I was a bit curious if there was any Jon and Kate Plus 8 fan fiction as we’d received a couple of visits from people looking for this material. In the past, I’ve checked the major fan fiction archives, the automated ones that tend to be Real Person Fic friendly Quizilla, LiveJournal and its clones. I’ve also poked around the major blogs and wikis that cover Jon and Kate Plus 8. None of these sources have fan fiction based on the show. If it exists (and it undoubtedly does. Isn’t there a Snacky’s law about this?), then the material is pretty much underground. Which is understandable as this fan community seems to largely be composed of two camps: Show defenders, Show critics. The defender camp does not seem like it would be in the position of tolerating that material. The critics camp seems much more entrenched in the “Get the show canceled. Save the family.” mod. That doesn’t leave much room for fan fiction people to come in and openly play.
Archive for May, 2009
I have been an exhibitor in the MediaWest artshow, on and off, for the past 12-13 years or so. And to be totally blunt it is very sad to see the way the art show has gone downhill during that time, especially in the past 2-3 years.
And by going downhill, I don’t mean the quality of the work exhibited: there has always been and still is a full range of technical art skills presented, from extremely talented pro/semi-pro artists to beginning/young amateur artists. Crafts from jewelry to knitting to etched granite were on display along with paintings, drawings, and a large amount of photography and photo-manipulations. But the amount of art and the number & variety of artists exhibiting has dwindled dramatically. This year I don’t think the art room was more than 1/3 full–both the tables for 3D art and panels for 2D. Even some of the artists who are regular, big contributors like Jesse McClain only had one panel’s worth of submissions, instead of taking up a full standing bay as she usually does.
So why the downturn? Easily the first reason is the terrible, last minute way the convention handles space reservations for artists, which has only gotten worse and worse each year. This year the Progress Report with the art show reservation form was not mailed out or put on the website until May 3, 2009, and interested artists were told they only had until May 10 to submit reservations! (Never mind that after that date, an update mentioned space still available. No kidding!) Artists also need to have a supporting membership to hang art–and the con rules/website state that memberships can only be bought up until May 1. Also it can take a long time to actually RECEIVE your membership number after paying for one–good luck getting it to you in a week’s time.
Another problem, especially for artists who might be considering mailing in artwork, is the inability to get your multi-part forms mailed to you in time. The convention should seriously consider going to forms that could be downloaded by artists on-line, even if yes, that would then require the artshow staff to create a computer database to keep track of art pieces and bids instead of multi-part forms. But that too could avoid a lot of problems at check-out with pieces missing, winning bids being mis-reported, or not reported at all. But for the past three years running, it has always been about 50-50 whether I would actually receive my forms in the mail before leaving for the convention–and when they did arrive, it was usually with only a day to spare. This basically completely rules out the possibility of mail-in art being submitted, making the only option for artists who can’t attend to be to find someone who is attending to agent your art. (One small thing done this year to help with future issues about the forms is artists were given forms for next year at check out. Great for the regular, small group of artists who habitually show and attend. This will do nothing to help with new artists who weren’t here this year.)
The convention, if it intends to continue to have a good art show, needs to work to correct these registration and paperwork issues if they are going to have any chance of attracting new artists to exhibiting. There might be an impression that the convention is only for “fan-art”, but that’s definitely not the case. Some of the pieces which seem to consistently sell the best are animal/wildlife art, fantasy, and jewelry. This year I submitted some of my astronomical artwork instead of any fanart, and sold 5 of the 8 paintings I showed (along with at least 2/3rds of the jewelry pieces I submitted.) Of course, a fanart oil painting I’d shown for the past two years in the artshow, never getting a bid (at a very low starting bid), I sold off my dealer’s room table this year at a much better price. Go figure! So perhaps the artshow isn’t even the best place for artists to exhibit and try to sell their work at the convention…
That said, there are also buyer issues as well which could be discouraging to new artists, as MWC certainly has a very clique-ish feel to it and that carries over into what (and from whom) people will buy. This year I was agenting for a new jewelry artist who does wonderful work, was all priced very reasonably — and she only received 2 bids out of the 16 pieces she’d shown. I’ve seen a lot of hesitation regularly from bidding on “unknown” artists at MWC, no matter the quality of the work. So it’s an environment of buying from your friends and known fellow fans more so than buying the best, most interesting art.
I’m sure the art show staff has to be aware of these issues at this point. What I’m less sure of is whether they care at all enough to do anything about them. As the entire convention feels like it is just going on because it’s been going on for almost thirty years, there for the fans who remain but not working to bring in new blood, I have my doubts and am not sure I’d recommend the convention to artists who haven’t been regularly showing there already.
