Loving the Band: When good publishers ruin bad fanfic

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News Media Commentary
Title: Loving the Band: When good publishers ruin bad fanfic
Date(s): December 12, 2012
External Links: Loving the Band: When good publishers ruin bad fanfic, Archived version
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Loving the Band: When good publishers ruin bad fanfic is an article by Aja Romano for The Daily Dot.

The topic: Me, Myself, and One Direction, a One Direction fanfic that the serial numbers were filed off of and turned into the book Loving the Band.


When Penguin announced it was publishing One Direction fan Emily Baker’s new novel, Loving the Band, many readers couldn’t figure out whether it was an original novel or a work of fanfiction converted to an original novel.
Though Penguin claimed to have significantly rewritten the novel, the beginning and all the major plot points of the fanfic and the novel remain intact. What has changed, in addition to the grammatical overhaul, is that Emily Baker’s work of fanfiction has become quite a bit blander.
As a fic plot, this is okay. As a novel, it’s shallow and cliche, to say the least. But Penguin has chosen to embrace it and run with it, which means that the story of Loving the Band is absolutely predictable. Of course our heroine, a “messy-haired blonde” named Jess, doesn’t even listen to pop music before her fateful run-in with the boys. Of course their meet-cute involves an accidental collision. Of course the two hottest members of the band, in this case Harry and Zayn, who’ve been updated, respectively, as “Shaq” and “Riley,” immediately fixate on her.
And why, why, out of all the actually good works of fanfiction on the Internet, did Penguin pick this one? The Daily Mail reported in October that, “Senior Fiction Editor, Lindsey Heaven, was browsing the site when she came across Emily's story, and felt the teenager was 'just the right kind of new talent to write such a novel with powerful emotion and authority.’” This statement leads us to wonder if Ms. Heaven actually thinks that all fanfiction is this bad. Perhaps she feels that if she wants to compete with Fifty Shades of Grey, her only option is to wince her way through the spelling errors and bizarre characterizations of a fic like this one.
Please, editors and agents, I am begging you, here. You have all the advantages of knowing that right now anything you package with a black and silver cover, or anything that once began as a hit fanfic, is going to sell to someone, so why not take that power and use it to promote good writing instead of picking one of a gazillion identical Mary Sue love triangle fics and then defanging it?