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~~The Official FanFiction and Writer's Resource Handbook and FAQ version 2.5~~ (READ THIS)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Talon Squad Leader, Jul 22, 2002.

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  1. JediGaladriel

    JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 3, 1999
    Just to revisit the issue of story promotion, since it was recently brought to my attention that people are occasionally posting "feedback" in other authors' stories basically pitching their own, and that's really not such a good idea. So, without further ado...

    The Do's and Don't's of promoting your story

    Do list your stories in the sticky indexes in the stories forum. They're a standard format where every story gets the same amount of promo space, and they're divided into the eras in which readers may be interested.

    Don't start threads in stories or Resources saying, "Hey, can you guys come check out my story?" For one thing, if readers aren't clicking your story, they probably won't click your thread, either. For another, if they do, it may not be in a friendly mood.

    Do list your stories in whatever index threads on the Resources forum (Luke/Mara database, Anakin/Amidala indexes, etc) seem appropriate (see the first post in any given thread for instructions). People interested in that genre could stumble across it there.

    Don't spam every thread about involved characters saying "Read my story!" (though of course, if you click into those threads to talk about writing the character, it's not spam to say, "Hey, I'm writing a story where I need Dorme to fly a fighter... anyone know if she knows how?"--this could generate readers, but it's an actual question).

    Do drop by other authors' threads if you're intersted in their stories. Make comments. Most authors love to have their stories discussed, and it's actually fun to speculate with other readers about what might happen next or what it all means. And if it happens to be the sort of story you also write, then your name will be known, and you'll have friends from that thread who may click in.

    Don't, as mentioned earlier, post in another author's story only to promote your own, or even with the basic purpose of promoting your own. Participate in the threads that interest you for themselves... imagine how you'd feel after working for two hours on a post only to have someone drop in just to comment, "My story about this, and you can find it at..." If you are really certain that readers of another story would like yours, you can PM the author and ask for permission to mention it. Better yet, suggest it to the author, and leave the decision in his/her hands of whether or not to mention it.

    Do use your profile and your sig. I didn't think anyone checked profiles for this kind of thing until I tried a stats function on my website, and lo and behold, about 60% of my hits came from either my profile or my sig over here. Yes, the sig attaches to everything and therefore looks like it would be irritating spam, but for some reason, people are so used to it that their eyes skip over it if they already know what's there, and it doesn't play that way.

  2. PtrsonsZOO

    PtrsonsZOO Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Jul 30, 2001
    Is the tagged function still available? The download says it's expired.
  3. LittleJedi

    LittleJedi Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jun 4, 2001
    Is it ok to put a link to your story in a manual sig? ?[face_plain]

    BTW, a very informative and well put together FAQ, thank you for putting in all the time and effort! :D

  4. JediGaladriel

    JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 3, 1999
    It's okay, but I wouldn't recommend it. I don't think people would take it well, because unlike the automatic .sig, the eyes don't really get used to skipping over the manual one, and people will still experience it as spamming.
  5. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001
    Weren?t manual sigs banned - and if not, severely frowned upon? I think most people consider it spamming, though that was when images were used as manual sigs and clogged up the loading of pages.

    Am [face_love]
  6. LittleJedi

    LittleJedi Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jun 4, 2001
    It wasn't manual sigs, it was, like you say, people using images as manual sigs.

    I just ask because I like to make my actual sig as short as possible, and wondered if I would be able to link to a current fan fiction with my name, for instance. Like, my manual sig is just writing my name in bold, so would I be able to also make it a link to a fanfiction? (Excuse the verbosity)

    Like this really...

    [link=]LittleJedi[/link] (Note: That's just linking to this thread)
  7. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 4, 2002

    I posted this in another thread but I think it has relevance here:

    My biggest concern is when there are long periods (lets say of more than two weeks) where there are nothing but "Ups"... It is incredibly frustrating when you have a story on ATN and you go to a story thinking there's been an update at last when there actually is none...

