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June 12th, 2014 10:07 am - Ten Simple Ways To Get More Attention For Your Fanwork
I am still not ready for con.txt, so here is a completely unrelated thing that I clearly needed to finish RIGHT NOW.

Ten Simple Ways To Get More Attention For Your Fanwork
(On AO3 and Elsewhere)

I figured I should share these since it took me a long time to figure some of them out. A few caveats before we start:

A few caveats:
1. Some of these are AO3-specific (but can be adapted elsewhere), some of them are pretty universal.
2. I said "simple", not "easy".
3. These techniques help to get work that is in the competent-to-good range, if you're lucky, solidly into the midlist when it comes to hits and kudos. They will not make you the most popular person in the fandom.
4. If the work is bad (poor grammar and spelling, no character logic at all, etc.), even this won't help. If your work is super-excellent, these will probably work as well as they do for competent-to-good stuff.
5. This is written from the deliberately cynical perspective that one's primary goal in fandom is maximum positive attention. There are other reasons to do fanwork, probably better reasons, as evidenced by the fact that I personally don't bother with most of these things most of the time.
6. Overdoing any of these may backfire spectacularly.
7. Results not guaranteed.

1. Post Early )

2. Post Often )

3. Answer all your reviews )

4. Talk to people. )

5. Bring in shills )

6. Tag for popular pairings, fandoms, and characters at the least excuse )

7. Tag Lots. )

8. Put the main character's name in the title )

9. Craft your summary carefully )

10. Find your niche and stick a flag in it. )

"If you know all these good strategies, [personal profile] melannen", you cry, "Why aren't you getting way more kudos than you are?"

"Because I'm lazy and I hate doing them," I say. "Also I decided that getting four or five kudos every single day was enough to keep me in buttpats with minumum effort, and I seem to have already managed that by accidentally doing 1, 4, 6, and 8 a few times. Lazy and midlist is where I've hung my hammock. You should try it."

(37 comments | Reply)

February 18th, 2013 11:52 pm - Five whatsits
Hooray I just finished the Things I Have Not Been Doing (okay, two of the four, but I promised myself that if I wrote up this DW entry, I would immediately do the other two.) You can bet that if I unexpectedly go several weeks without posting here, it is because there are Things I Am Not Doing (That I Need To Get Done Before I Write A DW Post.)

...it works like that with everyone, right? <_<

Anyway, here are some neat things that I have been wanting to post about while I have been busy Not Doing far more important things:

1. Les Miserables fandom! So, in case you haven't noticed, today there was a Miracle worthy of Monsieur le Maire, and somebody has gone in and finally wrangled a bunch of tags in the Les Mis fandoms on AO3. )

2. Janet Stephens, Forensic Hairdresser! She is a local stylist who has been reconstructing ancient classical hairstyles in completely new ways and gaining academic acclaim for it, despite no formal qualifications.

This is awesome and I have been trying out some of the styles she demonstrates on her youtube channel; I have been searching for years for updoes that work well with long hair with my texture and not a lot of goop or constant fussing, and this is really the first time I've found any. Stephens' main innovation is the idea of sewing the styles together with a large needle and thread instead of trying to work with pins, and it makes so much sense. She talks about how sewing hair is very difficult to do on one's own hair, but (so far) I haven't found it any harder than doing anything complicated with bobby pins (it is, however, much harder to adjust once it's up than bobby pins - you have to get it exactly right the first time.)

Anyway, so far I've tried two of the styles )

I was thinking about cutting my hair really short this summer but this may change my mind... (also today I bought about thirty yards of linen, wool, and woven-in cotton plaids suitable for making garb. Why did I do this...?)

3. Colin Wright, Mathematical Juggler! I discovered this guy through the BBC's statistics-for-the-people podcast, More or Less (which is also awesome, by the way) and then went and looked up his full juggling talk on Youtube. And suddenly, I am understanding juggling way better than I ever have before! It's all sine waves. Why did nobody ever graph it for me before?

SO anyway I've pulled out my old practice juggling balls and have been practicing whenever I have idle hands. I still can't juggle three, but I can already keep 420 going for quite some time! Blindfolded! Which given my general physical skills is actually a fairly dramatic improvement.

4. I have started a secondary tumblr! It is called SleepyEST. Here is the story of SleepyEST:
Not that I actually understand tumblr or anything, and you can tell I still haven’t figured out things like “about” pages, but: a few weeks ago right about the time I should have gone to bed, somebody reblogged one of those yawning sloth gifs (you know the ones) and every time I checked my dash, there was the yawning sloth! Making me go “aww” and yawn and reminding me it was bedtime! And it actually made me close tumblr and go to bed.

So I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be neat if someone would conveniently reblog a cute sleepy animal at bedtime every night?”