Post WisCon and continuing to watch the big list of Race!Fail/Mammoth!Fail links grow, I was curious when the conversation peaked and if there were any signals if this particular iteration of a discussion about race in fandom had reached its peak. So I looked at this version of the list and counted up the number of posts. From what I’ve gathered looking around, it is one of the best lists of its kind and is helpfully broken down by date. It doesn’t include everything but I’m assuming that the links are representative enough across that posting totals give an overall accurate picture. Doing that, we get the following chart:
It looks like it took about a week for people to really start responding to the Elizabeth Bear precipitating event. That discussion lasted from about January 12 to January 28th before it dropped off.
Things got kick started again big time when there was the Will Shetterly, John Scalzi, trying to get published authors to renounce racism events. This started in early March and ended by around March 22.
Things were relatively quiet and stayed quiet until May 8th or so when Mammoth!Fail happened.
This situation looks like it will continue. How it will continue looks largely based on how those responding to anti-racist react and if the anti-racists find new books that they deem racists and how the alleged racist material is responded to by the author or their friends. Those two things seem to be defining catalysts. Each event seems to take two to three weeks to work through.
At WisCon panel on self promotion for science fiction author. The presenters include Madge Miller, Marrianne Kirby, Catherine Lundoff and Nayad M. They are either professionals in marketing or are published authors.
Advice they have given includes:
Do not rely on a publicist to do it. They work best when you help them with their job.
Self promote with a buddy. It makes you feel less self conscious.
Readings are not necessarily time wise. It might be better to try to do readings with other authors. It can help draw a bigger crowd.
Doing conventions can help make you a more recognizable name.
No one thing is the magic bullet. You need more solutions.
Don’t try to do so much self promotion at once. It can burn you out, especially if you don’t see results. Try to focus on one project at once. That is what professionals do.
Check out who has expertise in promoting. Get advice from them. Use your community to find good ways to promote.
Realistically, most science fiction authors are not going to get a publicist. Think about how you would present yourself at a job interview. Treat things like readings and panels as if they were that. This includes not showing up drunk to your panels. (People do it.) Don’t hog conversations.
Make an effort to fake an interest in other people’s work. Otherwise, you come across as being me me me and can be a turn off. You don’t get the personal connections that way. Personal connections really can help sell the book as those people may go out and tell people how fantastic you are.
If you can pair a book reading with a non-profit event, it can help generate additional interest and help sell the book. It generates good will.
You should almost put on a writer professional cap at conventions. You need to portray almost a different version, almost like acting but more like projecting yourself. This way you can get attention.
Women in American culture get told that self promotion is tacky and icky and they should not do. Women need to get over that. If you put on a professional hat, it becomes easier to self promote.
If you are going to do a reading for the first time, practice with people you like and respect. They can give you good feedback. Start out with something structured to help overcome your own fears. Ask your friends to tell you when you commit your own weakness like stumbling over words, rambling, etc. Non-professionals can give you feedback if you are being boring. Also think about timing of your reading. More than 35 minutes makes keeping your audience hard. Think about breaking up longer readings into parts. Practice your timing. Know when you can stop, look up at the audience and where to pace yourself.
Consider wearing makeup so that you look brighter than life and larger, to enhance your stage presence.
What are bad ideas?
People who do book forts at panels at conventions can be a problem. It is better to be graceful and just flash the book. It is a bit selfish to promote the book the whole time. (Though this may be depend on the panel and why you are on the panel. If you are on a panel because of that book, it can be different. A book fort may be overkill but a single book might not be that bad.)
Many people who feel insecure put others down. They try to stand on the bodies of other authors by putting them down in order to self promote. This can hurt you. It is better to be nice.
Don’t give a speech if you’re on a panel. Moderators should direct traffic and have questions to help steer questions. They should not read four pages of notes.
Advice for people starting out to increase chances of success?
At conventions, sign up for panels you are interested in. The more practice that you get, the more comfortable you will be when you become published.
Online presence is importance. You need a website. Determine where you want your name out. Have a blog. Look at what other writers are blogging about to get ideas for what to write about.
Realize that it takes a long time to build an audience. A year out is a good idea is when to start building. You have a chance to build conversations, to let people know you have a book coming out. Ask people questions. Always be authentic online and in person. Be authentic to who you really are.
Talk about things that you are interested means like minded people as they will likely like your fiction.
Working on a blog, creating a community, talking to reporters as a form of self promotional activity can help you get a book deal. Why? Because you get to make good connections who can help you accomplish your goals. It isn’t necessarily fair that we respond to the people we know but it does help getting published in the first place.
It is never to early to get online. You should get yourself associated with things that involve your audience.
Twitter, FaceBook, LiveJournal, GoodReads are all ways to interact online.
