Original Fiction

fsc_ralst: Hello and welcome to the original fiction panel. Could the panellists please introduce themselves?

jazwriter: hello! I’m jazzy–nice to see you all. *waves*

jae_s1978: Hi, this is Jae. Hello to everyone.

quietheartedfsc: love the last book jae…when do I get a new one? *G*

erinoreilly: hello I’m Erin

dabkey: dabkey here – hello all.

LZClotho: Jae!

LZClotho: dabkey!

LZClotho: Shaych!

LZClotho: Jazzy!

jae_s1978: @quietheartedfsc: The new book will probably come out in the beginning of November.

jazwriter: hey there, LZClotho–great to see you.

DylanChase: what she said! @LZ

dabkey: LZ!

fsc_ralst: Is that everyone?

quietheartedfsc: I asked the same question last year and it worked, so I decided to try again…excellent news.

jae_s1978: @quietheartedfsc: Seems your strategy worked. Lol

fsc_ralst: I know a lot of you started out writing fandom based fics, at least on-line, so I was wondering what the biggest difference for you was in original fiction?

jae_s1978: It’s not easier or harder; there are just different challenges. You can’t rely on already established settings or characters. Plus writing original fiction enables you to get published.

yurianimeotaku: I have a question. Do you feel the success of "50 Shades of Grey" has given fan fiction authors more credibility in the publishing world?

olli01a: in original fiction you have full controll over the world you are creating

jazwriter: when you write your own characters, you create their personalities, weaknesses, strengths, and environment. Fanfic is a great way to start writing because most of that is already developed (or at least hinted at)

dabkey: I actually have more trouble writing within a fandom, within set parameters… I’ve never liked anyone telling me what to do, I guess

jae_s1978: I agree. Writing fanfiction is not easier per se. You’re bound to the restrictions of the fandom.

fsc_ralst: @Jae you mentioned getting published, is that a big part of why you write original fiction?

jae_s1978: Well, it is now, but when I wrote my first original fiction novel, I never planned on getting published. I started writing original fiction because I wanted more freedom to create my own characters and storylines.

shaych03: i write original fiction because the stories i want to tell aren’t for other people’s characters. when i write fanfic, it’s because i want to tell stories about those specific characters.

fsc_ralst: I think yuri had a question?

Shatterpath: I stall out on original fiction. Having an established set of perameters suits me. Possibly becuase I learned character creation through talbe-top role playing games

shaych03: @shatterpath i did the same thing, but was always more of a DM/GM than a player, though i did love to play.

dabkey: I didn’t mean to ignore yuri, I just didn’t have have an informed opinion about it. was hoping someone else did

Shatterpath: i would have been a great GM except that I have the attention span and memory of a hyperactive gnat on crack

yurianimeotaku: @dab No problem.

fsc_ralst: Was the author of ’50 Shades’ a fanfic’er? I’ve never read it

DanieXJ: twilight fanfic

ivanolix: Yes, the book was originally Twilight fanfic, actually

shaych03: i’ve been informed that my memory matches yours, shatterpath LOL

jae_s1978: Sorry, Yuri. Same here. I also have no informed opinion about "50 Shades of Grey."

yurianimeotaku: @ralst Yes. "50 Shades of Grey" started out as a "Twilight" fan fiction.

Shatterpath: the advantage to me is that an orignal world is built about the OCs where fanfic, the characters should be built BY the world. Too many people crate OCs in fandom that make no sense. The dreaded Mary Sue

fsc_ralst: Is that common, to take a fanfic and convert it for original? Is it harder than writing original from the outset?

shaych03: i think my issue with 50 shades of grey is that it, like its parent fandom, is something of a big joke to those outside the fandom

yurianimeotaku: The reason I ask is I have found some lesbian fiction authors look down their published noses at fan fiction authors.

Shatterpath: oh, we’ll be stagmatized for a good while yet

shaych03: yuri: it’s not just lesbian authors. i’ve had plenty of author snobbery from other arenas

Del Robertson: @yuri: there may be some, but my new publisher (affinity) is very supportive of whatever I do.

angharad_gov: author snobbery is universal

olli01a: I think it is easier to crersate a new world inseat of twisting an existing one into something no one regognizes anymore

Shatterpath: It’s difficult to understand (from the outside) how difficult good fan fic really is

jae_s1978: Yes, I think for some people, you are only allowed to call yourself "writer" if you published a book.

dabkey: And you can’t get them to even try it to change their minds

jazwriter: @yuri…I know several published authors who still write fanfic, so thankfully, not all are snobby

Del Robertson: I resemble that remark.

erinoreilly: when I started reading fanfci in 2000 I often thought that how good the authors were

the_dhamphir: so does jazzy

yurianimeotaku: @jaz True. I’m friends with a few.

jazwriter: also, I do believe many of the top fanfic writers are much better than published authors

Gin Akasarahsmom: so does Gun

dabkey: and I’ve met fanfic authors who are just as snobby, honestly.

