Forum: Writer's aids

Discussing: The Art of Getting Feedback

The Art of Getting Feedback

In an effort to show, not tell, let me start by saying that my family would laugh themselves silly if they knew I was posting this. Dwim (or rather, RL equivalent)? Posting advice about asking for feedback? Miss "NO you can't see anything I've written"? The girl who can barely bring herself to ask someone for a ride for fear of inconveniencing that person? HA HA HA --ow, side-stitch!

It is true--I am the worst person in the world when it comes to asking for anything. And yet I ask for feedback. And not just any feedback. Goodness, I make *demands*--I insist on *good* feedback, of the sort that is helpful to me and to any readers who may happen upon it.

It comes down to presentation to hook the reader in in the first place. Did my opening spiel for this post get your attention? I'm hopeful that it did. Moreover, I'm hopeful that you were amused rather than appalled, and so decided to read further. And now that you're to this point, I hope you're hooked into reading the rest of the post. If so, Q.E.D. If not, then voilà! How *not* to ask for feedback! :-)

Asking for feedback comes down to a basic concept, I think, that I have for many years lacked: confidence. Much as I hate Hollywood, I admit that appearances count and that being a Cutco girl taught me something... namely, they don't buy if you don't sell. In this case, getting feedback is partly a matter of appearing as a confident writer, one who is genuinely eager to learn because she *loves* her story. Brutal honesty is something to establish with your beta readers once they've agreed to be such; it is not necessarily what will get you feedback in the first place, however.

This does not mean you must be deceitful: if you can present your work with confidence enough to get readers, then in your author's note at the bottom, you can talk about your concerns about the quality of your stories. You can admit that, much though you love your baby, you think there are serious problems. And you're hoping that the reader will help you.

After all, at that point, your potential reviewer has already read, hasn't she? She's already sifted through all of it, and she surely has an opinion one way or the other. How much would it take to send you a review at that point? It's such a little thing, after all, and only a button click away! It's easy--I'll check back on you in awhile and we'll talk. E-mail me if you like.

That's the attitude I aim for if I want to solicit feedback in a dynamic manner, as in the HASA forums or on list. In static places like FF.net's author pages, I tend to take a harder line: If you feel you want to review, please don't send me one liners. I want your honest, critical opinion. I promise I don't bite. :-) And then that's it, unless I do have specific questions about something I've written, in which case I put them in my author's note and thank the reader for his or her time. All of this is basically a way of taking the fear factor out of the review process for both myself and the potential reviewer, of letting the reader know that I'm not stressed about his or her review, and so neither should he or she be.

Others may have other ways of going about getting feedback, and I'd be interested in learning their methods, what is successful and sometimes what isn't. I imagine that copy writers are especially good at getting the reader to react, or humor writers, so if we have any of those species of writers among us, do share.

Comments? Helpful tips from others? On or off list, do let me know if this is at all helpful.

 

 

Re: The Art of Getting Feedback

Those are all good suggestions but why does the thought of following them SERIOUSLY cause me to hyperventilate? I would be completely and utterly terrified... I don't feel that way when I review other people's work and I can be very picky and particular, but this site is a group of really good authors and good stories. I have been able to shine a little among a small group of friends but this is the big time. My insecurities are having a field day.

I am grateful for your suggestions and am sure they will work - if I could ever build up the courage to do any of them!

Ariel

 

 

Re: The Art of Getting Feedback

Breathe! Breathe! In and out. We are not the Valar, after all. I think Ang said it best on list one time: good writers aren't so terribly *good*, they've just been writing longer, or are more naturally exhibitionist in nature. Many great inventors will agree about the 99% perspiration/1% inspiration formula; it's no different among fanfic writers. So gather your chutzpah and give it a try.

 

 

Using the List

HASA is set up such that in order to become a member, you must first be a member of the yahoo group, HA. Clearly, there is a relationship between them, and consequently, a successful and an unsuccessful way of exploiting that relationship.

