Derided by many, written by far too many, read by even more.
Here’s the truth about fanfic. There’s a lot of bad fanfic out there. A lot. And the fanfic that is bad is really, really bad.
But its not all bad. There are great fics out there. There are also mediocre fics that become published works, sure (I’m looking at you, Fifty Shades…) but there really is some great reading, if you find the hidden gem among the crap. There are fabulous authors writing amazing fics just for the love of writing about characters they love.
I had written a couple of books and read the occasional fanfic, and in 2014 I had a fanfic story swirling in my head and I finally figured, “What the hell. Might as well get it out.” So I wrote the damn thing, and ended up with hundreds of great reviews, and so I kept on writing, both fanfic and novels.
As it turns out, my fanfic fans have directly enlarged my reader base for my novels and they shout me out all over the place, too. My book sales went way up, and here’s the biggest bonus…my writing got better just for the practice of writing, writing, writing, and the daily reviews were a huge confidence booster.
One caveat: As my fanfic fan base grew, I had to really force myself to back off and not suck too much time away from the paying projects. It was a struggle sometimes, but I’ve managed.
Long story short, don’t turn your nose up at fanfic. Writing practice is writing practice, and this kind of practice can build you a reader base. I also ended up pulling one of my fics down and converting it to a novel (changing characters/world/etc a bit), which sold really well for me – and I’m soon branching that out into another trilogy, once I’ve finished work on my current series.
Writing fanfic is stretching your author legs and exercising your author mind. And it’s also just plain fun. Go on, get your fic on. Leave the haters behind.