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Fanfiction: Big Business or Just Plain Creepy.
I am not the first person to write about this topic. Just from a general Google search, I found at least 100 popular articles on the subject. I could talk about this like they did, but I am going to speak from experience and my feelings on the topic.
Fanfiction, as the new publishing frontier, freaks me out.
I came to this scientific opinion, after looking at this topic from writers, reader and marketing point of a writer.
Writer’s Point of View
I do not know if anyone out there in the void knows this, but I like to write. I have been writing for as long as I can remember. Short stories. Abandoned novels. For fun. For writing classes. Now I am attached to one idea I have been working on since high school. An original idea.
Before that, I would write fanfiction. Yes, if you go looking you might find some of my work on fanfiction.net. You know the old person place to post fanfiction. Some of my earliest writings were focused around television shows or books. In fact, I wrote a full Stephanie Tanner novelization. If you are too young, back in the heyday of Full House, there were novelizations of the adventures of Stephanie and Michelle Tanner. I read enough novels to recreate my own. I guess you can say it was my first fanfiction. Stop laughing. It’s not funny. Ok, it is a little funny.
From a writer’s standpoint, I am perfectly fine with fanfiction. I think it is an excellent way to learn character development, plot structure and a universe that is already situated and waiting for new stories. I’m a huge fan of using that to practice. When writers start changing names and selling their stories, I’m not a huge fan anymore. All they did was take that structured universe created by someone else, change the names and make money. That just seems lazy.
Create your own universe. Create your own characters. Do not take from others. If I had someone, just use my characters, my universe and make money off it? I would not be happy as an author. Use my characters for practice not to make money off my hard work.
Sadly, I would not have any control. According to one article I read, fanfiction can exist because, under U.S. copyright law, fanfiction could be transforming the original work, which makes it legal to sell and profit.
This just does not apply to fictional worlds. There is a One Direction fanfiction story being published by Simon & Schuster. This fanfiction is not part of a fictionalized world. We are talking about real people. The fact that this story was being published and the author is making money off real human beings leaves me unsettled, to say the least.
Reader’s Point of View
I am a reader of fanfiction. Not as much as when I was, a high schooler but I still gravitate towards fanfiction now if a story seems incomplete for me. So many fanfiction writers out are amazing. Some are even better than the original authors are (sorry. it’s true). Looking at it that way, having those writers work published can only give us some good storytelling. However, for every good author, there are ten bad ones (EL James ring a bell?).
Getting attention to authors that typically would be pushed out or ignored through traditional publishing methods is a huge plus. Especially for us readers that are starving for some good storytelling. As a reader, it might be needed so that we have something to read that is not horrible.
Marketing Point of View
From a marketing point of view, publishing an average joes fanfiction makes the publishing world less elusive and attainable. Yes, even you, random writer on the internet, can become a multi-millionaire like EL James. Yeah. Not going to happen (she was an outlier) but publishing that fanfiction gives off an air that publishing houses are looking past traditional methods. Which makes them look more approachable.
In fact, in a Washington Post article Jennifer Bergstrom, vice president and publisher of Gallery Books has said, “fanfiction has absolutely become part of the fiber of what we publish…this is changing at a time when traditional publishing needs it most.”
It does make sense that publishing houses are looking beyond traditional methods. Especially since most people go looking for novels on the internet, whether it be through self-publishing or fictionpress.com, an offshoot of fanfiction.net (Old writings of mine might be on there too). Grabbing these writers and sharing in the profit before they self-publish makes sense.
It is also good public relations. Talking about where this writer was found, what the original fanfiction was about and how this particular author became famous in the internet world. It is a lot more interesting to sell that type of author than the traditional kind they came to the publishing house through conventional methods.
I guess fanfiction being published is good for readers and the publishing houses. I guess the authors or subjects of these fanfictions are the ones who lose. I feel like an identity was stolen. Fanfiction is okay to write when practicing or new to the world of writing. You are supposed to grow from that and start writing and creating your own worlds. Not make money off your favorite authors! It is creepy and annoys me to no end.
Fanfiction is a tricky subject. Everyone has an opinion on it. What’s yours? Share your views below or shoot over a tweet. I love to hear from all of you on this! Until next time, the randomness has ended. Hope you enjoyed the ride.