Why Reviews Matter
This is an issue I’ve been wanting to discuss for a while, but with Gruvia week fast approaching, I thought now would be a good time to finally broach this subject. Mind you, this is hardly a new, or unaddressed issue. This has been brought up on Tumblr many a time, and in many a fandom. But I wanted to address it again, because it is so important.
*Also, because I know many people don’t like to read long blocks of text, I have included random pics of Gruvia with even more random comments to keep people entertained. Enjoy!*
Since my time in the Gruvia fandom, I have always made it a point to participate in Gruvia Week, and likewise, I have always regretted it.
Why? Because the amount of effort/time put into writing fics for Gruvia Week was never worth the amount of feedback/acknowledgement I received in return for my efforts. I don’t like begging for reviews. In fact, when I first entered the FT fandom, and started writing Gruvia fics, I would NEVER ask for reviews. I figured, if people wanted to review, they would. But over the past couple of years, I started asking for them. You know why? Because the amount of written feedback compared to the amount of notes/favs(if we’re talking about fan fiction DOT net) I received on fics was wildly imbalanced.
Was it just me, or was the anime filler unison raid more magically impressive than the official one?
And have I gotten more reviews since I started requesting them. Not at all. Quite the contrary, in fact. Part of that is the FT fandom has shrunk, but another part of it is the *type* of stories I usually put out. I like writing one-shots. I find it more enjoyable to just get a completed story out there all at once. I don’t really have the patience or dedication anymore to keep up a multi-chapter fic. But multi-chapters DO often get more reviews. Why? Because those reading want to encourage the writer to continue the story. And that’s great. That’s how it should be. BUT, that’s how it should be for completed fics, too. And yet, it’s not.
Because I am giving my readers an already completed story, there is no incentive to review. Which from a writer’s perspective, is so discouraging. For a writer, putting out an ending to a story (and mind you, many of my one-shots are 6,000-10,000 words long, so definitely not SHORT) is when they need feedback the most. They want to know whether it was liked or not. That’s the most important time to review. But so many people don’t, because what’s in it for them? They already received everything you were giving out.
Do you see how horrible that is, though? Someone took the time (some fiction takes hours, days and even weeks and months) to write and share a whole story for free, and the least a reader can do, “the review,” is not worth most people’s time. But if that’s the case, then why should I, the writer, waste my time putting out a story in the first place? Liking or faving a story isn’t enough. We want to know what you liked (or even didn’t like) about it. That’s how we improve. We thrive on feedback.
I imagine they might say these kinds of things in bed together, too.
So, yes, as far as one-shots go, why should you leave a review? The story is complete. You don’t need to ask for another chapter to see how it ends. I’ll tell you why. Because while you received a story this time, there’s no guarantee there will be another one in the future. And I know I’m not the only writer or artist who feels like this.
And yes, writing should not be all about the reviews. You should absolute write for yourself above and beyond anything else. And I DO. However, the story is already in my head. I’m already enjoying it. I don’t really need to write it down. I do that more for others rather than myself. And yet the lack of appreciation for this kills my motivation to write anything else.
And all writers KNOW people are reading but not reviewing. The amount of traffic, favs or notes my stories receive in comparison to the amount of reviews are not even close to matching up. If you enjoyed a story enough to fav, follow, like or reblog, then please think about also leaving a comment. No one is asking you to match their story with a novel of your own in a review, but sometimes even a few short words are so appreciated by writers and artists.
If you don’t acknowledge your artists and writers, your fandom dries up. People leave or move on. People stop making gifs, writing, drawing, etc.. If your fandom dries up, then content for the things you love also dries up. Is that really ok? Not only that, but imagine writers and artists who are new to fandom, and new to art and writing in general. Imagine how hard it is for them? You could make the difference between someone giving up and never reaching their full potential, or your review inspiring them to improve to the point that they one day become a famous author or artist. Never think your review doesn’t matter. IT DOES.
Now, back to the topic of Gruvia Week itself. I think the lack of feedback during Gruvia Week especially is a combination of things. Firstly, there’s a lot of content (which is very good! That’s what everyone wants for Gruvia Week, but…). That also means a lot of competition. Things move faster in the tags than normal, things get pushed down, and the sensory overload kicks in, so fics and/or art that would usually receive tons of notes or more feedback on a normal day, just don’t receive as much appreciation during Gruvia Week.
Secondly, there’s the “one-shot” effect I already explained above. People know that no matter what, most users who are participating in Gruvia Week are likely going to post all the content they already prepared. So, you’re going to get “the product” regardless of what you as a reader or spectator do. So, there’s no incentive to encourage the artist or writer, as you will receive that content regardless.
Did Juvia give Gray that butterfly t-shirt? And what did Gray want to tell Juvia before he got made into swiss cheese by the dragon spawns? The mysteries of the GMG forever unsolved.
Now, I’m not saying Gruvia Week is bad for all artists or writers. I actually think for artists and writers just starting out, it’s a GREAT thing. Being reblogged by the Gruvia Week tumblr, which surely has a massive following, helps your art/writing reach more people than it usually would.
So, I’m not trying to discourage people to participate at all. On the contrary, I’m trying to ENCOURAGE people who read fics or like seeing art/graphics/etc, to ALSO participate. If you can’t draw, or can’t write, but you enjoy it when other people do, LET THEM KNOW. No one wants a dead pairing week, and not providing feedback is the fastest way to kill future ship weeks.
The reason I kept participating every year, for the last three years, was because I hoped things would be better this time. They never were. If anything, if got worse year after year. I’m not saying everything I write is a masterpiece, and I should be showered with a constant stream of praise. But as I explained at the start, the amount of notes and favs do not add up with the amount of actual reviews/feedback received.
This is the most manga time conscious Gray and Juvia have had together in the last six months *cries*
I know some people can be shy. I know some people just like to lurk. But please think of the person creating the content that you just enjoyed. Yes, they drew art this week, or wrote a fic this year, so you already received your reward. But what is the artist’s reward? What are they getting out of it, and what is their incentive to write another story, draw more art, make another graphic, or video? You are not giving them a reason to. And that is exactly why so many people quit drawing, writing, or contributing to fandom all together. So, please don’t let that happen. Please make this Gruvia Week different.
Gray: We are so attractive. Juvia: We really are, Gray-sama. I hope people read this whole thing and didn’t just look at our gorgeous faces. Gray: I can’t blame them if they did just that. We are fabulous.