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View Full Version : another fanfiction writer offered publishing deal



shaldna
10-08-2012, 04:05 PM
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2213370/One-Direction-teenage-fan-Emily-Barker-wins-Penguin-publishing-deal-Loving-The-Band-Movellas.html


And for once it's not erotica.

Phaeal
10-08-2012, 04:30 PM
Boyband fanfic, in which Mary-Sue meets boyz and rampant wish-fulfilment ensues.

Hmm, should do well.

leahzero
10-08-2012, 04:40 PM
Loving The Band, which Emily wrote while studying for her GCSEs, details an imagined relationship with a band based on the boys in 1D.

Disposable fiction.

Cybernaught
10-08-2012, 05:07 PM
I think I have some Justin Bieber fan fic lying around somewhere.

shadowwalker
10-08-2012, 05:56 PM
Has anyone read the original fanfic? I haven't, but y'know, might want to before deciding that it's crap. It did have a few readers, after all, and frankly, boy bands are pretty generic, right? So if teens are all over boy band stories...

I'm just saying it might actually be a case where the kid is a good writer with a large following, the subject matter is, in reality, generic, and so she ended up with what a lot of us want - a contract.

Susan Littlefield
10-08-2012, 06:39 PM
Sixteen, huh, and offered a publishing contract? Good for her.

As for fan fiction, never read any so I don't have an opinion one way or the other.

bearilou
10-08-2012, 07:04 PM
Has anyone read the original fanfic? I haven't, but y'know, might want to before deciding that it's crap. It did have a few readers, after all, and frankly, boy bands are pretty generic, right? So if teens are all over boy band stories...

Yep. It has, after all, done what many of us would like to do and that is write something that touches the pulse of the readers.

Sort of like what 50Shades did, good or bad.


I'm just saying it might actually be a case where the kid is a good writer with a large following, the subject matter is, in reality, generic, and so she ended up with what a lot of us want - a contract.

Exactly.

But, I can see where some bitterness is going to creep in and I can't say I blame anyone for it. She didn't have to write up a query letter, send it out, and go through the regular grind of rejections to get to publishing that the vast majority of other writers go through to get the coveted contract.

She went from fanfic straight to huge advance stardom. That's going to hit a lot of nerves, just like ELJames did.

Not to mention it is sending the signal to many who are aspiring, that if they (Hocking, James, and now Baker) did it, it can happen to me, too. Even though many of us know that a one-off is not a new trend of how publishing works.


EL James paved the way for adult writers of fan fiction, proving (with Fifty Shades Of Grey) that posting your stories online is an excellent way to secure a publishing deal.

If it keeps happening, though.... :Shrug:

*starts my tally sheet of new writers coming on the board wanting to talk about self-publishing and writing fanfic to get noticed by publishers instead of through trade publishing routes of query/representation/sale*

JSSchley
10-08-2012, 07:16 PM
*starts my tally sheet of new writers coming on the board wanting to talk about self-publishing and writing fanfic to get noticed by publishers instead of through trade publishing routes of query/representation/sale*

Or, and perhaps more frightening, fanfiction writers starting even more publishing houses to "help their friends get noticed" scrubbing their fanfic when no one involved has any experience in publishing...

shadowwalker
10-08-2012, 07:56 PM
*starts my tally sheet of new writers coming on the board wanting to talk about self-publishing and writing fanfic to get noticed by publishers instead of through trade publishing routes of query/representation/sale*


Or, and perhaps more frightening, fanfiction writers starting even more publishing houses to "help their friends get noticed" scrubbing their fanfic when no one involved has any experience in publishing...

Yes, there are all kinds of wrong messages that could be received by this. But, like self-publishing, each case needs to be looked at individually, and not as an indicator of a trend. When things like this stop making news, then we might consider it a "legitimate" route instead of the exception.

