OTW Fannews: Fandom’s role in creation

  • At Slate, Tammy Oler lauds writer Hugh Howey’s approach to dealing with fans in a piece discussing the success of his self-published sci-fi novel. “Most intriguingly, Howey has encouraged readers who want to develop their own Wool stories to self-publish and sell their works. In an interview, I asked Howey about why he’s not just encouraging fan fiction but actually endorsing it. ‘There’s room for readers to become writers and play in this world,’ he said. ‘I view fan fiction as the opportunity to teach readers how much joy there is in creating worlds instead of just living in them.’ Right now—much to Simon and Schuster’s chagrin, one has to imagine—the first two of what are sure to be many Wool-related fan fiction stories are available for sale on Amazon.”
  • BookRiot hosted a guest piece by writer Jill Guccini who pondered how to evaluate professional/fan collaborations. “So here’s the question: Is this unbelievably cool and innovative? Or is it simply, as the AV Club called it, ‘a dizzying cycle of mutual promotion and self-promotion?’ Can it be both? Fandom is a more sprawling, often intimate, force now than it ever has been before in every variety of the arts, including books. I used to know authors simply by, you know, what books they wrote; I now gauge a lot of them in my head unwittingly by their social media personalities. And sometimes they reblog the same things I reblog; sometimes they follow me back; and they become weirdly closer, somehow, to That Guy I Went to High School With, as opposed to The All Mysterious Author. Essentially: the fourth wall has already been broken. So does authors reaching out to fans enrich the literary world? Or does it cheapen it? Alternately, does a corporate-sponsored, preconceived interactive project still count as ‘reaching out’?”
  • Aja Romano over at the Daily Dot is also concerned about how fans are valued in these interactions, and writes about the way they are spoken of in SXSW panel blurbs. “[F]andom itself is growing to be synonymous with geek culture as a whole—both of which are seeping inexorably into the mainstream. That’s a huge reversal from where things stood even a few years ago, and not everyone is quite on board with this change. We can see this anxiety in the very language two of this week’s SXSW panels use to summarize the fan/creator relationship.” Questioning the panelists on ‘Frenemies: Fanning the Flames of Fandom’ and ‘Creators vs Audience: Next Chapter in Storyteling’, she notes “the introductory angle that both panels take seem to pit fans and creators against one another, rather than as potential partners in a relationship built around shared love for a story.”

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