I wish there was a competitive culture when it comes to reviewing fanfics rather than a dismissive ‘yeah I read that but didn’t leave feedback’. I really wish people would be proud to say they read and commented on 5 stories today.
Everyone is so obsessed with numbers, but there’s one particular number that seems to go unnoticed. For both archive of our own and fanfiction.net, there is a counter for how many comments/reviews you have left, and I really wish that this was the number people focus on.
That isn’t just a number. It’s a count of how many times you’ve thanked someone, given them constructive criticism, told them you’ve spent time on their work and told them how much you’ve appreciated them. That number is full of love and appreciation – you’ve spent hours reading fanfic and seeing the characters you love come to life in so many beautiful ways.
That’s why fanfic writers get so upset when people don’t comment. We spend a lot of time and effort creating stories and most of the time we do it for ourselves. We post it and see people favouriting and bookmarking (etc.) but that is so impersonal. It’s nice, but it doesn’t feel sincere – so you liked it, but not enough to even say a little thank you? Then did you actually like it?
So yeah. Ignore the number of followers you have, ignore the number of hits as the number of favourites. Can we focus on the number of comments/reviews we leave? Make that the most important number – make it the highest number!
While I really like the sentiment behind this, if it was a competitive number value… I suspect the overall quality of reviews received would deteriorate. The number of reviews for one of my fics has continued to grow, and it’s always a little thrill, but so many of them are simple demands for updates that while are nice in that I’m happy you want more, they also don’t necessarily give me warm fuzzies and that much motivation. I would much rather have 5 meaningful reviews than 20 Update soons!.
So Reviews yes!, but lets not cheapen into a competitive number.