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What's with the name?

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Essay

Fifty Shades of Grey and the Twilight Pro-fic Phenomenon



Last year I wrote about my frustration with the publishing industry, and discussed ways for fandom to make a space for itself in the world of publishing and beyond. As it happens, the Twilight fandom was already way ahead of me: Fifty Shades of Grey, an erotic novel by E.L. James, is a NYT #1 bestseller and an e-book phenomenon that began its life as a hugely popular fanfic. With over 250,000 digital copies sold, the trilogy that opens with Fifty Shades recently sold print rights for 7 figures in an astronomical bidding war.

But Fifty Shades isn’t just “mommy porn,” as many have dismissively labeled it, purportedly due to its popularity with Manhattan wives and mothers. Fifty Shades is a phenomenon within a phenomenon within a phenomenon: that is, it’s the mega-hit from a group of successful published pro-fics which have all come out of the immense Twilight fandom.

Let’s get this out of the way up-front: changing the names, context, and setting to make your fanfic into something original, then publishing it, is 100% legal. Dear Author, which is conducting a sadly accusatory series on fanfic due to the success of Fifty Shades, has a current post on whether fictional characters are copyrightable; but its framework sidesteps the whole point of transferring fanfic to pro-fic, which is that when it’s done successfully, characters are unrecognizable and distinct from their literary predecessors. There are many famous instances of people having done this, and innumerably more instances of people having based their characters on pre-existing characters, though the works aren’t always labeled fanfic. Publishing fanfic as original fiction has been an acknowledged fan-practice for decades, though little-discussed outside of fandom or acknowledged within the publishing world.

But we’re not just talking coincidental one-offs in which a few Twilight fans filed off the serial numbers and published their fics on the downlow. No, we’re talking dozens of converted fics. We’re talking a steady and systematic pool of writers within the Twilight fandom that have gotten so good at churning out easily-convertible fanfiction that no less than three separate e-book publishers have been created by fans within the fandom specifically for the purpose of publishing these works of Twilight fanfic. One of these, Omnific Publishing, bills itself as “Romance Without Rules.” This tag is slightly misleading, because there are definitely rules to this sort of game–just maybe not ones you’ll find in the hallowed halls of traditional publishing. For one thing, the best fics-turned-originals don’t just do a find-and-replace; they provide new aspects of characterization and really do attempt to turn the universes and settings of the works of fiction into something new. For another, fandom authors get writing advice via feedback from fans and fan-editors called beta-readers. The best betas will help you make your original work even better–and most often, they’ll do it for free, out of love for your work, something you couldn’t guarantee with a professional editor, no matter how skilled.

After all, if you’re a fan looking for a repeat of the the emotional thrill ride you got from Bella and Edward’s journey to love, what better place to get it than from a huge group of other Twilight fans who want the exact same thing? And if you’re an aspiring author looking to build a fanbase, where better to go than a fandom that has thousands of voracious romance fans ready to provide you with encouragement, support, feedback, editors, fan-run publishing houses, and even a built-in fanbase ready to fork over a few bucks in exchange for all the delight you’ve provided them? Fandom’s ‘in-house’ presses remove the gatekeepers of publishing houses, provide you the means of getting your work out there, and send it directly to the audience for your work. And it’s a huge audience.

It’s a win-win. Such a win, in fact, that many authors have been coming to the Twilight fandom specifically to launch their careers by “workshopping” their writing within the Twilight fandom. This trend, in turn, furthers the Twilight fandom’s isolation from other fandoms, and creates an exclusive fannish experience that can leave those of us on the outside shaking our heads. But pro-fic isn’t exclusive to Twilight by any means, and as Cyndy Aleo points out in DA’s fanfiction round table, “the Twilight community…has done a lot of great things most people aren’t aware of. There are regular fundraisers, which have benefited everything from charities like Alex’s Lemonade Stand to those impacted by natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami in Japan last year. I want people to know that for most of us it’s a fun hobby, for many it’s a way to trial and error our writing, and that we are the same as any online community out there.”