Persei
10-08-2012, 08:10 PM
I honestly think she's so lucky. I'm almost sixteen, 300K worth of published fanfics in my back, a second draft I think it's a pile of sh*t and no contract in sight... And I still think my situation is pretty good as it is.

If her story is good or not, well, that's subjective, but at least she's not making fanfic over other author's name and making fame out of that...

bearilou
10-08-2012, 08:12 PM
Yes, there are all kinds of wrong messages that could be received by this. But, like self-publishing, each case needs to be looked at individually, and not as an indicator of a trend. When things like this stop making news, then we might consider it a "legitimate" route instead of the exception.

I agree that it's a case-by-case thing and that it isn't an indicator of a trend. Most of us here on the boards have hashed this stuff around and we have many industry experts to help us set the story straight.

It's the people who don't have the rational check-in that will be thinking this, bringing it to the board and arguing the success is becoming the rule instead of the continued exceptions that they are.

Still...it's those exceptions that are making the news and it's hard not to draw the conclusions many will draw.

Cybernaught
10-08-2012, 08:21 PM
It's curious why Penguin is soliciting authors from fan fiction sites instead of their own trusted networks.

stormie
10-08-2012, 08:23 PM
What happens now is that non-writers start "advising" writers that their work, too, could be snatched up by a major publishing house. All the writer has to do is post a short story or whatever online somewhere and voila!--a publishing contract.

What a lot of non-writers don't realize is that it's a one in a million chance. There are so many things that factor in, so many people out there posting work that is not ready for prime time, so much slush. But even with a polished manuscript that has all the earmarks of being the next best seller, there are no guarantees.

Jamesaritchie
10-08-2012, 08:38 PM
She's hardly the first, or the youngest. It isn't about fan fiction, it isn't about age, and it isn't even who, what, where, when, or how. It's about market potential.

Publishers don't care where they find a writer or a story. Never have. They care about a book that will, for any reason at all, make a profit for the publisher.

Too many writers seem to forget that while writing may, or may not be, art, publishing is a business.

heza
10-08-2012, 09:03 PM
Does that mean that Movellas owned the story and now Penguin owns it?

And that the author was just commissioned to update the story?

Sites like that, where you post your own content, have TOSes that specify they have the right to display the content of your post, so likely, Penguin bought those rights to keep as much publishing as possible (I'm not sure it's completely possible with fanfic, considering it's already been out there) within their own control. Legal stuff.

From what I understood of the article, the author wrote it and used Movellas to publish it online. Then penguin gave her a publishing contract for a "scrubbed" book with the band names changed and probably some identifiable traits changed (and the author makes those changes) and bought the worldwide publishing rights (which Movellas had according to their TOS).

ETA: Went ahead and looked at the TOS, for kicks.


http://www.movellas.com/blog/show/201202071118279797/terms-and-conditions[/URL]"]

9.2 Your Intellectual Property Rights / Rights You License to Movellas

9.2.1 Movellas claims no ownership or control over any Content submitted, posted or displayed by you on or through the Website. You or a third-party licensor, as appropriate, retain all patent, trademark and copyright to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Website and you are responsible for protecting those rights, as appropriate.


9.2.2 By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through Website, you grant Movellas a royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide, transferable and fully sublicensable, non-exclusive, irrevocable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, incorporate into other works, distribute, perform, display, and otherwise exploit such Content, in whole or in part in any form, media or technology now known or later developed on the Website for the purpose of displaying and distributing the Service. You hereby waive any moral rights you may have in any Content submitted by you and you hereby grant each user of the Website a non-exclusive license to access the Content submitted by you through the Website. You understand and agree, however, that Movellas may retain, but not display, distribute, or perform, server copies of Content submitted by you that have been removed or deleted.


I think that's what Penguin was buying.

Phaeal
10-08-2012, 09:14 PM
It's curious why Penguin is soliciting authors from fan fiction sites instead of their own trusted networks.