Check out the number of authors in the author drop-down list. Then compare it to "members." There's not a complete overlap--some published authors aren't HASA members, and some HASA members are not published authors. Bottom line: there are a lot of people on the list and on this site. Thanks to that large number, it is increasingly becoming clear that simply posting a story isn't enough--even for "list regulars," it's not the case that a story can simply be dropped off and left unattended: like a small child in the mall on December 24th, it will get buried and lost. Quickly.

This is where your list membership comes in. We are a talkative bunch, and if you participate there often enough, we'll know your name. We'll recognize your pen name when we see a story by you appear suddenly on list. And some of us who have been enjoying your conversation will most likely think: "Hmm... I wonder what so-and-so's stories are like!"

HA and HASA are communal, but it's a dynamic community--we read each other's stories because we have been in conversation with each other. HA members who are active and take part in discussions are going to be better able to get an audience for their fics. So post questions, say hi, enter debates, be confident (see other post) and get acquainted on list. Do the same in HASA forums, if you see one you like. I can't guarantee you'll get readers that way, but the likelihood of getting readers if you're a perpetual lurker is much much lower.

There are also a number of Silmficcers who post at HASA as well (indeed, if you look at the guestbook, you'll note that a large number of readers find the Silmfics here a large part of HASA's appeal). What about them, you ask? They may not post to HA. Well, being a lurker on that list, I note that many Silmficcers use Silmfics to tell members that they've posted to HASA, and to ask for feedback either on Silmfics's list or elsewhere. And it seems to work. So while not wanting to exploit Silmfics without permission, if you post primarily to Silmfics, tell your fellow Silmficcers you've written a HASA challenge. If some people can't get at it because they're not HASA members, post it to your folder at Silmfics or somewhere else where people can find it.

Other tactics for getting read and for making your stories accessible, even to readers who may not read primarily in the genre or time period you're interested in, have been posted elsewhere in this forum.
The purpose of this forum is to help get new writers into what may seem a closed or intimidating community (we really, *really* don't bite... and even if we do, we've all had our shots, so don't worry too much!), and to explore both writing as an art but also the art of getting that coveted feedback. The lists--HA and Silmfics--are a big part of these twin processes. Don't hesitate to use them!

As always, comments are welcome from all quarters--I'm just trying to respond to questions or complaints that have come up by sharing my particular experience. Having been an HA-addict since its first month, my perspective is going to be different from that of people joining a list with 300 odd members. So feel free to voice dissent with my suggestions (because maybe they don't work for you) and make new suggestions, start new conversations. Start talking, and have fun!

 

 

Re: The Art of Getting Feedback

Gotta admit, I just can't get myself to read such a long post this evening. Chalk it up to the symptoms of stress (inability to focus).

So, Dwim, I know you and I have discussed what I'm about to write on the phone. So this won't be new to you, but it might to others. And I'm going to use my personal experience as well.

First, I write my story as if I'm writing a book. I don't do extensive author's notes or shout-outs for the same reason. There is an Acknowledgments section, just like a published book. I present a finished story and "publish" it to the world.

So how do I get readers?

Prepare yourself. I'm going to ramble. Inability to focus enough to read Dwim's long post means that I have a similar inabiltity to focus my thoughts in my own post.

1) Know your audience. This comes into play when writing, but also when posting. Know where to find your audience and then go there. Ff.net is still key. Because that's where just about everyone goes. Getting into HASA is icing. Ff.net is the cake. When I write Star Trek fanfic, I also know to publish to alt.startrek.creative. Because that is also where people go. And now e-books are becoming very popular, and yes, e-book readers are looking for fanfic. So I got to www.memoware.com as well.

Find your audience and go to them. For example, if you write Silm fics, get hooked up with the Silm-fics list. They may know of some Silm-focussed archives or newsgroups or story-posting lists. Tell Silm fans that you've written the story. Telling LOTR/ME fans will catch you some Silm fans and some non-Silm fans. Telling Silm fans will catch you only Silm fans--and thus a better chance at a higher percentage of potential readers.

I also post to my own website, and list my URL in my sig. (I haven't done this with my LOTR story because I don't have a LOTR page at the moment. I may in the future.)

