady, is it?

I guess I'm coming at it from the perspective of someone who really appreciates the effort and creativity of fanfic--I've read some truly amazing stuff over the years, that dwarfed any "real" books I've read and sometimes even the quality of the original movie/TV show--but who is REALLY terrible at giving feedback.  :-[ I've probably been reading fanfic for fifteen years or more and have contacted an author in some way maybe half a dozen times. So, even someone writing "post an update!" seems to be making more of an effort than I do. I can see how it would be kind of off-putting, though--I would start to picture someone angrily standing over me while I desperately scribbled away...

On the site you use, is there any kind of discussion forum for general issues? Maybe what they need is a thread about "review etiquette" in general, to figure out what the site's expectations are.
~Lynn2000

Surianne

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2012, 06:14:23 PM »
I think this is pretty normal in the fanfic world, so you'll probably be a lot less frustrated if you just decide to take it as a compliment. 

I wouldn't include the "I've been getting a lot of messages like this lately, but please don't tell me to update or ask me when my next update is going to be. I'm in graduate school and I'm very busy right now, so my updates are going to be sporadic for awhile." note.  To me it does come across as a bit rude and ungrateful for the positive comments.  I probably wouldn't bother coming back to check on your work if I read a note like that, so you might wind up losing readers.

Tea Drinker

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2012, 04:04:50 PM »
I don't leave "please update soon" notes, but I am glad of the "kudos" feature on Archive of Our Own, because often I don't have anything more to say than "I liked this." Sometimes I do, and then they get notes like "Cool, I especially liked the character adding notes to Tess of the d'Urbervilles," but more often it's either a bare "I liked this" or clicking the "kudos" button, or nothing.
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Two Ravens

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2012, 04:14:55 PM »
I think this is pretty normal in the fanfic world, so you'll probably be a lot less frustrated if you just decide to take it as a compliment. 

I wouldn't include the "I've been getting a lot of messages like this lately, but please don't tell me to update or ask me when my next update is going to be. I'm in graduate school and I'm very busy right now, so my updates are going to be sporadic for awhile." note.  To me it does come across as a bit rude and ungrateful for the positive comments.  I probably wouldn't bother coming back to check on your work if I read a note like that, so you might wind up losing readers.

Yeah, I really agree with this.

I would stongly advise against leaving "instructions" for your reviewers. I honestly find that so off-putting it has stopped me from finishing stories I had been previously enjoying. (I also hate 'I need 10 reviews before I upload the next chapter.)

kckgirl

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2012, 04:36:27 PM »
I think if you added an author's note that you are in school and will only post once a week or so would be fine, but I would be put off with review instructions. I have seen some fan fiction where the author refused to update until he/she received x number of reviews. Those are stories that I didn't read anymore, no matter how much I liked them, and I certainly wouldn't leave a review.

My advice is to know that many people enjoy the stories and leave no feedback at all. I have done that. When I really like something, sometimes I will say why or say that I'm looking forward to the next chapter. In fan fiction for one television show that I really liked, people were putting two characters together, the characters had a baby, and about 90% of them gave the baby the same name, based on something that was known on the real television show. I left feedback about how boring/tiring/old that was once while the female in the fan fiction story was pregnant. This time the baby was named something different. I don't know if it was based on my feedback or if that was the original plan, but it was definitely refreshing to get something different, and I made another comment.
Maryland

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2012, 05:07:13 PM »
Honestly, I doubt a disclaimer would help in the least so I wouldn't (and don't) bother. The sort of people who jump immediately to "update soon!!!1ONE!" are usually not the sort who read the author's notes, in my experience.

That said, if you really want a disclaimer, I've frequently seen folks with explanations in their profiles about why they don't update frequently, along the lines of "I'm in grad school, FYI, updates come when they come." (And I'm a bit jealous of these spoiled reviewers! An update every 8 or 9 days?? I waited for nearly *two years* for an update on my favorite fanfiction!)
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CrochetFanatic

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2012, 07:54:49 PM »
I don't leave "review instructions", and I know that sometimes people don't know what to say, but let me give you an example of something that rubs me the wrong way.  I wrote a story that was (at the time) 16 chapters long, and this one person reviewed every chapter simply with, "Update soon!!!"  I got really busy with real life stuff, and didn't update for about a week.  This person left an "anonymous" review where they didn't sign in, but typed in their name to identify themselves.  The review was, "UPDATE NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!"  I counted the exclamation points.  This did not encourage me to update.  It made me feel like taking a break from writing, and the story didn't get updated for about two months.  (To be fair, that wasn't the only reason I took a break.  A death in the family and job troubles played a huge part, but the rude review was just the topper.)

Adelaide

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Re: Online reviews for fanfiction and original fiction
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2012, 08:39:49 PM »
I think this is pretty normal in the fanfic world, so you'll probably be a lot less frustrated if you just decide to take it as a compliment. 

I wouldn't include the "I've been getting a lot of messages like this lately, but please don't tell me to update or ask me when my next update is going to be. I'm in graduate school and I'm very busy right now, so my updates are going to be sporadic for awhile." note.  To me it does come across as a bit rude and ungrateful for the positive comments.  I probably wouldn't bother coming back to check on your work if I read a note like that, so you might wind up losing readers.

Yeah, I really agree with this.

I would stongly advise against leaving "instructions" for your reviewers. I honestly find that so off-putting it has stopped me from finishing stories I had been previously enjoying. (I also hate 'I need 10 reviews before I upload the next chapter.)

So you guys think that if I said "please stop telling me to update" it would discourage reviews other than the ones that only consist of "Please update!!!"?