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Do You Read Author's Notes?

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I've found such varied content and networking elements in Author's notes. Especially when I come to a long story I get all sorts of details on reception over time. There are times when it becomes a conversation: "I know you'll think this but be patient", "I'm really glad so many people liked X", or you also get timestamps about the author's life -- illness, travel, time spent on another story, as well as references to wank. Since I do virtually all my fic reading via eReader, which has limited "scanning" space, I almost inevitably have to see author's notes, particularly when they are inserted in each chapter. I find they create a "being right there" thing.

There might be a difference in content between notes at the beginning and those at the end. A lot of times I do see the end notes used to link to supplementary content or material used. A lot of times the notes at the beginning are directed at the readers (thanks for the response, delays in posting installments, meant to do something in this chapter but it's been delayed, etc.) I find I am most likely to read vid notes, largely because (at least to me) it is often less clear what a vidder might be going for vs a written work. I don't know as I often get that much from art notes which remains mysterious to me since so much of it now involves software programs.

I found myself thinking about them when looking at a fanfic reading chart because it surprised me that they weren't mentioned as part of the experience. It's certainly something that does not exist in published fiction, at least not in the same form. Very often there are obligatory acknowledgments and, depending on the type of book, there might by an end section discussing what liberties have been taken with history or offering a brief bibliography and further details such as maps or family charts, etc. It's a cost cutting measure, I suspect, that even these are unusual. I can think of few other indicators that fanworks exist in a community setting as clear as the direct back and forth among creators and viewers.

And it seems like many book readers do not read additional content in the book, whether at the beginning or end.

I decided to see whether it was common that fans read them in fanfic. There were 37 participants in the poll.

Do you read Author's Notes?

22 (59.5%)

Some but not in every chapter
4 (10.8%)

For some stories but not others
5 (13.5%) *

On occasion
2 (5.4%)

4 (10.8%)

Do you read a Vidder's Notes?

18 (52.9%)

For some vids but not others
8 (23.5%) *

On occasion
6 (17.6%)

2 (5.9%)

Do you read an Artist's Notes?

17 (47.2%)

For some works but not others
9 (25.0%) *

On occasion
4 (11.1%)

6 (16.7%)

Do you read a Podficcer's Notes?

11 (44.0%)

For some works but not others
2 (8.0%) *

On occasion
3 (12.0%)

9 (36.0%)

If you do read Notes for any of the above, how come?

I find them fun
22 (62.9%)

I like getting to know the creator
26 (74.3%) *

I find them informative
32 (91.4%) *

I learn how to do my own work by reading what others say
8 (22.9%)

It increases my sense of community
14 (40.0%)

Something else I'll mention in comments
1 (2.9%)

If you don't read Notes for some or any of the above, how come?

I don't have time
5 (27.8%) *

I don't find them interesting
7 (38.9%)

I find them distracting
4 (22.2%) *

I find them annoying
3 (16.7%)

I don't want to know more about the creator
2 (11.1%)

Something else I'll mention in comments
5 (27.8%)

Additional Comments:

When I don't read the notes it's usually because the work itself didn't make a strong impression on me. If I liked a work I will usually read the notes, and often find it rewarding to do so. There's definitely a different feel to author's notes on a work that's being posted chapter-by-chapter, especially if they're asking for audience feedback on the direction of the story as it progresses.

My primary reason for reading creator's notes is "well of course I read the notes, why wouldn't I" xD. It's partly the things you mention, partly habit, partly just... if you put a piece of writing in front of me, I'm hard-pressed not to read it. I also find that beginning notes can give me some idea what to expect, and end notes can prolong the experience of the work for a little longer.

I only don't read podficcers' notes because I can't recall ever checking out a podfic -- but if I did, I would. As a creator, notes are just a thing I feel compelled to include, and I would think that goes for whatever is being created. AO3's template is a strong inducement, as well.

I sometimes read the notes on fics, and sometimes don't. If they're super long, I honestly probably won't read them, unless it's an author I'm really interested in. But some people's notes are better than others. If you're linking me to obscure facts that were mentioned in the chapter (many times this is a thing with Hannibal fic, as Hannibal himself enjoys obscure references), cool. If you're going on about what the chapter 'revealed' and what each part of it meant, I skip it. If the writing is good, you shouldn't need a note at the end explaining it.

I mean, author's notes are usually Right There, but if I'm, say, watching a vid on mobile YouTube or an embedded video, I'd have to go digging for the vidder's notes. I read cereal boxes. If there's text in front of me, I will generally read it. I do enjoy author's notes, for fun and community. Sometimes people get quite creative with them. ^^