This is a reality check for fanfiction authors of every kind, but especially those who feel that they are somehow entitled to readership, or think their work doesn’t have value because they only received a few notes on a post.
I’ve worked with first-time authors with zero following and famous authors who have sold millions of books, and hundreds of authors who fall somewhere in between. And let me tell you, fanfiction authors are privileged. Even those of us who have only a few readers have it better, and easier, than most fiction and nonfiction authors (see read more).
Last year, more than one million books were published. What are the odds that a lesser-known writer will break out of that gigantic pack and achieve even a modicum of success? Shit, that’s what. Those are shit odds, because authors aren’t just competing with other books; authors are competing with all television, and video games, and movies, and other hobbies and Saturday night plans.
Most authors will never have more than a few hundred readers—and that’s after they’ve slaved over a book, and waited months, or even years, to have it published.
So your fanfiction story only had a few hundred reads? You’re doing great. Your story has a few thousand reads? Fiction and nonfiction authors would be thrilled to have what you have. One of my clients is a very successful author with a huge following, and his first book only sold around 40,000 copies (that is major in publishing). How many fanfiction stories have had more than 40,000 reads? Plenty.
You only have a handful of reviews? Check Amazon, people. In fact, let’s look at Chris Colfer’s first book. Only 177 reviews for The Land of Stories. Sure, he’s received love on social media, but out in the mainstream, he has fewer reviews than hundreds of Klaine fanfiction stories. In fact, I’ll bet if you added up his reviews on Amazon, B&N, and GoodReads, he would still have fewer reviews than moderately successful fanfiction stories.
Here is a list of some of the ways fanfiction authors, even those who are lesser known, have it 100 times better than fiction and nonfiction authors:
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