When discussing publishing goals with other writers, a movie franchise usually makes the list. Everyone wants to be the next George R.R. Martin or J.K. Rowling. The chances of a book being made into a movie or TV series are slim. Just getting published is hard enough. While I’d love to see my books turned into a movie or a series with the quality and budget of Game of Thrones or The Lord of the Rings (I’d even settle for the B-rated quality and budget of The Seeker), I’m not holding my breath. That doesn’t mean I don’t want my books to be popular. What I really want more than movies, t-shirts, and action figures is fanfiction.
That’s right, I don’t care if they ever make a movie or tv show based on my books as long as I am immortalized by a network of obsessive fans. Some authors despise fanfiction; they consider it a form of plagiarism. But fanfic writers aren’t stealing your work; after all, they aren’t being paid for it. They pose no real threat, except for perhaps butchering your universe, but for the most part, fanfiction offers a lot of benefits for writers.
Why fanfiction? Because the fandom community is a community of fans. It’s like having a fan club. It would mean that readers were so enraptured by my characters and my world that they didn’t want it to end. They want the story line to continue so badly they just do it themselves with their own original works.
They say imitation is the best form of flattery. We know this isn’t always true. There are some bad fanfics out there, but the fact that they want to live inside your world instead of their own is still very flattering. One plus side to fanfic over movies is that a bad movie can make your book look bad. A bad fanfic makes the fanfic author look bad. There is no real affiliation. Where there are a dozen bad fanfics, there are probably a few good ones.
Fanfiction is free advertising. If someone follows a writer who happens to write a story about your book, they may decide they want to read the canon. The more fanfics you have written about your book the more awesome potential readers will think your book is. Go on fanfiction.net and see how many there are for your favorite book.
Not gonna lie, I’m very interested in the pairings. It’s sort of a guilty pleasure of mine to see who my readers would ship? Would they like the original pairings or do they play musical chairs with my couples? I would totally sit at my computer with a glass of wine with the curtains closed to read fanfics based on my own favorite ships.
Fanfic is a great way to get feedback from your readers. The stories they write tell you a lot about who they like, what they like, what they think should have happened, shouldn’t have happened, etc. You could read them for future inspiration. It’s a great way to get to know the people who will most likely buy your next book.