And then I thought, wait, this is tumblr, it would be incredibly easy to make it do that.

So, yeah. Here is a tumblr that reblogs something adorable and sleepy at sometime around midnight, US Eastern time, every night. That is all it does. Enjoy. It as actually been working for me - not that I go to bed every night as soon as the post appears, but I usually at least stop randomly surfing tumblr and start thinking seriously about bed.

(I realize that if you are not on a schedule similar to mine, it might not be helpful for the bedtime thing. But it is still a blog full of adorable sleepy things? Also, anybody is welcome to start a sleepypst or a sleepygmt or whatever one at whatever time is useful for there to be sleepy things on their dash, and just re-reblog everything.)
So, yeah, if anybody might find that useful, feel free to follow or copycat or whatever.

5. Psychic wolves! ...er, yeah. I did not finish my Lupercalia story. Even after various people wrote good crack at my instigation. Oops. (Ironically, that was not one of the Things I Have Not Been Doing, becaus I have been doing it, just not in a way that resulted in a complete story by the end of Lupercalia. I am over halfway through! It will get finished! I hope!

...In the meantime there are all of these other beautiful Psychic Wolves for Lupercalia stories you could be reading!

Current Mood:: [mood icon] amused

(61 comments | Reply)

January 6th, 2012 09:14 pm - Statistics! Statistics.
Because sometimes a girl just has to get her spreadsheets out on a Friday night.

In 2011, I:

Added 418 items to my LibraryThing catalog;
of which 289 were new acquisitions;
acquired from at least 25 different sources;
and completely failed to track my reading (but it was a lot fewer books than 289.)

Went yard sailing on 14 Saturdays between March and November;
bought things at 29 separate sales;
spent $150 almost exactly (assuming my spreadsheet is finally right);
on 220 separate items;
for an average cost per item of 68¢ (this is why I say my standard of pricing is very, very off)
of which 140 were books, at an average price of 50¢ (this is why ebooks are not yet in my price range);
with an average total spent per sale of $5.17;
had a ridiculous amount of fun making the spreadsheet.

Posted 23 complete works to AO3;
With a mean/median word count of 3533/1729;
Including about 35 different fandoms;
With a mean/median feedback ratio ((kudos+comments+bookmarks)/hits) of 7%/6%;
With two stories over 10,000 words (for the first time ever!)

Worked on 35 distinct fanfic stories (plus Nano, several long bits of not!fic, some original fic, lots of journal entries, and some fragments too short to be separately counted);
for a total of 164,658 fannish words written;
of which 31 stories were posted, somewhere;
26 stories are complete, 4 are unposted works in progress, and 5 are languishing as WIPs on some kinkmeme somewhere.
4790 of those words are het; 14246 are slash or femslash; 9825 are gen; and 88924 are things I don't feel confident about putting in any one of those categories.
14 are crossovers; 6 are on the borderline of being crossovers; 15 are not crossovers;
which allows for me to have written 30 fandoms this year (I count fandoms differently from AO3.)
19 of the posted stories, and 79,000 of the words, were originally posted anonymously.
The average length of a story, finished or not, is 4207/1991 (mean/median) words; the mean length of a finished story is 3053 words; of an anon meme wip is 5277 words.

And there is much more data to be mined from the spreadsheets. What else would you like to know? :D

ETA: OMG, we took down the holiday decorations today, and the Three Wise Men left a ridiculous amount of cash in my stocking last night. :O We need to stop Mom from learning about other Christmas traditions, it's dangerous. I guess that's my 2012 yard sailing money.

And while I'm at it, might as well post, this year for Christmas I got: )

Current Mood:: [mood icon] calculating
Current Music:: We Three Kings of Orient Are

(2 comments | Reply)

January 5th, 2011 06:09 pm - Why I Have Gotten Nothing Done Since New Year's
I was going to save this to post after I had done some of the other things I am supposed to be doing (finishing up yuletide, making those two recs posts I owe people, answering comments, etc and so on) but it is becoming increasingly clear that I need to post this now so that I can at least attempt explain why those other things aren't getting done.

So, here it is:

How [personal profile] melannen Gets Into A New Fandom

A Case Study using The Dresden Files )

Current Music:: incidentally, this timeline also covers the period of "me being on the rag"

(43 comments | Reply)

January 3rd, 2011 09:00 pm - The Word and the Life
I am messing around on AO3 (instead of doing all the other things I need to do, yes, shush) sort-of catching up on Yuletide fics and sort of thinking about maybe starting to do some actual tag wrangling now that yuletide is over (though I think I need to poke somebody about getting an account for the chatroom) and you know what I have discovered that I have a very strong opinion about, regarding AO3 canonical tags?

If you're working in a canon where somebody's full truename is powerful, and hidden, and binding, and they are very, very careful about who they offer it to and when they use it, even in the privacy of thought --

Then you shouldn't make their full truename their AO3 canonical tag.