Twitter. Authors can tweet. Read up on the etiquette of tweeting before you start. If you do the wrong thing, people will snicker. Twitter is very real time. If you are going to be on it, you need to really commit to it. Follow people and respond to him. Personal details can really help connect you to your audience.
Twitter can go horribly wrong. Updating shop listings every time you do that can be a pain. Don’t over do the URL plugging. Twitter is an online service that allows you to send 140 characters. Twitter started off as phone but now is on the web. You should ReTweet interesting comments by people you follow. Be good to others who might be able to be good to you. ReTweets asking can get info out to a large audience that say your book is coming out.
You can actually talk to people on Twitter and make connections with people you might not otherwise make. Doing this may result in getting a follow back. Be authentic. Don’t become an annoying fan.
Anti-Twitter panelist prefers to blog. She finds it annoying. The information is not useful to her. Who cares that you walked your dog? Not enough info there to want to follow up on. It is a stylistic personal preference. Digest of Tweets on LiveJournal is annoying. If they didn’t follow you on Twitter, why would they want it in another medium?
Cross posting to Twitter and FaceBook can be annoying. There are different rules and etiquette. FaceBook tends to be less cluttered.
FaceBook is kind of nice as a networking tool. It isn’t necessarily great for blogging on because audience attention isn’t high. If blogging, post it elsewhere.
On a self promotional level, finding these services annoying is irrelevant. It is about trying to reach people in the most beneficial and effective towards meeting your goals. If your audience on FaceBook is helpful, then you might want to update there even if you are not comfortable. Find where you can compromise to self promote. This is what is comes down to. The tool is about getting results, not your personal feelings.
Consensus is that you really, really need to have a blog. Try to develop a readership. Mix up the content to help develop a broader readership: Personal life, professional life, writing life. Good to have blog attached to your website. Why? It helps with Google ranking. It means you can keep adding fresh content to your website. Twitter feed can help keep your content fresh.
If you are not going to engage authentically, then don’t.
One of the highest read blogs was that of a chinese erotic model who updated regularly. Try to update once a day to maintain the audience if you want to develop a huge audience. If you don’t want to blog, consider doing message from the author. Dead blogs are a turn off to the audience. People will drop you from their feeds.
Blogging is a big time commitment. When you’re doing fiction, you may not have the same correlation with blog success. You need to find balance. You need to find what works for your life. Penelope Trunk gives good advice on how to blog effectively. Though Penelope is extremely controversial so take it with a grain of salt.
Just a quick missive from MediaWest. First day seemed very, very quiet. While there was the usual feeding frenzy for the first hour in the dealer’s room, after that it pretty much turned into a ghost town the rest of the day. The art show looks very sparse this year – only the most usual suspects hanging their work, and some of those even with half of what they usually show on display. Lots of empty tables and panels so far. Even the dealer’s room had a number of no-shows, or people only coming in to set up at the end of the day Friday.
Flyers out in the lobby are also quite sparse–though there certainly are quite a few for Star Trek and Kirk/Spock about. Haven’t had the chance to check out the room sales and doors yet, hopefully later today when I also have my first panel.
Will have to see how the rest of the convention goes…
There is something that Wikia does pretty damned well and that’s Gaming wikis. If you were creating a wiki dedicated to gaming, they would be one of the hosts I would recommend. Why? Because Wikia has awesome connections in the Gaming community. They’ve developed relationships with game developers and other companies. This has a positive effect on those wikis in terms of helping generate content, getting contributors, etc. They get the companies and people involved with them to help out on some of their wikis. How cool is that?
A really good example of this? Jesse Heinig, one of the developers for Fallout has made a few edits on the Fallout wiki. And he’s chatting with contributors on #wikia-fallout on freenode on IRC. How damned cool is that?
I’m an on again, off again American Idol fan. This year, mostly it has been off. My parents though loved Adam Lambert. They insisted I watched his performances when they think he nailed it. I kind of really liked him. If I was rooting for anyone to win, it would have been him.
Yesterday, before the results came out, there had been a fair amount of buzz on the blogosphere about how Adam could not win because people were voting for Chris just to make sure a gay guy did not win. They cited people like Bill O’Reilly talking about this issue. Was it a conspiracy? Maybe. I don’t want to believe it but I know enough people who have issues with homosexuals and thinking it is unnatural who would think that way, because being gay is unAmerican.
The best singer last night didn’t win. Chris should have left weeks ago. I don’t feel like it is an issue of the southern vote because of the big vote gap. I’m disappointed and saddened. I am less inclined to watch next season.
Tomorrow I’m off to MediaWestCon, which should be interesting this year in a number of ways. I’ve heard some speculation that with the changes in the host hotel (now a Causeway Bay), along with the continuing and ever-growing sluggishness of the organizers dealing with convention matters, that we may be nearing the end of MWC’s run. Probably not this year, but perhaps next as 2010 will be the con’s 30 year anniversary.