Even so, a number of things about the Twilight phenomenon seem to be confounding the publishing world:

  • The majority of this published Twilight fanfic is porn, and as we all know, women reading porn is always a shocker. (Not really.)
  • These fanfics-turned-original fics support the e-book revolution and the digital publishing age–hardly a surprise, given that fandom lives on the internet, but an indication that more avenues of publication are becoming available to more people, fans included.
  • These women are not committing fanfic in the closet, or with any of the heretofore appropriate shame with which fanfic has been approached in the past. They not only proudly admit to being fans, but proudly admit to doing the one thing fans–until now–have always lived in fear of doing: profiting from their fanfiction and the fan communities that produced them.
  • Not only are these authors eschewing traditional publishing, they’re eschewing digital publishing outside of their own communities. They made their own fandom spaces, and then they made their own publishing houses within those spaces. These women weren’t satisfied with the options modern publishing gives them (oh, gee, I wonder why)–but it turns out that they don’t need modern publishing in order to be successful. As reader “Wildwood” comments on the Daily Beast:

    The article points out a phenomenon that I see happening across all areas of artistic endeavor, which is the marginalization of the “suit”. In the past, there has always been a solid wall of judges – in the form of editors, publishers, producers, agents, etc – who decide what will be offered up for public consumption. Their decisions were not always correct, nor were they always made purely or ethically. The internet takes out the middle-man decision makers and allows artists to put their work directly into the consuming public hand…. For the first time, nobody is in control of what we are offered except ourselves and the artists who create it!

  • The breakout success of Fifty Shades debunks sexist stereotypes about women and technology. As Wildwood points out, the removal of the gatekeepers of publishing has huge implications for publishing; but it also has huge implications for gender equality. The women in Twilight fandom who formed their own publishing houses followed in the footsteps of pioneering female-run digital publishers like Samhain, Ellora’s Cave, and Torquere Press, who founded their businesses as romance writers and fans. The success of each of these digital publishers proves that women can not only be their own gatekeepers, but that they have the technical skills to thrive in the process.

As you can imagine, all of these facts add up to a great deal of consternation. E.L. James’ unabashedly pro-fanfic stance has caused a huge amount of attention to be focused on fandom. This can be potentially awkward–fandom all too often gets stereotyped as being solely about porn and copyright infringement (false and false). It’s rare that someone gets it right, but more people are getting fandom right more often these days, in part because of the openness of writers like James.

Where does all this leave us? Fans are extremely divided as to whether publishing fanfic as original fic is a natural way to capitalize on a well-deserved fan following, or whether it’s a betrayal of the principles of free exchange that keeps fandom healthy and independent. It’s probably somewhere in the middle. Lots of fanfic authors have converted their fandom audience into a wider audience for their original writing. And even if they didn’t profit directly from a single fic with the names and settings changed, they still profited immensely from fandom experience. Fandom gave them writing workshops, networking skills, critiquing experience, and maybe even professional connections. All of that is a form of profit. And then there is actual published fanfiction, such as movie adaptations, branch-off comic universes, and franchise tie-ins. The truth is that the line between fanfiction and commercial fiction has been blurry for centuries, and neither original fiction nor fanfiction are in any danger of vanishing as a result of the overlap.

I’m ecstatic to see fandom owning up to its activities with pride and taking ownership of its own spaces, using them to grow and empower its own communities. Fifty Shades and the other pro-fics show off fandom’s best assets: engaged, passionate communities, made up primarily of women who have claimed the digital age for their own, and who are taking skills gained within fandom and using them to build their careers. Everyone wins. And if the success of Fifty Shades is any indication, the trend is only going to continue.

So what happens when female fan communities apply these skills to creating their own films, their own webcasts, their own serial programming, their own albums? Will fan communities have enough energy to sustain those types of projects, the way they have already sustained fan-run publishing houses, massive charities, non-profits, and conventions?

All signs point to yes. And the success of Twilight fandom at bringing the realm of publishing directly into fan space proves that the possibilities are endless.

Aja Romano blogs regularly at Bookshop.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IGRK4BKTKC5RGO56RXTUEVFJSM ainok

    One thing that’s very interesting about this is the way that, once again, the overwhelming hugeness of the porn cohort in fandom overshadows every other genre there is. Those not writing graphic porn can expect to continue to be marginalized, as there’s unlikely to be much of a crossover market for anything else. Not that it comes as a shock–sex sells, after all. But damn, porn does make up a lot of fannish activity.

