RE: the post about comments on fics -- how do you feel about bookmarks? I've always been shy about commenting on fic, but i always bookmark a fic i enjoy and leave a kudos if i don't. sometimes i worry about whether the authors pay attention to those things too.
I feel a lot of complicated things about kudos, bookmarks, and commenting, and I’m going to be honest about it, but I want to assure you this is not directed at you personally, it’s just my general thoughts and feelings.
Up front, I can say that authors absolutely pay attention to all forms of reader interaction, from kudos to reblog tags to literally everything. We are starving for any amount of feedback and attention and scrap of praise because they are few and far between these days. Personally, I enjoy/crave all forms of interaction with readers, because it helps me to feel less like I am just shouting words into the Void.
That being said, my feelings on Kudos are that they are basically next to worthless. Literally the only value in a kudos is that if a writer manages to somehow collect enough of them, readers sorting on AO3 by number of kudos might find their fic closer to the top of the list. If that ability to sort was not an option, I think I honestly would rather not receive a kudos at all, because JUST a kudos (again, to me) says “you fic just barely didn’t suck enough that I managed to click 1 button in return.” So like… yeah, I guess I like to receive the notifications that people read my fic, but at the same time wow is it a blow to my self esteem to be reminded people read my fic and that’s all they felt it was worth. 1 click. And the longer the fic is, the more effort I’ve put into it (for instance, 2 years of my life and 200k+ words and a LOT of love), the harder that blow strikes. It feels like having written a 200k word love letter to the fandom and just getting the “X has read your message” notification at the bottom of a text convo. (Kudos have exactly 1 merit; when I receive a notification with 1 person’s name on a bunch of my fics at once, I love that. I love knowing someone liked one fic enough to go and read the rest. That’s… that is nice. That’s when I know a kudos is not just “I read it”).
Bookmarks are slightly better, in that it at least tells me that a reader wants to be able to find the work again, hopefully to reread it. Bookmarks with notations for why the fic was bookmarked or with notations regarding what the reader needs to read to remind themselves which fic it is, are even better. Those things tell me a reader not only wants to find the fic again, but enjoyed it for X reasons. I like that. Some of my favorite bookmarks have been ones where people just added quotes of their favorite lines to the bookmarks, with nothing else added, because that tells me they liked words I wrote. I guarantee you that I go through all the bookmarks on all my fics at least once a month to look for those kinds of bookmarks.
All of that being said… I miss comments. I am not ashamed to admit this- I miss them SO MUCH. I wrote in fandom maybe a good 15 years ago, when ff.net was the big name in fic and their commenting system sucked so much but so many more people left comments without the kudos button cop-out. I remember writing back at the ends of fics because there was no reply feature on comments. I literally formed two lifelong friendships with people who regularly commented on fics I wrote. I formed several other friendships that helped me through some of the most desperately lonely and hard years of my young adulthood, all because people just commented on fics.
And that kind of community is just… so lacking in many fandoms these days. I started writing for a new, small rarepair fandom community not long ago, and I’ve been blown away by how nice folks have been in comments, and I’ve started making friends with regulars again and oh, I cannot express how nice it feels to NOT feel like i’m shouting into the void anymore. I will literally stay here forever and write a million stories for this pairing if people continue to be so kind. And I know a lot of writers can relate to that feeling (because I know a lot of writers, and they tell me so). It doesn’t take a lot for a fandom to take care of its fanfiction writers, and yet… often it’s just not happening. And we notice that, too- we notice when people don’t respond.
So, like. Yeah. This went a lot of directions, I’m sorry, you’re just the first person to ever ask me. To answer you in short, trust me, we notice when you respond to our writing in literally any way, because we are starving for it. If you bookmark things, we definitely notice it.