Fandoms have cliques and social groups. Sometimes, if a fandom or group is small enough, these groups can co-exist. If it is large enough, well, those groups can afford to ignore each other or pick on each other. If they chose to, they can even peacefully co-exist. And that last one, they do a lot because why seek trouble? And why not get something that the other group is produces that you enjoy?
If you’ve been involved in a fandom for a while, these social structures, these cliques and groups are really obvious. If you’re justing getting into a fandom, these structures are not so obvious. The lack of knowledge can really be a detriment to your fannish well being if you’re not careful.
Good recent example: A new to my fandom fan fiction author posted a story to one of the more popular fan fiction communities. I’d never heard of the author before. The author had no one as a beta reader who I knew and none of the authors from my corner of fandom had commented to give feedback on the story. The story, well, it was so so. Personally, I found the plot lacking and the characterization awful. I left feedback to let the author know. (Which can be taboo. The general pattern is to shut up and say nothing. Let the author figure out through silence that the community doesn’t like her.) The author, not knowing me from adam because feedback was anon, gave me a flip response. And she never did get the readers she needs to help make sure she’ll get more feedback later to leave a comment. Next chapter? Zero comments. Not a surprise.
That author didn’t get in the right clique by making friends with existing authors by leaving feedback, didn’t get the right people to beta read her story and then was flippant to members of different groups who did read her story. Lack of knowledge regarding those social groups in this fandom, understanding them and not playing the game hurt her ability to interact in the community.
If you’re an author, especially a new author, start out by giving feedback. Get a beta reader. Get a beta reader who is an author you enjoy reading. Doing that does not mean you are not a good writer. It means that you’ve got an implied endorsement from some one who can help you get readers. (It is basic marketing.) This way, you’ll have better knowledge of how the community functions so you can get position yourself to get readers when you do publish.