Gin Akasarahsmom: she just posted a new fic

fsc_ralst: I think a lot of it depends on the person

jae_s1978: That’s true. Some of the old fanfiction that I read in 2001 are still my favorites, even much better than some of the novels that are published today.

yurianimeotaku: @dab Really? Wow.

jazwriter: true, I do have a published novel and another on the way, but I love writing fanfic

shaych03: i know it seems that some very good fanfic writers put more emphasis on turning out quality product versions the $$ per word attitude of some "published" writers

Shatterpath: too true

quietheartedfsc: it’s a labor of love

shaych03: that should be versus, not versions. my keyboard hates me.

ivanolix: Also, fanfic and original fiction are broad terms that cover a variety of styles. A oneshot is different from a big bang is different from a short story is different from a novel. Not all writers are good at all forms of writing.

jae_s1978: That also depends on the writer. And the publisher.

ariestess: And don’t forget the fannish "favorite" of drabbles.

Del Robertson: erin, how difficult was it to create your ‘world’ for Fearless. I know it’s based on history, but the characters are all yours

erinoreilly: yes they are I did about a year’s worth of research before writing

fsc_ralst: @erin what time period?

the_dhamphir: can all the panellist change their font to red, so we know who you are?

erinoreilly: it was the ATF women pilots in WW!!

erinoreilly: ok

fsc_ralst: That sounds interesting.

fsc_ralst: angharad, you have a question?

angharad_gov: those of you who came from fan fic backgrounds and went into published original fic writing, do you find it easier professionally to write under a pen name for your work or under your own name?

erinoreilly: it was a great history lesson and the women were so gutsy

Del Robertson: everything i’ve done has been under the same penname

jazwriter: I write under my own name for the pblished works

jae_s1978: I write under a pen name. Actually, the same pen name that I used for my fanfiction.

jazwriter: published…lol

jazwriter: I need a spell checker

ariestess: I created a separate pseud for the professional stuff, which I hope will pay off with something published sooner rather than later.

erinoreilly: pen name

yurianimeotaku: Why do you use a pen name?

shaych03: i use a pen name because not all of my family is aware of my sexual orientation

Del Robertson: i use my first name and my partner’s last name

fsc_ralst: How large a portion of your published work do you think is due to your fandom works? the audience you’ve built up, I mean

jae_s1978: I use a pen name because I work with sometimes difficult clients, so I don’t want my real name connected to my novels. Plus English-speaking people wouldn’t be able to pronounce my name correctly anyway

erinoreilly: I use a pen name because I ran across a stalker

yurianimeotaku: @erin Yikes!

Del Robertson: a stalker? really?

erinoreilly: yes it was early and Erin came to life

the_dhamphir: @erin in person, or cyberstalker

dabkey: I had the same experience as Erin – you get some pretty freaky emails

erinoreilly: yes that is true

Del Robertson: @erin: that fan that came from Mn to Tx for my first book signing. turned out she was harmless

erinoreilly: erin as me

yurianimeotaku: Predominately male or female stalkers?

fsc_ralst: the heavy price of fame

jae_s1978: @ralst: that’s hard to say. I know I have "fans" from my fanfiction-writing days that still e-mail me whenever I have a new book out.

erinoreilly: female for me

dabkey: female, as far as I know

Del Robertson: i know i have fans, as well, but i’m not sure how many have followed my pro-work

Shatterpath: I have never understood what drives a person to that sort of behavior…

dabkey: and @ralst – I’m pretty sure the majority of people who bought my book either read it online first, or heard about it from someone who did. One of the reasons I never took it down

yurianimeotaku: @dab Didn’t your publisher make you take it offline?

jae_s1978: @dabkey: I’m one of those people. I read your work online first and then bought the book.

dabkey: no, she never even asked.

fsc_ralst: Most do though, don’t they? ask you to remove your online version

jae_s1978: @ralst: Yes, most publishers ask you to remove any online versions from the Web.

yurianimeotaku: Perhaps it varies from publishing house to publishing house?

dabkey: yes, other authors I’ve talked to have been asked to, or just done it on their own. I was kinda surprised not to get more flack for it

dabkey: yes, I’m sure it does.

