When fics go AWOL

So, another great SwanQueen story has been published, Letters from War by hunnyfresh has been turned into two original books. The first has just been released as “Dear Taylor” and is now available on Amazon.

I think this is good news. Fanfiction being turned into published novels should surely be viewed as good news, right? It is giving more authors the chance to shine, it is vastly improving the LGBTQ+ selection of books available (in both volume and quality) and it is, indirectly, increasing the media presence of the SwanQueen fandom.

And yet, I’m seeing lots of people complaining about the original fanfiction works being taken down. Negative individuals who can’t see beyond their own wants continue to berate authors who have found success. I really do find this shocking when you consider the good for the wider community that is being done by these books being published. And, the simple fact that the work is owned by the author and they have the right to do whatever they like with their own work. Fanfiction is not a right, it is a gift.

Now, I know some might say that the author is profiteering from fanfiction. But the truth is, most successful fanfiction authors produce huge amounts of content. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of words, all given freely to a fandom. Isn’t an author allowed to receiving something back for all that hard work? Because it is hard work. To write a fanfiction that is enjoyed by many and universally recognised as a top fic is a dream of most writers. It doesn’t fall into your lap. You have to work hard for it. So, why shouldn’t someone who has given all that time and effort away for free be allowed to  get something back?

Another important point is that fanfiction originals get taken down for different reasons. Some publishers allow the original to remain live, mine did and I kept the original version of Flight SQA016 live for many months after the book was released. Did this cost me money in potential royalties? Of course it did. Did I care? No.

But eventually I took Flight down due to the hateful messages I was being sent through the review process. Negative pockets of people within the SwanQueen fandom sent me scores of messages, all with the intent of simply being cruel to me. So, I removed Flight from the Internet entirely. I wish I hadn’t had to do that but I did what was right for myself.

Some authors take the original fanfiction down because of publishing conflicts, some because of the reason mentioned above, and some because they just want to. The works on fanfiction sites belong to the creators and they can ultimately decide what they want to do with them. If that is take them down then that should be respected.

So, if your favourite fanfiction is suddenly pulled and a publishing announcement is posted, of course take a moment to grieve it’s loss, but then be happy for the author. Think about what this means for the wider community. Young LGTBQ+ people will have more professionally published books to read where they can identify with the protagonists. LGBTQ+ literature will grow, that growth will inspire others to write more. And, the author of one of your favourite fanfictions is getting the acknowledgement they deserve. I think we can all agree that these are good things.

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