It's just wrong. First off it breaks pretty much every rule of magical etiquette, plus it's a breach of trust, plus it's a massive act of hubris. I think *especially* because you're applying it to fanfic - sealing something with a person's truename is to try to make it them; to use a truename irresponsibly can change who the person is, because you're saying that whatever you've given that name to is the person, in some of the oldest Deep Magic there is.

And so sealing a fanfic with a truename - it's saying that your fanfic is the person true, and it runs into the danger of making that true, of shifting the person into the version you've sealed into the fic. And I don't like it. Fanfic shouldn't be about making it true.

...and, okay, yeah, the above is only about half-serious. But if I had fic posted to the AO3 in a fandom where this was relevant, and saw my character name tags turned into truenames? I would not like it. (Luckily the only fandom I currently have up where this applies is Earthsea, and Earthsea has a tradition that a person's truename becomes public-domain regarding stories told about them after their death, and is framed such that most Earthsea stories are in that context, so it's a slightly different situation.)

(12 comments | Reply)

November 15th, 2010 12:03 am - Small fandom things.
Signed up for yuletide yesterday! Wow, that was an hour and a half of hell. I ended up offering a lot fewer fandoms than I was going to, just because waiting two minutes for the autocomplete gets really tedious after about fifty fandoms. (I know I could have tried copy/paste, but considering they weren't really clear on how to do it in the first place - the only way to get the instructions is a video with no transcript, really, yuletide, really? - I didn't want to take the risk of doing that and having it come out wrong and having to start over.)

On the upside, you can now edit your signup without having to start over! So I might add some back if they come up needy. And the if summary page ever starts working again. 6_6 I have to say, it is hard to imagine that the old site could have been more broken than this... Also, this really pointed out that there's something seriously borken about AO3's autocomplete. I mean, not just it being slow, the ways in which it responded to being slow made it clear that the thing is not very smart compared to every other autocomplete I've used, which is probably part of why it's slow. Surely they didn't have to program the thing from scratch?

I suppose I should write my dear yuletide letter already. And update my journal tags, since I linked to the tags instead of a placeholder post in my sign-up. In the meantime, though, I went and tortured the AO3 more by uploading two other recent fest fics I've done:

Title: All We Know
Author: [personal profile] melannen
Prompt: Leonard Neeble walks into a bar and meets ... Jeremy Clarkson!
Fandoms: Top Gear UK, Daniel Pinkwaterverse (Alan Mendelsohn the Boy From Mars)
Word Count: 3200
Content Notes: G, gen with background pairing. Possibly contains spoilers for recent events involving the Stig.
Summary:Apparently being married to the Deputy High Commissioner for Extra-Martian Transport means, like it or not, that Leonard is the go-to guy for all the assorted fugitives, refugees, entrepreneurs, castaways, and very lost tourists that wind up stranded on Earth.

Read at All We Know at intoabar
Read at All We Know at AO3

Title:Within, Enemy (The Breathe Through Me remix)
Remix of: Within Enemy by [personal profile] astrogirl
Characters:Ainley!Master, Four, Tremas, with Doctor/Master and Doctor/Tremas heavily implied
Categories: PG-ish, slashy gen, 1100 words
Notes: This story is about the Master, and what he did with Tremas's body, so while there is no sexual content in it, there is, sort of inherently, severe violation of bodily autonomy.
Summary:This is what happened, the time the Master tried to steal himself a body, the time it actually worked.

Read Within Enemy at doctor-and-master with bonus meta
Read Within Enemy at AO3

One thing that crossposting those to communities pointed out to me was that the one thing that makes AO3 home to me, above all, is that AO3 takes everything. AO3 lets you design your own categories, and choose how to use theirs. Every time I post fic somewhere other than AO3, I have to spend precious cycles trying to figure out how to label it.

Ramble about labels and categories and communities )

Ramble about writing in small fandoms when it isn't yuletide season. )

Anyway, the other interesting thing I noticed in doing the crossposting: I treat DW communities much differently from LJ ones. In that I'm much more comfortable posting to them. Maybe because, for some reason, I feel a greater sense of ownership of them here? I dunno, but I'm not the only one - [profile] intobar had an lj and a dw mirror, and looking down the masterlist, on the lj side, 29 out of 40 people chose to post to a personal journal rather than an external archive or directly to the community. On the DW side, only 9 out of 38 did. Which is an interesting commentary on the perception that DW is all about personal journals.

...which immediately brings up the question of whether I want to repeat last year's statistical analysis of yuletide letter hosts. Hmm. Have a while to decide, anyway.

(25 comments | Reply)

September 9th, 2010 09:17 pm
Hi all! I am working on a Fanlore entry (I figured it was past time), and am running into the fact that terms that I thought were established don't seem to give Google results for anyone but, um, me. Pretty much.

