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500 Writers Who Started Out In Fanfiction

500 Authors Who Started Out In Fanfiction

While researching my International Fanworks Day post on creators and their thoughts on fanfiction - cue obligatory pimping of that article - I kept running into listicles of authors who started out in fandom. It quickly became clear to me that these represented only the tip of the iceberg, especially as many of them struggled to actually name writers who had been in fic fandom rather than who wrote stories independently for their own amusement, or who are known to be okay with fandom like, say, John Scalzi or Neil Gaiman. I figured I could do better, so here I am putting my money where my mouth is.

You'll find huge household names in this post, rubbing shoulders with obscure writers with a single self-published book to their name. And every possible permutation in between. It's just not the oddity the newspaper articles would have you believe.

Fanfiction is absolutely everywhere in published fiction. For the most part it is not labelled as such, and the authors probably wouldn't consider it so either. But, to my mind, getting paid to write a tie-in novel or writing about a character now in the public domain doesn't make the work any less derivative. If you're playing in somebody else's sandpit, be that setting, character, or concept, chances are you're producing fanfiction. That, however, is an argument for another day! This post will look at the still plenty sizeable number of pro-authors who have admitted to writing or are well known to have written fanfiction, as well as fanfiction which has been picked up or 'pulled' for publication.





50 Shades of Grey

The best known of them all is probably E. L. James; her bestselling Fifty Shades of Grey series started life as Master of the Universe, a Twilight fanfic, under the pen name Snowqueens Icedragon. The book trilogy has now sold over 125 million copies and been adapted into hit Hollywood movies. While Fifty Shades polarised opinion, the hype around it served to introduce the public at large to the concept of fanfiction, and showed a lot of fanfic writers what kind of reward might be out there if they 'filed off the serial numbers' (i.e. changed the names and switched the fandom specific details).

Twilight fandom has made something of a habit of publishing fic - some of the success stories are Christina Lauren (the pro pen name of Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings) who had their fic The Office published by Simon & Schuster as The Beautiful Bastard in 2013, and Sylvain Reynard (Sebastien Robichaud) whose Gabriel's Inferno originated as a Twilight fic called The University of Edward Masen. Plenty of other writers have also 'pulled to publish' though; here's a looong list of people who published their former Twilight fic:

