Newbie Guide to Posting Your Fanfiction on LJ

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How do you post your fanfic on LiveJournal??
lolaann1 wrote in fanfic_howto
When I first came to lj, I was very puzzled by the way fanfic worked here. I was used to the archive sites such as and this was so very different. I had to stumble around and wished there was a place where I could learn the basics. So, this is my attempt to pay it forward and help out those of you who are in the same boat.

The Basics

You post your fanfics as a journal entry. There is no uploading a story/chapter feature type of thing. You just choose the link 'Post to Journal'. Typically you only post the full text of the story to your personal journal and then link back to it on any community postings, but we'll get to that later.

Subject: The subject is usually the title of the fic. A fairly standard format for that is: Fic: "Title of Your Story Here" (Name of fandom(s) Example --  Fic: "A Really Great Title" (Supernatural)

Header: The header goes right before the body of your story and is pretty much mandatory if you want anyone to actually read your stuff. Most communities have their own suggested format, but I use a standard one that has so far seemed to please the mods anywhere I post.  That format is below, feel free to copy/paste.

Title: Story title obviously (Chapter # if is multi-chapter story)
Fandom(s): List of fandoms in your story
Characters: Characters of focus go here
Pairing(s): Example -- 'Alice/Bob' or if no pairing put 'Gen'
Rating: The MPAA movie rating system is commonly used for this (G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17) These are pretty subjective. Normally I err on the side of caution.  Here's a link that explains that a little further. MPAA Ratings
Summary: A few sentences to draw the reader in and give them an idea of what your story is about.
Genre: Examples -- Comedy, Angst, Adventure, Slash, Het, Romance, Alternate Universe, Smut, Hurt/Comfort ... etc.
Warnings: This is for SPOILERS or anything sensitive that may upset or trigger readers. Examples: rape/noncon/dubcon, suicide, child abuse, major character death, graphic violence, torture, kinks such as bondage or S&M, etc.
Word count: approximate wordcount

The Story Itself: As far as posting the text of your story, you have two options (Rich text & HTML). In my case, I usually have my fics already written in Word or already stored on another site. If I copy and paste my stories into the 'Rich Text' window, I generally get to keep all my pre-existing formatting (italics, bold, centered, etc.). If you copy and paste into the HTML window, you will lose that stuff and will have to use html tags or edit it in the Rich Text Window. Tags are easy to use if you're not familiar with them. I could do a tutorial, but it's probably best to just Google 'basic HTML tags'. The text of your story should always go underneath a LiveJournal Cut or LJ Cut as they're often called. That's very easy to do. 

From the HTML tab: put the beginning tag <lj-cut> at the beginning of your story text and the ending tag </lj-cut> at the end. 
From the Rich Text tab: Highlight the story and then click the LiveJournal Cut option at the top of the window (to the left of the thumbs up/ LJ Like option).  

Multi-Chapter Stories

Multi-chapter stories can be a challenge on lj if you're not used to posting here. Typically each chapter will be it's own journal entry. Next to the story title you will usually put the chapter number. Example -- Chapter 1 of 10 and so forth, or if it's a WIP and you don't know how many chapters it will be Chapter 1 of ?.

WARNING: If it's a multi-chapter story that you are posting all at once, it is best to wait a day or two between posting chapters. Otherwise you run the risk of spamming and thus irritating those on your friends list (flist).

Multi-Chapter Tips & Tricks: You want to make it as easy as possible for people to read your story. One thing that is much appreciated is a link at the bottom of each chapter that will lead the reader to the next chapter. A Masterpost for a story is also a good idea. The masterpost is one Journal Entry that contains the header info for the story and then a link to each chapter. 

Posting to a Community

Unless you have a ton of individuals as friends or you only want select people to read your stories, posting to a Community is your best bet. The best way to find Communities is to go the Master List of Fandoms  hosted by the community newbieguideWhen you click on a particular fandom you'll see a list of communities many of which are typically devoted to fanfiction. Take some time and browse through the different coms and choose a few that you think fit your story. Some large fandoms will have dozens of fanfic coms, but I wouldn't advise crossposting to all of them.  Choose 3 or so that fit best and seem active. Otherwise, you are yet again risking being labeled an annoying spammer.

How to Post to a Community: First you have to join. Most have open membership. Be sure to read the community rules, which are often located under the 'User Info' link at the top of the page.  Once you're a member, you post much the same way as you do when posting to your own journal, EXCEPT you don't normally post the actual text of the story in the com itself. You just put the Title and the Header info and then a link to the story on your livejournal page.  To get the address for the link: Click on the title of your entry and copy the address from the top (will begin with 'http://').  That is the url/address you want to copy and use to create a link in a community.

How to do a link? I usually do links in the HTML window. Here's the format:

<a href="full url of your story here">Title of Story Here</a>


you can do them in the Rich Text/Visual Editor by typing the title of your story, highlighting it, clicking on the url button (little planet icon) and then pasting the url there.

That should cover the basics. If you have questions, feel free to comment on this post or PM me LolaAnn at my journal  lolaann1 on't worry, I don't bite ;-)

Link to Dictionary of Fanfic Terms (will take you off lj)

I just joined, and I had no idea how to navigate everything or what the etiquette was for posting. You're a lifesaver! Thanks a ton for taking the time to do this.

