Huggy Bear's Guide to Getting More Feedback
|Title:||Huggy Bear's Guide to Getting More Feedback|
|Creator:||Elizabeth Helena and Rebelcat|
|Fandom:||Starsky & Hutch|
|External Links:||online here, Archived version|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
The subject: how to market one's fanfiction to fans.
For additional context, see Timeline of Concrit & Feedback Meta.
- AKA How to Pimp Yo' Stories, Man!
- Before You Send Them Out on the Street
- Working the Streets
- Working the High Class Joints
- Dealing With Dissatisfied Customers
After a long day of raping Starsky, giving Hutch crippling guilt complexes, and otherwise abusing the guys, Rebel and EH chose to kick back at the Pits.
It was a slow night at the bar. It was Parcheesi night at the Dobeys, and Ladies Night at Sweet Alice’s House of Ill Repute. Starsky and Hutch were at home, presumably in bed clutching each other after their admittedly hard day. Fully clothed and gen, or naked and slashy, your choice.
Then completely randomly, without any connection to anything else, the topic of feedback came up.
“Feedback,” pontificated Rebel, trying on her horn-rimmed glasses for size. “That stuff we pretend we don’t care if we get, but which we can’t live without. We act as if we write for nothing more than the pure and unadulterated pleasure of torturing... uh, I mean, worshiping Starsky and Hutch. But honestly, how many of us would take the trouble to put words to paper without the reward of feedback?”
EH slammed down her medication, stopped washing her hands, and protested, “I would! I’ve written hundreds of pages of things I’ve refused to show anybody!! It’s a compulsion, I tell you!!!”
Huggy, ducking the extraneous and airborne exclamation marks, sauntered over to their table. He was resplendent in his usual sartorial splendor. Unfortunately, Rebel and EH had used up their adjectival quota for the night, so they couldn’t do justice to his elegance. Besides, EH just wanted him to serve up another Shirley Temple.
Huggy gave Rebel a dirty look, because she was still nursing her Long Island Ice Tea. He should have known better. Not only does Rebel never pay for her own drinks, she’s quite capable of making one glass last all evening. EH would never take her out, if she wasn’t such a cheap date.
“I am willing to concede,” said EH, in a fake British accent, “that it is discouraging when you actually muster up the courage to put your work out in public and all you get...”
“Is the sound of crickets chirping?” asked Rebel.
“Crickets might be welcome sometimes.”
Huggy placed his palms on the table and looked at them each in turn. “Let me guess. You two fangirls are bitching about feedback, and the lack thereof. Am I right?”
“I’m not bitching!” said Rebel.
“Yeah,” added EH. “Apparently, the other fangirls want her to rape Starsky.” She glared at Rebel. “And no, I’m not going to do it, and you can’t make me.”
“At least,” Rebel muttered, “it doesn’t take me over a year to get him up off the bathroom floor.”
“I have a doctor’s note!!!!” EH scrambled to find her documentation in the depths of her many, large shopping bags.
As empty pill bottles, Kleenex boxes, spare undies, and books flew through the air, Rebel explained to Huggy, “We’re not complaining, we’re just discussing the issue philosophically. I’ve been getting tons of feedback lately, so I’m perfectly happy. EH hasn’t had much, but too much feedback makes her nervous, so that’s fine, too.”
“But I’m willing to take more medication to make that better,” said EH, abandoning her search. She cursed as she realized Rebel had made her doctor’s note into an origami cocktail umbrella, and stuck it into her Shirley Temple.
“But,” continued Rebel, unfazed, “we know lots of really great writers who aren’t getting the love they deserve. And we’re not sure why. Some of them write a lot better than we do, and have been around a lot longer, too.”
“Ah,” said Huggy, nodding wisely. “That’s because you’re not just a writer, girl, you’re a pimp.”
EH was busy trying to rescue her soggy Doctor’s note. “Who’s a pimp?”
“I am!” said Rebel, delighted.
“Wait,” said EH. “That’s not a good thing. It’s illegal, and you have to wear silly hats.”“Listen and learn, children,” said Huggy pulling up a chair. “All successful writers, whether they’re writing for money or for feedback, are pimps.
“Remember,” said Huggy, “You’re her pimp, not her bodyguard.”
“You mean,” asked EH, in a very small voice. “We slap our stories around instead of protecting them?”
“I beg your pardon!” said Huggy, offended. “I never slapped any girl of mine.”
