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  • Zoë

Organizing your fanfiction library

Over the time I've been interested in fanfiction, I've read thousands of them, and keeping those thousands of fanfics organized when I download them all isn't easy.


I recently conducted a poll on my Twitter to see how my followers consumed their fanfiction, and boy was I surprised when the vast majority of voters said they just use the web browser to read. Ever since I discovered the magic that is Archive Of Our Own, I've exclusively downloaded my fics as ePubs.



I usually download them on my laptop and they go into my iBooks, which is backed up to the Cloud, so then I have access to all those fics on my phone and iPad as well. Having them downloaded also means I can read while offline, and as someone who lives in a city and takes public transit a lot, that comes in handy. I also love how the ePubs keep track of where I've left off reading because if I get tired of a certain fic and need to switch it up in the middle, I can still come back to it and don't have to remember exactly where I was.


When I download fics, I also tend to do it in bulk. So I'll search for a new fic to read, and download any that jump out to me, so when I finish one, I don't have to go right back to searching for the next one. It's already waiting in my library.


I'm not sure if my gushing has convinced any browser-readers to give downloading a shot, but if so, I'll give you a peek at how I organize all my ebooks.


Once I started reading exclusively on AO3 and downloading all the fanfics I was reading, I realized my iBooks library was getting a little messy, so I started separating ones I'd read from ones I hadn't. I also keep separate folders for different fandoms—I even used to organize them by word count, but that got too complicated at a certain point.


When I only read 1D, I had folders titled with word counts in increments of 20k up to about 150k, when I switched to increments of 50k. Within those folders, I also organized the ebooks in order of word count—low to high. It was really convenient when I only read for one fandom, but doing that for multiple fandoms would have driven me nuts.


On my laptop, I had a couple thousand fanfic ebooks just from a few years of reading—I had no way of keeping track of the fanfics I had read previously on 1DFF or Tumblr. But then about two years ago, I had an issue with my Cloud and lost basically all the fics I had downloaded over four years. I still had about 100 that I had loved so much that I saved on my external hard drive, but other than that, I was starting my collection from scratch.

I almost didn't start my collections again, just leaving all my newly downloaded fics in a general folder like a heathen, but I quickly got overwhelmed with keeping unread and read ones clear and figuring out what fandoms each was without having to open them all. So I started my collection all over again. Right now, I have over 1,000 fics in my various read folders and a couple hundred in my unread folders. I'm very slowly refilling my library, but it did suck a lot to lose my old one.


As I come across fics I know I've read before, I tend to download them anyway so I can try to gather as many of the ones I lost as I can.


I currently have some folders that are empty (both unread and read) because I either haven't come across any new ones I want to read or because I completely lost that collection and haven't found them again to refill it, but I keep the folders still to remind myself of those fandoms I used to read for, in case I ever get tired of my main fandoms and want something different.


Losing my collection, while awful, was actually kind of a blessing in disguise. It allowed me to really reorganize my library to favor multiple fandoms rather than when it was based around just one. Previously, I only had one folder for fics I had read, so all the fandoms were crammed in there together, which was really inconvenient when I was looking for a specific fic I had read. I still wish I could find all the fics I lost, but I really like how I have my library organized now. I even have a folder for fanfics that I started reading, but abandoned for a new fic (even though I know the odds of me going back to reading those are slim to none, oops).


How do you organize your fanfiction? Do you organize them at all? Are you going to try out downloading your fics now?