Dear Author (podfic letter)

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Synonyms: dear author letter
See also: Podfic, Permission, Blanket Permission to Podfic
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Dear Author in podfic fandom refers to a genre of posts, usually published on podficcers' personal journals, which seek to facilitate the relationship between themselves and fic writers. Podficcers might include a link to these letters when requesting permission from a writer, or simply have them up in case a writer comes looking.

Dear Author letters resemble the Dear Creator Letters used in the context of exchanges in that they are addressed to a hypothetical, anonymous writer and provide them with information. However, podfic Dear Author letters are addressed to writers of stories which the podficcer is thinking about recording, and typically give a brief introduction of what podfic is, outline the podficcer's expectations of their relationship with the writer once permission has been granted, or seek to pre-empt possible objections to giving permission.

The first Dear Author letter was shared by Revolutionaryjo on Oct 18, 2010, in response to several publicized misunderstandings between fic writers and podficcers that year:

There have been a lot of discussions floating around about podfic lately that are making me realize just how easily miscommunication can happen between a podficcer and an author. So I wrote up the following as an open letter about everything I mean to say when I ask an author for permission to podfic, but often forget to expressly state.
Podfic Meta: Dear Author by RevolutionaryJo, 2010

This first letter explicitely encouraged other podficcers to write their own. The idea was supported by Paraka, who signal-boosted the post[1] and continued to promote the concept:

If you are going to ask an author for permission, I'd highly suggest having a "dear author" letter written somewhere you can link to. A dear author letter is a letter addressed to all the authors whose works you are going to podfic. In the past, when I've asked authors for permission, I've had some come back and say that they had never heard of podfic before. They have no idea of what it means, to you a podficer and to the podfic community as a whole, when they agree to let you podfic their work. It's better if everyone goes into this with a clear understanding of what's going on to avoid awkward situations later.
Podfic tutorial by Paraka, 2011[2]

Contents

RevolutionaryJo's original letter included:

  • Explanations about why they wanted to podfic a story:
With your permission, I would like to create a podfic one of your stories. I would like to do this because I love and adore it six ways from Sunday. So much so that I want to sit down with it for hours of reading, recording, and editing. [...]
  • Assurances that due credit for the writing would be given to the writer:
I'm never going to claim your writing as my own. I'm always going to credit you as the author. I'm always going to link back to your original work. [...]
  • Clarification about the expected involvement of the writer, post-permission:
I don't expect you to listen to my podfic, mention my podfic, or even acknowledge my existence outside of giving me a yea or nay on permission. [...]
  • An invitation to dialogue and discussion, if desired:
If you ever have questions or concerns about this or anything I'm doing in respect to a podfic of your story, drop me a line! I am more than willing to listen and discuss.

RevolutionaryJo also invited other podficcers to use the letter as inspiration for their own versions.

Letters inspired by the original might have also included, amongst others:

  • A definition of podfic
  • An invitation to share music that could be added as intro/outro of the podfic
  • Information about repodding etiquette
  • Information about how much/little the podficcer might change the text (not at all/only in case of typos, etc.)
  • Information about what to do if the writer ever wanted to take their story offline

Examples

References

  1. ^ General Expectations Post signal-boosting by paraka, dated 21 October 2010
  2. ^ Podfic 101 Tutorial by Paraka, posted to LJ Nov 7, 2011