Posts Tagged ‘self-promotion’

This is one of a series of posts in self-promotion. You can read the first one here.

Let me first say that I have very mixed reactions regarding Fan Fiction.

If you are a writer and you are getting fanfic, that means something pretty good is going on. Not only do you have a reader community that loves the same things we love (which is what we all want as writers, to share the things we love.*), but you have them loving your world to the point that they invest their time and creative efforts into adding to it.

On the other hand, these creative types can potentially dilute the vision you have for your characters that you created. Some of the worst offenders were the Mary Sues who were so perfect and wonderful that everyone loved them no matter what. There seemed to also exist a rabid “slash fiction” version written by ill-brained fans who weren’t content with the characters as they were, but had to turn them into something they were not.** There’s even an open-world group (I won’t link them here and give them more traffic than they need) that thinks they should be able to run rough-shod legally over anyone else’s intellectual property because they’re too lazy to worldbuild on their own.

In some ways, I consider a lot of movies made from books to be fanfic. Essentially the scriptwriter and director botches the story elements, and I ask myself, “If they liked it enough to make a movie out of it, how can they change it so drastically? Why not just write a story of your own by plucking out the elements you like and rearranging them?” Of course that argument would only fall on deaf ears, because of course they “know better.” But I digress…

After all of this griping, how can fanfic possible help a writer?

Well, as I mentioned, it means something good is going on with your stories. Many of us admit to being or starting writing fanfic to hone our skills, just like as budding artists we may draw from other people’s drawings to practice until we develop our own style. N0w, you could go after the fanfic writers and demand they take anything down. You can legally chase them down if they are making money from anything they write based on your stories. You could allow them to keep it up as long as they add a disclaimer that their story is not written by the author and is by no means sanctioned or related to the canon of the stories from which they draw the characters and world.

Or… you could require that they add the disclaimer and add a link to your website, so that you get traffic drawn to your sites and make sales from interested readers who want to know what the real characters and world is like. They may prefer yours, they may not, but you can’t shape readers to like you, you can only try to connect with readers who like what you do.

Now, if you’re reading this EA Games / Clive Barker / Developers of Undying–I have an idea for you that I would love to flesh out as a story for a sequel to that amazing game…You know, so it wouldn’t actually be fan fiction, but work from a “published” author…

 

*If you aren’t writing about things you love then you are writing dreck just to feed your wallet and probably hate what you do so much that you contemplate slitting your wrists at least once a day because in order to keep making money, you have to sell them what they want instead of what you want. And the work suffers for it too–readers can tell when your heart isn’t in it.

**WARNING: Read no further if you want to keep your brain clean. K/S is where the “slash” came from, as in Kirk slash Spock, as in “Kirk and Spock in a homosexual love affair”. The popular Highlander series had the same thing happen to it, where fanfic had the main character – usually the female author vaguely disguised – trying to convince the show’s main characters that they were in fact gay and should be lovers. And that is barely scratching the surface.

 

If you’ve never heard of the Navy SEALs, you’re either not from America or very likely call that slab of limestone over your head “Home Sweet Home”. I’m not going to explain who they are here, but what I will say is that the perception of them as door-kickers extraordinaire is pervasive. Their entire lives overseas consist of these missions where they make terrorists and pirates snack on lead, and back in the States they party like a bunch of demons, right?

While that last bit about them partying is at least semi-factual, the truth is that they train hard and they spend a lot of time doing all the not-so-“glamorous” aspects of SEAL/Navy life. Physical Training. Duty. Watches. Briefing. Debriefing. Travel. Paperwork. LOTS of paperwork. The “hardcore” parts of the life, sold in the movies and novels, can be boiled down to a nugget in a big barrel of plain ol’ rock. (But they’re still the sexiest men ever, bar none.)(I’m going to get slammed with complaints that I ratted them out as not having a 24-7 highspeed lifestyle, I bet. I know just enough about Navy life to be dangerous, having served as a sailor myself. I just hope they stopped reading at the compliment above, which is not hollow. They’re very hot.)

What does this have to do with self-promotion, you wonder?

Not that I would ever equivocate the life and challenges of someone who trained and attained such an honor as becoming a Navy SEAL to someone who runs their own business, but think for a moment when you hear someone say “I want to be my own boss.” The thoughts, if not spoken, run along the lines of “I don’t have to work for anyone else and I can take time off and go places I want to visit and do things I want to do.” They see the glamorous side without taking into account any of the droll day-to-day activities necessary to reach that goal of working for oneself. What they really want is to be independently wealthy without all the hard work. (Not that I would ever have a problem with being independently wealthy, of course! Isn’t that the plan?)

I have a friend who runs his own business and has been doing so successfully for a very long time. But–huge “but”–it took him 20+ years to get there, and he works insanely long hours. He takes days off–sort of. Often, when I worked with him, we’d be up in the wee-est hours of the morning and would be out on the road or doing the labor of the job (yes, he got his hands very dirty along with his “wrecking crew”) and wouldn’t see a bed until close to midnight. And I thought boot camp hours were tough!

All that is just to explain that working for oneself, like I would love to do as a writer, is a goal that I am trying to achieve and I spend a lot of my time not just writing but by doing all of the rest of the work a publisher would do if I had gone the brick & mortar route. I get to do my own self-promotion, and for the next couple of blogs I am going to discuss the different methods I’ve been trying to get My Brand out there. Here are a few methods I will discuss:

Magazine Submissions

Business Cards

FanFiction (but probably not in the way you’re thinking)

P.S. I’ve been working on a project that I had been calling Dross, but has now come to be known as Ink & Sigil. Barring any emergencies, the novel, a steampunk fantasy, will be out before the end of the year.