2) Along with knowing your audience and going where they are, make your story available to them. Remember that e-book thing I said? I've gotten quite a few readers (well over a thousand if you count downloads) for my Star Trek stories from www.memoware.com. But you can't post a text file or html file there. You have to put it in an e-book format, like .pdb. There is some freeware out there that makes this simple, even if you don't own a Palm device.

Some people wanted my stories in print as well, so I accomodated them. Some of my readers couldn't read the stories online so this is the only way they could. I put out flyers at conventions that I go to and mention the print option on my websites and at ff.net, so people know that this is an option. I've sold print copies to more than 75 people. (Note, no profit. You can't sell print copies for profit. Charge only what it costs to print and send.)

3) Summaries. Write a good, intriguing summary. You want the summary to be accurate, but not to give too much away. You want the reader to open the story, not just read the summary. Also, don't waste space in the summary telling readers that it's your first fanfic. That sets them up to thinking your writing may be immature. Let the story stand on it's own. A good summary will get a reader to at least open the first chapter to see if they'll like the story. A bad summary will get them to skip it an continue skimming the rest of the page of story summaries.

4) Offer a trailer. I'm one of the only fanfic writers I know who does this. But it's fun and it catches people's attentions. I really only do this at alt.startrek.creative, but HA might be a good place for such a thing. Think of a movie commercial or preview and try to present a very small portion of your story to intice a reader to seek out the rest of it. It might be a mixture of different scenes, like the TTT previews, or it might be just a single excerpt. When it comes closer to posting time for my DS9 story, The Honored, I'm just going to post the first three pages. Trust me, readers are gonna want to read more after that! But for other stories I've done the mix-match thing. You want to give enough idea of the plot that reader can know if they're interested (I won't go see a movie when I have no idea what it's about) but not enough to spoil the story. Just like your summary, only longer and you get to use text directly (or excerpted) straight from the story.

I'll generally post a trailer a few days to a week before posting the story, usually while I'm ironing out the posting format (at alt.startrek.creative, it can be tricky). It churns the readers up, gets them anxious for the story. Then when it's posted, they read.

5) Offer to e-mail your stories (or just announcements about them) to people who've given you feedback in the past. For me, this means that even though it takes me over a year to write a story, I've got a pool of potential readers already. After posting the second part of my Trek trilogy, I wrote everyone who gave me feedback about the first part to let them know the second part was available. Many thanked me for letting them know and then went on to read--and feedback again.

Okay, so now I've got readers, how do I get feedback from them?

1) Write a good story. If you write a good story and get someone to read it, you're guaranteed to get some feedback, even if it's not a lot.

2) Let readers know that you're open to it. Always give them an e-mail address for them to send you feedback. You can also politely hint that they review at ff.net. I don't do this myself, but it can be done. Just don't beg for it or threaten not to write to get it. Those lead to you looking desparate or spoiled. The latter especially leads to a bad reputation. Which brings me to....

3) Establish a good reputation as an author. If someone writes you, write them back. Thank them for taking the time to write even if they gave criticism. Even if they've flamed! You don't have to get in a flame war. Just "thanks for taking the time to tell me what you thought" and end it. Basically, show yourself to be receptive to your audience. A reader who is surprised, and delighted, that you've replied to their review or feedback, is probably more likely to go read your other stories. And review again.

4) Wherever your stories live on the net, check them to make sure the e-mail address is up-to-date. Readers can't reach you if they get an old address.

Don't's:

1) Don't beg or threaten for feedback. Those are the tactics of writers with bad reps. Those are juvenile tactics, especially the threatening. Many people will simply NOT read when they see a threat like that. I've been known to go leave a review saying that I won't read the story because of a threat--without reading the story, of course.

2) Don't think your story had failed because your initial feedback after posting is slow or slows down or seems to drop off. If you keep your story out there, people will find it and feedback can still come later. I get feedback years after I posted my stories because new readers come and they can still reach me.

Okay, those are my rambling thoughts, and they have worked for me.