Del Robertson: you can still find some out there, though. Erin, you have some online as well, right?

shaych03: my publisher didn’t ask me to remove mine, just not to post any updates to it

shaych03: and to link to the book page on their site

erinoreilly: yes I do Del it is a toss up between angering your fans or making a few more dollars

yurianimeotaku: With the upsurge of eBooks, how have you all dealt with pirates?

fsc_ralst: Del writes about the *g*

jae_s1978: @For the most part, my publisher deals with it. I just know that DRM is not the answer.

erinoreilly: piracy is a fact of life nothing you can do to stop it really

shaych03: the abundance of evidence i have read from other published authors, such as neil gaiman, is that pirates are GOOD for business, not bad. someone who finds you and loves you via a pirate copy is more likely to buy new material – and someone who pirates to pirate is going to pirate no matter what.

erinoreilly: true

yurianimeotaku: This may be a strange question, but when you made the transition from femslash to original published work, did you continue to write lesbian fiction or did you venture into more mainstream fiction?

fsc_ralst: With fanfic, we’re for the most part limited to the types of characters the studios decree sellable, but in original stories you’re free to include as diverse a set of characters as you like. In your writing, do you try to take advantage of that?

jae_s1978: True. And since I’m not making a living from my writing, the most important thing to me is that my books are read.

shaych03: i’d rather my work was being read and loved than to have someone snooping around in people’s computers to make sure they paid their 13.95 for it

jae_s1978: @Yuri: so far, it’s been all lesbian fiction for me. But who knows in the future.

Del Robertson: @ralst. That’s one reason i wrote my book – weren’t any pirate stories out there, then.

LZClotho: I know that I want to reach as wide an audience as possible. but I don’t write "mainstream" just try to be accessible

ariestess: When I’m published [and I’m banking on it happening because positive thinking is the bomb], I’ll be happy to sell books that people like to read and rec. Money is nice, but it’s not the ONLY thing.

dabkey: Karin Kallmaker had an interesting blog post about piracy – she does make her living writing and has been pretty active trying to do something about it

dabkey: going to download sites, trying to get people to realize that what they are doing is illegal…

shaych03: one thing i find annoying about ebooks versus paperbacks is that the price for both is about the same – which doesn’t scan for me. ebooks don’t cost the same to produce.

ariestess: ITA, Shay.

yurianimeotaku: Layce Gardner also posted an interesting experience she had with a pirate.

jae_s1978: But some of the costs you have for e-books are the same: editing, proofreading, layout, cover creation, etc.

LZClotho: they do almost… production is about paying the cover artist, editors, and author.

LZClotho: print is actually a very small part of that cost… only a few dollars per copy less to ebook something as to print it.

fsc_ralst: But what about transport?

LZClotho: now, volume is easier to produce, so you get your money back "faster" for the other initial investments, but they are still there.

LZClotho: transport is covered by the distributor, part of their take on the book price.

erinoreilly: I disagree if you already have a book ready for print then the cost to produce an ebook is minimal

shaych03: but shouldn’t that savings be passed on to the reader, to encourage ebook buys? and the "secondary" market for ebooks is almost nil – i can go buy a used PB for 3 bucks at the thrift store – not so with an ebook

LZClotho: if it is already ready for print, yes.

yurianimeotaku: @shay Most of the lesbian fiction eBooks I buy are less expensive than the paperback version, but I usually buy from Amazon.com. I found the eBooks from the publishing house are just as expensive as the print ones.

LZClotho: but a $13.95 print book is still worth $9.95 as an e-book for recouping the other costs.

jae_s1978: Yes, but if you publish a book in both paperback and e-book and you know you’ll sell 90% e-books, then you need to set the price in a way that covers your costs. Or you’ll go out of business as a publisher pretty soon.

LZClotho: jae’s right

olli01a: I don’t mind the price. If I want a book I buy it but I expect certain advantadges like re-download without additional cost or the book being removed from my device without my consent

jae_s1978: Plus let’s not forget that Amazon and other retailers take up to 65% of the list price.

the_dhamphir: i agree with you, Olli

fsc_ralst: So why isn’t it that much cheaper to buy straight from the publisher?

LZClotho: depends on the publisher

Gin Akasarahsmom: I wish you could do with books like you do with CD’s.. .when you buy a CD you can add those songs to your iTunes and then sync with your Ipod…

Gin Akasarahsmom: I wish you could scan the ISBN of a book you buy and be able to add it to your e-devices

jae_s1978: @ralst: for exactly the same reason I just mentioned. There’s no retailer that takes a hefty cut if you go directly through the publisher.

LZClotho: non-DRM works that way, Gin.

Gin Akasarahsmom: Hmmm

yurianimeotaku: I’ve seen rather interesting ‘discussions’ between lesfic authors over which is more profitible for them…Amazon.com or their publishing house.

olli01a: @gin. You can buy legally books witzhout DRM and sync them to iTunes

LZClotho: I use Calibre, but then I can read books on my nook, on my laptop, or on another computer in my house (since I keep my Calibre library on my home server)

erinoreilly: if you go through Amazon you will get 70% and will have to get an editor, cover artists and distributor.

shesgottaread: Calibre is terrific

jae_s1978: @ralst: I misread your question. Some publishers try to offer their e-books for less money on their website. But Amazon always tries to have the lowest price.

erinoreilly: the deal with Amazon is that you cannot sell your books elsewhere cheaper

fsc_ralst: @erin so will Amazon take a loss just to cut out other roots?

