A Brief Introduction
D/HR Advent began in 2011, after the closing of the dramione_advent community. The fest has been running for six years, from 2011 to 2016. It's inspired by seasonal Advent calendars, where one small gift is available every day from December 1 through December 24.
Mods through the years:
2011: Jela_Ow, kyri07, and Boundbooks.
2012: Jela_Ow, justamuggle, and Boundbooks.
2013: Boundbooks with daily posting assistance of SlytherinGurrl(Esgee) and Musyc.
2014-2016: SlytherinGurrl(Esgee) and Musyc.
Esgee is primarily responsible for:
collecting and counting nominations
Musyc is primarily responsible for:
double-checking nomination counts
checking works – completion status, word count, formatting/HTML
doing the daily posts/weekly round-ups
All works are hosted and revealed on Archive Of Our Own. News, nomination period announcements, daily posts, etc. are all posted to LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, and Tumblr.
(NB: Any and all percentages in this post may have a small +/- variance due to how Excel rounds numbers. Or due to my usual method of begging someone else to do the math. I crunch numbers as a last resort. If there’s an arithmetic error, I apologize. -- Musyc)
Questions and Answers
We know that our nomination process is mostly behind the scenes, so here’s a look at how we do things.
How do you decide who is invited?
We invite participants based on number of nominations. After the nomination period is over, we sort all names in a spreadsheet and sort by frequency. Our invitation process is purely by the numbers.
On average, any person with 3 or more nominations will receive an automatic (1st wave) invitation. This typically accounts for the first 10 people to be invited. The 2nd wave invitations go to the group with 2 nominations.
If we do not have 24 potential invitees at that point, we go to the group of 1 nominations. We take that list of names, put it into a randomizer website, and go down the list that is generated.
How many people can get nominated?
As many as you like. There is no restriction on how many names you can nominate or how many we'll accept. One name, twenty names – it's up to you. Our lowest nomination year had 45 nominees; our highest year had 112.
Who gets nominated?
A huge variety of people! We've had 188 people nominated over six years. A few people get nominated frequently - 7 names have been nominated 15 or more times, 3% of all nominees over time. (One person has been nominated almost 30 times!) And 70 people have been nominated by 1 person, 1 time. An additional 34 have been nominated twice. 55% of all nominees have been nominated just 1 or 2 times.
How does a person get nominated?
We primarily use an online site called Typeform. It asks for a nominee's name and contact information, and marks each submission with a unique ID. That way we can verify that one submission doesn't accidentally list the same nominee twice. (The second nomination is not counted in the rare event that happens.)
The Typeform accounts for all but three or four submissions every year we've used it. We'll also take screened comments on LJ/DW and emails to the mod address. Tumblr messages are highly unreliable and unlikely to be received, due to Tumblr's stripping of messages with links, but we'll take those if you have no other way to nominate.
Can I nominate myself? Can I nominate my friends? Can I ask people to nominate me?
That's a little against the spirit of things, isn't it? But we probably wouldn't know.
Sure, go ahead. That's how a lot of people get nominated.
Sure, go ahead. Again, we send invitations based on number of nominations, so the more times a person is nominated, the more likely they'll get invited.
How do you invite a nominee?
That depends! We ask for contact information with every nomination. Email address, Hawthorn and Vine username, LiveJournal or Dreamwidth username, etc. Email address is best. It's the easiest and quickest way for us to contact someone. We try everything we have to get our invitations sent.
You can help us by being sure to list all the contact information you know when you make a nomination. The more reliable and complete the contact info is, the better. (Email is great and H&V PMs are usually reliable. Tumblr asks and ff.net PMs have a bad track record and are a method we’d prefer to avoid if we can.)
I know a writer got enough nominations to be invited, so why weren't they in the fest?
There are a couple of reasons why an invitee might not participate, and those are out of our hands. They may have declined the invitation. They may never have responded to the invitation. Or they didn't actually get enough nominations.
If a nominee has enough votes to be invited, we send out an invitation. Period. Brand-new, long-term, writer, artist, posts in a dozen places, only posts on one site – it doesn't matter to us. Invitations are 100% based on number of nominations, and we do not allow any personal considerations to apply.
Why does a mod automatically get in?
We don't. In order for Esgee or Musyc to participate, we must (A) have sufficient nominations to be invited, or (B) take a short-notice pinch-hit. Short-notice is defined as “the fest has already started posting and extension deadlines have passed”. Musyc has been invited every year, with the exception of 2014, and took a short-notice pinch-hit that year. Esgee has pinch-hit twice.
