Some poor soul (or perhaps multiple souls) has been googling “upset by lack of comments on my fanfiction” and evidently has ended up on my blog over twenty times. And I do talk about fanfic a lot, but I’ve never given any tips on it. So, for the reference of whoever keeps googling into the abyss–and as sort of an homage to agony aunts–I present to you How to Get More Comments–The Complete Guide.
First off, I’m going to presume you’re using Fanfiction.net. Because unless you’re writing erotica why the hell would you use anything but FF.net?
A good summary is essential to get comments. If your summary says “A pair of friends have an adventure…lol I’m not good at summaries :)!” then no one will read your story. A summary is your first impression–read the back of books and see how they give you both a plot overview and a bit of suspense to make you want to read the book. Also, your summary needs to have perfect grammar and spelling. Even if your actual story is written great, a poorly written summary will turn off 90% of readers.
Check your rating. In FF.net, an M-rated story won’t show up in the listing unless a user is specifically looking for M stories. Don’t rate your story as Mature unless it is absolutely necessary (because of explicit sex, violence with lots of gore, or a very, very high level of swearing). In the majority of cases, a T+ rating is just fine.
Watch the trends. Fanfiction tends to have zeitgeists. For months, no one will write a “Bella married Jacob instead!” story, and then suddenly there’s ten of them. Before you start your story, take a look at the listings and make sure you’re not doing the same thing as a dozen other people.
Don’t annoy your readers. I suppose this is kind of a general catch-all, but I’m running out of column space so I’ll have to be brief. Use correct grammar–if you don’t most people won’t read past the first paragraph. Write in the correct format (after you upload a doc look at it in the ‘Edit’ tab to make sure it appears correctly) and try to give decent-sized chapters, like 700 to 2500 words.
Finally, be a good author. Upload on a consistent basis–don’t leave people waiting a month or two or three for another chapter. If you get a bad review or a flame, don’t spaz about it in your next update, just ignore it.
And remember: you’re not going to get hundreds of hits with your first post. It takes awhile. Instead of panicking, keep at it.
Lastly (which I guess is “finally” x2) a note to writers working in languages not native to them–its probably worth it to run your chapters through a native-speaking beta reader. You can find one through the beta reader profiles. Even something that is technically correct can sound off to a native speaker, and its these tiny things that are hardest to catch.
Best Wishes, Dearies!