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justlukeyou
08-31-2014, 10:41 PM
Okay, this is a bit tongue in cheek but if you want to make money from writing why not just write fanfiction and parody books.

A 16 year old signed a contract to publish a fanfiction book based on One Direction and Bored of the Rings, a parody of Lord of the Rings is still ranked 170,000 nearly ten years since it was released.

Why just find the latest mega pop band or block buster movie and write books based on it.

slhuang
08-31-2014, 10:57 PM
What makes you think this is easy to do well? :D

justlukeyou
08-31-2014, 11:00 PM
Like I said toungue in cheek but if you have keywords it will help the Amazon sales. Plus like One Direction or Lord of the Rings at the time there will be massive interest in it.

BenPanced
08-31-2014, 11:01 PM
Because there are A LOT of copyright and intellectual property laws that prevent you from "just" writing fanfic and parody. If I were to write a fanfic based on, say, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and sent it out to agents and publishers, I can guarantee you it would be rejected outright without being read. Nobody would want to face the wraith of Joss Whedon and his lawyers. Hell, you might even get some personalized rejection letters that basically read, "ARE YOU $#&^ING INSANE?!" You might get away with it for a couple months if you decide to self-pub, but many outlets would probably drop you when they find out about your copyright infringement. About the only ways you'd be safe are if you're chosen by a property holder to write an authorized novelization (see also: Star Trek, Star Wars, et. al.) or through Amazon's Kindle Worlds, which has licensed properties available for you to write and publish officially sanctioned work (which really isn't the cash cow Amazon was wishing/hoping for, but that's neither here nor there).

Same for parody. It's not exactly sue-proof, either. Just look up what happened with The Wind Done Gone, a parody of Gone with the Wind. In a nutshell: lawsuit filed by Margaret Mitchell's estate, long court fight, book finally released with a note on the cover it's unauthorized by Mitchell's estate.

Maybe, just maybe, you can find something that's actually in public domain. You can write fanfic and parody it until the cows come home (see also: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters) without fear of repercussion and scary lawyer visits. Copyright and intellectual property law are so deep and complex, you really need to consult a lawyer (which I am not, this is just for basic information purposes only, standard disclaimers apply) if you want to "just" venture out into trying to publish fanfic and parody.

justlukeyou
08-31-2014, 11:03 PM
What about "How to Train Your Ninja"?

There is a "How to Train Your Zombie"

justlukeyou
08-31-2014, 11:04 PM
Or "How to Make Your Dragon Stop a Zombie Apocolypse"

I'm not being serious.

Buffysquirrel
08-31-2014, 11:05 PM
Ideas can't be copyrighted, only the expression of those ideas. So after the Dummies Guides we got the Complete Idiot's guides. Same idea, different writing.

Writing parodies could be fun, but it won't necessarily be profitable.

BenPanced
08-31-2014, 11:06 PM
The two subjects are different enough but you still might hear from the author of How to Train Your Zombie and their lawyers. Anybody can sue you for any reason, if they feel like it. Whether a lawsuit has merit and the person suing you wins is up to the courts.

Helix
09-01-2014, 12:06 AM
...and Bored of the Rings, a parody of Lord of the Rings is still ranked 170,000 nearly ten years since it was released.

Good heavens! Has there been another 'Bored of the Rings'? The original was published in 1969. (And I remember it as being very heavy-handed with the humour.)

Filigree
09-01-2014, 12:12 AM
Good parodies are actually really hard to do. I'm semi-acquainted with some comedy writers for cable TV. They're all crazy folks, but they work very hard. As with any story, getting money out of parodies is as much a matter of luck and marketing as it is skill. Skill helps.

Bad parodies are easy: just look at 75 percent of fan fiction. (Disclosure - I am a fan writer, myself.)

Samsonet
09-01-2014, 01:04 AM
It seems like fanfic authors get picked up every other day with six-figure advances, but you have to remember that there are tons of fanfic writers who never get picked up... it's not as easy as it looks.