I'd imagine that Penguin is buying this ficcer's platform. It may also be buying her passion for the subject and her authority as a real fan of the band. These things will have weight with the targeted readers, that is, other fans of the band.

heza
10-08-2012, 09:18 PM
I'd imagine that Penguin is buying this ficcer's platform. It may also be buying her genuine passion for the subject and her authority as a real fan of the band. These things will have weight with the targeted readers, that is, other fans of the band.


So... I'm a bit confused about the legal aspects/marketing of real-person fanfic.

So, my assumption of crazed band fanning is that any old band won't do; it has to be THAT band with THOSE boys and THESE songs. I'm wondering if girls who are hardcore 1D fans will be as enamored with generic made-up band that doesn't actually exist.

Phaeal
10-08-2012, 09:26 PM
Maybe Penguin has bought the boyz' identities, too. Or, at least, their carefully groomed public personas?

At a glance at their photo in the article, I saw the Smart/Snarky One, the Bad Boy, the Good Boy, the Poet and the Jock. ;)

bearilou
10-08-2012, 09:39 PM
Maybe Penguin has bought the boyz' identities, too. Or, at least, their carefully groomed public personas?

At a glance at their photo in the article, I saw the Smart/Snarky One, the Bad Boy, the Good Boy, the Poet and the Jock. ;)

You joke, sort of, but I have to wonder....


'After Penguin commissioned me we worked together to change quite a lot of it and turn it into a new book.

So...what kind of business deal are we talking about? My terminology is failing me here. Is this along the lines of a book bundler deal? Where she is writing for their intellectual property? It states in the article:


Meanwhile, Penguin's Razorbill imprint had been looking to commission a writer to pen a romantic young adult fictional novel that tapped into the market's current obsession with boy bands.

Will she own the rights? Is she writing on-spec? Does anyone have any idea what I'm trying to say? *flail*

shadowwalker
10-08-2012, 09:50 PM
Will she own the rights? Is she writing on-spec? Does anyone have any idea what I'm trying to say? *flail*

I wondered about her use of "commissioned", but the quote from the article does make it appear that she's been hired to write Razorbill's story, although the rewriting of hers makes it a little murky.

heza
10-08-2012, 09:52 PM
So...what kind of business deal are we talking about?...

Will she own the rights? Is she writing on-spec? Does anyone have any idea what I'm trying to say? *flail*


I was just assuming that it was a straight forward deal--"We'll buy under the condition you make these edits"--and that people were getting their terminology mixed up. But...


Senior Fiction Editor, Lindsey Heaven, was browsing the site when she came across Emily's story, and felt the teenager was 'just the right kind of new talent to write such a novel with powerful emotion and authority'.

This sort of sounds like the were looking for someone to write a planned book and decided she'd be perfect.

But then...



The publishers immediately acquired world rights from Movellas, who have since removed the story. She was commissioned by Penguin to update the story for publication.


This sounds like they bought the rights to HER book... but then commissioned her to make changes? Wouldn't making changes just be part of the process. I'm not clear on how you can be commissioned to write a book you already wrote. Or how she wouldn't retain ownership.



Also, did I see any mention of an agent in all this?


Read more:

heza
10-08-2012, 09:56 PM
I wondered about her use of "commissioned", but the quote from the article does make it appear that she's been hired to write Razorbill's story, although the rewriting of hers makes it a little murky.

If she was, indeed, commissioned to write Razorbill's story, then wouldn't that make this a case of a fanfic author being noticed because of fanfic, but not necessarily a pull-2-publish situation?

jjdebenedictis
10-08-2012, 10:26 PM
If the publishers can get permission to use the boy-band's actual names, which is entirely possible for such a manufactured entity as One Direction, they will make mint off this.

It's essentially marketing for the band. (Original typo: "It's essentially marketing for the bad." LOL!)

And given the band's fans are likely in the age group where they're self-inserting themselves, via fantasy, into exactly the scenarios the book will depict, I can see this book being devoured by its intended audience. The passion that the band's fans have for One Direction will translate very well over to the book.