So, I thought I'd try a poll. :D

Poll #4330 On terminology
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 74

When I am talking about the novels, animated series, comics, web extras, role-playing games, audio dramas, and so on that are authorized by a particular fandom's owners but are not part of main canon, I call them:

View Answers

11 (14.9%)

11 (14.9%)

secondary canon
25 (33.8%)

"tie-ins", duh
51 (68.9%)

11 (14.9%)

0 (0.0%)

just plain non-canonical
9 (12.2%)

Better than canon, usually
5 (6.8%)

Expanded Universe/Extended Universe/EU
37 (50.0%)

gray canon
4 (5.4%)

authorized fanfic, or something else involving the word 'fan'
14 (18.9%)

Different terms in different fandoms, and I'll go into detail below
12 (16.2%)

I don't.
6 (8.1%)

7 (9.5%)

I am going to talk about this in a comment.
6 (8.1%)

This concept needs a fanlore entry of its own.

View Answers

59 (100.0%)

0 (0.0%)

If there's a fannish term I use a lot, and a few of my friends do, and I really find it useful, but hardly anybody else uses it, I should:

View Answers

Try to avoid using it on Fanlore and similar places
4 (7.5%)

Use it on fanlore, and hope somebody else decides to make an entry for it eventually
9 (17.0%)

Make an entry for it (or add it to the relevant entry) in hopes that it will become more widespread
40 (75.5%)

ETA: I am also interested in whether people include things like interview canon and behind-the-scenes extras, drafts and outlines and subtitles, things someone involved with the production once said informally, prop canon, and merchandise packaging under the same umbrella as authorized media tie-ins, or consider them a different level of canon, and whether different terms include different things to them. But I couldn't figure out how to phrase it as a poll question in a way that wasn't overcomplicated.

People are invited to add comments expanding on this!

(59 comments | Reply)

April 10th, 2010 02:49 pm - On original fic and fanfic
There are currently a couple of debates going around - about the problem of Sue-shaming and about mixing original fic and fanfic in communities and archives - that have combined with other stuff to make me want to write about original writing.

So, re: the debate going around about whether AO3 should allow original stuff in with the fanworks:

There are some people who want to keep a wall between original and fan fiction, and want to keep AO3 limited to fan writers. And I can see their point - I, too, am far less likely to read something if it's original: it's harder work to read, less likely to be id-tastic, when I'm in the mood for fanwork I don't want original, and either the average quality of original fic is less, or I simply don't have good enough filters for finding the good stuff with original as compared to fan work. Plus, many original writing communities are not only very different in culture to fanwriting communities, some of them are openly hostile to fanwriting, or to some of the values that my particular fanwriting community espouses.

The problem I have with that viewpoint is that the separation between original and fan work *isn't* a wall. It is, at best, a long sloping gradient with something on it that might be an attempt at a wall that has fallen over in places and wasn't very straight to begin with (and has only been there for a paltry few decades anyway.) The boundary between original and fan work is not a hard boundary. People have brought up historical RPF several times already, but as far as I'm concerned, it's only the tip of the iceberg.

I write stuff that is definitely fanfiction. I write stuff that is definitely original fiction. And I write stuff that, um, I have no bloody idea if it's one or the other.

And the thing that attracted me, as an author, to AO3, is that it's one archive where I don't have to worry if my fanwork is "enough" for it. Is it slashy enough, or too slashy? Shippy enough, or too shippy? Too porny or not porny enough? Too long or too short, not canonical enough, not finished enough, too crossovery, too script-y or meta-y or poem-y to be a proper story, not angsty enough, too much or not enough... on AO3 I can just put everything up, as a proper archive, without having to stress over categories.

I would love if "not fan-fic-y enough" was one of those categories I didn't have to worry about on AO3. And since - *for me* - the most important role of AO3 is to be an archive for fanwriters to universally preserve and organize their work, I want all the edge cases to be allowed; if that means blanket allowing original fiction (and I suspect it does), then so be it. I would, however, support a restriction that every author account must have at least one definite fanwork uploaded, to preserve the archive as primarily fannish and to filter out people who are hostile to fanfic culture. And a rule that any original work hosted on AO3 must allow derivative work.

And, sheerly out of curiosity (and not intended to be anyone's opinion on what should or shouldn't get posted at AO3): Here is a poll about some of those "edge" cases. What do you think, fandom-at-large? Original or fanwork? (And no, you don't get tickyboxes or third options. You must make a judgement! Like archives always make me do!)

V. important poll under cut )

(I will stop there before poll gets even longer, but for the record, none of these are hypothetical cases - they are all either things I personally have written, or things other people who identify as fanwriters have done that I could point you to.)

(259 comments | Reply)

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