Fan Fictions and Electronic Publishing: the Dawn of a New Era

By Sanniah Hassan

It gives fans the privilege to imagine and experiment with stories they love.”

Since the advent of technology and printing machines in the 20th century mankind has come a long way. From handwritten copies of books that took years in completion before they could be read, to thousands of books which could be published in mere days, mankind has entered a new era of progress. This era is quite interesting because it allows us to save trees for oxygen [the fact that we still don’t is another story] but, with the help of multiple electronic forums it has become easier to get one’s work published.

Fanfiction or a fanfic as it is popularly called is a fan’s perspective story of the original text, song, movie, television series or other et cetera. It gives fans the privilege to imagine and experiment with stories they love.  Multiple forums and websites exist that promote this culture of fanfic writing where readers and writers alike can communicate and interact with each to share their mutual love for reading and writing. Millions of stories ranging from child-centric texts to more mature adult content exist as fanfics, these stories are awarded categories that help the target audience primarily women of all ages, sift through their interests to find what they love the most. Since, there is a top ten list or a bar to establish such websites and interests on the internet for almost everything. I will list below the top ten fanfiction websites according to [arranged in order of audience preference].

  1. Archive of our own
  2. Wattpad
  3. deviantART
  4. Quotev
  5. Asianfanfics
  7. FicWad
  8. Tumblr
  9. Internet Archive
  10. Goodreads


Moreover, even though these stories are mostly published on established and promoted through such web services, there are other means of promoting fanfics as well and that is by means of creating and maintaining a blog [usually a personal blog where an individual can share anything from personal opinions to creative endeavors and so on]. There are writers who after completing their published stories take them off of the website only to post it on another site or even their personal blogs. One such writer I came across who was much appreciated by her followers, is CaraNo. She is a Swedish fanfic writer who has gotten original work published as well. While this is rare, it is not impossible. Another very famous example of a fanfic writer turned published author is E L James the author of Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and lastly Fifty Shades Freed. Originally these were a series of fanfics based on the Twilight universe [minus the vampires and other supernatural beings], a saga by another female author, Stephanie Meyer. While Meyer’s books were loved and appreciated when they were initially published, the statistics of fanfics based on it prove how people love experimenting with it.

However, this is not all. The Harry Potter series is generally considered whole and unchangeable by its fans, none the less, there are a myriad of Harry Potter fanfics online. This goes to show that the electronic medium has liberated writers around the globe. Since the profiles are usually private in the sense that authors don’t share many details from their personal lives. While most fanfic writers are from the dominant part of the world, or the Western world, there are a few from Pakistan and other eastern and even predominantly Muslim countries such as India, Bangladesh, UAE et cetera.

From left to right: A Hunger Games fanfic, A Harry Potter fanfiction, A Twilight fanfic.

Furthermore, since many writers who are getting published for original fiction these days are also connected to the fanfic world in some way or the other. The future of publishing therefore lies ahead of us. Although prior to this there was no limit to facilities in the western world but, in Pakistan there are not very many publishers who promote works other than those in Urdu or Punjabi, very few English pieces are published each year. In addition to progress, electronic publishing will motivate more people to write. There should be mediums other than Facebook, Twitter, and the like awarded to our youth where they can exhibit their talents and passions themselves by means of personal expression. We need an outlet to express ourselves which is not associated to our academics. The purpose of this medium would be to provide a platform where anyone can come up with ideas of their own, to create stories and interact with each other, not only allowing publishers to pick out potential and aspiring writers from Pakistan but, also liberating the youth.

The Selection Series: The Selection [upper left], The Elite [upper right], The One [lower left], The Heir [center], The Crown [lower right]
Left to Right: From the author of The Confessions of a Shopaholic, My Not So Perfect Life & I’ve Got Your Number; The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise.

Additionally, we need more publishing houses in Pakistan that promote the medium of electronic publishing. Now everything we do associates us to the internet: cell phones, computers, gadgets et cetera, so we need to come up with an easy solution for getting published as well. Perhaps it is time that Pakistan [should] step further into the world of technology and bring out our youth to the forefront through online publishing allowing not only more writers to come forward but also more expression to flourish.