Well, I Was Gonna Read Your Fic, But


What Holding Your Fic Hostage Will Really Do

by: Flash (journal)

I’ve been writing fanfiction for a while now, in many different fandoms, most of which are extremely small and slow, much like the Hanson fandom has been lately. I get feedback very rarely, even in bigger fandoms, and I’m always happy when I get a review (unless it’s a flame) because they’re usually so few and far between. But one thing I will never understand is why people would hold their fics hostage, demanding more reviews or they won’t update.

Now, maybe I’m odd, but for me, writing isn’t about what people think, writing is about getting the story down and written. The reason I post stories is because, hey, maybe someone else will enjoy this as well! And usually they do. But my main goal isn’t necessarily to get feedback, it’s to share the story. I appreciate feedback, but I don’t necessarily expect it (especially in smaller fandoms).

Prior to joining the Hanfic Community, I had never actually seen this “holding fic for hostage” phenomena for myself. I’d read rants about it on livejournal, but I’d never actually experienced it. Until I went to this one site where I’d been meaning to read some fics, only to find that the author wasn’t going to update anymore until they got an adequate number of reviews. I stared at this message for a good five minutes before clicking to the site and scrolling through that list of stories I had been planning to check out, only to navigate away from the page instead of reading any.

Informing me that you will not update ever again unless you get a certain number of reviews is not going to make me more likely to read your stories or review them if I do. It makes you sound entitled and whiny and not really pleasant.

I have no problem with people asking for reviews (adding a polite “please review” at the end of a chapter or a “reviews are like candy” or something is fine. In fact, I have a friend who ties her “reviews are like…” sentences into her story in someway and it’s quite clever). Asking for reviews in a polite way is perfectly acceptable, it’s when you throw a hissy fit over not getting enough reviews that things get dicey.

You comes off as saying the people who do review aren’t good enough for you. The people who enjoy your stories and take the time to tell you get shoved to the side because you feel like you deserve better, and chances are they’re not going to want to review after you brush them off as not enough for you. It’s rude and it’s not a great way to keep readers, and it’s definitely not a great way to gain more.

Furthermore, you come off as entitled. Reviews are not required. Reviews are nice, and they can provide incentive to work on a story, but they are not required and there are numerous reasons why someone may not leave one. I try to leave a review for every story I read, but sometimes I’m reading at work or right before class and don’t have time to leave one and then it slips my mind when I’m back in my room relaxing and I forget to leave one. Those are only a few examples of reasons why people might not leave reviews, but I’m sure there’re many more, very valid reasons.

Holding fics hostage might seem like a good idea, but in the end it’s more likely to deprive you of reviews and scare of potential readers. I know from reading rants on livejournal that many people find holding stories hostage to be rude, insensitive, and entitled. Yes, we all love reviews, but not writing just because we feel like we’re not getting what we’re due isn’t the best way to go about getting more.

Next time you think about holding your fics hostage, think again. Just keep writing, keep posting, and the reviews will come.