In the last 3 days, I’ve gotten a bunch of PMs (from more than one account) on FF.net demanding I update one of my fanfics. With each PM, one of the people is getting progressively more rude.
BTW neither person has ever left a single review on any of my many, many fics, including the one they are so desperate for me to update.
There is a very large part of me that wants to tell these people that thanks to their pushiness that fic will forever remain unfinished. I haven’t yet… If I get another PM, I might.
I don’t like being bullied and that is EXACTLY what this is. They think that by harassing and haranguing me that I will feel so guilty that I will put aside everything else I’m working on and work on a story that has been giving me issues for literally years. Fanfic authors are not slaves. They aren’t chained to their keyboards ready for any random person to come around and go “Write for me!” Fanfic is a labor of love, and it is absolutely that: A labor. Fanfic takes time and energy to write. Time and energy that can often be used doing things that put food on my table and pay my bills.
Don’t get me wrong, I love fic. I am still writing fic. I don’t plan on stopping… even though for me it is absolutely a loss of income now that I am getting paid to write and edit. So for me, writing fic has to be fun and something I do as a stress relief. It is not something that I need to have stress over. And getting demands to update, that’s hella stressful.
So yeah, don’t demand updates.
Especially don’t harass people to update. There are stories out there that will never be finished that I still go read and reread regularly (The God Touched Series by A Lite (Buffy) and Magical Relations by evansentranced (Harry Potter)) and we’re still blessed to have had these stories published. And for all that is holy, if you are going to PM someone to ask them what’s going on with a story you should also fucking comment/review.
That’s a big part of what gets me. These people aren’t bothering to tell me they liked my work but have the gall to demand more. It hurts. And no matter how much I try to tell myself that if they didn’t love my work, they wouldn’t want more it still doesn’t make me feel better. It feels like I am not human but an automaton to pump out fic purely for their amusement. Which let’s be clear, I’m not. I’m a person who is disabled, poor, and struggling with everyday life.
So reviews matter. Comments matter. Encouragement matters. I have personally crawled out of a depressive spiral for a lovely review left on a story I’d written. I even managed to write words for the first time in months when that happened. But demands of “Update now!” or ‘Where’s the next part?” or “Update soon!” are not helpful. If anything, they cause harm. Even a comment of “Great chapter/update/story” is better. Trust me on that.
And for the love of little green apples, understand that fanfic is a gift. A gift of someone’s time, energy, and love that they are sharing for free with the world. The only thing we fanfic authors ask for in return are likes, kudos, reblogs, and reviews. And unlike professional writing, the reviews are for the author… not the potential reader. They are the currency that keeps the fic flowing.
So basically my point is this, if you like a fanfic, tell the author that. Be kind. Be encouraging, but no matter what, don’t be entitled. The more pushy you are, the more likely it is that you will end up pushing that author away.