Filigree
09-01-2014, 01:11 AM
I know three fan fiction writers whose original works were signed by large to medium commercial publishers in the last two years. Their stuff had some humor, but was far from broad parody. All three are immensely skilled writers whose potential was announced early in their fan fiction.

I know of a fourth author who, if she wishes to go commercial, is so far above those three that her commercial debut might get a six-figure advance. Even in this economy.

The bottom line is quality. Edited To Add: and originality. Unless you can get a license for writing in someone else's property, you need to do massive scrubbing of your fan fiction.

Sure, it seems like a lot of the schlock writers are making money hand over fist, but pull back and look at their older books and stories. Those sales, once deprived of novelty, tend to slack off dramatically. Thus, that author has to keep writing to keep reader interest.

Jamesaritchie
09-01-2014, 02:06 AM
Okay, this is a bit tongue in cheek but if you want to make money from writing why not just write fanfiction and parody books.

A 16 year old signed a contract to publish a fanfiction book based on One Direction and Bored of the Rings, a parody of Lord of the Rings is still ranked 170,000 nearly ten years since it was released.

Why just find the latest mega pop band or block buster movie and write books based on it.

Still ranked 170,000? I have out of print books ranked higher than that.

But I think the reason not to do this is because, well, five me just ten other writers who have become rich doing this. You stand a better chance buying a Powerball ticket.

justlukeyou
09-01-2014, 02:19 AM
Still ranked 170,000? I have out of print books ranked higher than that.

But I think the reason not to do this is because, well, five me just ten other writers who have become rich doing this. You stand a better chance buying a Powerball ticket.

Im not sure I understand this, what are your book titles please?

Filigree
09-01-2014, 02:57 AM
Last I checked, BotR latest edition ranked around 125,000 on Amazon. Amazon's sales ranks are nearly impenetrable to outside analysis, but some informed guesswork (http://www.salesrankexpress.com) (by much more diligent people than myself) can indicate sales of a couple of dozen a month. Not enough to living expenses, even with all the previous versions still being traded around.

I suspect James' point is this: BotR was first published in 1969 during the second LotR wave of popularity, by the renowned Harvard Lampoon, by two guys who had already written comedy. That parody has spiked in popularity with the corresponding Tolkein manias of 1978, 2001, and with the current Hobbit movies.

Counting on parodies to pay bills is just another shortcut. It may work for a very few (skilled) writers.

RedWombat
09-01-2014, 07:20 AM
As with all things, if it's that easy, everybody would be doing it...

slhuang
09-01-2014, 07:33 AM
As with all things, if it's that easy, everybody would be doing it...

This. :)

OP, if you think it's "just" that easy, go for it. Maybe you'll have such a natural skill with parody or filed-off-serial-numbers fanfiction that it WILL be easy for you, in which case, cool!

But that particular talent is much rarer than you seem to believe, and not all of us have it (myself included). :D And as others have said, even people who ARE good at it often work very hard to come up with the seemingly-effortless parody you see.

Sure, once in a while people get lucky. But it's like playing the lottery -- definitely not a dependable get-rich-quick scheme!

Channy
09-01-2014, 08:24 AM
The One Direction thing is also a bit of an anomaly. (Not razzing on the writer here) but it's not particularly good. The writing (itself) is sub-part, the grammar needs work, the plot is fairly non-existent... but it's a quick, easy read for people who don't want to be challenged but want to live the self-insertion through a bland character (ala' Twilight without the supernatural). She filed it off as a serial on Wattpad, had some friends and the good community back her up as faithful readers and word of mouth, and it spread like wildfire. There are certain things that, when already published online, publishers wouldn't normally touch. But when they see comments like "re-reading again for the third time!" and "I can't get enough of it!" OF COURSE they're going to reach out and get the rights to publish it. All those thousand upon thousands (millions even?) of girls would totally buy a physical copy. Maybe even three to read for the third time!!