Excerpts from School Library Journals August 1, 2014 article by Chelsey Philpot. See the whole article here.
Fan fiction sites have been around for years. But it took a publishing phenomenon for fanfic to hit the mainstream radar. In 2012, the extraordinary success of E. L. James’s “Fifty Shades” trilogy (Viking), erotic fan fiction inspired by Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series, brought fanfic to the world’s attention. Since then, Amazon has launched a fan fiction publishing program, Kindle Worlds; authors have confessed to fanfic writing pasts; and fanfic-centered novels have become bestsellers.
Once upon a time, fans shared their stories at conventions and in zines. Today, they post on Tumblr and sites such as FanFiction.net, Livejournal, and Wattpad, which boast millions of users. The fan-run nonprofit site Archive of Our Own has nearly 350,000 registered fans, and Figment includes roughly 100,000 teen contributors.
For many, fanfic’s allure is being part of this community of shared enthusiasms. It’s about reading, analyzing, and asking, “What if?” There are no taboos or rules in fan fiction. The genre is also a venue for teens to probe their emotional lives.
FIELDING COPYRIGHT ISSUES
Legal matters are an issue for fanfic writers of any age. Complicated copyright and trademark laws are made even more so once companies have a stake in an author’s work. The website Chilling Effects provides information about what’s legal in fanfic and how to face challenges.