How to become a popular fanfiction author on ao3


Archive of our Own (AO3) is a revolutionary platform for fanfiction writers, where they can both share their work with a global community and interact closely with their readers. With millions of fanworks from thousands of fandoms, the competition is high and being noticed as a fanfiction author could be challenging. Here are a few tips to help you on the journey of becoming a popular fanfiction author on AO3.

1. Understand AO3’s Expectations

The first and foremost step in your journey towards popularity is understanding the expectations of AO3's audience. These aren’t hard and fast rules but general guidelines based on common trends observed in the fanfiction community.

How to become a popular fanfiction author on ao3

Avoid explicit content, hate speech or violence unless it is integral to the storyline and appropriately tagged. Mature or graphic fanfictions should be clearly marked. Remember, AO3 operates by the policy of "choose not to warn"; the readers should knowingly choose to engage with perhaps discomforting storylines.

2. Choose your Fandom Strategically

Selecting your fandom wisely can significantly affect your recognition as a fanfiction author. Opt for an active fandom where there’s a balance between the demand for new fanworks and supply of it. A larger fandom may have more readers but also more competition. Meanwhile, a smaller fandom may appreciate new writings but may have a smaller pool of readers.

A successful strategy could be to dwell in more than one fandom. Understand, however, that each fandom has its own culture, customs, and relationship dynamics, which you need to respect and address.

3. Create Original and Engaging Content

It goes without saying that originality is key in any creative work, and it's no different in fanfiction. Create plots and storylines that are unique or connect with your target audience personally.

Making your stories engaging is also important. This might involve cliffhanger endings, making your readers hyper-curious, or unveiling surprising plot twists that keep your reputation as an author intriguing.

4. Work on your Writing Skills

In order to hold your readers' attention and convey your ideas effectively, you need to hone your writing skills. This includes improving your grammar, expanding your vocabulary, and learning various prose styles.

A good exercise could be to reproduce your favorite fanfictions in your style. Additionally, reading extensively and uniquely can groom your language and understanding of storytelling.

And More Tips...

The journey doesn’t end here. Further strategies include regularly updating your stories to keep a structured plot line, networking with influencers or big authors in your chosen fandom, investing time and effort in crafting good summaries and tags for your works, responding to feedback and comments, being patient and persevering, and, most importantly, doing it for love rather than glory.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I start writing a fanfiction on AO3?
To start, you need an invitation to join AO3. Once you've got that, click on "Post New" and you'll be directed to a page to begin your fanfiction. It's helpful to have a clear plan for your storyline before you start writing.

2. What does it mean to tag appropriately on AO3?
Tagging appropriately means labeling your fanfiction with relevant tags for your theme, plotline, genre, characters, and so on. Be as specific as possible so readers can find your story if they're looking for something specific.

3. What makes a fanfiction popular?
Several factors influence the popularity of a fanfiction- the fandom, the originality and engagement of the storyline, writing skills, how well it is tagged, and how frequently it's updated.

Becoming a popular fanfiction author demands a commitment that goes beyond just writing. Reflect upon these tips, implement them, and make your way through popularity on AO3. Happy writing!


1. “Fanfiction 101: A beginners guide to the art and lingo of fanfiction.�Achona Online,

2. “How to Write Popular Fanfiction.�Author Learning Center,

3. “Tips for writing fan fiction with an OC (Original Character).�Writers Stack Exchange,

Explore your companion in WeMate