Of course, this is all speculation at this point. We’ll have to wait and see what happens or what the word is this weekend.
Still, I am curious about a number of things this year, including:
* How will sales be in the dealer’s room and art show, given the current economy? (Especially in Michigan, with so many car manufacturing plants closing shop.)
* What will be the hot fandoms this time around? Will everyone be talking about Star Trek, or is the film too new to get a lot of “official” scheduled time and attention? What about Torchwood, Merlin and other buzzed-about shows?
* Will hot topics in journaling media fandom, such as Race Fail and Dreamwidth Studios be talked about at all? Or are they off the radar for the more “old school” fandom base that makes up the bulk of MWC’s membership?
I’ll try to post some daily blogs from the convention with my impressions on these issues, as well as anything else that comes up, and of course update with photos and other items from the convention after I get home next week.
I love wikiHow and the community there. As a result, I spend a lot of time in their irc chat room. The artwork below was posted by Dvortygirl as a thank you to another contributor and I really love it and wanted to share it with others because it really expresses what I love about wikis (and wikiHow).
My post about identifying spam on disqus was my most disqus spammed post to date. People commented on how great disqus was, included their links and otherwise totally seemed to miss what the post was saying. All the people commenting had links in their name. In one case, the comment looked valid. Then they commented on another post with a total jumble about using classified on a post about race!fail.
These spam comments generally had another thing in common: Most of them found the blog entry they responded to through disqus. They weren’t coming in through blog searches, through links from other sites.
So if you’re on the fence as to whether a comment is legit, or just some one trying to link build, check to see how they found your blog entry to comment on. If it was disqus, that could be another signal that the comment was spam.
With Jon and Kate Plus 8 back in the news, I figured now was a great time to beg for help with our Jon and Kate Plus 8 articles. They all have a pretty good start but it would awesome to see them improved. How is the media obsession with the couple impacting the fan community? Are people being burned off the fandom because it has turned very celebrity gossip? What’s the current history of the fandom?
The top two articles are where we’d like to see the most work but we’d also appreciate getting a better history of the major blogs and the folks who run them and comment on them.
We’ve been hard at work on Fan History trying to improve content, create more stub content to make it easier for contributors to participate, to increase the number of people participating on the wiki, to become more comprehensive and to better serve the fan community. To this end, we’ve done three things in the past month or so:
These additions have largely been about providing a framework for the documenting of history that we’ve done so far. Pretty soon, hopefully in the next week or two, we’re planning to add between 50,000 and 75,000 articles. We’re going to be focusing on fan responses to episodes and using EpisodeBot as our base template. If you know of a search engine or an entertainment site that could use some link love, please get them in touch with me at laura[@]fanhistory[.]com. We’ll consider adding links on all those new pages to them.
…ten years ago today.
I went to see The Phantom Menace.
(OK, technically it was a midnight showing on May 19, the official release date, but you get the idea.)
I hadn’t been planning on going. At least not to a midnight show. While I was a Star Wars fan like any child of the 80s, I’m very allergic to hype, and the massive frenzy around the release of the new film had pretty much left me feeling “meh”. I’d see it when I could, but I wasn’t going to stand in line for hours or days to do so.
But it was my birthday, and I was kind of…depressed. 27 and with nothing planned, no one to spend the day with, grad school was sucking the life out of me and I seem to recall even the weather was shitty. I was running some errands and walked by the old, decrepit-but-beloved Sam Eric theater on Chestnut Street around 3-4pm that afternoon. The marquee proclaimed a midnight showing of the film that night.
“Gotta be sold out, but what the hell,” I thought, and being curious I checked if they had any tickets available. Surprisingly, they did – and no line waiting was necessary.
I went back home, nursed my morose mood for a few more hours, then went to check out the movie.
Thus began one crazy, crazy chapter in my life.
Now, I’d been involved in “fandom” for a long time by this point (music, tv, what-have-you), but not any kind of fandom in the mega-spotlight. Obscure and weird loves have always been my game, things like The A-Team. Even when I got into big fandoms like Xena, it was on the strange side of the spectrum (Joxer fandom, to be precise. Joxer slash fandom to be even more so. Oh the shame…) Small fandoms. Quiet fandoms. Manageable fandoms.
Then I saw that scene. The one near the end. Qui-Gon’s death scene. Up until that point I’d been happily reveling in just the pretty special effects and grimacing through the typical Star Wars stiff acting and cringe-worthy dialog.