  • Anonymous

    This is the result of infighting and jealousy within the twific community which began long before fifty shades was pulled to be published. There are gif-filled rants online if you care to look..
    EL James/Icy was something new. She appeared on forums and twitter and answered her reviews. She liked her readers and they liked her. A lot of the “big name authors” before her would not answer reviews and spent their time on twitter chatting among themselves, not even following people back.
    Someone reported motu to ffn.net and got it pulled. Someone reported her to facebook and got her Sqid ID pulled. As soon as the book started getting noticed people began posting on sites with links to pdf copies of motu saying “read it free here”. People tweet anyone and everyone they can think of in the hope that little brown, summit and stephenie meyer sue. It seems at times that they WANT smeyer to throw in her chips with fanfic.
    There is a glass wall around twilight fanfic. Icy and several others have broken through, but others (who may have had their stories rejected, who knows?) Who decide that they will throw stones anyway. All. That is happening is twilight fans are again getting bad press.
    Icy didn’t have a huge publicty machine. She had the vision to put herself forward in goodreads and amazon and via her own site. It’s worked and in this uncertain online times it’s good to see.

  • http://twitter.com/S0N1C_zzz Sergey

    Nothing new, similar was done with Xena fanfics

  • Frodo Baggins

    Are the stories good, though?

  • Cyndy Aleo

    Jealousy? Not hardly. If anything, I find it something to be pitied. 50 Shades of Grey has gotten poor reviews from just about every trade publication, has been called out as being both poorly written and edited, and has made the fandom — and fan fiction in general — a laughingstock. “Icy” herself tries to put distance between her book and her fan fiction by claiming it’s re-written and original when Dear Author proved otherwise. Why? Because while it’s not illegal to publish, you also can’t copyright something based on characters already under copyright.

    Claiming there is no “publicity machine” when a raft of press releases were sent to every trade publication from Publishers Weekly on up is laughable. “Icy” herself has made note of her contacts in the PR industry, so claiming it’s all organic is false.
    Please note that I have never and will never try to publish my fan fiction. As most will note, I have always been embarrassed by it; it wasn’t well-written, was poorly edited, and I pulled it before I spoke with Dear Author because I definitely didn’t want anyone to go back and look it up and think THAT was the quality of my writing. I’m also not afraid to use my real name when pointing out that this fandom is an embarrassment to itself when it wants to put forth fic about an abusive relationship as a quality example of what the fandom has to offer, as well as put forward an author who has shown disdain for the fandom at every turn. Replying to reviews? Countless authors have done that without taking advantage. It’s called being a part of a community, not using them for your own financial gain. Wear your MoTU gear to a signing. We’ll see how much “Icy” appreciates the fandom.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IGRK4BKTKC5RGO56RXTUEVFJSM ainok

     From what I hear, a world of NO.

    Though again, this depends on your appetite for porn and bad Twilight-style writing.

  • Anonymous

    Why are you so convinced she’s ashamed of her fandom beginning, because I don’t see her denying where it came from.
    Before she signed with random house she was working with twcs who were absolutely out of their depth. If anything happened to propel 50 Shades from published fic to a story in its own right it was the reaction it got from users of Goodreads.
    A lot of books, films, tv shows were hated by the critics. Avatar. Titanic. The Da Vinci Code. The Phantom Menace. Gone With the Wind. Twilight. They did okay with the public.
    The embarrasment in the twific fandom is that it is spilling out onto other forums and sites are reporting scurrilous gossip as fact and tweeting all and sundry who mention they’re reading 50 Shades, telling them where to “get it for free”..

  • Frodo Baggins

    Okay, good. I hate having to reexamine my prejudices.

  • Frodo Baggins

    Okay, good. I hate having to reexamine my prejudices.

  • Anonymous

    I know a couple of authors in the Supernatural fandom who’ve reworked their fics and have them e-published.  I’ve noticed it’s easier to rework AU’s than canon fics though.

