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Is it just me or...? [Sep. 23rd, 2015|05:13 pm]
FanFiction.Net Rants


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Sorry if this seems pathetic/spammy/doesn't really belong here. But, I've been on ff.net for awhile now...About seven years I think? And recently, (as in the past year or so) this has really, really been bothering me but I had no one to really ask....So, here it goes:

Is it just me or are the people on ff.net really, REALLY stingy reviewers?

Ever since I started doing more serious writing a few years ago and pulled all my bad stories, I haven't been able to get hardly ANY feedback. At all. Yet, when I was a fourteen-year-old weeaboo, I kept getting tons of reviews. I see a bunch of stories in my fandoms that are poorly written, not executed well or have bad premises (in the case of Fruits Basket fanfiction seems to only come in FOUR (poor) varieties) that get A LOT more attention than mine. I get a favourite or a follow here and there, but NO reviews. I once had a story up for SIX MONTHS before it got a review and I ended up giving up on it because of that.

So, this begs the question: WHAT am I doing wrong? Besides possibly writing stories no one wants to read.

Basically, I wanna know if it's just me that has this problem or if it seems to be site wide. Because even my stats have gone down as well....Any ideas/advice is greatly appreciated!

Please and Thank You!

[User Picture]From: lindahoyland
2015-09-24 02:27 am (UTC)
I've posted there for 11 years now and have noticed reviews are far fewer than they used to be.
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[User Picture]From: dropsofindigo
2015-09-24 02:42 am (UTC)
Good to know it's not just me! I honestly thought maybe I was doing something wrong...I guess not.

Edited at 2015-09-24 02:44 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: lindahoyland
2015-09-24 02:46 am (UTC)
I'm sure it's not you. I think lots of folk now read on mobile phones or tablets which is part of the reason.
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From: (Anonymous)
2016-11-24 09:39 pm (UTC)


yes it's the stupid application. You see, people download the stories so they can read it like whenever and what's worst? They don't have to fav or follow for the story to automatically download every time you update. My theory is that they read it, but due to not having internet at the time which they read it, they may not review. It's a pain in the ass and i have asked ff.net to make it as they at least have to follow the story in order for it to automatically download it. Or what's better get rid of the whole download the storey thing. It may be a pain for the readers but as the writers who spend time writing and editing the story its a huge pain for us. Something has to be done because it's coz of us writers that the site is even alive.
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[User Picture]From: litlover12
2015-09-24 02:40 am (UTC)
I think some of the stupidest stories (sorry, but it's true) get lots of fans just because people like the topics, or the ships, or whatever.
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[User Picture]From: dropsofindigo
2015-09-24 02:52 am (UTC)
It's SOOOOOOOO true though!! I'll use Fruits Basket (My all-time fave manga) as an example. Fanfiction there often comes in a few varieties:

-Random new member of the Zodiac that MAKES NO SENSE.

-Replace Tohru (main girl) with poorly written, obvious self-insert

-Second-gen stories with poor premises

-Unnecessary yaoi (Don't get me wrong, I am OKAY with yaoi, just not when people take two, CANON characters who have healthy relationships and stick them together for no reason beyond "OMG THIS WOULD BE SOOOO HOT.")

Anything beyond that doesn't get a lot of attention and it drives me nuts. I have read AMAZING stories there that have little to no reviews because they don't follow these guidelines and it does get annoying. I'm like, "The writing here is BEAUTIFUL! WHERE IS THE AUDIENCE?!"

Edited at 2015-09-24 02:53 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: wiseheart
2015-09-24 06:57 am (UTC)
You are not the only one. All my positive reviews come from a handful of long-time online friends. Then I regularly get pissy reviews from annoying know-it-alls who only have a vague memory of canon but feel that they have to correct my nonexistent mistakes. It is very hard to get new readers who would actually enjoy one's stuff.
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[User Picture]From: campylobacter
2015-09-24 08:13 am (UTC)

RE: Is it just me or are the people on ff.net really, REALLY stingy reviewers?

a) If you're writing for a fandom which whose source canon is no longer in production, that explains the loss of traffic & therefore comments.

b) If you're writing above 6th grade reading level on FFn, that eliminates many English learners & low-literacy readers because the majority of FFn visitors are under age 18.

c) Mobile platforms make commenting on fic highly inconvenient or impossible.

d) Many readers who leave meaningful comments prefer AO3 to FFn.
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[User Picture]From: hittosama
2015-09-24 12:39 pm (UTC)
It's something I have noticed over the years too but it actually depends on the fandom you write stories for. If it's still pretty active and your story is interesting/in step with the average age of the readers, no problem, even if it can take a little time before being noticed (it's what happened to me on the Mass Effect fandom).