But then Qui-Gon touched Obi-Wan’s face and died and ugh there was my tragic, epic love story for the ages. As Keelywolfe put it so eloquently,
“A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away, George Lucas created Star Wars. And he looked at it and saw that it was good. And all was right in the world. But then, we saw that Obi-Wan doth look upon Qui-Gon with lust, and that Mr. Lucas was not likely to include that in the next movie, so we said screw it and wrote it ourselves, even though we do not make any money off of this. And all was right with the world.”
I immediately rushed home and posted on, of all places joxerotica, virtually screaming “OMGWTFDIDYOUGUYSSEETHATISTHERESLASHYETOMGOMG!!!!” And a few others there went “OMGOMGOMG!!!!” too, and the very next day, I did a very silly thing.
I created Master and Apprentice over on dear old yahoogroups. And I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Foolish me, I thought it would be a lot like running Joxerotica, or my A-Team groups–some work but nothing too daunting. People started joining up quickly but I figured it was just an initial frenzy after the movie’s release. I set up a little archive on my simplenet web account, manually adding stories as they were posted. It was maybe a couple a day at first. Fun, short stuff–angst pieces and missing scenes, short AU’s to “fix” Qui-Gon’s death, that sort of thing. I had a co-mod from Joxerotica helping me out at first as we set up the archive/list’s basic rules. But then it started growing. And growing. And growing, until it became within a month or two The Fandom That Ate Cincinatti. Slashfen were flocking in from everywhere: Sentinel fandom, Highlander fandom, X-Files fandom. People were even bitching how Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan was “stealing” all the good writers from other fandoms!
It should be noted, too, that there was no small amount of concern about “The Wrath of Lucas” when I started the list and archive. While it may seem laughable today, at the time many fen still remembered his previous actions and stance against those who wrote and published adult–nevermind slash–fiction in the Star Wars universe. And also, there were other fen who would react strongly against those who would do so against George’s wishes, as I would learn firsthand from some of the people I would meet in this fandom such as Bev Lorenstein, who would become one of my dearest friends, and who told me what she went through in publishing Organia in 1982. That said, in my years of involvement in Star Wars fandom, I never received a cease and desist letter from Lucasfilms or had any other contact from them. So perhaps the worries were all for naught…
In any event, by the end of the summer of ’99 I was growing concerned that my little archive just wasn’t going to cut it as a few stories a day were turning into dozens. It was reaching a critical point and I was getting worried about the stability of my archive situation, and my friend Erik came up with a solution.
He could put me up on his own webserver. Register a domain for me–sockiipress.org–and then set up a database program which, although stories would still need to be manually submitted, would make creating story index pages automated, along with allowing for search functions and other cool stuff. sockiipress.org was registered on September 30, 1999 and the archive moved there, which would be its home for the next three years or so, before the archive moved to its own URL, masterapprentice.org, some time after I had left the fandom for good.
But before I get to that part of the story…
Being involved in this fandom from its point of creation through the height of the frenzy was, as I said earlier, a crazy experience. I’d never been involved in such an active fandom before. Never found myself in the Big Name Fan spotlight (though I was no real writer of note in the fandom, just archivist, occasional artist, and “ringleader”, in effect). Was it exciting? Sure! I loved waking up every morning to a emailbox full of new stories. And there was some wonderful fiction being written by some amazing authors. Was the attention thrilling as well? Admittedly, yeah, it was. I went from being the girl into very weird things at conventions like MediaWest and Eclecticon, largely lurking on the sidelines and being ignored, to getting a round of applause at ConneXions in 2000 for the work I’d done on the mailing list and archive. It was an ego boost for certain–but then it also gave me a taste of big fandoms’ ugly side as well, and how fandom can turn on you on the drop of a dime.
First there were scuffles on allowable content. The first one came up over the topic of Chan fic. I lost my co-moderator to the mailing list over this debate and the compromise position on the subject I favored. Real person fic also was broached and lead to some heated arguments until it was banned from archiving. The fandom went through typical growing pains as different subjects and content was being explored, but then our archive was having growing pains, too. Erik’s server was not all that stable, leading to sporadic downtime and a lot of headaches on his end. He put up with a lot helping me out with the site, for someone who wasn’t even in the fandom. At one point, in 2000, he thought it would be a nice idea to burn CD copies of the archive to make available to users through the mailing list. It was welcomed as a good “backup” to the unstable site, and he charged a nominal fee to cover his materials and time — I think it was $7 or so. No one raised a single complaint the first time around with this, and I think he mailed off something like 100-200 copies of the disk.
In 2001, the server difficulties were getting worse. Erik was getting frustrated, and I, myself, was getting a little worn out from listmom and archiving duties. While at this point we had a group of 5-6 assistant archivists, it was still demanding a lot of my time, and my interest in the Qui/Obi was…drifting. By that point I had been distracted by some other Bright Shiny Fandoms — Brimstone in particular. Erik decided to do a second run of the archive disks, at $10, because he was about ready to give up trying to work out a solution for our hosting woes.