Someone's brilliant. But I have a sinking feeling the author is going to get shafted badly.

Filigree
10-08-2012, 10:33 PM
Quite possibly. She's very young, and I can only hope she's got really good legal advice.

OTOH, she's well placed for a lucrative career in book packaging, if she keeps her cool.

Alitriona
10-08-2012, 10:39 PM
Someone's brilliant. But I have a sinking feeling the author is going to get shafted badly.

At 16, is she even old enough to sign a publishing contract, or would it have been a guardian signing on her behalf? Either way, I hope the contract was looked over by someone who is familiar with publishing contracts.

shadowwalker
10-08-2012, 10:45 PM
If she was, indeed, commissioned to write Razorbill's story, then wouldn't that make this a case of a fanfic author being noticed because of fanfic, but not necessarily a pull-2-publish situation?

Maybe it's a case of the fanfic response getting her noticed, and the publisher realizing that with the cleanup, she'd already written the story they wanted written, but they still wanted to retain control over the final product than if they just acquired her book.

Cybernaught
10-08-2012, 10:47 PM
I'd imagine that Penguin is buying this ficcer's platform. It may also be buying her passion for the subject and her authority as a real fan of the band. These things will have weight with the targeted readers, that is, other fans of the band.

I think both of these are true, especially in regards to the fan fiction platform. Perhaps Penguin wants to create their own E.L. James. I doubt this will be the last story we hear about a fan fic writer being offered a publishing contract. People like these sort of human interest stories where the diamond in the rough gets a shot.

And I just found something interesting in Google search. Apparently, Penguin hit a pretty bad slump on account of Fifty Shades. (http://www.google.com/search?q=Penguin+fifty+shades+of+Grey&rlz=1C1GGGE_enUS390US390&aq=f&oq=Penguin+fifty+shades+of+Grey&sugexp=chrome,mod=0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8)

shadowwalker
10-08-2012, 10:47 PM
At 16, is she even old enough to sign a publishing contract, or would it have been a guardian signing on her behalf? Either way, I hope the contract was looked over by someone who is familiar with publishing contracts.

No, she isn't of legal age to sign a binding contract, so her parents or guardian would have had to sign for her.

BenPanced
10-08-2012, 11:56 PM
Maybe Penguin has bought the boyz' identities, too. Or, at least, their carefully groomed public personas?

At a glance at their photo in the article, I saw the Smart/Snarky One, the Bad Boy, the Good Boy, the Poet and the Jock. ;)
As opposed to the Osmonds, who had the Guy Who Wore Blue, the Guy Who Wore Yellow, the Guy Who Wore Green, the Guy Who Wore Red, and Donny.

Mr Flibble
10-09-2012, 12:14 AM
No, she isn't of legal age to sign a binding contract, so her parents or guardian would have had to sign for her.

She's in the UK though isn't she? The rules are different (but I suspect that she would still have her parents act as co signatories, as a fail safe because someone under 18 can't be made to adhere to a contract, or some contracts anyway. I think...)

shadowwalker
10-09-2012, 12:31 AM
She's in the UK though isn't she?

Oh, I didn't realize that. Yeah, I was going by US laws.

Filigree
10-09-2012, 01:29 AM
Interesting post about Penguin suffering financially because of FSoG. There's your answer. Expect the major publishers - and many of the indies - to be out sniffing around for their own wunderkind.

Mr Flibble
10-09-2012, 01:47 AM
Interesting post about Penguin suffering financially because of FSoG. There's your answer. Expect the major publishers - and many of the indies - to be out sniffing around for their own wunderkind.