--Ainaechoiriel

 

 

Re: The Art of Getting Feedback

I know this has little to do with this site or Henneth Annun, but I find many of these "don't's" are the main problems of fanfiction.net, and other sites like it. Not to mention that the "do's" are too infrequent.

Often I find myself traipsing along on fanfiction.net, only to discover the weaker/more poorly written stories are often reviewed more, and the larger/stronger/well written ones are barely reviewed.

I, myself, have had a lot of trouble getting people to review my work (probably because of how mediocre it really is), and have often found myself wondering how so many people who put little effort into their writing receive so many reviews.

It is hard on many sites to make your work stand out, unless you are a well know author with a huge reputation like many of you have. I catch myself thinking, "where does one start?".......though it is obvious now after reading your posts that it is the small things that count. eg: replying to flames, even with simple answers, etc.

I thank you for this post / topic, because many people like me often sit here and wonder just how you all do it, with what sometimes looks like seemingly little effort.

Thank you again!

 

 

Re: The Art of Getting Feedback

I guess I'm afraid to post to too many lists on the grounds that people will get fed up of seeing the same story in lots of different places. But having read what you've written, and thought about it, perhaps that's a bad attitude and I should rush out and join FF.net.

I've never had much time for FF.net because there is *so* much rubbish on it that I don't have the patience to plough through it, but hey - I'm a feedback whore too, and if it gets me any more feedback, I'll try it!

Silmfics sounds like a must for me, as I'm a big elf-fancier. Is that Silmfics@yahoo.com?

I keep meaning to ask - what you call 'posting' here isn't really what I'm familiar with on other lists. Is it the same as putting a story out on HASA in Beta mode?
Is it OK just to go to the list of beta readers and pick a couple and ask them to beta read a story? Or is that really rude?

Thanks for starting this topic anyway. As you can tell, I seriously need advice

Marnie

 

 

Re: The Art of Getting Feedback

I've never had much time for FF.net because there is *so* much rubbish on it that I don't have the patience to plough through it, but hey - I'm a feedback whore too, and if it gets me any more feedback, I'll try it!

The problem I've found with ff.net is that the feedback tends to be one liners that aren't really a review or critique. My favorite example 'plz rite mor,' is no help at all. Put your story up in beta here, and link to a discussion, and ask a specific question or point out a specific part you have a problem with. I have also thought that perhaps some of the new writers posting might pick another newbie and buddy up to beta or critique each other.

The beta list is open for your use, not rude at all. Email someone with a request and brief information about your fic, but from my own experience I can tell you that many of these people are busy. Don't be upset if they don't answer. I had a bit more trouble with people who agreed to beta, then never responded to a fic I sent, so alas, expect that also. But keep at it and you will find useful feedback, it may take a while to connect with it. And if you have suggestions on how this site can work better for newer writers to get what they need, post them or email me.

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: The Art of Getting Feedback

Skarra wrote;

"Often I find myself traipsing along on fanfiction.net, only to discover the weaker/more poorly written stories are often reviewed more, and the larger/stronger/well written ones are barely reviewed."


I once checked out a hopelessly crappy story that got a ton of reviews on ff.net. I looked up each reviewer's stories, which were all equally crappy, and found that the same dozen people were praising each other's work. They often were posting 400 word chapters, (barely scenes) and praising each "chapter" as if it were the next installment of Gone With The Wind.

Conclusion, it was a small group of friends writing for each other.

mk

 

 

Where Do I Even Start?!

I catch myself thinking, "where does one start?".......though it is obvious now after reading your posts that it is the small things that count. eg: replying to flames, even with simple answers, etc.

--Skaara, new writer

Where do we start? I suppose in a way the previous postings give you a good idea of what to do here at HASA. Get involved, read others' stories, respond to them, contribute to discussions, and post your own works either to your yahoo list file folder, HASA's beta section, or to some other place that you can link to.

In terms of starting in general, though, Ainaechoiriel's posting is very good, and very relevent as she began writing in a *very* established fandom (Star Trek) and has managed to make a place for herself in it. For myself, I can only say that when I did start writing fanfic a year ago, Tolkien fandom was a small fandom so it was much easier to grab attention then than it is now.

