Could Monetizing Fan Fiction Become a Virtuous Circle?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

circle cycle

By Edward Nawotka

In today’s lead story, Scott Walker of Brain Candy notes that “there is an untapped market that exists between fandom and commercial entertainment” and “he wants to legitimize fandom.”

Obviously Walker is asserting that there is money being left on the table somewhere in the value chain. Producers of commercial entertainment pay top dollar for “canonical texts” to be added to popular story franchises — whether it’s a new Star Trek film or a Joss Whedon penned Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic. Fans on the other hand are happy to write their own stories and post them online for free. Walker believes it the two worlds can be bridged — likely through the development of a viable platform — that some cash could be generated.

Instead, could fan fiction writers and other creators, provided they have a large enough community, benefit by creating a virtuous circle and simply pay to buy work from each other? No, this is not likely to expand the audience beyond the true believers, but it will create a potentially self-sustaining cycle, while marginalizing the concerns over transgressing commercial rights holders.

And if you know of examples where this is already being done, tell us about the complications involved.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.