They always have been. Maybe this has just opened them up to the possibilities of getting someone with an already established fan base in fan fic?

jjdebenedictis
10-09-2012, 02:02 AM
I just found something interesting in Google search. Apparently, Penguin hit a pretty bad slump on account of Fifty Shades. (http://www.google.com/search?q=Penguin+fifty+shades+of+Grey&rlz=1C1GGGE_enUS390US390&aq=f&oq=Penguin+fifty+shades+of+Grey&sugexp=chrome,mod=0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8)Yeah... I don't know if I believe that. As this article says: (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/penguin-pain-from-fifty-shades-of-grey-7982742.html)
Record sales of Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James have inflicted spectacular pain at rival book publisher Penguin.

At least, that was one of the excuses Penguin used yesterday to explain a near-50 per cent slump in half-year profits.

(snip)

But Ms Scardino also conceded that Penguin had fewer titles and a "less favourable product mix, particularly in North America" in the first six months of this year.If a company is putting out good books, I don't think their sales are going to drop 50% in six months just because the competition has one hit book. 50Shades wouldn't eat up all the customers who normally buy multiple books over the course of half a year.

Plus, are any other publishers making this claim?

Also, I think a lot of the people who made 50Shades such a hit were people who usually don't buy books. That makes them found sales, rather than stolen customers.

fredXgeorge
10-09-2012, 02:11 AM
Maybe Penguin has bought the boyz' identities, too. Or, at least, their carefully groomed public personas?

At a glance at their photo in the article, I saw the Smart/Snarky One, the Bad Boy, the Good Boy, the Poet and the Jock. ;)
Looks can be deceiving ;)

Satsya
10-09-2012, 03:24 AM
Also, I think a lot of the people who made 50Shades such a hit were people who usually don't buy books. That makes them found sales, rather than stolen customers.

Fully agree. And that for those that are regular book buyers, buying 50 Shades probably would not have made much of a dent in their book buying habits.

It's a flimsy excuse by Penguin.

Cybernaught
10-09-2012, 06:52 AM
Yeah... I don't know if I believe that. As this article says: (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/penguin-pain-from-fifty-shades-of-grey-7982742.html)If a company is putting out good books, I don't think their sales are going to drop 50% in six months just because the competition has one hit book. 50Shades wouldn't eat up all the customers who normally buy multiple books over the course of half a year.

Plus, are any other publishers making this claim?

Also, I think a lot of the people who made 50Shades such a hit were people who usually don't buy books. That makes them found sales, rather than stolen customers.

Yeah, I agree that Penguin is extremely over-exaggerating here. But I don't think the idea of finding the next E.L. James hadn't crossed their minds. The idea of writing a book based on boy band crazes just screams mass-market appeal in itself, and the fact that they were specifically scouting out fan fiction forums for it doesn't seem like a coincidence. They may want to pretend like they've discovered gold, but their intention was to give this book to a fan fiction writer all along.

Phaeal
10-09-2012, 06:23 PM
Fully agree. And that for those that are regular book buyers, buying 50 Shades probably would not have made much of a dent in their book buying habits.

It's a flimsy excuse by Penguin.

And ungrateful, since Penguin (Berkley) has a bestseller in its blatant 50 Shades copycat, Bared to You* (now hovering just below 50 Shades at #4 on the NYT Trade Paperbacks list.)

And if you don't believe Bared has been designed to mimic 50 Shades, just hunt up the original cover of Bared (two nekkid people) and compare it to the revamped Berkley cover (a couple of cufflinks photographed in that artsy 50 Shades style.)

C'mon, Penguin. Don't shoot the wearer of the coat-tails you're riding. ;)



* Originally self-published by the versatile Sylvia Day, who'd already had a number of trade published books.

Rhoda Nightingale
10-09-2012, 07:14 PM
^That was my thought too.

Is it bad that this annoys me not because it's more fanfic, but because it's One Direction? I mean....freaking One Direction??

gothicangel
10-09-2012, 07:50 PM
I couldn 't help but smirk when I read that.

I remember a fan-fic that was published in a teen mag when I was a teenager, about Stephen Gately . . . the week he admitted he was gay.

Ooop! :D

Phaeal
10-10-2012, 01:03 AM
The guy is nekkid, too, just shy.