We don't want to take pinch-hits! We want all available spots to go to a nominee. If a mod takes a pinch-hit, either we did not have enough volunteers or we had less than five days to get a completed work posted. In the week before Christmas, getting pinch-hitters is very difficult. :/ A mod may pinch-hit on short notice in order to guarantee a complete, compliant work is available to be posted all 24 days of the Advent fest, but it’s never a first choice.
Why do you need pinch-hitters?
It depends. Various reasons over the years have included participants who need to drop out due to offline reasons, participants who ask for extensions but stop communicating with us without submitting a work, or participants who do not adhere to the fest rules.
How do you select pinch-hitters?
It depends. Some years, people contact us and volunteer to pinch-hit before we even need one. Some years, we need to ask for pinch-hitters. We take volunteers on a first-come basis. Fortunately, our invitees have always been very excited to participate! Declines and drop-outs are uncommon.
How do you decide what gets posted when?
Musyc is responsible for revealing and posting works. The schedule depends on several factors, with rating and length most important. We try to keep higher-rated works to the weekends, when fewer people may be reading at their jobs. :) And we try to spread out the distribution of lengths, so that shorter or longer works are not all bunched together. Works are not posted in order of submission, but if a participant requests a particular day, we will do our best to accommodate that.ri
The rules say works must be under 5000 words, so why are some longer?
We allow a little bit of “wiggle room” in the word cap. We know that AO3 may count words differently than a writer's word processing program of choice. Sometimes section breaks will alter the count. Sometimes a writer will include chapter headings, quotes and epigrams, and other things that are counted by AO3 as “words”, but that aren't actually “fic”. We try to accommodate for those circumstances while the fest is running but we do ask that fics be no more than 5000 words if at all possible.
After the fest is over, an author is welcome to extend or expand their fic in any way they choose. A fic that was under the word count on December 24th might be well above it on December 25th, and that's just fine.
It seems like there are a lot of repeat participants. How many people are new to the fest?
Ooh, we’re glad you asked. We’ve put some numbers together. See the next section!
Numbers and Statistics
This table lists the total number of nominees per year and the number of nominees who were nominated for the first time ever. The last column is the percentage of first-time nominees.
Each year, we anticipate 24 unique participants. Three years (2011, 2012, and 2014), a person already participating volunteered to take a pinch-hit. In 2013, we had 25 participants, as starduchess recorded a podfic as a gift to the fest.
This table lists the total number of participants each year and how many were participating for the first time ever. The last column is the percentage of first-time participants. Discounting 2011, when everyone was new, the average (or mean) percentage of first-time participants is 37%.
The following table shows how many people each year received a particular number of nominations. Example: in 2013, 6 people received 4 nominations each. In 2016, 41 people received 1 nomination each.
** 2013 had one name nominated by 10 people, the only instance ever with a count that high, so they are being counted in the 7s.
67 different people have participated over 6 years of the fest. Most participants are brand-new or mostly new. 81% of participants have been in the fest 3 or fewer times. 19% have been in 4 or more times. 4% have participated all 6 years, 55% have participated once.
Full breakdown of years participated, and number of participants.
1 year - 37
2 years - 11
3 years - 6
4 years - 3
5 years - 7
6 years - 3
We would like to present a special nod to scarlettcat, who is the only participant to have been nominated and invited every single year. (Eilonwy and Musyc have both taken a pinch-hit in a year they were not nominated and/or invited to participate.)
188 individual people have been nominated over 6 years. Again, most nominees are brand-new or mostly new. 84% of nominees have been nominated 3 or fewer years. A small handful (16%) of nominees have been nominated 4 or more years.
Full breakdown of years nominated and number of nominees.
1 year - 82
2 years - 38
3 years - 37
4 years - 11
5 years - 14
6 years - 6
Hat-tip acknowledgement belongs to the six people who have been nominated every year: eilonwy, geewhiz/itsbeenvery, mister_otter, phlox, riptey, and scarlettcat.
To conclude, Esgee and Musyc are very grateful to all our nominators, nominees, invitees, authors, artists, pinch-hitters, readers, commenters, rebloggers, reccers! We appreciate the Dramione fans who have been with the fest since the beginning and we doubly appreciate every new fan. Thank you so much for the past six years of the fest, and we hope you’ll join us in 2017! Nominations will start in September!