That’s when things got ugly. One morning I woke up to several outraged emails from authors who had long been absent from the fandom, demanding that their stories be removed from the archive, not included on the CD, “or else”. Later that day I found out Erik and I were being subjected to ugly accusations of profiting off people’s work, that outrageous things were being said about us all over fandom chat channels (one reason I still avoid “chat” to this day). We defended ourselves and actions while of course agreeing to remove any stories that people did not want included, but were then told, point blank, to “Fuck off” from the community and archive we’d spent all those hours, days, months, years into maintaining.
And we were both only too glad to oblige at that point.
Thankfully, two Loris were ready to help us out. “Lori” took over maintaining the archive and list. “Lorrie” offered us hosting on her own server (for both the archive and sockiipress overall). Eventually I moved to my own hosting service entirely, cutting off completely from my connections to Q/O fandom.
Except, happily enough, ties to some of the wonderful friends I made there, despite all the angst and wank and aggravation. Many of them I am still in touch with today in other fandom communities, fabulous people I will forever thank my involvement in Star Wars fandom for bringing into my life. I learned a lot from my time in the fandom, good and bad, and I definitely would not take those years back for anything. That said, I’m also quite content to be back to lurking around in small and obscure fandoms these days. The pickings might be slim, but the pleasure is rarely overwhelmed by the aggravation.
So happy anniversary, master-apprentice! Our love may have been brief and heated, but when it was good, it was oh, so good…
In late April, we temporarily disabled the ability to save drafts on Fan History because of a snafu that an admin encountered. We’ve re-enabled drafts and our admins know to be a bit more alert in the future. The extension is just too useful to go with out for long.
Riptide has long been one of my favorite “forgotten” television series and orphan fandoms. It was a fun show lost somewhat under the shadow of The A-Team when it first aired, and eventually killed in the ratings by the hit competition series, Moonlighting. There was a small amount of fiction written for the series in fanzines, but not a great deal (and mostly hurt/comfort), and the fandom seemed to really disappear off the radar in the past decade.
So imagine my surprise and delight when I stumbled onto pier56, a LiveJournal community for the show created last year. I joined it, thinking at first it would probably be like most comms I’ve belonged to for obscure fandoms: sadly mostly dead, with perhaps one or two postings a month–and maybe one or two decent stories to read in a year.
Well, to my continued surprise and delight, the comm seems to be thriving! New fiction is posted just about daily (and not just by one person). There is active discussion about the series, the characters, the setting, and other information related to the show. It’s a thriving little community for a series which has been off the air for over twenty years, and seems to have come back out of nowhere. Which of course, has left me wondering, so how did they do that?
It seems the answer lies in a combination of factors. For one, the series has been out on dvd for a few years now–unlike some of my other obscure loves like Brimstone which never has been so lucky to find an official release and therefore is limited in how easily new fans can be introduced to the show. I’ve also been told that one of the community moderators took an active lead in promoting the community–not just through the typical techniques of spamming other livejournal communities and posting banners around, but taking advantage of livejournal’s “interests” feature, and going forth to individually contact people who listed “Riptide” as an interest. The moderator also put time in writing up guides for the show for communities such as ship_manifesto, and has welcomed not just slash fans but writers and readers of other genres of fiction to the community.
All that said, there still has to be some magical “it” factor at work here, and it’s something I’ve long pondered over after being frustrated that so many fandoms I’ve loved and felt should have gotten bigger and more love never did so. Is it just a case of “Riptide” being a right fandom at the right time for a particular audience of fans? The right person taking up the charge to promote a fandom successfully? Will the community be able to maintain this level of activity for an extended period of time, or will it begin to flounder if the core active people lose interest or drift away? I’ll be curious to see what happens. In the meantime, I’ve got a lot of stories to catch up on reading!
roflcopter flew in to Fan History again yesterday. This time, the goal was to create music fandom stubs and it did that to the tune of 17,000 groups. We’re really happy with this as we’ve wanted to expand that section for a long time. There are just so many groups that it can be intimidating as to where to start exactly. If you’re in music and there isn’t an article about a band you want to see mentioned, drop us a line and we’ll help you create one. If you know people who could help improve our music section, we’d be extremely grateful.
With this growth, Fan History now has an article about or references 33,155 plus fandoms… Below is a breakdown of those fan communities by type.
