Hitting it Big with FanFiction

Some diligent writers of fanfiction have landed book deals. They’ve been self-publishing on the Web and have been discovered by the big boys:

She writes about a group of young wizards attending the Hogwarts School. She has legions of readers throughout the world. Her name is Hannah Jones, and she’s 19 years old. […]

There’s a librarian in Rathdrum, Idaho, who spent 10 years posting her writings about a character from Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” online; Simon & Schuster paid her a $150,000 advance to publish the works as a three-novel trilogy. In Brooklyn, N.Y., a free-lance copy editor has become one of the Web’s best-known “Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter” fan-fiction writers, and has landed a three-book publishing deal for a young-adult fantasy series. When a comic-book store manager in New Jersey decided to take his first stab at fan fiction this year, entering a contest sponsored by Showtime’s “The L Word,” he got the attention of a literary agent, who signed him last month. And Ms. Jones will soon have her first book published.

This is from “Rewriting the Rules of Fiction,” an article in The Wall Street Journal this past weekend.  I’d written off fanfiction, having characterized it in my head as often simply being slash scenarios, Captain Kirk and Spock getting it on or whatever, but maybe it’s time to reassess the playing field.

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