A few weeks ago I came across a story that should have surprised me, but it didn’t. Anna Todd just signed a six-figure deal for a trio of books and subsequent films based on her writings. Sounds like any writers dream right? Well, what if I told you that her books were novels that starred fictionalized versions of her favorite boy band One Direction?
Yes, another writer will be making bank on the popularity of their online fan fiction stories.
So what exactly is fan fiction? In a nutshell, fan fiction is the writing of a story based on something that already exists. The word “fan” ties to you a particular television show, movie, or book series. A fan fiction author will fill in gaps or write their own versions of their favorite stories with their favorite characters.
Most people had not been exposed to fan fiction until we were all introduced to the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon. The bestselling book series and future movie blockbuster was originally a fan fiction Twilight story that was incredibly popular on sites that host fan fiction. Now, everyone probably has an opinion on this new trend of fan fiction being repackaged and sold as original ideas – myself included. But that is a debate for another day – another blog. This post is about what you can learn from teenage girls about marketing.
Know What is Popular
Fan fiction is generally driven by the things that are the most popular. 50 Shades is fiction based on the Twilight series and it was picked up and molded into a best seller just as the final Twilight movies were being aired in theaters. There is a sense of sadness when something a fan loves goes away – like when a movie series has completed or a show is no longer on television. When fans need “more” they turn to fiction, and they share with their friends, and so forth. It is the ultimate proof of the benefit of word-of-mouth marketing.
Market in the Right Channels
A lot of fan fiction is marketed to fellow fans on message boards. If you go to sites like fanforum.com you’ll find any number of show / couple specific message boards that have frequent and regular users. A lot of members who also write fan fiction will embed the link to their author profile into their signature. Since you’re already posting with people who would be interested in that kind of fiction, you’re speaking directly to your target market.
I know – it seems odd to look at teenage channels for us to get ideas, but they truth is that they drive a lot of the decision making in advertising, as well point us in a direction that we should consider. Like it or not, they control a lot of our buying power and we have to start taking our queue from them. Fan fiction authors certainly seem to be making bank lately.
Image credit: Wikimedia commons