unjapanologist: (Default)

Hi! Sorry about the months of silence, I hope everyone's doing well... Dreamwidth seems quiet these days. More soon about the ten million things I've been busy with. First though, a crosspost of a quick analysis thing I wrote for Fanhackers about Amazon's new great idea. The tone of this post is restrained because Fanhackers is not a private soapbox, but my personal objections to the idea of Amazon trying to revolutionize fanfic distribution are, um, extreme.


PaidContent reports that in June this year, Amazon will be launching Kindle Worlds, a legal publishing platform for fanfic. According to Amazon's announcement, Kindle Worlds will start out by allowing fanfic based on Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries.

It's not necessarily bad news that companies are trying to create options for "licensed" fanfic, and I'll leave the in-depth analysis of the legal aspects of this to professionals. Legal issues aside, though, I certainly hope that Kindle Worlds won't become a model for other attempts to legalize fanfic. This concept seems to repeat a lot of fan-unfriendly aspects of previous forays by companies into the weird world of fic monetization. Kindle Worlds would allow fic authors to sell works "without hassle", as PaidContent says, but apparently also without many rights, and within the boundaries of extremely strict content guidelines.

The platform refers to fandoms as "Worlds". Copyright holders can give Amazon Publishing a license to allow fic writers to upload stories about licensed media to Amazon Publishing, which will then offer the stories for sale. Since this is not a self-publishing platform, Amazon Publishing will be setting the prices:
Read more... )Again, I'm not against the idea of "licensed" fic in and of itself, and those who want to agree to Amazon's terms certainly have the right to do so. However, something like Kindle Worlds can be only one option among many for licensing fic, and it definitely shouldn't be a model for other "solutions" to the legal uncertainties surrounding fanworks. The only option for publishing fic legally can't be a platform that takes or licenses away many rights, doesn't give fic authors the option to set prices, and excludes large numbers of fans with its content guidelines. Hopefully, alternatives that strike a better balance between the rights of fans and copyright holders will emerge soon to counter this.
unjapanologist: (fetchez la vache)
"I don't mind that these fics with the serial numbers filed off get published commercially. I just wish they'd publish the good fic."

I've seen a lot of people react like that to Fifty Shades of Grey, and it seems to be bubbling up again with the news that a book based on a One Direction fic* called Me, Myself, and One Direction is also getting published. The problem for many people seems to be that these fics aren't very skilfully written. A lot of fans would clearly have preferred for the first fic that caught the public eye** to be something, well, more impressive in a literary sense? Something less embarrassingly representative of what most fic is like?

Personally speaking, I also feel it would have been nice if the first publicly acknowledged fic had been a literary masterpiece. But I like to think of it like this. If it had been *insert my favorite stunningly well-written story here*, then fic would have been noticed by literary critics and a niche audience, and they would have loved and respected us. But instead we got a crowd-pleaser, so now fic has been lovingly read by millions of women (and men) who may never have heard of it otherwise. They may even decide to look for more fic and join fandom.

That really sucks! I wish we'd gotten the respect of literary critics instead of the love of millions of potential new fans.


Read more... )
unjapanologist: (Default)
My Ph.D research focuses on narrative differences between Japanese fanwork (dojinshi) and English-language fanwork (fanfics). To find out whether there really are significant differences between these two media, content-wise, I did a small-scale test using six fanfics and four dojinshi, all of them James/Snape. I compared only a small number of narrative elements (will be more in the 'real' research) and tried to list them in a nice clean data set. Below I list the narrative elements I looked at, summarize the resulting data, and offer a short first assessment -possible explanations, remarks, and ideas for further inquiry. I'll continue adding to them, and would love to hear any insights or ideas from others. You can view the complete data set in full screen here (please read next paragraph before clicking). If any of this catches your eye, let me know what you think!

Important notes before analyzing fun begins: Please don't link directly to the full-screen version of the data set, as there's no way to include this text there. The summaries of the fanfics and dôjinshi included in the set were written by me for the purpose of contrasting the narratives, and they contain SPOILERS for the stories. The ratings/warnings are the original author's; please pay attention to them before clicking any links, since the stories may contain adult material. If you think I've misrepresented or misinterpreted something, please let me know and I'll correct the information right away. If you're the author of a fanfic/dôjinshi included in the data set and you feel this is cruel and unusual abuse of your work, or you just don't want it mentioned anywhere, drop me a note and I'll remove identifying information from the entry (author name, title, link, summary) or remove the entry altogether.

No, seriously, JP/SS is a heart-warming tale of true love over there... )
unjapanologist: (Default)

Originally published at Academic FFF. You can comment here or there.

A quick link to the presentation that kickstarted my Ph.D research, held at Kansai University last month. It's in Japanese, alas, and probably doesn't make sense without the talk. I saw a camera there, so I'll try to get hold of the video, which may or may not be more illuminating than the slides. I'm a fairly chaotic speaker.

Read more... )


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