• Equestria Daily, Fanfiction, and You: Feedback and Response to Authors

    Way back in April, we conducted a survey regarding how good a job Equestria Daily handles fanfiction. One of the issues we addressed therein was how quickly the pre-readers responded to authors sending in their stories, so today we have some changes to announce to those of you looking to send stuff in.

    • Rejection notices will be limited to a list of bullet points.
    • Rejected authors will be welcome to ask for clarification.
    • The "three strike" rule for story submission will remain in effect and unchanged.
    • These changes go into effect tonight at PST 12:00 AM, September 9th.

    Please refrain from throwing your lit matches on the gasoline-soaked haystack we just built. We hope to put out some fires below the break.

    Many of you have told us how helpful you've found EqD feedback on your stories, which puts us in an awkward position. On the one hand, we want nothing more than to see authors mature in their writing over time. On the other hand, providing that support for every story that comes our way, on a volunteer basis, is untenable. Much as we emphasize how the pre-readers are not to be used as an editing service, we've pretty much become just that.

    How long are authors waiting on hearing back from us now? Some have been waiting for two months.

    In order to find the balance between feedback and quick responses, we will now reject stories with a short list of bullet points authors can read about in our re-vamped Editor's Omnibus. Such a response might look like this:

    Thanks for submitting to Equestria Daily. Unfortunately, we are not prepared to accept your submission for publication at this time. Here are some areas for improvement:
    • Dialogue punctuation
    • Exposition
    • Wish fulfillment
    • Unsympathetic characters
    • Brony in Equestria
    Please refer to our Editor's Omnibus for brief explanations on the issues presented here, and bear in mind this list is not exhaustive. You are welcome to write back to your pre-reader to ask for clarifications or alternate opinions, but we encourage you to look into these issues on your own as much as possible beforehand.

    This is your first strike of three.

    All the best of luck with revisions,
    Your EqD Pre-reader

    We will be implementing this new response system on all submissions after PST 12:00 AM, September 9th. For those who have sent stories into us before this post, you have a choice. We will send an email to you asking if you want your story reviewed under this new system or the old one.

    This change comes of necessity. Currently, stories submitted to Equestria Daily go to a central fanfiction account manned by a subset of the pre-readers. These "ficboxers" are responsible for forwarding submissions to the rest of the mailing list to receive judgment.

    Ficboxers are also responsible for issuing pre-emptive rejections, or "automoons", to stories with significant structural shortcomings. You've received an automoon any time your rejection comes back signed by "The EqD Pre-readers" instead of an individual handle like "Pre-reader CouchCrusader."

    This preliminary rejection process can add weeks to the response time of a story, as we are in effect giving a story more than one decision per submission attempt. By switching to bullet points for feedback, we can cut the automoon phase out of the submission process. Pre-readers will get to see stories much sooner with ficboxer discretion removed from the equation. With the burden of preparing mini-essays for each rejection lifted, many pre-readers will be able to review a story and compile a list of issues in 10-20 minutes. With school starting back up for many of us, this convenience becomes crucial.

    We understand that you may be disappointed that we have to cut our feedback so drastically. We will still answer any questions you have regarding any rejections, but you should save that pre-reader email until you've given our concerns adequate thought and redress.

    In the end, the pre-readers' primary purpose is to determine which stories are written well enough to show the readers of Equestria Daily. We provide feedback only to give context to our decisions to reject certain stories and minimize accusations of bias. There are a zillion other groups out there ready and able to give your writing more thorough treatments than we ever could.

    As we have in the past, we'll continue to show stories we're unsure about to other pre-readers who might be more sympathetic to ensure yours always has the best chance of passing. We promise oversight is alive and well within our ranks, and we know what we're doing.

    In the end, we needed to shift some of the responsibility of posting stories on Equestria Daily back to you, the authors. Much as we want to help, we can't carry you all the way to a blog post if we're to post the best of the best. Take the initiative to find help on your own, whether you ask people in real life or online, so that the stories you send us are as close to publishable as possible. You'll grow much more as a writer that way, and you might even be inspired to help those who come after you once you see some of your past mistakes reflected in their writing, too.