  • Anonymous

    While I applaud Icy for taking the bull by the horns so to speak and having the vision and chutzpah to see an opportunity here, from what I’ve read in a scathing blog post from another popular fic author that helped Icy get her website running apparently (Angstgoddess?) is that Icy expressed a desire not to be associated with the Twilight fanbase that had been supporting her, as if she was better than them. Whether I consider it petty or not is besides the point. In a series of forum chat exchanges which were screencapped, Icy made some eyebrow-raising comments that left many feeling like she’s thumbing her nose at the very people who helped make MOTU into what is looking likely to be her meal-ticket, i.e. started biting the hand that fed her. She seemed reluctant to participate in one of the fundraisers mentioned above by Aleo. She seems to be just a fan of Rob Pattinson, which is interesting since Twilight made him a household name. This I believe is the root cause of all this backlash.  I understand now why there has been so much divisiveness. It’s her attitude, or perceived attitude, not her drive and resourcefulness, that’s the real problem. Maybe a little regarding her breach of fanfic ethics as touched on above, but sounds like it’s Icy’s own words that have sparked the resentment. If I’m wrong I’m wrong. I was surprised to hear she was demanding full control of her movie deal today as reported in The Hollywood Reporter, they called it “unprecedented’. There seems to be a lack of humility that has turned people off. I’m not a fanfic author nor have I ever met Icy so I am just observing what I’ve seen and heard. I have no vested interest in Icy’s success or failure, only to say I enjoyed MOTU for the escape that it was, but am glad I didn’t have to pay for it. Currently reading a fic right now that is more complex, better written and just as, if not more, worthy of a film deal. I hope she follows in Icy’s footsteps, with a little more applomb. Whether a fic author chooses to publish or not is their choice. Howevver as the saying goes,  it’s not about winning or losing, it’s how you play the game. 

  • http://twitter.com/gisellelx giselle-lx

    Interesting, Aja. This leads me to completely re-evaluate your stance on fanfiction being okay–I cite your commentary on that a great deal. I might stop doing that now. Fanfic being okay is great. And I agree that an author doesn’t get to decide whether fanwriters take her characters and interpret them differently. 

    But I don’t think that extends to an author not getting to say boo if someone actually *takes* her characters. At the point that someone is supposedly writing fanfiction and therefore using another’s characters and changes only 11% of the text, which can be mostly attributed to small stylistic changes to the sentence structure and to name/appearance changes, you have to wonder…either the 89% was not fanfiction to begin with (in which case, for what reason did she post it other than as a marketing ploy) or the work still owes a great deal of its credit to the author of the source.

    Yeah, James is saying she posted it as fic…sort of. If you look at the original press releases before there was a groundswell of angry people who pointed out to the media that this was originally fanfic, it was called a “story found on the internet” or a “story posted chapter-by-chapter on the internet” or “TWCS discovered the author on the internet.” She’s not saying “This story borrows its tropes, it’s ideas, and it’s interpretations from TWILIGHT.” In many ways, MoTU is one of the closer “All-Human” fics ever written in the Twilight fandom–it’s why it is so popular. People may say that Fifty is nothing like Edward, but it’s the fact that he *is* so much like Edward that evokes such a similar emotional response.

    On the post I cite above, you listed a fantastic list of award-winning derivative works. The difference is, each of those acknowledges the debt to the source it derives from. FS does everything it can to say it did not derive from Twilight, despite having been close enough to have passed itself off as fanwork.What I see in the MoTU/FSoG situation is a great reason for even more authors to go neurotic about fanwriters, and as someone who’s gone on record being against authors going neurotic on fanwork, I’m surprised you feel that this is going to in any way be beneficial for fanwork. 

    I think Fifty crossed a line in a big way, and in a way that’s going to hurt people who’d like to follow after. I hope I’m wrong…but judging from what I hear from folks who are in the industry and who understand fandom, I’m not so sure.

  • Anonymous

    OMG that is so not true about other big name authors and reviews.  If anything some of those big name authors set the example for Icy who in the beginning did reply to all her reviews and appeared on the forum. As she gained “fame” though she quickly stopped replying to anyone but her clique of friends (butt-kissers).  She was reported to FF.net by a group called the Literate Nation who targeted popular “M” rated fics at the time. She was not the only reported but she was one of the only who pulled their fic completely and put it on a private blog.  As for publicity, yeah Goodreads did her a world of good but really she didn’t get the attention until that group in NY invited her to speak at the release of book 3 in January. Without them she’d still be pushing it on goodreads and not have made a 7 figure deal.  Wonder if she’s thanked them publicly yet?