But, if the fandom is old, there is automatically less potential readers, they are often older too so they don't have as much time to read as before. To the opposite, if the readers are young and you write something serious, forget it.

And don't forget most readers, especially the young, wants romance. Slow building world, characters and relationships? Nope. They don't want that. They want something simple and fast.

And a lot of people also changed their reading habits over the years. It's something you do quickly between two activities for young people (have you seen the length of the chapters on Wattpad? it's ridiculous. And some people even write their fanfics on Instagram! That's 2200 characters per chapter, what a laugh!). "Old" readers generally focus on a few stories because they don't necessarily have the time to read as much as before (we're all growing up and getting more responsibilities after all). The way they read can also influence a lot (writing a long review on a phone is a nightmare).

I didn't read your stories so I couldn't possibly give you precise advices but apparently you write a lot of "xxx years later" kind of fanfics. I've never really seen any fanfic like that being a big hit, but I can be wrong and it can depend on the fandom.
What really works in general is AU. And romance. Or just clearly define your target ("readers between 25 and 35 years old interested in ikebana") and write something specifically for them. It might take a while but they'll find your fanfic at some point.
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[User Picture]From: dropsofindigo
2015-09-25 12:46 am (UTC)
Actually, in the Furuba fandom those post-canon fics tend to be mildly popular. But only if it's about Kyo and Tohru and their kid it seems.

And yeah, I'm aware that I've been writing against the norm for awhile now and think it's kind of sad younger people just can't be more open-minded. I LOVE reading off-kilter stories and things different from the normal fanfic formula for the fandom. Just like I LOVE romance stories that take their time. You have to establish a relationship and build it just right for it to be believable, especially in OC/Canon, which I'm currently writing. But, everyone isn't me, unfortunately.

I've always been easily discouraged I guess. And it's not just in this fandom either. I noticed a slight drop in reviews in other fandoms. The one I can actually really forgive is the Silk fandom, since we're a cult fandom. And it took awhile for people to find my story...Stupid M rating hidden by default.
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[User Picture]From: lenaf007
2015-09-29 08:03 pm (UTC)
No, I've seen the same thing myself. Granted I'm writing in the original YGO DM series which is kind of dead, and I'm posting an epic book-length piece, but I've gotten hardly any reviews for it. I am getting a ton of hits right after a chapter goes up though, and they go straight for the new post so I know I have dedicated fans/followers of it, I'm just not seeing any reviews really. It's sad because my take on the characters is unusual and I'd love to discuss it with folks. I used to make long-term fandom friends that way.

I remember being super into the LOTR fandom ages back and I would leave like paragraphs for each review I wrote, and left it for each chapter too. Though granted fic for that fandom tends to lean more on the epic end as well...

I'd never considered mobile viewing being the issue, but it makes sense. It seems like convenience outweighs author feedback though. I'll probably ask folks to leave a review/share the fic with friends at the end of the series even though it feels like pandering to me. /sigh

EDIT: I've seen a lot more feedback on AO3 though, even though it takes longer to reach folks.

Edited at 2015-09-29 08:04 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: dropsofindigo
2015-10-01 05:48 am (UTC)
That sounds like it whomps. I get it though. It can be really disheartening to put so much work into a piece and not get anything said.

And I feel the EXACT same way about my Furuba story! The original author never went into what exactly Akito was supposed to be like post-canon after her MAJOR turn around, so I decided I wanted to explore it and work really, really hard re-reading chapters and looking into things to get just the right mix of "It's been a few years, so she's chilled out" and "She still has a few issues." There's only a few stories like that, and they all have her being really OOC.

I get the whole feeling like you're begging too. I absolutely HATE having to keep reminding people to review. Makes me feel like I'm review-whoring. But at the same time, I'm slightly upset about the lack of attention to something I've worked SO hard on.
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From: (Anonymous)
2015-11-28 12:18 pm (UTC)

Same thing here

I feel the same way.
I wrote (I'm using the past here 'cause I'm done writing and I'm now posting the chapters) a Dragon Age fic I worked on really hard.
I worked on the plot, on the characters' development, everything. I'm posting it on both AO3 and FFnet. I got very little feedback, a couple of followers and few reviews.

In my case, I'm aware the "issues" are mainly two: 1) it's a slow burn 2) the pairing is not that popular 3) it doesn't feature events of the third and most recent game.
But what can I say? I find the main romance interest annoyingly shy and sweet. As for the slow burn, both characters would never hop into bed right after the first "hi", for many various reasons.
And still, the little reviews I got even say how the characters are being revealed nicely. And even the main male character looks well portrayed.
I haven't played the third game yet so I can't center a story on that or put in motion characters I don't know enough.

