fbpx

Need help submitting your writing to literary journals or book publishers/literary agents? Click here! →

Fan Fiction: Should You List Fan Fiction Awards And Publications In Your Writing Bio?

Fan fiction is a great way for a writer to gain experience and build a following of readers. It can also be a lot of fun. But should you include your fan fiction writing credentials in a cover or query letter to literary agents or editors of literary magazines?

The online phenomenon of fan fiction is quite a craze. Writers who are fans of a certain television show, movie, or book will essentially create their own spin-offs based on the original story in question. Fan fiction can range in tone, style, and form, and it is not restricted to a given genre. Fan fiction writers who write regularly, and well, will often gain a following and be given awards by readers’ votes or the master of the website where they write.

While we at Writer’s Relief value all creative writing endeavors, our job is to help writers who seek publication with a traditional publishing house. We manage the submission process to literary agents, and we also help writers submit their poems, stories, and essays to literary journals. We work with our clients to write killer cover and query letters, and we’ve been assisting writers with composing professional bios since 1994.

There are a number of reasons that we do not advocate that our clients list fan fiction writing in their writing credits.

1. Fan fiction relies (to an extent) on other people’s imaginations. Writers of fan fiction (generally) don’t start from scratch when they compose a story. They work within the given framework of a preexisting canon, and they rely upon characters who have already been created by someone else. For that reason, the very concepts upon which fan fiction relies don’t fully belong to those who write it, and so literary agents and editors tend to turn a wary eye toward stories that a writer does not build from the ground up.

2. Anyone can post fan fiction. On most (though perhaps not all) fan fiction sites, anyone can post a story. Traditional publications are highly selective, somewhat difficult (though not impossible) to break into, and well respected in the critical writing community. Because fan fiction is so wonderfully open to any and everyone, literary agents and editors tend not to regard it as a formal publishing credit. Read more about publishing online: What Is Considered Previously Published Writing?

3. Many, many writers get fan fiction awards. Fan fiction communities are absolutely fantastic for building confidence in new writers. These awards are great in communities and among friends and family; however, because of the two previous points above, these awards don’t work well in literary agents’ and editors’ offices. For that reason, it may not be helpful to list such awards in your bio.

Submit to Review Board

But what about all those spin-off books (like Star Wars novels) in the bookstore? Isn’t that fan fiction?

Yes and no. A professional writer working on a Star Wars spin-off novel is probably a fan and, technically, would be a writer of fan fiction. However, the novels that are stocked on the shelves at major retailers must have the Star Wars Empire “seal of approval” in order to be sold. In other words, the characters and worlds of Star Wars are protected by copyright, and they can’t simply be repurposed by any writer who wants to make a buck from a Han Solo spin-off book. Official Star Wars books, no matter how remote or tangential the plotline, are still sanctioned parts of the Star Wars commercial universe.

Why fan fiction is fantastic

Fan fiction is a fantastic life credit. Writers cut their teeth in fan fiction. They learn new skills and techniques. They discover how to please audiences and themselves. There’s a great energy in fan fiction communities that is contagious and supportive. Veterans can mentor new writers, and new writers can learn the ropes of storytelling from those who have popular acclaim.

Some writers have reported great success as a result of their work in fan fiction. Writers who gain a following might be noticed by industry big-wigs, including agents and editors. Many industry professionals appreciate the enthusiasm of writers of fan fiction and their dedication to writing popular stories.

Fan fiction forums are an absolutely awesome place for writers to evolve. And, as with most things in writing, we would never say that there’s a “rule” that you shouldn’t mention your fan fiction credits (in certain situations, doing so could be helpful). But we do encourage writers to build up their bios in more long-established markets as well as sticking to their fan fiction roots.

If you’re writing stories, essays, and poems, Writer’s Relief may be able to help you submit your writing for publication in reputable and well-known literary journals. After all, we’ve been helping new writers get published since 1994!

Writer QuestionsQUESTION: Have you read and/or written fan fiction? How has it helped you grow as a writer?

