It's, like, 3:30AM. So this might not be as coherent as I'd like it to be, but I still think it's sort of important therefore wanted to pretend I was getting it down somewhere before I go off to bed.
Like any other fanfiction author, I thrive on reviews. Aside from role-play replies, nothing makes me happier than signing into my e-mail to discover notifications of reviews for my various stories. There's something so refreshing and nice about getting them! I firmly believe that author's should write for themselves, not the fandom, but you cannot beat the feeling of getting a review. I think a lot of readers really don't understand how awesome reviews are to get, even if they don't say much. Most fanfiction author's aren't asking for a massive critique of their style and characterization, just some inclination that you liked it. I've gotten reviews as short as "good job" that have made my day, and this is for a lot of different reasons.
One reason is that fanfiction authors, like any other type of author, put time into their fanfiction. Admittedly, we don't all put the same amount of work into it (I and some of my friends can have breakdowns over little things or spend months characterizing characters) but we all put work into it. We take some time out of our lives to write, edit, and upload it for other people's enjoyment. With the editing being optional. But! The point is that this stuff doesn't just spawn from no where. Someone actually gave up a small (or large) part of their life to write it down and share it with people who they thought could appreciate it. And, like any other feat, any gratification for that is absolutely wonderful. In that sense, I think it's appropriate to think of a lot of fanfiction writers as children that need their parents to praise them for every little thing they do.
Another reason is the amount sheer effort that can go into creating a fanfiction. From one shots to multi-chapter fics, there's some amount of thought going on behind the logic. Usually. Like any other member of fandom that reads, I've found my fair share of fanfictions that basically just do whatever the hell they want with whoever they want to do it with. It's unfortunate, but it's ultimately true. But in that sense, when you find a fanfiction that's worth adding to your favorites/alerts/bookmarks or whatever, all the more reason to review! Without those reviews, authors tend to feel like they're yet another insignificant writer that got something wrong somewhere along the way. I know that with all of my fanfiction I'm holding my breath until that first review lets me know that I did something right.. But I tend to be a spaz about getting my characters down right.
Now, on the flip side, not all authors are the same. Admittedly, some authors, for whatever high-and-mighty reasons, don't like getting reviews that just tell them "good job." Usually, with fanfiction, people aren't reading for style or originality - I mean, certainly they're elements of a good fanfiction but usually you read for the characters - but I digress. That's important to keep in mind because, at least personally, I don't necessarily want/need a massive critique on my fanfiction. It's definitely nice, I love it when it happens, but I just got done reading this author who basically shrieks both at the beginning and the end about wanting reviews and demanding to know what her readers like or don't like about the story. What's so wrong with enjoying it in silence?
I don't know. I'm very honored when people add my stories to their favorites/alerts or whatever! But I would be lying if I didn't say that I wished I had a few more reviews tacked onto that tally. You can make friends and discuss through reviews, you can't really do that when people just read and don't say anything. Plus, particularly with me, I'm not asking for much in a review. I mean, okay, please don't tell me what to do with my storyline or an alternate pairing you want to see. That's happened to both me and a friend and is, just, really annoying. : / One time someone reviewed a story just saying "wesker X jill" and that...was just stupid. So please don't do that. But! If you have the time, then I definitely recommend leaving a few nice words for the author.
We really appreciate it in the end. :'3