 - Allison, Rochelle.
 - Amador, Sophia.
 - Amutia, Tri.
 - Anastasia, Debra.
 - Aymes, Kahlen.
 - Baldwin, Evelyn R.
 - Barber, Eden.
 - Barker, Kira.
 - Barnaby, J.P.
 - Barry, Jennifer M.
 - Beckett, Madeleine.
 - Bell, Ariel.
 - Bentley, Harper.
 - Bilbrey, Lisa.
 - Birbeck, Michelle.
 - Black, Amanda.
 - Blades, Kilby.
 - Blair, Samantha.
 - Blanco, N. Isabelle.
 - Blunt, Lily G.
 - Bolden, Beth.
 - Braley, Laura.
 - Brasher, Kitten.
 - Breville, Veronica.
 - Brisia, Lynnette.
 - Brown, Jess Molly.
 - Browne, Jennyfer.
 - Byrd, Faye.
 - Caine, Sawyer.
 - Campos, Amanda A.
 - Canter, J.A.
 - Carr, Dan.
 - Carson, Leslie.
 - Clavelli, Taylin.
 - Clampett, Ruth.
 - Clayton, Alice.
 - Cole, N.J.
 - Connor, Zara.
 - Cozzo, K.A.
 - Creole, Reine.
 - Currie, Diana.
 - Darhower, J.M.
 - de Sallier, Elise.
 - Dee, Cara.
 - DeHaven, Velvet.
 - DeJarnett, Robin.
 - Delaurentis, Maria.
 - Denise, Jami.
 - Douglas, Nell E. S.
 - Downing, Hannah.
 - Duncan, Kathleen.
 - Elison, K.J.
 - Elizabeth, Mary.
 - Elizabeth, Sarah.
 - Elks, Carrie.
 - Elson, Nicki.
 - Emerson, April.
 - Emery, J.C.
 - Evans, Olivia.
 - Facile, N.M.
 - Feeney, M.B.
 - Fiore, Elle.
 - Font, Lorenz.
 - Foster, Kimberley.
 - Fox, Kera.
 - Franklin, T.M.
 - Freeman, Kerry.
 - Fulcher, Joy.
 - Gardener, Melissa.
 - Gefecht, Betti.
 - Ginsberg, Kim.
 - Glover, Sarah M.
 - Grace, Pella.
 - Gray, Lindsey.
 - Grey, S.R.
 - Grubor, Sadie.
 - Gucker, Christie A.C.
 - Guthrie, Georgina.
 - Guyan, Claire M.
 - Hallmark, A.P.
 - Hallows, Kaye P.
 - Hargrave, R.E.
 - Harper, Rebecca.
 - Harris, Cora.
 - Harris, L.J.
 - Harvey, C.J.
 - Hayes, Sherri.
 - Hawkins, A.R.
 - Hawks, M.J.
 - Hodge, Lauren.
 - Hood, Jae.
 - Hooks, S.J.
 - Hudspeth, A.M.
 - Hunting, Helena.
 - Husher, Emma.
 - Inman, Kirstie.
 - Irwin, Michelle.
 - Jackson, Sophie.
 - Jade, Ella.
 - Jameson, A.
 - January, Jennifer Lynn.
 - Johnson, Amber L.
 - Kadrak, Suzanne.
 - Kate, Jiffy.
 - Kate, Londyn.
 - Katoff, Jessica.
 - Kaye, Annie.
 - Kaye, Jessa.
 - Kearns, Morgan.
 - Kelly, Meghan.
 - Kendall, Jay.
 - Kimball, Cynthia.
 - King, Tyler. aka Layke, Taryn.
 - Kloos, S.E.
 - Knight, Annalyse.
 - Lane, Jennifer.
 - Lane, Phoebe.
 - Langston, Cara.
 - Latchaw, Sarah.
 - Lawson, Angel.
 - Lee, Jessica.
 - Lee, Michelle.
 - Leever, Patricia.
 - Lingas-Loniewska, Agnes.
 - Little, J.A.
 - Locklear, Jennifer.
 - Locklear, Morgan.
 - Logan, Sydney.
 - Lowell, Chanse.
 - Lumetta, S.M.
 - Lyn, Shy.
 - Lynn, K.I.
 - Lynn, Kera.
 - Lyons, Louise.
 - Madison, Tiffany.
 - Mann, Katy.
 - Marino, Melissa.
 - Markus, Autumn.
 - Markusfeld, C.J.
 - Martin, Anna.
 - Mashal, Rose B.
 - Mason, Melody Hope.
 - Matthews, Jo.
 - Mattina, Abria.
 - McAna, Jessica.
 - McAvoy, J.J.
 - McCray, Tandy.
 - McDonald, Jeanne.
 - McRae, Killian.
 - McQuinn, Jessica.
 - Me, Tara Sue.
 - Michaels, Victoria.
 - Miller, B.B.
 - Miller, Scarlet L.
 - Montalvo, Helene.
 - Moreland, Melanie.
 - Morgan, L.C.
 - Morgen, Ayden K.
 - Morris, Liv.
 - Munier, Diane.
 - Murphy, Cerece Rennie.
 - Noel, Perry.
 - Oburia, Alison.
 - Padron, G.
 - Parker, C.L.
 - Paul, Shenda.
 - Poponea, Cayce.
 - Queen, Roxy.
 - Quinn, Susan Kaye.
 - Randall, Carrie Ellen.
 - Rarden, Jenny.
 - Ramussen, Kitrisha.
 - Rayven, Leisa.
 - Regis, H.E.
 - Reyes, Elena M.
 - Rhodes, Alexandria.
 - Richardson, J.R.
 - Richland, Alexandra.
 - Rogers, Kayleigh A.
 - Rolls, S.A.
 - Romines, S.L.
 - Rose, Shiloh P.
 - Rotuno, Deb.
 - Ruby, Q.T.
 - Ryan, A.D.
 - Ryan, J.J.
 - Salsbury, KQ.
 - Savage, Shay.
 - Scholefield, Donna.
 - Schneider, Michael.
 - Scott, Amber Joi.
 - Scott, S.L.
 - Silver, Jordan.
 - Simms, Angela.
 - Sivec, Tara.
 - Smith, C.M.
 - Smith, N.K.
 - Soana, Tamaria.
 - Stahl, Shey.
 - Steel, Dinia.
 - Stevens, Bee.
 - Stevens, Katherine.
 - Summers, J.P.
 - Sweeney, Tracy.
 - Taylor, Shell.
 - Thompson, Kris.
 - Tompkins, Lauren.
 - Town, Frankie.
 - Vaughn, Brigham.
 - Vaughn, Mina.
 - Velden, Lily.
 - Vincent, Elizabeth A.
 - Vining, Season.
 - Vollentine, Shanna.
 - Von Barnsley, Rose.
 - Walker, N. R.
 - Wendy, Lory.
 - Whitney, Mary.
 - Wilde, B.L.
 - Willett, Z.N.
 - Winchester, Autumn.
 - Winters, Kara.
 - Winters, Karen.
 - Wiseman, Amy.
 - Witko, Tawa M.
 - Wood, N.
 - Wright, Sandra.
 - Zapata, Mariana.