4 Responses to Fan Fiction: Should You List Fan Fiction Awards And Publications In Your Writing Bio?

  1. I think Fanfictions are good practice for talented writers. writers will gain constructive criticism about where they are going wrong and will seek to improve it. Sure you may be writing about existing characters that have been designed by someone else. Some Fanfictions are absolutely fantastic and deserve recognition.

  2. Honestly, to me, Fanfiction is something great. I believe it should be published and we should earn something out of it. I mean, I understand the copyright law of characters. But what’s the great harm on borrowing characters and using them in your OWN story line? I understand if you’re using a story line that’s been already written by that book series or TV show or Movie, then that’s considered stealing the idea. I have seen a few parody books that were published and mocked the story line of the Hunger Games, which made me say to myself, “If they can publish parodies, why can’t we publish fan fiction?”
    Although I think Parody books and fan fictions are the same, I believe they should get published, no matter what.
    Whether a detailed Novel or a simple short “one-shot” story, I really think we should earn something out of this.
    Now for publishing fan fictions, I’m not so sure on this. Because on Wikipedia they say that there is a US Copyright law where fan fiction can be published for fun and it’s a non-profit hobby. Very true, to that matter, I took an opposite side and started scouting a search on Google. Typing in fan fiction publishers, I found three websites that do actually publish fan fiction and you actually earn something out of it.(Amazon Kindle Worlds, Worthy of Publishing, and Wattpad.) They have legal licences from various domains and are slowly getting more from bigger companies.
    But there could a good thing in fanfiction and a bad thing:
    good thing= You can create your own characters and place them into your fan fictions and make them interact with the borrowed characters.

    bad thing= I might be afraid that once everybody writes fanfictions, they will start to lose their interest to write their own book.

    So, this is why I believe we SHOULD PUBLISH FAN FICTIONS and make them readable through print and e book.
    FAN FICTIONS FTW!!!! :D

  3. Cover letters aside, anything that gets someone passionate and motivated to write is valuable. My love of reading spawned from R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps series, and my love of writing was nurtured through fan fic. Starting from someone else’s idea, there’s not so much pressure, so you don’t have to create a world, you can just be creative within it, and there’s so much community support. I get why I shouldn’t include that in a cover letter, but thanks for being honest WHILE showing the positive side to fan fiction!

  4. This might seem obvious to most but I think the act of writing helps you grow as a writer. It’s just like shooting hundreds of foul shots in practice. They won’t show up in your stats at the end of the season, but it was those practice shots from the free throw line that made you a stronger basketball player. Fan fiction might not be the stat that you brag about, but it can be the practice that made you a stronger writer.

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



YES, IT'S MY LUCKY DAY!
Sign me up for
FREE Publishing Leads & Tips
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

WHY? Because our insider
know-how has helped
writers get over 18,000+ acceptances.

FREE Publishing Leads and Tips! Our e-publication, Submit Write Now!, delivered weekly to your inbox.
 
  • BEST (and proven) submission tips
  • Hot publishing leads
  • Calls to submit
  • Contest alerts
  • Notification of industry changes
  • And much more!
close-link


STOP! BEFORE YOU GO...
Sign me up for
FREE Publishing Leads & Tips
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

WHY? Because our insider
know-how has helped
writers get over 18,000+ acceptances.

FREE Publishing Leads and Tips! Our e-publication, Submit Write Now!, delivered weekly to your inbox.
 
  • BEST (and proven) submission tips
  • Hot publishing leads
  • Calls to submit
  • Contest alerts
  • Notification of industry changes
  • And much more!
close-link
Yes! Send My Free Guide!

Get Your FREE Goal-Oriented
Writer Guide!

We’ll send the link to this handy guide filled with
expert advice and smart tips so you can start
reaching your writing goals today!

 
Bonus: Stay updated! We’ll email you weekly links
to more great articles featuring the best writing
strategies and insider info!
close-link
Yes! Send My Free Guide!

Get Your FREE Goal-Oriented
Writer Guide!

We’ll send the link to this handy guide filled with
expert advice and smart tips so you can start
reaching your writing goals today!

 
Bonus: Stay updated! We’ll email you weekly links
to more great articles featuring the best writing
strategies and insider info!
close-link
Live Chat Software