     

  • http://www.facebook.com/katharine.tapley Katharine Ellis Tapley

    From a former editor: There is a reason the profession exists.

    The world is full of wonderfully creative people who do not know basic linguistic and grammatical rules. There is a very big difference between people who know the rules, and chose to ignore them to suit their creative purposes, and those who just don’t know, and don’t care enough about the quality of their work to learn.

    The only beef I have with fanfic is when it’s poorly written. This is why I normally stay away from it, though in recent years I have met a few people who write it very well, because they WRITE very well.

    I have thought of writing fanfic myself, but haven’t really seen it through, because I feel as though I should have the permission of the original authors (Arthur Conan Doyle and P.G. Wodehouse are dead.) Also, I fear not doing the characters justice.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, go on. Think of it as a writing exercise. You’re not claiming the characters, setting or concept to be yours. You don’t need their permission to write. After all, if you hate it, you don’t have to post it anywhere. (Though I wish you would, there’s a lot of dreadful fic out there and it’s always a gem to find well-written ones) 
    Also, PG Wodehouse. There is not enough good PG Wodehouse fic out there. I’ll read it, even if no one else will.

  • http://twitter.com/bjr70 Bonnie

    A good portion of the Twilight fandom despises “Icy” / E L James over her behavior and her crass use of the fandom for profit. The Dear Author articles aren’t hit pieces, but show that while Ms. James insists that the fanfiction was reworked substantially that only the names were changed. The existing typographical, grammar and plot issues remain very much intact. Ms. James and her “publisher” crassly rushed this to market to capitalize on her mini-fandom, then papered the hell out of outlets to get coverage.

    Let’s not even discuss the nature of her hero – he’s a flat out abuser. The BDSM elements violate every rule when it comes to safe, sane and consensual play, and it portrays BDSM as unhealthy and wrong. Her heroine is an insipid, stupid and selfish child who constantly faints in the hero’s arms or uses his past against him. Terrible plot, terrible character development, and terrible writing are what “Fifty Shades” is, and many of us in the Twi fandom are truly embarrassed that this is the fic that puts us on the map.

    There are far better writers in the Twi fandom who deserve this success – Debra Anastasia and Jennifer DeLucy are a few. Unfortunately this poorly written and poorly edited soap opera that was “published” to line James’ and TWCS’ pockets gains fame. It’s a truly sad day for our fandom.

    On the other end of this is the growing number of our writers leaving our community, either pulling published and WIP fics in the hopes of becoming the next E L James, or out of disgust for the now mercenary attitude of some writers. Some have, in fact, posted that if you want to know the end to their story you have to “buy the book”. What makes a fandom work is the respect and trust that the writers and readers have for one another. James and TWCS have betrayed this, and many of us fear this will destroy the fandom we love so much.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sidney-Tucker/100001091061061 Sidney Tucker

    My wife writes for one of these companies.  Its not porn.  Its called romance, regardless what its based on.

  • http://twitter.com/richardjgibbs Richard Gibbs

    Just to throw this in: even the pros are at it. Stephen Norrington (who directed Blade) wants to make a prequel trilogy about Stephen Dorff’s character Deacon Frost. When he couldn’t secure the rights he started amending the story to make it a similar character doing the things he wanted him to do in the prequel (which is now just movie 1).

    What I don’t get in this article though, is the idea that “changing the names, context, and setting to make your fanfic into something original, then publishing it, is 100% legal”.

    That statement makes no sense to me. Other than characterisation and style, what’s left once you’ve changed all that? And is it even arguably the same story? Surely the characterisation is influenced a great deal by the setting and the context?

  • Anonymous

    OK, by all accounts “50 Shades of Grey” is a pretty terrible book (although if it’s doing so well, I guess some people must have enjoyed it…). But although I’m neither a fanfic writer or reader myself, I’m happy with the story, because I think this is exactly what fanfic writers *should* be doing. There’s something slightly sad about an author who spends all her time writing stories that, for copyright reasons, she’ll never be able to legally publish (and make money from). EL James has shown that fanfic writers don’t have to stay in the fanfic end of the pool: by changing the characters and rewriting the story, they can turn it into something that can be published and just might be commercially successful.

