I’ve seen a lot of posts recently reminding readers to leave feedback on fics, which is great!! Writers deserve all the love they can get. Likes, reblogs, comments, messages, these are the lifeblood of writers. They are proof that people are reading, that they’re enjoying, and that they want more.
But maybe readers don’t know what to say. Maybe you’re new to Tumblr, new to reading fan fiction, shy, or just not sure how to say what you want to say.
Let me start by saying, no matter how popular the blog or how cool you think they are, everyone loves a compliment. If you’re worried about sounding silly or bothering people, let me assure you- a message will make your writer do a happy dance (depending on the writer, they may actually get up and dance. I have.)
Here’s the basic ways of communicating with writers on Tumblr:
Likes and kudos- these are great, they’re the high-fives in this world. They’re the “hey, nice” nod.
Reblogs- even better, because they mean exposure. More people see the story and that makes us really happy. A reblog with a comment is amazing, especially one that entices others to read. These make a writer’s day.
Comments and messages- these are the thing that keeps us going. Most of us have anon turned on- and if we don’t, just let us know you want a private reply. (And, if your writer has anon off, it probably means they’ve been getting hate and deserve extra love.)
Recommendations- recs are like coming in to work to find someone baked your favorite cake and left it on your desk. Recommendations make your writer feel so loved and valued!
So, that’s all good, but what do you actually SAY to writers? It doesn’t have to be much or take a lot of time.
A simple “This is great/funny/hot!” is wonderful. "Best fic I’ve read this week!“ "Funny as hell and cute too.” "You have to read this, it’s awesome!“ "I can’t wait for more of this.” "I hope you keep going!“ These are great in reblogs and in messages.
Even better is specific feedback. We love specific feedback, because it tells us what readers liked and what they didn’t. Want to influence our next fic? Tell us what you liked about this one and I bet you it will keep showing up! Specific feedback is just telling the writer what you liked. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated, either. (But if you write a lot, we will love you so much.)
Was there a character you liked? Talk about them: "I love how you wrote X” “Y was so funny!” "OMG I wanted to STRANGLE Q!“ "You can really feel X’s frustration.” "Y has so much depth, they’re a really well-rounded character.“ "R says so much with so few words, it’s amazing.”
What about a part or line you enjoyed? "That bit in the park- LOVE IT.“ "I have never read a better description of a cup of tea.” "The way you wrote about his fear, that was heartbreaking.“
Was there a part that made you feel something? Happy, sad, angry? "That last sentence killed me, he’s so broken.” "I wanted to jump around when they finally kissed!“ "This chapter was so tense, my heart was pounding by the end.”
Did the characters or plot or setting remind you of your life? "I live in Brussels, that’s just how that street looks.“ "When Y talked about R, I knew exactly how he felt.” "You captured that lost, aimless feeling perfectly; I’ve so been there.“
Are there unanswered questions? Mention how much you want the answers. "I can’t wait to find out what’s in the basket!” "That was a cliffhanger ending, wow.“ "How is she going to explain THAT?” (some writers are touchy about predicting, though, so stay away from “I bet he’ll throw that letter out.” or “X is clearly coming back.”)
A few closing notes: be enthusiastic if that’s your style, go crazy with exclamation marks, smileys, caps! Tell a writer if you’re rereading their work- very little makes us happier than knowing our writing has the staying power for a second, third, sixth, tenth read. Did a reread give you a new insight or feeling about the fic? Tell us! We will be so excited to hear. And remember, recommendations are wonderful- putting up a random post tagging your favorite writers or fics you’re enjoying will show the writers that they’re writing is more than a flash in the opan and they’ll get some new readers too!
We can’t do this writing thing without you guys. So thank you so much! Without readers, we’re just talking to ourselves. We love and appreciate you for reading- but we need to know you’re doing it. We need feedback like we need air. Don’t let your favorite writers suffocate! 🙂