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On the Controversy

<Thank you for all of the feedback that has been submitted to us both directly and indirectly – we’re playing catch up and doing our best to respond to everyone as well as actively making adjustments to the site.  Please bear with us.>

Recently we’ve been getting some buzz on tumblr – some good, some bad, some ugly – and it put into relief some things we want to be really transparent about. We want to only ever be an addition to the fanfiction world and community we love so much and we’ll work hard to make sure that happens.

So let’s dig in, starting with – what happened? On Sunday the 18th Ronnie and I decided that our content output for fanfiction recommendations was slower than we’d like and we wanted to bring a third person into our team. So, on Monday the 19th we started working with the r/sherlock community to find some superfans that could help us out. We’ve found some amazing people and started discussing the kind of blog posts and rec lists we could make with their help. So far, so awesome. However, to show them what we were working on, we made an early version of our Sherlock recommendation list live, to give an example as to what we wanted to be doing. So far, so big mistake. That got shared, went public, and got us in hot water quick.

That fic list had author blurbs on it – nothing private, all basic information already linked from author’s public fanfiction pages, but not yet okayed by the author – and information about a writing course we’d been hoping to gauge interest in. We’d also messed up some (fortunately not many) of the podfic links, so they didn’t redirect to the podficcer’s download pages but to the downloads themselves. As said, a rough draft, but that rough draft looked Very rough when suddenly in the public eye.

<Note:  We stayed up all night to post the more complete (but still unfinished) Sherlock Rec List with author blurbs and podfics hidden until we receive appropriate permissions. Fan art will be removed soon as well.  >

Most of the concern comes down to two points: will we/do we post author/podfic information without permission and how do we make money?

To the first question: No, of course we won’t. That post was not meant to be in the public eye. Until we have all our author blurbs okayed by the authors in question, that part of the rec list will not be made live. We will absolutely not post author information on our rec lists without a prior okay.

Alright, now let’s talk money.

Where did the money come from? Ronnie and I funded this personally, out of love of fanfiction and love of the work it’s given us. We’ve done well enough in our lives to be able to fund this out of pocket for the foreseeable future. I’ll talk about why the heck we’d do that in a sec. First, let’s finish out that answer. So the money came from us. Let’s talk profitability.

As said, we’re financially well off enough to not really need to know if it’d ever be profitable nor where we’d allocate that. We discussed that with each other at the start. We don’t need it to make money. Personally, however, I want it to sustain itself; I have a dream of that like a child learning to crawl, coming to walk.  I want fanfictionrecommendations to stand on its own feet, independent from us, because I think it can be a real force for good in bringing new readers to fanfiction and we can’t support it forever – but we don’t know if that’ll ever happen. We’ve discussed a couple ways fanfictionrecommendations could come to pay us back someday, or at least expand enough to support the blogging jobs we’re currently supporting on our own. I get most excited about the idea of a writing course, so it’s the first thing we looked to gauge interest in, to see if it’d be able to bring in enough to at least support the rec lists’ sorting tool designs and site hosting in the future.

Where would profits from there go? What if this is something fanficcers really want, really support, really help grow? – I don’t know. That sounds like a dream. Ronnie has suggested charity (A03 being something I’d really want to support, for example, or writing scholarships if there would be enough money there for it to be viable) or back to the authors (but we’d have to talk to a copyright lawyer to see if it wouldn’t screw people over to be indirectly making commissions/money off their fanfics being listed with us). The simple answer is I don’t know what we’d do; we don’t even have a way for it to pay for itself yet (if it’ll ever have one). I do know we want fanfictionrecommendations to support fanfiction writers in every way possible – by encouraging new readers to new fandoms, by giving another platform for podfics and fanart covers to be brought together with their reference content, and by supporting the community it’s all born from.

So now the personal question: Why the heck would we throw money and time into this? Let me introduce myself a bit. I’m Gwen. I’m a Romance and Sci-Fi author that secretly likes fanfic a whole lot better. It didn’t even matter what hit me – I’ve been crippled and chronically ill, lost friends and family members to suicide and disease, and spent years battling loneliness and anxiety; I always read and wrote fanfiction, even when it meant my originals got pushed aside. Fanfiction has gotten me through a lot and I’m passionately, sometimes embarrassingly, attached to it. Ronnie saw the results of that. He’s seen me unable to stand, writing anyway. He knows what fanfiction can do for people, what it’s done for me. So when we hear people say they don’t read it because there’s so much out there they don’t know where to start, we want to fix that – we want to say ‘hi, start here. Go everywhere’.

I hope you’ll help us make that happen. Check out the recommendation list we made for Sherlock – it’s not done yet, but we still think it’s kickass. We’ll be reaching out to authors and the fanfiction community for feedback – please let us know yours!

Gwen and Ronnie

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Chief Editor: Gwendolynn Thomas is a professionally published author who got her start in Harry Potter, Sherlock, and Marvel fanfiction and could never stop coming back.Marketing Direction: Ronnie Deaver is an experience marketing professional with a love of fanfiction, community, and startups.

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2 thoughts on “On the Controversy”

  1. I think I commented before on this subject. We need a forum for new writers. People like myself who have been writing a short time. I would say three years or less.
    When on the Johnlock fiction writers facebook they always give names of those writing over five years.
    The newbies deserve recognition also.

    1. We’re definitely striving to get to that point – one of my personal goals is to also make it easier to write, easier to learn, and easier to start as well as help get new writers more recognition and support. However, we’re probably about 3 years out before we get to that point – our first step is to launch a Writing Course that teaches writing techniques using amazing pieces of fanfiction to help new writers feel more confident and learn to improve themselves by reading and writing fanfiction! Thank you for your support, it means the world to us! – Ronnie