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yamikuronue
05-25-2016, 04:08 PM
I know there's been some long, heated discussions about whether fanfiction is good or bad, which were really interesting to read but not what I'm asking about; I write fanfiction as practice for my original fiction, and will do so regardless, because I find it helpful.

What I'm wondering is this: now that I'm (self-)published, if I created an account on a fanfiction site and shared some of these practice pieces (after some spit and polish of course), would that reflect badly on me? My general guideline for internet conduct is to assume someone will be able to trace my actions back to my actual self, and thus not do anything that reflects badly on myself. Given the E.L James controversy and the advent of Kindle Worlds, is it okay for authors to admit to doing fanfiction now? Or is it still a major taboo that makes people assume you're a hack writer? I've never published anything professionally that started life as fanfic, serial numbers filed off or not; will having a fanfiction profile make people assume my original fiction is secretly fanfiction as well? Or can I use it as a marketing technique: "If you enjoyed this fanfic, consider buying my book" sort of thing?

Amadan
05-25-2016, 04:27 PM
Some professional authors are open about the fact that they used to (or still do) write fanfiction. Others believe once they become published, they need to take all their fanfiction down.

I don't think having a fanfiction background hurts you nowadays. That said, trying to turn fanfiction readers into customers usually doesn't work.

Filigree
05-25-2016, 05:14 PM
Yup, as near as I can tell, only 1 in 50 of my fan readers search out my original stuff...if that sounds bad, it's also roughly the same proportion of sales I've had from blog tours. I have some friends who published commercially and scrubbed their fanfiction sites. Others left the fan stories up. Since you are self-published, it's probably not a detriment to keep your fanfiction available, since it can be a selling tool. I would say that your fanfiction should be things you are proud of, not incoherent drabbles.

DancingMaenid
05-25-2016, 05:44 PM
It's not taboo, but like others have said, using fanfic as a marketing tool seldom works. Also, you seem to be thinking about what original fiction readers would think of your fanfic, but bear in mind that fandoms can be close-knit communities. Newcomers don't always get a lot of attention at first, and if someone seems to be a professional author who only wants to get sales for their original work, people probably wouldn't be impressed.

Also, it's up to you how much you choose to connect your fanfic to your original fiction. You can't assume that anything online will remain private, no, but a lot of fanfic writers use screen names just for their fanfic and keep their original fiction under other names. This isn't necessary, but it's something to think about. If you use a different screen name for fanfic, you have more flexibility in how much you choose to link your writing identities.

yamikuronue
05-25-2016, 05:49 PM
You can't assume that anything online will remain private, no, but a lot of fanfic writers use screen names just for their fanfic and keep their original fiction under other names.

Yeah, I was thinking about using a screenname that's loosely connected to my penname but not the same; if you google my published penname, it won't turn up, but if you're looking for a connection, it'll be pretty obvious. My current screenname (Yamikuronue) is probably what I'd go with unless I really wanted to erect a wall between identities; it's my default online identity, and I haven't tried to detach it from my penname apart from the most cursory efforts.

veinglory
05-25-2016, 06:35 PM
I wrote fan-fiction for quite a while under the pen name I still use. It seems to have had zero effect either way.

DancingMaenid
05-25-2016, 10:52 PM
I wrote fan-fiction for quite a while under the pen name I still use. It seems to have had zero effect either way.

I think the possible effect is small but probably more based on genre than the original/fanfic divide. I've written original erotica under my fanfic pseudonym and link to my original erotica from my fandom blog. But because some of my fanfic is erotic (and pretty kinky), I wouldn't link it to my real name or a pen name that I more closely associated with my real identity.

veinglory
05-26-2016, 01:42 AM
I transitioned from fan slash to what was then called "original slash" (pre- the advent of M/M) to M/M. But I still got about 0 transfer from the amateur fic to the professional work. In retrospect I would have chosen a different name just to be safe. But not having done so doesn't seem to have mattered one way or the other.

DancingMaenid
05-26-2016, 03:12 AM
I transitioned from fan slash to what was then called "original slash" (pre- the advent of M/M) to M/M. But I still got about 0 transfer from the amateur fic to the professional work. In retrospect I would have chosen a different name just to be safe. But not having done so doesn't seem to have mattered one way or the other.

Yeah, I can think of only one person whom I know liked both my fanfic and a recent original erotica piece that I posted under the same name. Though I know of people who have gained popularity for their original erotica/romance among people in fandom, I haven't seen anyone get many crossover fans who like them for both their fanfic and original fiction.

Claudia Gray
05-27-2016, 04:58 AM
Although I keep a separate pseudonym and don't link the two worlds, I've always been open with publishers, editors and readers about the fact that I write fanfic. Nobody on the professional side has ever so much as blinked an eye. (One editor even turned out to have read some of my fic in the past.) As for readers? They LOVE hearing that a professional writer shares their hobby. My agent reads my fic.

Crossover fans are rare but can happen. Plenty of Naomi Novik's fandom followers have bought her original fiction; same goes for Cassandra Clare. Neither of these authors is totally dependent on that--not even close--but it certainly didn't work against them.

RedRajah
05-27-2016, 05:14 AM
Max Landis got a lot of accolades for his fanfic "Shocker:Legit" before he was a Name, if I recall correctly...

Filigree
05-27-2016, 07:42 PM
Two of my best beta readers are longtime readers of my fanfiction (going back 16+ years).

AW Admin
05-27-2016, 07:48 PM
I don't think having a fanfiction background hurts you nowadays. That said, trying to turn fanfiction readers into customers usually doesn't work.

It can actually backfire if the fanfic communities think they're being exploited.

Laer Carroll
05-30-2016, 12:14 AM
A fair number of writers began writing fanfic. It was fun and practice for writing more original works. But once they found their own voice most shed the fanfic as a stage in their maturing as a writer. Having written fanfic doesn't stain one's reputation; too many have done it.

CL Polk
05-30-2016, 05:57 PM
What I'm wondering is this: now that I'm (self-)published, if I created an account on a fanfiction site and shared some of these practice pieces (after some spit and polish of course), would that reflect badly on me?

No.