At least she asked. Nobody would bother in these days of the Internet. And that's the thing. The Internet is where most, if not all, fanfic is published these days, as far as I know. The days of the print fanzine are over and that's a shame, because they were works of art and you could curl up in bed with them. There's a wonderful web site called 1001 Trek Tales(look it up as I don't have the link on me). It is dedicated to rescuing old stories from th print fanzines in the editor's collection, with the authors' permission(in some cases the permission of their estates). They have a couple of my stories.
These days, there are a lot of younger fans who think the Internet is the be-all and end-all and that hardly anyone published this stuff before.
My club fanzine, in which I had a story, though I can't remember what it was. Cover by my friend Greg Franklin.
Someone on Twitter the other day put in a link to a blog on which the author, a young woman who is working on her first novel, gives tips about writing. This one was on fan fiction. It was written on the assumption that fan fiction was pretty much a Net thing - I assume it did, because anyone who was familiar with fanzines wouldn't have said some of the things she did - and advised readers to think carefully about writing it because it didn't make money and you were restricted in what you could write because of canon, giving some details about Harry Potter as an example. The tweeter wondered if the author of that article had read any fan fiction and after reading it, I wondered too. I went to the web site and wrote the following:
Sorry,XXX, but reading this post makes me wonder just how much fan fiction you have read – and from a look at your bio, I’m guessing you weren’t BORN before the Internet. You know the word “canon” but not, it seems, “alternative universe”. Even these days, that exists and I am quite sure there are plenty of stories in which Harry’s parents survived or he never went to Hogwarts or Petunia did. ;-) Fans can and do and have been changing absolutely everything in fanfic, since well before you were born. There were these printed things called fanzines – I wrote about 150 fan stories set in one universe or another, before people started paying me to write books, and have a huge pile of contributors’ copies to prove it, plus plenty more. And so do a lot of speculative fiction writers who are big names these days. It’s rather sad that since the Internet there are far fewer of these forms of self expression.
While it’s true you don’t get paid for writing fan fiction, it does indeed build up your audience(as she had said)and teaches you the craft. Because while fans can and do change everything in their chosen universe there are always others to argue with them that they got the characterisation wrong or made a mistake about the universe or even, in some cases, got their physics wrong or their history in the case of some historical fantasy universes. You couldn’t buy that kind of feedback. You certainly don’t get it from publishers who have rejected your magnum opus.
And I have heard of a rare, much sought-after fanzine that was sold in the US for $1500! So much for “you can’t make money out of it.” This is only an example, though. Not to mention some writers who have rewritten their fan fiction and sold it.
And recently, I edited my first prozine and found it a comfortable process because it was not much different from editing a fanzine. You choose your stories and your artist, you edit and you publish. The system is different, of course, we used to just photocopy, but not a problem.
But even if you never write anything else, if you’re having fun, who cares?
I hope I didn't offend her too much, but as a fanzine veteran, I found the post just a bit patronising - from someone who hasn't even sold her first book! Ah, I'm such a grumpy old fan!