    To be clear, I’m not *against* fanfic. I just think that more fanfic writers should be taking the plunge and publishing original fiction, so they can actually get paid for it. Judging by the reviews of “50 Shades”, you don’t even have to be a good writer to become successful, if you have a built-in fan audience to start with; so if you actually *are*, what have you got to lose?

  • http://twitter.com/kavwriter Gail Kavanagh

    Well, now we seem to have dusted any concerns about Twilight plagiarism out of the way, we can wait happily for the movie release and the accusations that the film makers ripped off Nine and a Half Days.

  • Ariel Wetzel

    I’m glad you mention Xena because Xena authors have been going pro since the 90s, from what I hear!

    The most famous example is Xena fanfiction author Missy Good.  She was so popular that the producers hired her to write two episodes of the show’s last season.  She’s also published a lot of her Xena “uberfic” as novels (stories about Xena and Gabrielle reincarnated as modern women).

  • Sarah Rees Brennan

    As one of the writers named in the linked-to article, I will go on record as saying I *haven’t* overall profited from fandom. Some advantages, more disadvantages, I’d say!

    However the fact that EL James has… more power to her. Nothing wrong with it.

  • http://bookshop.livejournal.com/ Aja Romano

    I would actually hold you up as an example of an author who profited *directly* from fandom.  Here’s an excerpt from the letter your agent sent to your editor, the letter that landed you your book contract:

    The author, Sarah Rees Brennan, is Irish and currently lives in London. For a short stint, she lived in New York and became involved with a wide circle of writers and publishers who encouraged and supported her, including New York Times bestselling authors [Name removed] and [Name removed] (both have already agreed to read the advanced copy for a blurb) and Anna Genoese, a former editor at Tor. She has developed a wide audience through her popular blog,http://mistful.livejournal.com/, where she writes movie parodies, book reviews and some stories, and has around four thousand registered readers (she was also recently interviewed about her blog in The Washington Post).

    Your 4,000 registered readers came from fandom. [Name redacted], [Name redacted], and Anna Genoese are all connections that you formed directly from fandom.  I believe you when you say you’ve had more disadvantages than advantages since leaving fandom, but in all fairness, your fandom connections and your fandom reader base did have a hand in you getting published.

  • Sarah Rees Brennan

    Think about job interviews. When you have less directly related experience in a certain field, you say things like ‘That’s why I will bring a FRESH EYE to things!’ You tell people information that they have to know and you try to do so in a way that makes it seem like a good thing, because you want the job.

    Likewise, when you have an internet hobby the mainstream sees as weird and you also want to get published, which will involve being on the internet, you present positives.  I knew since I wanted to be open about being a fanfiction writer (in retrospect a truly awful decision of mine) I was going to have to try to represent this hobby of mine as a positive.

    And I’m not saying it’s *intrinsically* negative. But yeah, I know a well-respected editor who was like ‘No more of that weird online fiction stuff.’ She didn’t want to publish me *because* of my past. Likewise, many readers sneer at fanfiction authors even when they go pro. (Someone did that to me *today.* Giving readers, other writers and editors a reason to dismiss you is a scary thing. There are several writers I know who were fanfiction writers and who have assiduously concealed that fact because they are afraid of the consequences. 

    Anna Genoese and the others mentioned, while absolutely lovely people I am glad to know, along with many other people I met through fandom, didn’t help me get published. I sent an email query to an agent (who wasn’t anyone I knew, who I didn’t have any connection to whatsoever through anybody), who took me on because she liked my work and sent me around to publishers. Who liked my work. Having written fanfiction had nothing to do with it.

    What being open about having written fanfiction has done is that you and many others have assumed that I was published for any reason other than people liking my work. Which obviously sucks out loud for me.

  • Sarah Rees Brennan

    Also, describing the letter as what landed me my book contract is wrong: it was an introductory letter to my *book*. It came with the book attached. My *book* landed me my book contract. Many editors do not even read introductory letters so they’ll have a cold read. 

    The ‘registered readers’ my publisher *knew* might not (and indeed did not) translate to people willing to pay for my books. They were not a reader base, because they were mostly only people interested in my work when it was free and based on someone else’s. So they mattered as little as the connections: not at all.Me ‘profiting directly from fandom’ is a massively unfair characterisation of the situation.

