I think when it comes to fandom, fanfiction is something that’s very much taken for granted. There are lots of text posts that talk about reading fanfic in general but while my dashboard is dominated by fanart, I rarely see fanfics unless I go into the ship tag or if one of the writing blogs that I follow posts something. I’m not saying fanart doesn’t deserve the attention it gets - I admire artists because it would take me ages to get good at drawing/lining/colouring/etc and it would require a lot of dedication on my part. It’s something people have put a lot of work into to get to the level they are at now and they still are striving to get better and/or produce more artwork. It can take several hours or more to produce a piece of artwork and there are always obstacles such as art block or lack of motivation.
I love seeing fanart of things I like.
Writing is something that should also be celebrated. In most cases, a single picture can be looked at in less time than it takes to read a piece of writing. Fanart can usually be enjoyed quicker than a fanfic, and sometimes people don’t have much time or patience to spare. That’s understandable but it does lead to writers often questioning why they don’t seem to have many readers/fans. Like… is it because what I write isn’t good? Do people not enjoy it? Does hardly anyone care? It’s disheartening, as you can imagine, when you spend a long time creating something that ends up getting little response. People write for a variety of different reasons, whether it be because they want attention or they enjoy writing or they want to entertain people or something else. It can be any or all of these reasons and none of those reasons are bad, but writers are united in that they like knowing that people enjoy what they do.
For example, several people have spoken to me about one of my recent fics and how they liked it (even if it made a few people cry), which made me extremely happy to hear, but on AO3 it has received 11 kudos. That’s not a big number. To leave kudos on AO3, and show the author appreciation for a fic, you just need to scroll to the bottom of the page and click the kudos button. No sign up is required. To leave a comment, you don’t need to be a user either. And of course, when it comes to tumblr, you can like or reblog a post or send an ask to the blog to show you enjoyed it. These all mean a whole lot to writers. When I see that something I have written has a lot of notes or kudos, I get incredibly happy. I love getting feedback so, so much. Comments on my things are great to see and read.
But this isn’t just about me, though others might share my views. It’s about fanfiction in general. A small post like this won’t make much of a difference but I think if more of us supported writers, or supported other writers, then it would make a number of people happy.
[on a more personal note, I’m aware that some people are hesitant to show support for fics that are about unpopular ships. As a writer of a ship that the fandom gives a lot of flack, I think in this situation with this particular ship that the hate says more about the person hating than the person being hated on. However, on AO3, you can leave kudos and comments as anonymous, so that’s always an option.]