    Some things I've learned as an author AND as a reader:


    1) When you post an update, edit the thread title so that the changes are reflected, even if it just reads Ani/Padme 'Nookie in the Afternoon' updated (posting date)or if it's an Authors note try Ani/Padme 'Nookie in the Afternoon', Author's note (posting date).

    Trust me, even without ATN, people crusing the story threads are more likely to look into a story if they see that there is recent activity...

    2) If you are going to go without posting for a leangth of time, Edit the FIRST* post to reflect this as well as a posting update at the bottem of the thread (especially if your story is um-teen pages long) A little courtesy goes a loooooonnnnnnnnnnnng way.

    3) First post:
    How about using your first post of a story to give readers a quick over veiw, especially if the title is creative but vauge... Take for example Nookie in the AfternoonIf you posted that title and jumped right into a story, what happens if it's NOT what you expected? could be about ANYONE (execept an Obi/Qui story as JCF frowns heavily on 'slash' stories [face_laugh] [face_laugh] [face_laugh] )
    Is it an Ani/Padme or a Luke/Mara or what?... is it an AU or Cannon leanings? A quick blurb (perhaps similer to the sticky index style) would be a godsend I think...

    Sample first post

    Nookie in the Afternoon, an Ani/Padme' story set after (link) First Kiss and before Obi-wan and a Baby Hover-Carrige

    This story will take place in the E-3 era...

    4) Manners

    Remember to THANK your readers... this is a given but you'd be surprised at how often this simple courtesy is over looked... remember, not ALL readers have time to comment... Teasing about feedback is ok... nasty 'if I don't get feedback I won't bother' or (worse) No posts until X amount of feedback! is SOOOOOO off putting (and should be a bannable offence IMHO!! :p )

    An ending Authors note can help tie up loose ends too...


    1) THANK YOU

    2) say hi once in a while

    Even if you're on short time (Like I was for the longest and still am over the weekend)Authors like to know that SOMEONE is reading... don't make us grovel for Feedback! Especially first time writers... that first story is so hard to post...

    3) If you like the story,

    ... tell your freinds... I'm always on the lookout myself... found some real jems too...

    4) If an author has not posted in a while...

    Remember, patience and politeness...

    We're human and even though FFW is technicly a hobby, just because we don't get paid doesn't mean we don't have passion for our work... If a story seems to have come to a cold stop and the author hasn't posted a note anywhere, a friendly PM is quite acceptable and often appriecited... It could be evil RL, or simple writers block... you never know... Nasty post in the thread are just discouraging and unlike my silly comments in the writers section of this ramble, that IS a bannable offense!

    OK, that's MY ramble for the day...

    Happy reading/writing!

  8. Otis_Frampton

    Otis_Frampton LFL Artist, Moderator Emeritus star 4 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jan 7, 2001
    Hello, all.

    I just wanted to stop by and make sure that all you fan fic authors knew about the existence of this thread over in the Fan Art Forum:

    [link=]The *OFFICIAL* Fan Art Request Thread [/link]

    There are plenty of artists there who would probably be willing to provide an illustration (or 2) to your stories. A little cross-promotion never hurt, eh?


  9. TurnedJedi

    TurnedJedi Jedi Youngling star 2

    Aug 7, 2002

    I posted a question, but now I've figured it out myself.
  10. Amidala_Skywalker

    Amidala_Skywalker Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 4, 2001
    Bearing in mind the amount of polls springing up like daises over the past few weeks, I thought I would quickly revisit this topic and give you a run-down of the basics ;).

    [b][u][color=forestgreen]The Do?s and Don?t?s of creating polls[/color][/b][/u]

    [b]Do[/b] post polls and encourage discussion within the thread after users have voted. A poll is a good tool to use when you are interested in discovering a statistic, but an even better addition to your investigations is a worded answer.

    [b]Don?t[/b] excessively create polls. A poll is a fine resource, but please do not abuse the feature by using them as a spamming tool. Within reason, you may create [b][i]two[/b][/i] polls over a space of [b][i]three[/b][/i] days. Such polls should have topics which differ and do not fall into the redundant category.

    [b]Do[/b] create a poll if you think it will be beneficial for the community and spark conversation among members.