However, I'd say your methodology would still be similar. When I started out, I read some stories first, dropped a few reviews, and then posted my own stories. I attempted to read and review a fic by anyone who gave me feedback, and lo and behold, I started getting a group of dedicated readers. "Sarn Ford" was my first fic (one day, I will go back and change all the names in it except Danhúr)--it got seven reviews over about a week or two. The others came in fits and starts over the next year, and ended up being twelve, I think. Not bad at all. Getting four reviews on your first fic is probably about right, especially if it is a single chapter.

Part of being new is getting exposure--I did it accidentally by writing a lot of short stories in a short period of time, so that my name was constantly visible on FF.net (plus the reviewing of others' stories). I don't think that's a bad way to start, and it's certainly less stressful than the mutli-chapter epic route. Something to think about, but if you really do have a novel-nuzgul hanging off your ankle, then that's what you write.

I wouldn't say you should answer flames--I've done it before, and always felt bad afterwards. I try to keep a policy of avoiding flame wars--review boards at ff.net are properly addressed solely to the author, and there's no real point in telling him or her things she's been told by the previous twenty-five flames. Here at HASA, we have an abuse policy that doesn't tolerate flames. The forums are interactive, though, and if you see something getting ugly and personal, it's a better idea to report your concern (see "site policy") than to jump in yourself.

But heated debate, so long as it isn't personal, is certainly something you should participate in if you are interested in the topic under discussion. It lets us know where you stand, gives us an idea of what sorts of stories you like and would write, and so when you do post a story, you have a better chance of enticing readers to come read simply because they recognize your name.

 

 

Quality of Reviews: FF.net and HASA

I guess I'm afraid to post to too many lists on the grounds that people will get fed up of seeing the same story in lots of different places. But having read what you've written, and thought about it, perhaps that's a bad attitude and I should rush out and join FF.net.

I've never had much time for FF.net because there is *so* much rubbish on it that I don't have the patience to plough through it, but hey - I'm a feedback whore too, and if it gets me any more feedback, I'll try it!


--Marnie

Ainaechoiriel's policy is to go to wherever the readers are, and so she posts to ff.net. I started there as well, but have largely abandoned due to severe disapproval of the way the site is run. But that's a choice for you to make, and it is certainly the largest single archive of Tolkien fanfics available. That's an undeniable point in its favor.

Feedback at ff.net is good for an ego boost most days, I would say, but except for a few HASA readers and then the odd other reader, I didn't count on getting a lot of useful reviews from it after awhile, especially for my short fics.

Illustration: Of the twelve reviews I got for "Sarn Ford," three of them told me something useful--that's only a quarter of the total tally, and all of them were between one and four lines long.

At HASA, I might get anywhere from one to five solid reviews (i.e., that are enlightening and helpful) for a single, twenty-page chapter (versus the twelve-page story that "Sarn Ford" is and its twelve reviews). And that's all the feedback I'll get. But that's a one hundred percent success ratio for me, and I can't complain a whit. So if you get even just one really solid review from posting your beta work or challenge here, I'd say break out the champagne (or the bubbly apple cider, depending on the legal consequences of imbibing alcohol :-) ).

I'd also say getting any kind of comment--brief, general, whatever--from your fellow HASA members is still better than the same from FF.net. At least you probably know the reviewer and can judge what that opinion is worth, unlike on ff.net where you're faced with anonymity a lot of the time. You can also engage that person in a forum, and so get a better sense of what the person liked about your story, if you so desire. The interactive component here requires much less effort than it does at ff.net, and you've got a lot of resources at your disposal. You have to make use of them and be persistent, but you eventually get out what you put in, I think.

Do let us know if this advice works--since HASA keeps growing, we need to hear from newer members about their experiences.

 

 

getting feedback

A few short comments:

Yes, if you are writing fics that are Silmarillion-based, Silmarillion-inspired, or at all Silmarillion-connected, please please please come join the Silmfics group. And plug your stories there. Stories that are announced there usually get responses. Also you can ask for betareaders there.

