I received a gift in the mail today! (Photo beneath the cut.) This particular present made me especially happy, since it's a fan-made plush of one of my main characters. This got me thinking--I've talked on other websites about my views regarding fandom, but I haven't been especially public about it just yet. It seemed like as good a time as any to discuss it, so that's what I wanted to talk about today. I know that not everyone is interested in this topic, however, so the rest of the post will follow the cut!
Many thanks to mauve-amethyst!
I'm not ashamed to admit that I have a lot of experience in fandom. Anyone who tries looking me up on Google can, with enough effort, uncover the results of my labor. I don't want to cover it up--not even the really lousy stuff that I wrote when I was fourteen.
The fact of the matter is, I think fandom can be an incredible thing. For many, it's a place where they can finally build a community, find friends, and feel safe. Sometimes a fandom can go sour, but I've seen fandoms rally together to support causes, support each other (even financially), and offer comfort to other fans in need.
Even if fandoms don't always live up to their potential, they give fans a way to interact with their media of choice, developing their own skills as writers, artists, video editors, actors, and more. Even those who prefer to read, view, and otherwise participate in fandom are invaluable to the experience.
There are many who look down on those who choose to draw fanart or write fanfiction rather than do original work; I am not among them. Part of me worries that I will be taken less seriously with my history in fandom and my current support of it. For me, however, it is more important to support fandom than to have the right image.
Therefore, this is my official stance on fanworks of my own books: As long as you aren't profiting off of them, you don't need to ask for my permission to create fanworks set in my universe or using my characters. You are more than welcome to write fanfiction, create fanart, put together fanvids, compile FSTs, roleplay/cosplay, and otherwise participate in fandom and fanworks. The fact that a fandom exists at all will make me extremely happy if it comes to pass.
(If you'd like to sell your fanworks for a profit, please email firstname.lastname@example.org first.)
However, I can't read or view any fanworks of my series until all of my books have been released in order to avoid any legal snafus. While this is unfortunate, I still hope that my readers are moved enough by my world, characters, and story that they want to build a fandom of their own.