I suppose I have to lower my expectations, but knowing if something else apart from what I already know is the issue would really help.

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From: (Anonymous)
2015-12-05 11:27 am (UTC)

Carrot on a stick

I've noticed that - if you've already established a small fanbase that's just not talking to you - you can do the opposite of the dreaded 'omg I want 50 reviews or I'll stop writing' and go 'aw yiss 10 reviews, I have an extra for you!'
That will give you a small edge; once you have a certain number of reviews, others might start thinking it worthwile to read and comment.
- Alice
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[User Picture]From: mrua7
2016-06-22 10:38 pm (UTC)
I've been there for quite a few years now and have noticed the decline in reviews. People come and go from fandoms, it seems to be the way of things.

Howver I notice that visits and hits are absolutely through the roof for me since last year. They were always good, but not like this.

Looking at stats I've notice that I have readers outside the U.S. in large numbers. It's possible people from non-English speaking countries are reading just to improve their English, or to learn for that matter but are too self conscious to comment.

If you think comments are sparse on FF.net...they're even less on AO3 and here on Live Journal. Lots of lurkers who are not willing to comment. C'est la vie. I figure as long as people are reading, it's a good thing.
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[User Picture]From: 1_intheshadows
2016-11-08 07:49 am (UTC)
Definitely have noticed this review downturn for quite a few fandoms, particular ones that are much older. In the fandom I'm currently writing for (it's an 80s horror movie with a cult following), the majority of the readers/writers are mostly teenagers who write romance. Mary Sues are super common and they are inserted into the stories where the canon characters are OOC, and often the spelling and grammar are beyond atrocious - and yet THESE are the fics that get the most reviews. The very few fics that take the time to create well rounded OCs or actually focus on JUST the canon characters without any OCs, and the author takes the time to edit their work, get so little attention in terms of reviews.

I'm basically in the same boat as you, in that I'm more than likely writing stories that nobody wants to read. What I like to write doesn't cater to the target audience. It's frustrating and maddening, but I try not to let it get to me. I say keep writing what you love and the right kind of readers will review your stories.
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[User Picture]From: Sanoiro
2016-11-17 02:49 pm (UTC)

I've been around FF net since late 2005. Reviews were in good numbers then but so were the majority of the authors. But several authors have long abandoned the site or moved to different fandoms. I know a friend who for years was writing a very large fic and it was well written and well thought but the hype stopped and her time was not what it used to be.

So what the lack of reviews mean? First of all, readers don't want to leave a comment anymore. After reading a fic I sometimes review but not always. Stories are not what they were used to be. No depth or real thought is wasted, just random typed words at best. The ones which worth something might be buried due to the queen bees (I know of fandoms which many moved to different sites because there were authors ruling it) or not deal with pleasant subjects.

I know that my thoughts are random at best but there is one more thing. What if you have the capacity of producing a mediocre fiction? Above the level of a crazed teen and unfortunately under the expectations of a serious adult reader. In short, you just can't win but if reviews motivate you then what's the point? Just do it because you want to give a piece of reality to the characters you have decided to play with.
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[User Picture]From: dropsofindigo
2016-11-17 11:59 pm (UTC)
"What if you have the capacity of producing a mediocre fiction?"

I'm well aware that my story is considered bad, thank you. I had a lovely Reddit review that said this in no uncertain terms. However, I've also had people say they like my writing, and others who say it's fine, but could use work. Meaning, I have no idea what to think in this regard.

"if reviews motivate you then what's the point?"

There really isn't one. Except that I want to prove to myself that I can finish a long project like the one I'm doing now. Unfortunately, the whole "write for yourself" thing does not work for everyone, and I am one of those people. I actually quit updating my fic online because of the lack of feedback. It got to the point where it was self-destructive. If I got an email that wasn't a review, I'd cry. I'd obsessively check my stats after updating and if they were slow to rise, I'd cry. I beat myself up for weeks about the story and what I was doing wrong and cried and cried about it and eventually had to just give up. It wasn't worth the strain. I had been writing for myself and my friends, but got up the courage to post the story online and waited and waited because I wanted feedback. That was the WHOLE point of posting it online. And when I didn't enough, I felt like it wasn't worth it and quit.

I AM still working on the fic, mind you. Just offline. For my friends only, because they are the only people who wanted to see it finished. The fact that I told my readers I was quitting and no one stepped forward to tell me not to tells me the story was not worth it and that it didn't belong in the fandom. The kind of stories you see on the Front page of the Fruits Basket section should have been enough tell me that, honestly. Can someone explain to me why a series that has been out for nearly a decade and has a big following still thrives on immature, Mary-Sue bullcrap and KyoRu lifescript nonsense?

Edited at 2016-11-18 12:00 am (UTC)
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