Here's the link:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Silmfics/

And don't forget the golden rule - do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you want reviews on ff.net, leave lots and lots of reviews there. If you want comments by e-mail, likewise. Or comment in HASA discussions about someone else's story. Don't be discouraged if that doesn't get you an immediate response - some of the writers you comment on just will be too busy, or have interests other than what you're writing about. But it will make a difference.

I personally am much more likely to respond in a ff.net review, on a Silmfics discussion, or in a HASA forum than I am by private e-mail. This is probably a bad habit, but that's how it is for me. It's funny where people comment and don't comment - my website gets lots of hits, but my guestbook very rarely gets signed. So if you want lots of comments, try to give a few options for where people can leave them.

Good luck!

Deborah

 

 

Re: The Art of Getting Feedback

Skaara said: "I, myself, have had a lot of trouble getting people to review my work (probably because of how mediocre it really is), and have often found myself wondering how so many people who put little effort into their writing receive so many reviews.

Remember, many of the really bad writers travel in packs - one girl signs up at ff.net, then ALL her friends do as well, and they all go on to post drek and then sit back and review each other's stories. That's the reason so many of the terrible fics receive so many reviews; it's a mutual masturbation society of sorts, not serious writing.

It's nice to get reviews, but it's also important to keep them in persepctive. Ultimately, you can't be doing this just for the ego feedback of reviews, or you'll burn out. You have to derive enjoyment from the storytelling process itself, and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in creating a tale well-told regardless of whether it ever gets even a single review. That's what will keep you going in the end.

Ithilwen

 

 

Re: The Art of Getting Feedback

I also STRONGLY recommend creating a folder in the Files section of HA (at the Yahoogroups website) so that you can place a copy of your fics there, if you haven't done so already. Things disappear off the main page of the big archives like ff.net and Nindaiwe so quickly that it's often easier for people to find and read your stories in your HA file.

And toot your own horn, and let people know when you've written something! Not everyone has the time to check out ff.net daily (or even weekly), not to mention also trying to keep track of the new postings at HASA, Nindaiwe, Library of Moria, and the myriad other Web sites out there where your fic might be; announcing your story makes it more likely that people will find it before it becomes completely buried in the Suevian muck.

Ithilwen

 

 

Re: The Art of Getting Feedback

I, myself, have had a lot of trouble getting people to review my work (probably because of how mediocre it really is), and have often found myself wondering how so many people who put little effort into their writing receive so many reviews.

Exactly... I SOO know what you are talking about. It really bothered me until I started reading wonderful stories that other people wrote and found that I was the ONLY one who reviewed them! I know my taste is odd, but I can't imagine it's THAT bad! LOL.

I started doing something the other day that I hope helps some of the newer writers. I searched for stories that looked interesting and were from people who didn't have too many stories published. Everybody compliments established writers, and they probably wouldn't care if some unknown nobody said they liked their story, so I figured I would spend my energy with newbies. I read their pieces and sent them emails asking if they wanted feedback or not (if they didn't have a discussion - and most of them didn't). So far the response has been pretty good, and I feel that if I can get these folks feeling good about their stories, maybe I can actually find a friend here.

Ariel

 

 

Re: The Art of Getting Feedback

It's nice to get reviews, but it's also important to keep them in persepctive. Ultimately, you can't be doing this just for the ego feedback of reviews, or you'll burn out. You have to derive enjoyment from the storytelling process itself, and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment in creating a tale well-told regardless of whether it ever gets even a single review. That's what will keep you going in the end. .......Ithilwen


I couldn't agree more. Initially I thought getting a heap of reviews would be great, but I find I am much more satisfied with the actual writng of the story. The real pleasure is in the feeling of accomplishment that you have actually created something, and done so to the best of your ability.

Sure, it is nice to have feedback, but I prefer a decent review, by someone who actually has some knowledge of the subject matter and the mechanics of writing....there is not a great deal of that on ff.net.

