Help:Professional Fanworks

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This Help page provides information about how to include professionally published tie-in, transformative, or fandom-adjacent works. As these types of works are often developed by fans and/or have fandoms of their own, there is a home for them here on Fanlore as long as they're documented with a focus on fandom and fannish reactions. On this page, you can find guidance about how to document these types of works, as well as advice on sourcing fannish reactions to these works.

In most cases, pages for professionally-published fanworks should use the Template:ProfessionalWorks infobox. However, at times another infobox may be appropriate, such as Template:CommentaryAcademic. Infoboxes can always be changed later if necessary.

How do I know when a fanwork is a professional work?

Professional fanworks are typically transformative works that are published professionally/for profit or are collected and published in a professional/for profit publication, such as a prozine or semiprozine.

When trying to determine whether the work is professional or not, ask who the expected audience for the work is–is it specific to fans of that fandom, or is it more general, such as the wider sci-fi community?

Below are some examples of different types of professional fanworks, which can help you narrow down what type of work you’re documenting and how to approach it on Fanlore.

Types of professional fanworks (and fandom-adjacent professional works)

Official tie-ins

When documenting professional tie-in novels, works, and adaptations endorsed by The Powers That Be, treat them much like you would pages for any other professionally published canon that has its own fandom. These pages can include a brief summary of the work's canon with longer sections about fannish interaction with the work, fanworks and other fan activities based on the work, etc.

Where relevant, you can also include details about whether these works are considered part of the original work's canon by fans and whether they were received positively or negatively by the fandom.


Professionally published transformative works

Works of this type are not formally endorsed by The Powers That Be but have been published by a traditional or for-profit magazine, printing press, or distributor. They frequently are transformative works based in the canon of a work that is in the public domain.

When documenting professionally or semi-professionally published transformative works, consider where this piece belongs in the world of fandom. For example, how does the work treat and transform its source canon? Are there any meta essays about the work written by fans? Has the work become a fandom/canon in its own right? Emphasize the work's transformative elements and fans' reactions to them rather than fan reactions to the work itself unless the work has become its own canon.

For works that have become their own canons, like Hamilton (Musical) or BBC Sherlock, the work should be treated as a canon/fandom page and documented accordingly. If you're unsure where the line falls, create the page according to your best judgment, and then ask for thoughts on the Talk page about how to structure the page and/or which infobox is most appropriate.


Works that filed off the serial numbers

Some professional works may begin as transformative works but are later revised for publication (see List of Fanfiction Reworked For Publication), often by filing off the serial numbers. These works can be very similar to fanworks, but should be approached and documented slightly differently on Fanlore. They may or may not need a separate page of their own.

If the new work has a very little fandom presence or a small fandom, then they may only need to be documented in a section on the page for the original fanwork. However, if there is a fandom around the adapted work, then a separate page with the Fandom infobox may be appropriate.

When creating a new page around the adapted work, a brief note about their fannish origins may be appropriate, but the page should primarily focus on the fandom activity surrounding the new canon.


Sources for fan reactions

When sourcing fan reactions to professionally published fanworks, it's okay to use any kind of non-professional reaction/review, including reviews from sites like Amazon and Goodreads. Just because a review or reaction isn't posted in a "traditional" fandom space–such as, but not limited to, Livejournal, Tumblr, the Archive of Our Own, conventions, or fandom-specific forums–doesn't mean it isn't a valid fan reaction!

However, avoid quoting reviews from professional book reviewers. In these types of reviews, the author is being paid to write about the work and not interacting out of fannish desire to engage.

If in doubt, ask yourself: is the author reacting out of passion for the original source material or does their profession/livelihood stem from publishing these reactions? What is the context or motivation for the review or comment? Did they "have" to publish it? Did they do it in their free time or for their job?