- Actors – 275 fandoms
- Anime – 550 fandoms
- Books – 450 fandoms
- Cartoons – 200 fandoms
- Comics – 100 fandoms
- Movies – 13,000 fandoms
- Music – 17,605 fandoms
- Politics – 5 fandoms
- Radio – 35 fandoms
- Sports – 125 fandoms
- Table top gaming – 5 fandoms
- Television – 750 fandoms
- Theater – 30 fandoms
- Video games – 250 fandoms
- unsorted fandoms – 500 fandoms 
Total fandom estimate: 33,155
It was a good try, and I thank everyone who helped out with my quest to get to Bonnaroo, but it looks like it wasn’t meant to be.
Radio 104.5‘s voting system was pathetically simple to take advantage of as “email verification” checks are just as easy to abuse as just about any other on-line voting method, and my main competition, “Megan L.”, did a damned intense job of abusing it at the end of the day on May 10.
My hat’s off to her, though if I may snark for a moment, I hope she puts that media pass to better use than might be expected given the photography “skills” evident in her submitted competition photo.
Maybe next time.
In unrelated news, next week there’s a very important anniversary coming up for me to celebrate and contemplate over, and that’s the 10-year anniversary of my launching the Master and Apprentice mailing list and archive for Obi-Wan/Qui-Gon slash. I plan to write up an entry over the weekend looking back on the origins of the archive, the fiction, the “drama”, and everything else as I saw it happen before I left the fandom.
One of our admins has been updating the totals related to Dreamwidth Studios for a couple of days. The chart below is a copy and paste from the Dreamwidth Studios article. There really isn’t enough data to draw any conclusions but short term conclusions are still fun to make anyway.
It looks like between May 2 and May 5, a lot of new people joined and then set about importing the comments from their old LiveJournal posts. It is the three day period recorded with the most new OpenID accounts appearing. Caught in that net, to date, includes over 334,000 different LiveJournal users. Wow. Over on my LiveJournal, there has been some speculation that comment importing has largely been a move similar to that of FanLib, where users were allowed to easily move their content over in order to provide the new site with lots of additional content in order to attract new users. Comment importing is one form of quick content creation. (Though FanLib didn’t allow you to import your FanFiction.Net reviews. They just allowed you to import your stories.)
It looks like the number of active accounts peaked on May 5/6. Since then, the volume of posting by new members has been lower in terms of actives in the past 7 days and past 24 hours. To me, this suggests that people surged in to join, to name squat and to see where the service will go. As we’re talking four days in a row below the high with about 1,000 fewer people updating daily, I’m not quite ready to buy the rational that this is a weekend trend and that the numbers will pick up. The idea that people appear to be name squatting and not utilizing the service is confirmed for me because less than half of the people who have been active in some way have ever posted an entry.
The total accounts that have been active in some way seems pretty close to the number of people who were members of fandom_counts, a community with roughly around 34,000 people. I’m really curious to know how much crossover there is between the two that their numbers are so close.
|Date||Total Accounts||That are active in some way||That have ever posted an entry||That have posted an entry in last 30 days||That have posted an entry in the last 7 days||That have posted an entry in the last 24 hours|
|May 2, 2009||228878||27252||10359||10324||8841||4120|
|May 5, 2009||286805||34106||14117||14080||12592||5034|
|May 6, 2009||301085||36333||15603||15564||14077||4845|
|May 7, 2009||314431||38106||16871||16819||15294||3882|
|May 9, 2009||321405||38879||17564||17493||13172||2824|
|May 10, 2009||323769||39087||17786||17710||12115||2912|
|May 11, 2009||328542||39514||18157||18054||11055||3420|
|May 12, 2009||334359||39948||18576||18450||10352||3561|
I was informed that EncyclopediaDramatica had some big cash flow problems, and they need your monetary support. Yeah, they can be pretty wanktastic, mean and probably deserve some of the reputation they have… but as a wiki community, they can be pretty awesome and supportive of other wikis out there. If you’re a member of the wider wiki community, please consider helping out.
Interesting to see a reasonably well-written piece on Kirk/Spock fandom in Newsweek this week. I had just blogged a few days ago about how the new movie might bring Star Trek and its fandom more attention and momentum. I’m sure there will be a lot of new people searching around for information on this “slash” thing thanks to articles such as Newsweek’s, or stumbling across it if they go looking for Trek pages on the web after seeing the movie.