Re: you are awesome

No problem, glad I could help :)

Edited at 2012-03-28 02:17 pm (UTC)

sorry, still confused

LJ is so frustrating to me. Okay, so ... if I copy/paste my text into the RTF window, then click the LJCut icon, it posts my text to my own private journal? I have a 24,000 word story. It's saying my post is too large. How much can I put in one post? Am I confined to just one chapter per day to completely post it? Also, what do I fill out on the bottom. Tags? do i make those up? the comments etc? Do I just leave those to LJ Default?

Thank you so much for opening this comm. Very helpful!

Dear Looaann1,
As a total newbie to both the LJ site & concept of FanFiction,
I thank you for your clarity & charity to us Newguys!

Where would I go to read Your FF?


No problem. Thought I'd pay it forward a little since I found it so confusing when I first came here.

My FF can all be found on my livejournal page. If you click on my username lolaann1, it will take you there. It's very Supernatural-centric, but if you're into that show hopefully you'll find something you like :)

OMG THANK YOU! Sorry for the hysterics, but I joined LJ and was already nervous enough about posting a fanfic I'd been working on, and then there was the fear of doing it incorrectly... which happened anyway. The FAQ that LJ provides was less than helpful, and I really needed this advice.

Np. Glad I could help. It is very confusing here at first.

Hi, im sorry, but what do you mean by giving them the link to the text not the lj cut? so can i don't use lj cut?

Yes, you always want to use an lj-cut for entries on your journal (unless they are very, very short). But if you're linking back to an entry on your journal from a community, you don't want the user to have to click twice to view your story. Once they click on the link to read your story in a community, they should be taken to your journal and see the entire story instead of having to click another link.

IMHO it's not such a huge deal to make two clicks, but I've seen complaints about it before. So, when you create the link in a community you want to use the url/address that points to the text that is hidden beneath the lj cut.

To get that url, go to your journal page and click the lj-cut link to view the entire text of your story. That is the address you need to copy and link to.

Hope that makes sense.

How do I get it to look like this?

I've looked everywhere but I can't find anything or figure it out :/

Not real sure what you're asking specifically. It looks to me like the author formatted their story in something like Word and then copied and pasted their text into the Rich Text window. If you do that it should preserve all your formatting. Hope that helps.

This will help me so much in the future. thank you! lol

You're amazing! Thank you so much for the help! :D

I just joined and following your guidelines have tried to post a fanfiction that I wrote. But it still continues to say "Error updating journal: Client error: Post too large." I tried it under the HTML tab and the Rich Text tab but neither have worked. PLEASE HELP!!!

Edited at 2013-01-13 05:54 am (UTC)

There is a limit on the number of characters. I don't know the exact limit, but it's not really helpful to know because it only applies to plain text. Any sort of formatting (bold, italics, special fonts) takes extra characters. You will have to split your post into at least two posts. I've found that around 10,000 words is about the most I can get in one and that's without any art. Hope that helps.

Hi I was wondering, when you post a link to your multi-chapter story in a community, is it okay to post a new link there for every chapter or should you just do it once and then link the chapters together as you post them to your own lj? I feel a little attention seeking posting a new link every day... xD thank you.

Re: multi chapter story

If it is an ongoing story and these are new, previously unposted chapters then yes, definitely, post a link. That's probably the only way those reading will know there's a new chapter out. Hope that helps. :)

This is really cute. :)

You may want to mention that both firefox and chrome have LJ add on's. You can then right click most of the codes. Firefox had more options, but chrome is handy as well. I have used both and am now on chrome for life ;)

I did not know about that! I'll have to check those out. Do you just google to find them or are they somewhere on lj?

Seriously, I've been avoiding LJ like the plague for years because I've never been able to find a useful enough guide for how to get my fic going here--but now I know. Thank you!

Re: you are

Glad I could help :D

Oh this was super helpful! But i have a question. When you view posts or fics sometimes the background is from someone's journal and sometimes it looks like a separate page, like the background is white. Idk if you know what I'm talking about but how do you do that?

I think I love you a little

I just got here and am so lost I have lost the ability to find my toes.

This is extremely helpful, thank you so much. You organized it very well and made it really clear.

Any ideas how I get how get people read my fanfiction once I post it? Is there an efficient way to navigate LJ to find certain types of fanfiction to read?

Re: I think I love you a little

I'm so glad this helped and I'm sorry for such a late reply. There's been a lot going on and I haven't had much time for play :(

As far as an "efficient" way to find fanfic on lj to read - there really isn't a great one. It's fairly cumbersome at first tbqh. Your best bet is communities based around your preferred fandom(s). Check out the list of fandoms/communities at Everything here revolves around communities, so join a few that suit your interests.

Also look for 'newsletters' in the list of communities. They produce daily/weekly posts that usually list all the fanfic by genre. Not all fandoms have these, but most of the larger ones do. You can also do a search for tags that are commonly used. For example, a pairing, i.e. 'Bob/Alice' or a genre, i.e. 'slash'.

I hope that helps.



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