We’ve all been there before. Your favorite show ends. You stay up until one o’clock reading a book, only for that couple you’ve been shipping the whole time not to end up together. (Seriously, authors?) So you go online, pull up Archive Of Our Own or Fanfiction.net, and starting clacking away at the laptop keys until everything is set right. Then you just sit back and wait for the feedback to roll in, and cry over cute fanarts while you wait. (I’ll never let go, Mergana!)
Fanfiction is far more than a hobby. For many people, it is an obsession, and, like everything in fandom, often a huge time-sink. Trust me, I know. I have four books I’m supposed to be working on, but all I want to do watch Lost, play Breath of the Wild, and write about founding fathers giving each other sad glances and trying to disguise their obvious love for each other. (I see you there, John Laurens.) Fortunately for me, I found a way that I can both write fanfiction and be productive… and then I found two other ways which I don’t plan on using, but thought I should share all the same. Without further ado, here are H.G.’s “Three *Actual* Ways To Publish Fanfiction”.
Number One: Get Permission From The Creator
Pretty obvious, right? And also the one that’s least likely to work. But listen to what I’m saying anyway. A while back, lots of Star Wars fanfiction was published as companion books. And by lots I mean A LOT. Plus, they all had permission and could do some pretty zany things that were quite obviously non-canon (trust me, I read a few.) And people are still writing them! True, it’s more for the new universe now, but I’d still call it fanfiction. I can’t tell you how to get yourself onto the writing team for these books, or even if there is such a thing. All I can tell you is that, if you are given permission from the creator of a series/TV show/comic/etc., you can go ahead and write fanfiction for it. Getting that permission is the hard part.
Number Two: Write Historical Fiction
Historical Fiction is a time-honored tradition among writers – both alternate history and retellings of true events. It’s a tricky market, but if you can do it right, and if you put in the right amount of research, you can make good money off of it. In the fanfiction community, a lot of stories are written about real people, and this is called RPF. While Historical Fiction doesn’t always deal with real people, they’re often important, and it could be considered fanfiction… though the Historical Fiction community would mean that as an insult. (How rude.) Fortunately for me, I really enjoy doing research. I pretty much only read biographies these days, and I’m wiling to read a lot of them. I am in fact currently doing research for a historical fiction novel on Hamilton, Laurens, and Lafayette (big surprise), so technically, yes, I am going to make money off my OT3, back away from my babies, you can’t have them they’re mine. (And each other’s. But I digress.)
The picture above is from a television show which I have not watched, but I know takes place in the American Revolution -AKA my favorite thing ever. It is AMC’S “Turn” and according to the people who have watched it, it is basically a fanfiction as a lot of the stuff that happens is enormously unrealistic and/or inaccurate. Have a gif of Lafayette.
Number Three: Write On a Work That is Public Domain
This lovely book is a retelling of the “Alice in Wonderland” story, as told by a younger Queen of Hearts. It was one of the few YA books I read and actually enjoyed – and not only as a retelling, because I’m not an especially big Wonderland fan to begin with. In fact, retellings are often so interesting because they can stand on their own and show the story in a whole new way.
But, you’ll notice that one never really sees retellings based on currently popular books. Well, that’s because those are all new and therefore still under copyright protection. About – I believe it is currently 95 years – 95 years after a book is released, if copyright is not renewed by whoever owns it upon the author’s death, a work enters the public domain and anyone can use it, because no one owns it any longer. While certain versions of it may not be public domain, the work as a whole is, and you can write adaptations, spin-offs, or fanfictions to your heart’s content. Some works that are public domain include “Anne of Green Gables” (hence the awful Netflix show), “The Great Gatsby” “Peter Pan” and some (but not all) of the “Sherlock Holmes” stories.
Of course the best and most successful fanfiction (in my mind) that fits this category would be…
So there you have it! If your story, or one you are planning on writing, fits any of these categories, go ahead and set fingers to keyboard! Of course, getting it published after it’s written is the tricky part…