Profic vs. Fanfic: Is it really just a question of quality? Or of filters?

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search
Title: Profic vs. Fanfic: Is it really a question of quality? Or of filters?
Date(s): November 18, 1999
Medium: online
Fandom: many
External Links: my geek: let me show you it., Archived version
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.


Other Essays by ljc
You may be looking for the 1998 ASC discussion Fan Fic or Pro Fic.

Profic vs. Fanfic is an essay by LJC.

It has the subtitle: "Is it really just a question of quality? Or of filters?"

It addresses the fragmentation fanfiction, editing, and profic.


Once upon a time, the editor of a line of popular and long-standing television tie-in novels was asked by an ardent fan what he believed the difference is between fan fiction and unpublished professional fiction.

His answer was "Quality."

This is, of course, a load of crap. Good fiction is good fiction, regardless of the arena. However, what the professional publishing arena has that then fan arena lacks is filters.

In the publishing world there are minions to slog through the slush and dig out the gold and (in theory) only the gold makes it to the shelves of your local bookstore. That said, one man's gold is another's man's dreck. However, in small press vanity publishing, anyone willing to spend the money can publish a fanzine. And anyone with a computer can usually find a way to put their latest opus on the web or out to a Usenet newsgroup with a minimum of fuss. So the filters (slush piles, editors, etc.) that exist in the publishing world are not always a part of fanfic.
Authors who work for love and for profit such as Susan Garrett prove that the quality doesn't change—only the venue. And frankly, if I had to choose between the Macedons and JM Dillards of this world, sorry, I have to go with Little Otter. There are writers out there whom I will always want to read, and they are not always the folks who get paid to write. Moreover, I sure don't think an out-and-out incompetent novelist such as Jeri Taylor can hold a candle to any of my favourite writers—fan or pro. Is the slush pile 100x larger in fanfic? Yes. Is it harder to find the good fic? Yes. But I've read crappy novels, and I've read crappy 'zines, and I've read unbelievably crappy on-line fic, the same as I've read incredible novels, tremendous 'zines, and extraordinary on-line fic. It's just so much harder to get to the good stuff when everyone and their sister are self-publishing on-line. But make no mistake, good fan-written stuff is out there. And if anyone ever tells you otherwise, you send 'em to me, and I'll straighten 'em out for ya.