 

 

Re: The Art of Getting Feedback

Sure, it is nice to have feedback, but I prefer a decent review, by someone who actually has some knowledge of the subject matter and the mechanics of writing....there is not a great deal of that on ff.net.

I agree absolutely. And in my very limited experience, I learn a lot more from a thoughtful negative than a mindless positive. (Not that I'm soliciting negative for the sake of negative!) I thank anyone who takes the time to say something to help develop omy writing, even when it is negative. Or perhaps especially when it is negative, as that can take more courage and energy.

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Where Do I Even Start?!

I am a feedback junkie. Have been ever since the first time I got feedback from a beta I pulled off a list somewhere. Tho I don't have to chutzpah to pursue it fully, I do constantly check my e-mail and discussion list for anything new. The feedback I have gotten here has been far more useful than almost anything else but I still get a warm fuzzy even from the one-liners. I've received too few to be sick of them yet.

I have tried getting my name known by posting reviews to many different stories: both good authors and not so great. According to ff.n's review history function, I have posted about 170 reviews and received about 25. How does that compare for the rest of you? I must confess to being less enthusiastic about reviewing recently tho I still review when inspired and I frequently do try to give constructive feedback whether it is format, grammar, or canon.

Recently I have tried a 'direct mail' approach. If I see someone (either reviewer or author) who appears to have similar taste, I send an e-mail with a link. I'm not spamming a zillion people, just a few in the last month.

Sometimes I'm tempted to just delete my meager offerings just so I won't be obssessed with getting feedback but I haven't gone that far yet.

 

 

Re: Where Do I Even Start?!

Hm. I don't have an active FF.net account any more, just one I use to leave signed reviews if I so desire, so I can't say. However, I do recall, that in August 2001, when I had just started posting (back when a new story stayed on the front page for days at a time), I got feedback primarily from authors whose stories I had reviewed or read through (even if I hadn't reviewed). That continued for a bit of time, and then names started showing up that I absolutely didn't recognize.

So I think there is probably some benefit in being known as a reviewer at FF.net, though I don't know how great of a benefit it is. If you've gotten 25 reviews, I wouldn't be too unhappy with that, especially if you got some really good ones. It's more than a lot of people get, especially if you got a few substantive reviews.

At HASA, the number of reviews is lower. For a new (and very long) chapter of a fic, I may get as few as three reviews/"attagirls." Recent fics that were brand new altogether, if not linked to a challenge, seem to get about four reviewers, which is pretty good, I think, considering most of them are actually substantive. And of course, you can more easily have a dialogue with the reviewer if the review is left in a discussion forum.

The e-mail thing I tend not to do unless I've established some sort of conversation with the author prior to that. If I've e-mailed the person, and we've exchanged comments about his/her fics, then at some point, I might write and ask for feedback on a particular story. I think the person is more likely to respond if s/he knows who you are and therefore has a reason to take twenty minutes (or an hour) to read the fic and write out a useful review.

 

 

Re: Where Do I Even Start?!

I can't check my feedback ratio because Member functions aren't up at ff.net right now, but I do know that I leave a lot more reviews in LOTR fics than I receive for my LOTR fic. (ST: DS9 is a different matter). Basically, I don't count reviews I leave. I review if I feel a story deserves it and I don't expect that an author I review will go and read my stuff because I did so.

In a slower moving fandom, I might give it more thought. But with LOTR, there is so much posted so quickly that I can't keep up with stories I choose to want to read, let alone obligatory stuff. So I try not take on obligatory stuff. Only voluntary stuff. What I choose to want to read is only a small percentage of what is out there. What I get to read is an even smaller percentage (the rest goes in an overly large spreadsheet to keep track of until I can get to them).

I have to think that other people work the same way (maybe without the spreadsheet).

--Ainaechoiriel

 

 

Re: Where Do I Even Start?!

Certainly I understand that many popular writers couldn't possibly reply to every review much less reciprocally read and review. I've got a tonne of bookmarks for stories I want to read but haven't gotten around to yet. I'm always amazed at what a prolific reviewer Shirebound is. She seems to read everything and still finds time to write her amazing stuff.

 

 

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