Anna Todd

Boyband fandoms have also proved a fertile breeding ground for published fanfiction. Emily Baker's Loving The Band was originally posted to movellas.com as One Direction fanfiction - then aged just 16, she was approached by Penguin for the rights to publish it. In 2014 the first book in Anna Todd's After series was published; it had previously been published as a Harry Styles/Original Character fic on Wattpad, where it was the most read story on the site. Similarly, Ashley Royer's 5SOS fic Remember to Forget was picked up by Blink YA for publication after it was posted to Wattpad.

'P2P' isn't some new phenomena, either. People have been publishing their fanfic for as long as they've been writing it, whether that be illustrious modern interpretations of the classics, or straight up fic with the serial numbers filed off. The latter was often seen in the niche world of LGBT+ publishing in the 1980s and 1990s. Teri White, a popular Starsky & Hutch zine author, changed the names to publish Cowboy Blues under the pseudonym Stephen Lewis in 1985. Alexis Rogers went down the same route, publishing The Cost of Love - famous for being the first Starksy & Hutch fic on the internet - as Cost of Love with Lavender Press in 1990. Xena 'uber' - reincarnation - stories were particularly ubiquitous candidates for f/f novels as the reincarnation meant new setting and new names. The serial numbers didn't even need filing! Here are some authors who have been in slash and / or femslash fandom:

 - Adams, Nene.
 - Allen, Tamara.
 - Applewater, Mavis.
 - Attwell, Cary.
 - Azel, Anne.
 - Baumbach, Laura.
 - Beck, Suzanne M.
 - Blue, Ally.
 - Bowers, Sharon.
 - Bozza, Julie.
 - Brooks, Mary D.
 - Cameron, Lindy.
 - Carr, Carrie.
 - Claiborne, Erin.
 - Cooper, Blayne.
 - Crist, Linda.
 - Curry, Cheyne.
 - Davies, Barbara.
 - Davitt, Jane.
 - Dean, Vivien. aka Jamie Craig.
 - Diaz, Ingrid.
 - Dragon, J.M.
 - Espinoza, Pepper. aka Jamie Craig.
 - Foster, Verda.
 - Francis, Manna.
 - Haimowitz, Rachel.
 - Hart, Lois Cloarec.
 - Hill, Gerri.
 - KatLyn.
 - Klein, K-lee.
 - Kocialski, Trish.
 - Lake, Lori. L.
 - Lanyon, Josh.
 - Lee, Tanith.
 - Logan, Lucia.
 - Lundin, Britta.
 - Maas, L.J.
 - MacGregor, K.G.
 - Madison, Sarah.
 - Mandrake, Michael. aka Sharita Lira. aka Rawiya.
 - Massa, J.J. (Read more HERE.)
 - Meagher, Susan X.
 - Miller, B.L.
 - Minner, Mickey.
 - Morrison, Kady.
 - Muir, Tonya.
 - Novan, T.
 - O'Reilly, Erin.
 - Pacat, C.S.
 - Paradee, C.
 - Price, Jordan Castillo.
 - Radclyffe.
 - Redhawk, D. Jordan.
 - Rickard, Taylor.
 - Roux, Abigail.
 - Ryan, Maggie.
 - Schechter, Elizabeth.
 - Sinclair, Jenna Hilary.
 - Surtees, Karen.
 - Swannell, Cate.
 - Urban, Madeline.
 - Vertigo, T.J.
 - Walker, M.J.
 - Walter, Xanthe.
 - Welsh, Victoria.
 - West, K.C.
 - Wilkinson, Natalie.
 - Zarben, S.B.
 - Zagar, Victoria.

The Mortal Instruments

While some famous authors admit to cutting their teeth writing 'drawer fic' (fanfiction never shared with a wider circle or posted online) - Meg Cabot, Tamora Pierce and Pamela Dean all wrote media based fic for their own or close friends' amusement, for example - outside of P2P (pulled to publish) books it's a little rarer to hear of those who were, and in some cases still are, actively part of fic fandom. But Cassandra Clare, author of The Mortal Instruments series, was a fandom BNF (Big Name Fan, a kind of fandom celebrity) before going pro. The Very Secret Diaries, Cassandra Claire's popular Lord of the Rings comedy series, was one of the very first pieces of fanfiction I ever read! Today Clare is a multi-award winning author worth over $8 million. Clare first made her name on FFN (fanfiction.net), but today the go to website for fic based on western media is the Archive of Our Own. Its founding member was Naomi Novik, best known for the Temeraire fantasy series. Novik even continues to write fanfiction under the same fannish pen name, an open secret in fandom circles.

It's impossible to say how many published authors remain active in fandom, as many prefer to keep their fannish and RL identities separate. Some are happy for the world to know about their fannish activities though; for example, children's author R.J. Anderson has written publicly about her choice to stay in fandom, and Diane Duane's fans use a dedicated tag on Tumblr to ensure she doesn't see fic based on the Young Wizards series. The prevailing legal advice is that authors should not read fanfiction based on their own work, lest they inadvertently pick up ideas and risk a court battle over intellectual property. This mostly stems from an infamous case involving Marion Zimmer Bradley, a sci-fi and fantasy author who was active in her own fandom, as well as mainstays like Trek and Tolkien. The Fanlore article goes into some of the incredibly convoluted and complicated issues surrounding it but, suffice to say, the problem wasn't so much the academic principle and more wrangling over money. Even with the spectre of the MZB debacle some authors are happy to acknowledge they read (e.g. Bernard Cornwell) - or even write! - in their own fandoms.

Whether they remain in fandom or not, for some authors fanfiction proved the springboard into officially writing for the world they were fannish about. Star Trek zine writers Jacqueline LichtenbergJean Lorrah, Della Van Hise, Howard Weinstein, Una McCormack, and Peter David all ended up writing Trek canon, and Paul Cornell went from Dr. Who fic to tie-in novels. Susan M. Garrett, a Forever Knight BNF, was invited to write a tie-in in 1997, while Melissa Good, a popular Xena BNF specialising in Xena/Gabrielle femslash fic, was commissioned to write a number of scripts for the show. The move from fan to creator is seen as increasingly common in the world of TV and film; just think of uber Tolkien fan Peter Jackson, or Dr. Who actors David Tennant and Peter Capaldi, both of whom were huge fans of the original show - the latter ran the Scottish Dr. Who fan club. Here are another bunch of authors who have been in fandom:

 - Airey, Jean.
 - Aleo, Cyndy.
 - Argo, Megan.
 - Ash, Penny.
 - Bear, Elizabeth.
 - Berman, Ruth.
 - Bligh, Carlanime.
 - Brennan, Marie.
 - Brite, Poppy Z.
 - Brust, Steven.
 - Bow, Erin.
 - Bow, James.
 - Brennan, Sarah Rees.
 - Brockmann, Suzanne.
 - Brook, Meljean.
 - Cain, Jade.
 - Caine, Rachel. aka Julie Fortune.
 - Carl, Lillian Stewart.
 - Chandler, M.
 - Chase, Emma.
 - Christo, Rose. (almost - read the full saga HERE.)
 - Dare, Tessa.
 - DeCandido, Keith.
 - Doctorow, Cory.
 - Dryden, Delphine.
 - Egan, Doris.
 - Elyot, Justine.
 - Fanetti, Susan.
 - Fielding, Kim.
 - Fish, Leslie.
 - Franco, Ana.
 - Glazer, Mindy.
 - Gockel, C.
 - Gold, Jami.
 - Graham, Jo.
 - Gray, Claudia.
 - Grey, Jeanette.
 - Hallaway, Tate. aka Lyda Morehouse.
 - Hayden, Teresa Nielsen.
 - Hawkins, Rachel.
 - Healey, Karen.
 - Hines, Jim C.
 - Hinton, S.E.
 - Isis, Justin.
 - Jemisin, N.K.
 - Jindal, Shreya Prabhu.
 - Johnson, Jean.
 - Jorgensen, L.B.
 - Karr, Phyllis Ann.
 - Katherine, Anna. aka Katherine Crighton & Anna Genoese.
 - Keegan, Mel.
 - Kaufman, Annie.
 - Lac, Esther.
 - Lackey, Mercedes.
 - Lane, Andy.
 - Liu, Marjorie M.
 - Lomax, Jade E.
 - London, Clare.
 - Maas, Sarah J.
 - Matthews, Susan.
 - Matthieu, Jason. [prolific plagiarist - more at Fanlore]
 - McGuire, Seanan.
 - McMaster Bujold, Lois.
 - Meyer, Marissa.
 - Miles, Michelle.
 - Mitchell, Saundra.
 - Mynx, Sienna.
 - Oram, Kelly.
 - Parhelion, Lucius.
 - Patrice, Helen.
 - Peterson, Dusk.
 - Phal, Francette.
 - Ramsey, James.
 - Reisz, Tiffany.
 - Roberson, Jennifer.
 - Rogow, Roberta.
 - Rose, Rubi.
 - Rowan, Lee.
 - Rowell, Rainbow.
 - Russ, Joanna.
 - Russell, Gary.
 - Shen, Prudence.
 - Silver, Ruth.
 - Smith, L.J. Kind of!
 - Spooner, Meagan.
 - Starbuck, Sam.
 - Sylvan, Dianne.
 - Tan, Cecilia.
 - Verba, Joan Marie.
 - Weir, Andy.
 - Wells, Martha.
 - Wise, Laura.
 - Wu, Priscilla C.

This list is by no means exhaustive! What I hope it provides is a resource for acafans looking at the crossover of fanfiction and commercial authors, and inspiration for all those fan writers who want to try for publication but lack the confidence.


*Disclaimer: I was too lazy to count the number of authors on this list. It's probably not far off 500 though! *



Sources:
 - Asianfanfics.com.
 - Daily Dot.
 - Fanlore.org.
 - Goodreads.com.
 - Twifanfictionrecs.com.
 - XenaLibrary.com.







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