Painfully perky (icarusancalion) wrote,
  • Mood: headachy

Article summing up FanLib.

On March 22nd, FanLib emailed hundreds of fanfiction authors in dozens of online communities in LiveJournal, lotrfanfiction, FanFiction.net, and Fiction Alley. They invited writers to upload stories to a beta version of their new website, www.fanlib.com. Fanfiction, once only available under the counter at conventions, has exploded on the internet, with over 285,000 Harry Potter stories alone at fanfiction.net drawing high hit counts per story.

The founders of FanLib.com saw no reason they couldn't cash in on the internet traffic. Formerly from Yahoo, Chris Williams, the CEO and co-founder of FanLib, has an impressive resume. FanLib has corporate backing and $3 million of venture capital invested into the site.

"My colleagues and I want it to be the ultimate place for talented writers like you," Naomi of FanLib wrote to fanfiction writers. "In case you're wondering, FanLib's not new to fanfiction. Since 2001, they've been producing really cool web events with people like CBS, Showtime and HarperCollins to bring fan creativity into the big leagues."

FanLib did their homework. "We scouted for serious fanfiction authors on various sites and invited only a few hundred based on their writing and impact in the community," co-founder David Williams says, and fans agree that their search focused on popular writers. What's a "serious" fanfiction writer? A serious fanfiction writer could have anywhere from 30 to 100 stories, with upwards of 700 regular readers subscribed to their blogs or LiveJournal accounts. Currently, fanfiction writers do their own marketing through networking with other fans, posting in blogs, fan-run archives, and various fanfiction communities targeted to their readers.

Unfortunately, FanLib did little more than ask the writers to hand over the product.Collapse )

I'm open for edits, comments, and changes. I probably won't have time for a lot of discussion this week -- last week of classes -- but I'll read everything and comment where I can.

Thank you, guys, for all the peer review edits.

ETA: Added correction. Chris Williams did reply.
ETA2: Additional correction. From jdsampson at fanthropology, corporate sponsors are only associated with specific contests.
ETA3: Added Chris Williams' assurance that fanfiction was his mission in life.
ETA4: Added Chris Williams' statements about the legality of fanfiction, and a bit more about ff.net.
ETA5: Updated with information from Fandom Lawyers.
ETA6: Added changes from taverymate on fandom statistics.
*ETA7: Correction from wrenlet, Chris Williams was with Yahoo, not Google.

ETA8: Added revealing FanLib marketing brochure info from Riba Rambles.

Links to posts about FanLib:

Pawprints of the Mind 'FanLib Association Chain'
Fitness for the Occasion 'Corporations and People: Content and Control'
Valleywag 'BROUHAHA: Fanlib's storyline gets hijacked'
Slashdot.com 'Fan Fiction Writers Balk at FanLib.com'
Picked up at Zicos 'Fan Fiction Writers Balk At FanLib.com'
Mary McNamara 'Internet Goes Nova Over Showtime, Starz, Moonves Partnered FanLib.com'
Califa Police Gazette 'FanLib: Boo!'
Chris Williams Responds to Fan Concerns in Jenkins' Blog
BBC's Chris Vallance 'FanLib and Fan Fiction'
Henry Jenkins (author of Textual Poachers) 'Transforming Fan Culture into User-Generated Content: The Case of FanLib'
Liblog 'FanLib - Marketing Fan Fiction'
Teresa Nielsen Hayden at Making Light 'FanLib wholly exploded'
Lis Riba 'FanLib: Chump Change from My2Centences'
Scalzi at Ficlets Blog 'Corporatized Fan Fiction?'
Jim Macdonald at Making Light 'Fanfiction, Monetized'
John at the Whatever blog 'FanLib to Fanficcers: All Your Writing Are Belong To Us'
Sci-fi author Tobias Buckell 'FanLib'
Ivan Askwith at MIT Convergence Culture Consortium 'FanLib Provides Another Home For FanFic Writers'
Designated Sidekick on The Candy Floss Aneurism 'Hey Fanlib - An open letter from a marketer watching yet another fan connected company self harm'
akfrankel on Killerstartups.com 'Fanfiction In Demand'
Studio Splurd 'FanLib'
Silent Hill Fanfiction Archive 'FanLib is Bad'
David Kaplan on paidContect.org 'Storytelling Social Net FanLib Launches With $3 Million In Funding'
7/26/06:HarperCollins Press Release HarperCollins Publishers and FanLib Launch Groundbreaking Online Community Events'
John Fine in BusinessWeek 'Putting The Fans To Work'
'Speedpainting + this FanLib thing'
Kitesareevil 'FanLib'
Synecdochic compares FanLib and LiveJournal's TOS'
Stewardess has links to more articles.

And mockery, anyone? life_wo_fanlib (watchdog group)

Important note (added 5/25/07): It's been brought to my attention by scarah2 that FanLib is asking members for their FanFiction.net emails and passwords. I set up an account with FanLib and checked this out. It's true (this is a screen capture of the page requesting my password). Do not give out passwords under any circumstances. This is basic internet security.

FanFiction.net says, "May 22nd, 2007 -- The login process has been enhanced to prevent 'bots' from attempting to access your accounts. Please note to never share your email and password combination with anyone."

Lastly, there's a wild rumor that LJ's being pressured to ban users partially due to complaints arising from the FanLib situation. LJ's Abuse team laughed their heads off when they heard it. The scare turned out to be true. On May 28th, in a move that left the fans breathless, dozens of fanfiction and literary journals were deleted for having controversial interests listed, including a Spanish-language Lolita discussion journal, an incest survivors' support group, and a Harry Potter fanfiction group with over 4,000 readers. It's unclear whether the sweep had anything to do with FanLib, though fans point to vigilante groups that have been dogging LiveJournal for over a month.

I have had many requests to link to this post. Please feel free.
Tags: fanlib, meta
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