LZClotho: no, Amazon will make YOU, the author or publisher, take a loss, to have access to their buyers.

erinoreilly: it depends on how you set up your account if you say you want Amazon to be your publisher then yes they will sell for much less

erinoreilly: of course the author gets less too

quietheartedfsc: which is why I choose to buy from the publisher…more money directly into the pockets it belongs in

Del Robertson: so, erin, does your publisher sell anything thru Amazon, or just direct?

erinoreilly: I’ve dealt with Amazon for the 7 months and they’ve never pressure me to sell for less

fsc_ralst: The problem with buying directly from the publisher, for those of us outside the US, is that the transport costs are very heavy.

erinoreilly: all our books are on amazon and the website the price is the same both places

shaych03: amazon has a greater sales reach though – they have a huge buyer base, which equals more sales

quietheartedfsc: I only buy ebooks now, ralst…I’ve run out of bookshelves…

psychotic-cat17: Me too

jae_s1978: I don’t think a publisher can afford to completely ignore Amazon.

LZClotho: I buy paperback when I know I want to keep it.

fsc_ralst: lol I like the feel of a book in my hands

olli01a: I switched completely to ebooks

quietheartedfsc: ebooks and make 2 copies for backup….

Del Robertson: i’m with you, ralst, paperback.

erinoreilly: I think ebooks are the future unfortunately

quietheartedfsc: only paper I buy is text books…easier to research that way

fsc_ralst: with ebooks I’m still in archiver mode, and keep looking for typos and whatnot

quietheartedfsc: I can turn off beta mode for pub’d work…but not fanfic…

ariestess: I can’t even turn off beta mod for pub’d works.

Del Robertson: i find no matter what i read, i cringe at typos

LZClotho: I too find myself ‘editing’ when I’m reading e-text, but am able to turn that off when reading paper.

fsc_ralst: Probably didn’t help that the one published ebook I bought – one of Karen Kallmakers – was full of errors

LZClotho: (though I can still find typos and errors)

psychotic-cat17: It irritates me even more when a published work has typos; I’ve learned to expect it in fanfic

LZClotho: I know, ralst, I was surprised by the Kallmaker book too.

quietheartedfsc: I can turn it off for pub’d or I’d never get my homework done

erinoreilly: do you find that the quality of book editing is in the decline

quietheartedfsc: YES!!!

dabkey: YES

psychotic-cat17: yes

fsc_ralst: Yes

yurianimeotaku: I find the quality of editors has declined.

quietheartedfsc: there are times fanfic has fewer errors

shaych03: yes

psychotic-cat17: I feel like publishers need to put out more books in less time, so editing suffers for that

erinoreilly: I can read a book and keep going back to see who the editor was and am amazed

jae_s1978: Good editing is expensive, and most small presses don’t have the money to pay editors what they’re worth.

dabkey: in all kinds of text media

yurianimeotaku: I know some betas who are better editors than some of the ‘professional’ ones.

shaych03: and fanfic writers are more apt to apologize for their mistakes

jazwriter: @yuri–I agree!

quietheartedfsc: yuri, I agree….jazzy comes to mind

jazwriter: I have some of the best betas!

jazwriter: lol…ty QH

quietheartedfsc: you beat me to death with that red pen of yours

the_dhamphir: agree w/ qh

Gin Akasarahsmom: there are printing mistakes in every book

Gin Akasarahsmom: just some more than others

jazwriter: I do, but I am also an editor, so I can’t help it

shaych03: fanfic writers are more apt to maintain continuety, too

ariestess: There are people that call me all sorts of mean things for my beta work.

shaych03: i’ve ready plenty of series novels where the writer’s timeline is all funky

the_dhamphir: i agree, shaych

jazwriter: (QH calls me names)

yurianimeotaku: @Gin I don’t mind a few errors. When the amount of errors interrupts my reading flow…there are too many.

fsc_ralst: Thank you all for a great panel, but we need to bid original fics adieu for the moment and head over to Hot Topics

olli01a: agreed

Gin Akasarahsmom: true Yuri.. I agree

LZClotho: this was a great panel!

jazwriter: thanks, ralst!

LZClotho: thank you all!

yurianimeotaku: ty all

DylanChase: Thanks everyone!

jae_s1978: Thank you to everyone.

dabkey: thanks for the interesting discussion

olli01a: Tanks everyone

jazwriter: great group and lovely conversation–what more we can ask for?

Del Robertson: thanks, ralst. Erin.

Alkmaion: *quickly steps in again*

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