    [b]Don?t[/b] make a poll for no reason. Polls are a treasured resource, but in many forums, they have been banned for this exact reason. If a moderator thinks your poll is redundant and has no purpose, it will be locked.

    [b]Do[/b] skim through the recent pages of the Writers? Resource forum before you post your poll, just in case a topic similar to yours has already been created and has replies. If you do encounter such a thread, vote, reply with your comments, and boost the thread back up again.

    [b]Don?t[/b] create several polls asking users if they recognise you or read your stories. In the past, threads/polls of this nature were not tolerated and were subsequently locked. As of this moment, those topics (meaning in the form of polls) are now permitted to [i][b]one[/b][/i] per a person over a space of a month. If you are seen posting more than your allowed limit, your new poll will be locked.

  11. AlrikFassbauer

    AlrikFassbauer Jedi Padawan star 4

    Apr 2, 2003
    Excuse me, but I think I have a question for your FAQ.

    What actually is a "plot bunny" ?
  12. obaona

    obaona Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 18, 2002
    Don't know if anyone else addressed this elsewhere, but, from the Fan Fiction Archive: From the Fan Fiction Lexicon:

    Plot-Bunny - Also sometimes PLOT DEMON, SNIPPET or OUTLINE. Fanfic plots or ideas. Fanfic writers swap, adopt or exchange plot bunnies. Inspired by a quote from John Steinbeck: "Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen."

  13. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 4, 2002
    On publishing your stories:

    Taken from the article 'Novel Approach' by Rich Handly,Star Wars Insider #66, spring 2003, Paizo publishing:

    ...So ho can writer hopefuls become part of the New Jedi Order (or any other SW fiction-DB) author line up? Bottem line, they can't.

    "Before folks startsending in their Star Wars Novels-the ones they've been working on for years-please know that Lucasfilm and Del Ray (or any other publishing company for that matter-DB) do not read any unsolicited manuscripts or outlines." All Star Wars novelist... are carefully selected after discussion with Del Ray; are all profesional writers with published works in the science fiction/fantasy geners, and many are award winners."

    There you have it in a nutshell. There are many places for you to share your works (online, fanzines ect.) but to expect to have your work published in a paid, proffesional form is an unrealistic expectation.

    Perhaps some day Lucas film might put together a collection of fan works as has been done with Star Trek, but I believe these people were also only paid in contributer copies... Write because you enjoy it, and have a story to share...

  14. Aftermath

    Aftermath Jedi Youngling star 2

    Oct 18, 2001
    So, DarthBreezy, what if someone wrote a very original Fanfic, using all original characters and thing connecting it with SW would be its setting. Could they convert all the SW elements to original elements and try to publish it as a non-SW work, or would its days of being a fanfic condemn it to failure?
  15. Daughter_Of_TheForce

    Daughter_Of_TheForce Jedi Padawan star 4

    Sep 1, 2001
    If you're going to go through that much trouble, then write something completely original. Plugging in elements loses something vital in the story, I think.
  16. Melyanna

    Melyanna Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jul 19, 2001
    Thanks for posting that, Breezy.

    Aftermath, the problem with that is twofold - the first is that it can be very difficult to "translate," so to speak, a fan fic into an original story, because if you just take away the Star Wars element (Jedi, the Force, etc.) and replace it, it could look like you're copying the SW universe and changing some names. It's very difficult to change a fan fic into something truly original.

    The other problem comes with posting a fan fic on the internet and then trying to publish what is essentially the same story. Publishers won't touch things that have been on the internet - who would buy it when they can get it for free? - and while it may not be the same story exactly, it's probably not different enough for a publisher to buy it.

  17. Aftermath

    Aftermath Jedi Youngling star 2

    Oct 18, 2001
    alright, how about this scenario :)) I think I enjoy bugging people about this a little too much):

    You write a fanfic in your youth, and after a few years and a few new incarnations of the JC the fic ceases to exist, for all practical purposes. Sometime in the future, after you've become a famous scifi/fantasy writer, how could you go about expressing your interesting in writing a SW novel and could you bring that old fanfic out of the mothballs, shine it up, and some new and improved elements for publishing?