“Yeah,” said Rebel. “But that’s because you never were a pimp, right? Just an entrepreneur? Or should we be calling up Starsky and Hutch?”
“I doubt they’ll be taking phone calls from either of you for awhile,” said Huggy, smugly.
“He can’t be a real pimp,” said EH. “Diane would have fed him his teeth.”
“No, don’t hurt Blair!” cried EH.
“Please continue,” begged Rebel.
“Right,” said Huggy. “Your job is to make sure your story gets exposure. You can’t rely on anyone else to pimp her for you, and she can’t pimp herself. She’s not going to become popular with the Johns if she’s always hanging out on the same street corner.”
“Um, what are the Johns in this metaphor?” asked EH.
“The readers!” said Rebel.
Huggy pretended not to hear either of them. “If you want her to get noticed she’s got to work a variety of different neighborhoods. Anywhere you think she’ll be allowed in the front door, that’s the place to send her.”
“You’ve also got to make it easy for the Johns. They don’t know your girl, and they sure ain’t gonna bust their ass trying to find her, either.”
“Maybe you’ve just got one or two stories, or maybe you’ve got a whole stable of them. Set up a whorehouse, if you can, or at the very least tag them, so that finding one means the John can easily find the others.”
“Keep them organized. Line them up and sort them by type. Remember, you’re trying to make it easy for the Johns to find just the kind of girl they want.”
“I love hit counters,” said EH dreamily. “It helps me fantasize that people might be reading my stories, instead of accidentally landing there after googling office supplies.”
“Hits are not feedback,” said Huggy, getting huffy. “If you want feedback, you’ve got to make it easy for people to send it. If your Johns don’t see a collection box sitting right there with “Leave a comment” writ large, they’re likely to walk away without paying. It’s not that they’re trying to rip you off, but the rug rats are yelling about dinner and their main squeeze is home and grumping at them.”
“Damn,” said Rebel. “I’ve been meaning to create a ‘feed the author’ button for our archived stories.”
“Also, remember,” said Huggy, “while most of your feedback will be given to you in public, some Johns are more comfortable with a private room.”
“Yeah, we forget to include our e-mails sometimes, too,” said EH.
“That’s another reason why it’s good to put your girls out all over the place, as far and wide as you can. People don’t travel far from home. You want to make sure your girl is standing right on their street corner, at the precise moment they’re thinking, ‘Man, I could sure use a good hard fic right about now.’”
“So that means,” said Rebel, “we should put our story out on LJ, and Yahoo, and all the other groups, as well as on your own page?”
EH squinted at the far end of the bar. “I guess so, but I can’t quite see the teleprompter from here. I need new glasses. Who wrote this shit anyway?”
“Quiet! You’re lucky the Sex-o-Rama is having its half price Blowout Sale tonight, or I wouldn’t have time to throw my pearls of wisdom before swine.” Huggy pointedly glanced around the empty bar.
“Did he just call us swine?” asked Rebel.
“Being called pigs is a compliment in this town,” EH pointed out.
“Pimping ain’t just about getting your stories out there,” said Huggy. “You’ve got to get your own name known, too. Once you’ve got name brand recognition, people will assume that your stories are worth spending time with. They’ll come to trust you to provide a first class trip around the world.”
“You’ve got to give, in order to get. You’ve got to spend time with the other pimps’ stories, and let them dogs know how much you appreciate their product. In fact, you’d do well to join up with rec communities like Crack Van and rec some of the older girls. That’s how we keep them all feeling young, with that new whore smell.”
“Ew!” said Rebel.
EH guzzled her Shirley Temple, to get rid of the nasty taste in her mouth.
Huggy mixed her a new one. “Join challenges! Teach your stories to jump through hoops. That’ll get you noticed every time. If you’re very ambitious, you could even run some challenges of your own, thus earning respect and notoriety.”
“He’s got a point,” said EH. “I started getting a lot more feedback in the Trek fandom when I ran Slutfest.”
Rebel pretended she didn’t hear.
“Nomination lists for awards are another excellent way to get your name out there. Don’t be shy about telling people you’re interested, if your friends don’t know about the awards, how can they nominate your girls? Yeah, it’s a popularity contest, but ultimately whether you win or not, you’ll get more of that sweet, sweet feedback.”
“Feedback is good,” said Rebel. “It keeps me writing.”
“It’s a drug,” sniffed EH.
“But it’s a legal drug!” Rebel nodded happily, and fired up her laptop in order to get her next fix.