FFN vs AO3



So, the eternal debate for all fanfic writers and -readers…. Fanfiction.net, or Archive Of Our Own?

Personally, I see nothing wrong with using both. They both have their strengths and weaknesses… FFN has a wider audience and a marginally better search engine (it’s easier to deparate crossovers and non-crossovers, for one thing), plus a forum… that I don’t really use anyway, but it’s free for people to use. However, I like the look and feel of AO3 better, it has a much better comment system, the “kudos” idea was a good one, and it’s easier to download stories… plus I appreciate how I can get all the chapters of a story on one single page and just scrooolll through an entire story.

Also, it seems like the average quality of fics is slightly higher on AO3… or at least there are more outright HORRIBLE fics on FFN, but that might just be a side-effect of there being more stories on FFN. But it’s nice that AO3 allows adult content… I like the occasional adult fic.

So as a reader, I’m good with both. As a writer… well, as a writer I use both too. However, here AO3 REALLY eclipsed FFN. It’s just so much more user-friendly.

I started out on AO3. only have one fic there: Holly Potter and the Witching World.  Shortly after I started posting the fic to AO3, I and got a number of “You have to post this to FFN too!” requests-slash-demands. After a few people had used the “but you’ll get soooo many more readers on FFN!” argument, and at least two people in unrelated discussions declared their hatred for AO3 and refusal to ever read anything on that site, I decided to go ahead. There was nothing wrong in posting my fic on both sites. Not like this is an exclusive deal, after all. So I signed up for FFN and started posting my fanfic.

The experience wasn’t all positive.

Uploading fics to FFN is needlessly complicated and counter-intuitive, as is editing your content. All this Doc Manager nonsense and having to go through five hundred steps before the chapter is actually posted… who thought that was a good idea?

And don’t even get me started on editing the chapters. Say you read through one of your fic and spot a typo that you’d somehow missed during the spellcheck or read-through. On AO3, it’s simple to fix the mistake. Go to “Edit Chapter,” fix the typo — boom, done. On FFN you have to go to the Doc Manager, and if the document in question has expired you have to re-upload it to FFN again, before editing it, then going to “update stories,” find the story in question, go to “Add/Replace chapters,” choose the correct chapter and the correct document from drop-down menus, and then… I JUST WANTED TO FIX A STUPID TYPO!!

This wasn’t the worst of it though. Turned out I’d signed up in the middle of a glitchy period. I very quickly got two reviews for the first chapter, but I couldn’t view them because a glitch on the site (which people were complaining about on the forums) made the reviews inaccessible to read. I’d made sure I’d set up “e-mail me for all reviews” but that didn’t happen either.

Now, I can forgive some glitches, and I realize I was a victim of bad timing more than anything else, but still, this did not make for a very good first impression of FFN as a writer.

Took a few days before I got to see the reviews, and when I actually did… two reviews were from the same person, accusing me of being a plagiarist who had stolen the story from AO3. I mean, I have like the same username on both sites, so I would have thought it was obvious I was the same person, but apparently not.

This same person also sent me a PM asking me if I was plagiarizing… a PM I did not get on the site and that i only discovered because I downloaded the FFN app for my tablet in the hope that I might read the still-elusive reviews there. No such luck; the reviews weren’t visible on the app either but that PM was. I had to respond to it from my app (and I’m not fond of typing on my tablet).

I still don’t see that PM anywhere on the site, only on the app. Later on, I got a separate PM on the site that did not show up on the app, so I suppose that if I want to make sure I get all the PMs, I’ll have to check both site and app regularly. Because it’s not like I’m getting any e-mails about either, even though I triple-checked that I’d signed up for e-mails about PMs.

Oh, and that site PM I got? It had nothing to do with my fic; it was from a guy who wanted me to explain a loli-yuri-manga to him. What the…? I know I’ve made it clea that I’m bisexual and that my fic will eventually contain femmeslash… and yes, the protagonist is a young child in the early chapters, but surely there’s a bit of a leap from that to “if you ever want me to explain the intricacies of some random adult-rated manga with underage girls, by all means give me a call!”? I SWEAR I never said that!

Now, fair is fair… There ARE things I like about FFN. I like how you can see how many views/reviews the individual chapters of your story has. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t appreciate the number of readers… Also, being placed on the favourites and alerts lists of several people was satisfying… But MAN is that a site a hassle to actually be a writer on.

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