jessicasteiner: (Default)
The response to my survey was truly exciting, and I am already noodling ideas for the first module, which - by popular demand - is definitely going to be about motivation, and Getting Shit Done.

However, I won't be putting anything out until at least December. Because NaNoWriMo. I'm sure you understand.

But in light of that delay, I'm putting something out there as a challenge and an awesome opportunity for people who are interested in the course. Those people should totally do NaNo with me.

I know NaNoWriMo can be scary, and I know that you have only a week or so before November starts. You may be saying "But Jess! I don't have a plot or anything, how can I get ready in time?" You may be saying "I've never written anything original before, and now you want me to start by writing a 50,000 word novel? You're crazy!"

The thing is, this is my 11th year of doing NaNoWriMo, and after all my years of doing this crazy challenge, I know one thing for sure: There is no downside to trying, and there are tonnes of upsides.

If you sign up and don't make 50,000 words, then you still made however many number of words you likely wouldn't have written if you didn't sign up. I will not personally come to your house and shame you for not finishing the task. What I will do, is congratulate you for doing what you did. Because anything you do is an accomplishment, and you deserve to feel good about it. You can still try again next year, too!

Not only is there no downside to trying, but just by signing up for the mailing list and committing to helping me put together this course, I am going to make a HUGE commitment to you that may actually screw me over for finishing NaNoWriMo myself this year: If you come along with me on this journey, what I do promise is that I will help you. I will schedule live online write-ins so we can get together and bang out words. More than that, I invite you to write to me if you get stuck or need encouragement. I will even spend the rest of October helping you to get ready.

All you need to do is join my buddy list AND join my mailing list, and when you need a lift or have a problem, then email me, and mention in your email that you are part of the course mailing list. I will do my best to help you, whatever the snag you've run into. I will brainstorm with you, give you advice, and coaching and buttpats. A lot of the people who filled out the survey told me that you would pay for coaching - well, here is your chance to get some for free.

But you have to be doing NaNoWriMo this year.

This is going to be awesome.
jessicasteiner: (Blank Paper)
I've closed the survey (or rather, I would if I could figure out how. Anyway, officially it's considered closed, though you can still take it, I guess) and I'm totally blown away by all the responses.

I have a lot going on the next couple of days, but I just wanted to let people know that:
a) You can still join the mailing lit for updates and free stuff as I get organized, and,
b) Cool stuff is coming.

Later.
jessicasteiner: (I Write Therefore I Am)
Just a reminder that my survey for fiction writers who want to write original fiction is going to be closed tomorrow!

I've had a great turnout. Honestly, the answers are really giving me a tonne to think about. Though I think quite a few people may have missed the link to join the mailing list as well. That's right here.

I'll be doing some follow-ups on the mailing list over the next week, so if you want to take part in helping me make the course as good as it can be - not to mention getting free stuff - follow that latter link, even if you haven't taken the survey.
jessicasteiner: (Fangirl Moment)
It's been 24 hours since I announced the survey and I've already had over 20 responses. I'm gathering some really helpful data already, and I'm hoping to get a bunch more responses before I close the survey.

In order to do the analysis and get started on developing course material, I'm going to have to put a deadline on the survey. I've decided to give it a week, so the survey will be closed to responses on October 20th.

If you're interested, please go here and fill out the survey, and don't forget to sign up for the mailing list so you don't miss the course when it's done!
jessicasteiner: (Fangirl Moment)
Vcon was an awesome experience. I met a tonne of great people and learned a lot. I had lunch with Dan Wells, hung out with Mur Lafferty, and I feel like my writing career just took a leap forward. Lots of exciting stuff on the horizon.

In that vein, I have decided to put together some courses for fanfiction authors who want to make the leap to professional writing - or at least, original writing. I've known so many people who write, who have passion for writing, and see themselves wanting to one day move to the realm of original writing.

Writing fanfiction is not the same as writing original stuff, but I truly believe that writing fanfiction is great preparation and practice for original writing.

If all you want to do is write fanfiction, that's awesome. I don't believe that writing is useless unless you intend to make money one day. But if you do have any interest in writing original stories, whether or not you want to go all the way to professional author status, then please do me a favour and fill out this survey.

It would really help me out in determining what people would like to see in a course.
jessicasteiner: (Constructive Criticism)
Today Amazon announced the newest expansion on the self-publishing-on-the-Kindle landscape - Kindle Worlds. In a nutshell, Kindle Worlds will allow fanfiction authors to publish their fanfiction on the Kindle, and sell it. Any sales will pay royalties both to the copyright holder of the original property, and to the fanfic author.

Now, for full disclosure, I have been writing fanfiction as long as I've been writing, which is a damn long time. I am also on staff for the Organization for Transformative Works, which not only runs one of the most popular fanworks archives on the web, but is a non-profit which in part deals with the legitimacy of fanworks from a legal standpoint. I'm also an author with properties of my own.

Personally, I'm for fanfiction in a general sense. If anyone ever writes fanfiction or creates fan works about my own properties, I will count that a positive thing. In my opinion, fanfiction does great things for copyright. But this post isn't about that - it's about Kindle Worlds. From the perspective of people involved in the creation of fanworks, it has always been the cardinal rule - Thou Shalt Not Sell Thine Fanfiction, Lest Thou Incur the Wrath of the Author. Kindle Worlds seems poised to change all that.

Based on my reading of the limited information on the Amazon site, there are some big caveats.

Firstly, you can only publish fanfiction in the fandoms that are allowed - presumably Amazon will need to negotiate with each copyright holder for the right to include them in the program. I think that's really key. If someone is going to profit by their fanfiction, it should be with the blessing of the one who created the world. I think that this could create a wonderful symbiotic relationship, even more than fanfiction already does, without forcing any copyright holders into a situation where they feel threatened by the - shall we say - legitimized fanfiction.

Secondly, they won't allow any porn, offensive material, bad fanfiction, crossovers, or "illegal or infringing content". Setting aside the last one, it makes me wonder if there will actually be any fanfiction that qualifies for the program. Most importantly, they really don't say what's illegal or infringing. Isn't all fanfiction sort of illegal and infringing at this point? No one really knows, which has always been the problem.

I truly hope there will be some really clear guidelines about that, or I seriously doubt this will take off. Fanfiction authors are already inclined to batten down the hatches at any hint that their hobby is being noticed by the mainstream world at large. To violate the cardinal rule and risk being sued is something I think few people will be willing to do, unless they can trust that the risk is minimal enough to be worth it.

As a final point, a Forbes article on the announcement has a quote in there saying that the contract will give Amazon full rights to the fanfic, and the writer will not retain any publication rights over the work. According to John Scalzi (President of SFWA and all around intelligent dude), this clause makes this into a "Work for Hire" sort of contract where you are literally giving your fanfic away in return for royalties on the sale, for the full term of copyright - which would be your life plus 75 years I do believe (thanks, Disney).

This is a huge deal, and one I hope they remove from the final contract. I didn't see any hint of that on the Amazon site so far, but Amazon is only giving generalized information at the moment.

I don't write in any of the fandoms that will be offered upon original launch, and I'm also concerned about Amazon having the right to republish and profit from any fanfic I did publish in the program if I chose to do so, so at this point I'm very much in "wait and see" mode. Other people have tried to profit off of fanfiction in the past, and it has always met with an extreme negative backlash. But none of those people have been Amazon, so we'll see where this goes.

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Jessica Steiner

February 2016

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