    All that said, fanfiction and fandom are not bad things. They can even be good things: brilliantly clever, encouraging of imagination, supportive communities for people emotionally and psychologically. But unmixed blessings they are not. I hope in the future they will be more so, and well done to EL James again. ;)

  • This is Basic

    Wait, why did nobody tell me this? Excuse me, I’ve got some searching to do.

  • This is Basic

    As someone entirely uninvolved with this fandom, this is all very interesting. On the one hand, it seems like the usual fanfic drama. On the other hand, it looks like the stakes are being raised. I’m interested in seeing how it unfolds.

  • This is Basic

    If nothing else, the media attention it’s getting seems pretty new. Though you have a good point. I’m reminded of Kristen Harris, the Forever Knight fanvidder who got commissioned for the Season 3 box set.

  • This is Basic

    I’m conflicted. On the one hand, I do agree that the editorial process is, when done properly, a boon to the work. I’m open to criticism on both the original fic and the fanfic I’ve written. I consider it vital to the work. On the other hand, the publishing industry does act as a gatekeeper that in many ways cannot help reinforcing certain social constructs that are harmful.

  • Cara DiGirolamo

    No kidding!  Xena Uber-fic is the original.  And it has done all these things – spawned publishers, started careers.  The femslash community isn’t huge, but they’ve done amazing things.
    (What frustrates me about the whole 50 shades of grey thing is that it’s just hetfic.  There’s nothing new or exciting about porny hetfic being popular.)

  • Anonymous

    I on the other love the hell out of the three book sequel.I’m an advid reader of fanfic.I love it.
    Stephenie Meyers put the characters out their and others use their imagination to see them in another light.profit or not ELJames I commend you for a job WELL DONE

  • http://morethansides.wordpress.com/ PharaohKatt

    Another person who went form fanfic to published author – along with controversy - was Cassandra Clare from the Harry Potter and LOTR fandom. Although a lot of the controversy surrounding her was due to the plagiarism in her fan fiction. 

    From what I’ve heard, though, her published work is an original, not a repurposed fanfic.

  • http://twitter.com/nchoirnmind Lisa Danielle

     well it has been argued that the dynamic of the Edward/Bella relationship is… um…  less than healthy

  • http://twitter.com/nchoirnmind Lisa Danielle

     a lot of romance novels are pretty close to porn. that may not be the style your wife writes in, but it’s out there.

  • http://twitter.com/thelindsayellis Lindsay Ellis

    But… but… the book is terrible.  This book being an NYT bestseller is to publishing what Transformers being one of the top grossing franchises of the millenium is to filmmaking. 

  • http://twitter.com/ESMagill Eunice Magill

    We are creating an anthology called Deep Cuts which pays tribute to great horror stories by women writers. http://www.deepcuts111.com
    Real horror. Real women. Help us fight the forces of sparkle.
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/422790332/deep-cuts-anthology?ref=category

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/STSDE32FVPWP4KAYRZPNCXM62U Arthur

    You have ACD’s permission. Read up on his views on Sherlock Holmes; they were essentially “Do what you like with him, I couldn’t care less.” Remember, he got so sick of him he tried to kill him off, only bringing him back due to public outcry. He didn’t like Holmes, in later years, at all. 

    You can do what you like with Sherlock Holmes.

  • Anonymous

     Wow.  I JUST made that comparison the other day – I was saying that you can have guilty, turn-off-the-brain feel-good pleasures (like porn books and action movies), but that 50 Shades is like the Transformers 2 of porn books.  Even in a crap genre, there’s better things out there!

  • Anonymous

     Yup, it’s porn.  I watch porn and read romance novels, and I’ll vouch for them satisfying different desires, but they’re still different sexual desires.  It’s 2 different kinds of horny.  2 different kinds of porn.  But it’s still porn.

  • http://twitter.com/barbiesway Barbie Davis Herrera

    PORTRAIT OF OUR MARRIAGE by Martha Emms, is OUT NOW ON NOOK & AMAZON. The Yin to 50 Shades Yang. Fun, erotic, and so real you may find it shocking. Sexy • Raw • Compelling. The secrets couples hide. So much more than just the sex it’s THE STORY. The romance will seduce you. The story could be yours.