Sometimes, we get some interesting keyword searches on out blog that look like people need answers that we haven’t answered. In that spirit, I’m going to address some of those.
what rating did the fans give the twilight movie and why
Ratings can best be found on Yahoo!Movies and on IMDB. Yahoo!Movies fans really liked the movie more than IMDB users. If there was a large amount of wank about the movie being awful, it never hit the radar of the people contributing to our Twilight article.
nicole p. and bonnaroo / nicole p. 104.5 / 104.5 bonnaroo contest
Looking for info on Nicole P? And why she’s been getting votes in that contest? That’s because we’ve been heavily plugging it in several places, including Fan History’s main page. Go vote please. We would really love for her to be able to go so she could report on music fandom for Fan History.
star trek fan total members
How many members are there in the Star Trek fandom? I can’t really answer that easily. There are at least 5,500 fans on LiveJournal. We can guess that there are over 3,000 on FanFiction.Net for Star Trek in its various forms. We know there are at least 45 on InsaneJournal. We also know there at least 43 on JournalFen. There are probably other places to get numbers but those are the ones we have on the wiki.
the most obscure fandom ever
What is the most obscure fandom ever? That’s almost impossible to answer. There are a huge number of small fandoms with very few fan communities. Some of them could be really old, with very little that got translated online. A good example probably includes Road to Morocco. You also can have local sports team for sports that don’t have big international audiences. An example of that includes the Storhamar Dragons based out of Norway. Most people probably haven’t heard of them. So in this case, we really need the term obscure better defined.
fanfiction net – meme’s stargate
I don’t have a clue. It might appear in our Stargate article, but skimming it? I’m not seeing an answer. Some one please educate me!
trace the ip address who visited my community on orkut
anime fan art history
can wanking be beneficial to growth
We talked about this a lot in this blog entry about generating positive metrics. Wanking can help provide short term traffic spikes but don’t provide long term traffic stability unless you can do that again and again and again on a consistent basis. Depending on your content? That may not be desirable.
So ends this edition of “From the keyword vault…” I kind of liked writing this so I may do another edition soon.
A PERSONAL REQUEST TO ALL MY FANS
by Peter S. Beagle
If you’ve ever read and enjoyed one of my books or stories, or seen and enjoyed one of the films that I scripted, I’d like to ask a favor of you. It’s simple, really — if at all possible, within the next month please do one of the following things.
1) Go to www.conlanpress.com and buy a subscription to my year-long 52/50 Project (more about which, below).
2) Go to www.conlanpress.com and buy any single book or DVD of my work, either for you or as a gift for a friend.
3) If you can’t make a purchase yourself, try and get someone else interested enough to take the leap.
As for why I’m asking, that’s even simpler: you will change my life.
If you make just one purchase, or convince someone else to do so the same…and if enough of the other readers who get THE RAVEN do likewise…if that happens, then the financial crisis I’ve been in since my mother died in 2006 will finally be over. If that happens, I’ll be able to pay back all the money I’ve had to borrow to survive. If that happens, the Last Unicorn audiobook and the special hardcover Two Hearts will come zooming out at last from Conlan Press, along with Writing Sarek and the hardcover editions of my two new novels, Summerlong and I’m Afraid You’ve Got Dragons, and more. Better still, if that happens I’ll be able to buy the thinking and writing time I need to tell the rest of Sooz’s story — i.e., the full-novel Last Unicorn/Two Hearts sequel that I’m eager to bring to all of you (but which no publisher anywhere has so far been willing to pay me enough to live on while I’m doing the work).
Okay, Beagle. Deep breath. That wasn’t so hard, was it? Except, of course, being fairly shy about these things, it was.
There are lots of authors who are good at self-promotion. I am definitely not one of them. All I can do is work up my courage and ask, which I have now done: the rest is up to you.
To that end, I want to publicly thank the 53 people who have so far purchased subscriptions (58, total) to my 52/50 Project, in which I’m writing 52 original poems or song lyrics, one per week, for a whole year. The money from these subscriptions paid most of my rent last month, for which I am amazingly grateful.
copied from his newsletter, The Raven.
The summer movie season is about to start with one of the most anticipated releases in scifi fandom in some time: the new Star Trek movie. Trek fandom has been abuzz about it for some time, although the anticipation has been mixed with some anxiety: will the film do The Original Series and its beloved characters justice? Will it sacrifice the heart of Trek for big Hollywood pizazz?
A more critical question, in my opinion, and one I have heard echoed in some Trek fandom circles, is whether the film can do anything to revive what is, in many ways, a dying fandom. It has been several years since the last Trek series, Enterprise was on the air–a series which in and of itself had alientated many longtime Trek fans and had did little to keep interest strong in the franchise. Trek conventions are few and far between these days, with few (save Shore Leave and Farpoint) except the massive Creation Cons still being held. With the exception of a few still-strong shipping and slash communities, notably Kirk/Spock, fanworks production is greatly diminished.
That said, there does seem to be some steady growth in Trek livejournal community activity in recent months–perhaps due to the movie? The presence of popular Heroes actor Zachary Quinto as Spock may do well to bring in some crossover fans. But the long-term impact on the fandom will take some time to see.
I will be curious to see what the buzz about the film is at this year’s MediaWest, which will be taking place at the end of this month.