    After this, I think I've covered all possible scenarios. Have a nice day :)
  18. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 4, 2002

    Quote and requoted: All Star Wars novelist... are carefully selected after discussion with Del Ray...

    If you hit the writers equivilant of the lotto and amke it and IF whomever is publishing SW fiction contacts you, you'd probably be writing award winning new stories anyway... by that point you'll have either compleatly revised your piece so it's very different from the tale of your youth...

    No matter how you slice it or rephrase the question, your fan fic will NOT get published at this time or in ANY forseeable future...
    Please, just take our advice and write SW for pleasure...
  19. Aftermath

    Aftermath Jedi Youngling star 2

    Oct 18, 2001
    Good job, Mel and Breezy. I think that covers all possible angles. Thanks.
  20. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    Besides the fact that the FAQ isn't really the place for debate, Melyanna and Breezy HAVE covered all points about publishing, fanfiction and the internet. If anyone wants more information then they can contact myself, DB or Melyanna by PM.

    The simple answer though is that neither fanfic nor internet published works - will not be accepted by mainstream publishing houses. Ever.

  21. Kiin_Jasiin

    Kiin_Jasiin Jedi Padawan star 4

    Aug 12, 2002
    No wonder most books suck. Potential writers with a massive creative streak start looking, and doing research, start finding garbage like this, and give up, taking a job at McDonalds, and using Dungeons and Dragons or some other RPG as their creative outlet.

    And the only people who actually make it are people with degrees and no talent like some of these so-called award winning Del Rey authors.

    Forget it, I am not buying it. Nobody is going to take the drive to write and get published from myself. This negativity doesn't encourage creativity, it only walks on it.

    If you got talent, and you know it, I say go for it. Write that award winning novel, and THEN publish your fanfic, maybe in modified form.

    Discouraging ambition only results in squandered talent. Think "Gattaca".
  22. Melyanna

    Melyanna Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jul 19, 2001
    Just to defend Del Rey and other publishing houses (including all of them under the Random House umbrella, I believe), the reason why they stopped accepting unsolicited manuscripts was that they were getting flooded by submissions. They didn't have the staff to keep up with it, and their profit margin apparently wasn't high enough to expand their staff. After all, publishers and editors have to eat and pay their bills too. However, Del Rey and possibly some others have a stipulation that they will take unsolicited manuscripts from reliable agents. Having an agent when you've never published isn't something that's usually recommended, but if you've had some short stories that have either won awards (and I don't mean high school awards - I mean statewide or nationwide awards) or have been published in well-known magazines, you might consider it.

    The decision only to use credentialed authors for the EU series apparently came from LFL, and it is understandable. With an author who already has things on the market, you've got less of a craps shoot when it comes to an author's quality and reliability. (Not saying that the EU is great literature, but...) After all, who wants to sign a contract with an author, and a year later still be waiting for the finished manuscript?

    Fortunately, there are publishing houses which still take manuscripts from new authors. Currently Tor Publishing, a house which deals primarily in science fiction and fantasty, is still taking manuscripts from unpublished authors. One thing to do for this is to go to Google and run a search for something like "publishing submission guidelines." It probably wouldn't hurt to throw in the genre you're dealing with as well. Also, check out the latest edition of the Writer's Market. (The latter isn't free, but the online subscription version keeps all its information up-to-date.)

    But as for fan fiction ever getting published... well, it's not likely. That's unfortunate, but I can see where LFL is coming from there.

    Okay, that was a bit long-winded, but hopefully it answers some questions about the way the publishing market currently stands. :)

  23. Dog-Gon_Jinn

    Dog-Gon_Jinn Jedi Youngling star 3

    Nov 28, 2000
    How can I change the title of my Story and/or include a last updated comment in the title?
  24. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Oct 30, 1999
    If you go to the first post of your story and click on the "Edit" button at the bottom of your post you should be able to then edit the post and the title as well.

  25. anakin_girl

    anakin_girl Jedi Knight star 6

    Oct 8, 2000
    Giving this a bump...
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