Tips For Tagging Your Fanfiction

Ashley Marie

Headmaster
Staff member
Tags for Fanfiction can be as important as the content you’re creating, in terms of marketing your work. The right tags can bring in readers and the wrong ones can dissuade them. We like to think less is more here. If you look at blogs, forums, and other social media sites, when fanfiction readers talk about finding great stories - many say that too many tags, or the wrong tags, can stop them from reading a story at all.

Here are some points to remember when tagging your fanfiction.


Tagging Characters

The type of Fanfiction you’re writing has a direct correlation with the number of tags necessary to classify your work. However, not every single character has to have a tag. We recommend tagging main characters, up to 10, per story.

You can use additional tags if you feel that the presence of extra characters may have an impact on what readers would be drawn into your story. The cleaner and easier the tag list is to read, the more approachable your story becomes.

Tagging Relationships

When tagging relationships, readers prefer knowing what main pairings are going on within your Fanfiction. If other relationships are mentioned, but not focused upon, it’s not always necessary to tag them in the main story.

Again, using additional tags is always an option if there's a background relationship you think may entice or turn off potential readers.

Tagging Plot Points

The main point of your plot should be tagged, without giving away too much information. Soulmate, enemies to lovers, friends to lovers, etc. are good basic tags to use. These can help readers find their favorite genre of fanfic without learning too much about the story at first.

Tagging Trigger Words

Another important point when tagging is to mention anything that may be too much for some readers. Mention specific kinks, non-con scenes, violence, etc. Trigger words are a good idea to tag to allow readers to see what’s coming up within a story.

What tips do you recommend when tagging fanfiction stories? How do you decide which characters/relationships/plot points to tag? Share your tips with us.
 

Kamiccola

Member
Tagging Plot Points

The main point of your plot should be tagged, without giving away too much information. Soulmate, enemies to lovers, friends to lovers, etc. are good basic tags to use. These can help readers find their favorite genre of fanfic without learning too much about the story at first.

Tagging Trigger Words

Another important point when tagging is to mention anything that may be too much for some readers. Mention specific kinks, non-con scenes, violence, etc. Trigger words are a good idea to tag to allow readers to see what’s coming up within a story.
What is the suggested way of ”tagging” these?

Do you mean mentioning them in the story description?

Do you have plans to implement a tag system that would actually be searchable?
 

Ronnie Deaver

HPFF Logistical CoFounder
Staff member
What is the suggested way of ”tagging” these?

Do you mean mentioning them in the story description?

Do you have plans to implement a tag system that would actually be searchable?
Hey there! Thanks for the great question - implementing a tagging system, and in general, overhauling the search function is on our project list.

We want to find a balance between the chaos on Ao3 [Though very effectively managed by hundreds of volunteers] and the heavy restriction on FFN/HPFF.

Figuring that out is going to be an exercise in elegance and heavy brain power lol.

We hope to get to this sometime in 2020 after our Fanfiction Writing Masterclass is launched.

I'll leave it to the wonderful @Ashley Marie to answer further questions about utilizing the site as it is today.

Cheers,
-Ronnie

Ronnie Deaver
FFR/HPFF Logistical Co-Founder
 

Kamiccola

Member
We want to find a balance between the chaos on Ao3 [Though very effectively managed by hundreds of volunteers] and the heavy restriction on FFN/HPFF.

Figuring that out is going to be an exercise in elegance and heavy brain power lol.

We hope to get to this sometime in 2020 after our Fanfiction Writing Masterclass is launched.
That's great to hear.

The number of allowed tags and their flexibility is definitely very debatable. It's easy to overdo it on AO3. I think maybe separating all tags from displayed tags could help with that.

Or having a limit on number of freeform tags - but then we’d need to have a system to request additions to the standard tags.
 

Blue Kat

Moderator
This thread is giving me flashbacks to my cataloging courses in grad school. Controlled vocabulary and folksonomies, oh my!

I do like that there's differentiation between primary and secondary relationships on HPFF. That has been a point of frustration for me on other sites.
 

Ashley Marie

Headmaster
Staff member
This thread is giving me flashbacks to my cataloging courses in grad school. Controlled vocabulary and folksonomies, oh my!

I do like that there's differentiation between primary and secondary relationships on HPFF. That has been a point of frustration for me on other sites.
It's a big frustration for me as well, I appreciate the clarity here and, as Ronnie said above, we've got plans for the next year to make everything much clearer and easier to access for our wonderful community.
 

Blue Kat

Moderator
It's a big frustration for me as well, I appreciate the clarity here and, as Ronnie said above, we've got plans for the next year to make everything much clearer and easier to access for our wonderful community.
There are few things worse than the finding what you think is a fic about a rare pairing, only to realize that the relationship amounts to the narrator being like "Oh, and Fred and Hermione were dating. That's all I have to say on that. Anyway, back to Ginny and Draco..."

That all sounds excellent! Looking forward to seeing what you all come up with!
 
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