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Monday, October 26, 2015

Helping Readers in Fandoms

One of the most popular emerging areas that I am asked about is in helping readers in fandoms. Fandoms and fan fiction have been on the fringes as long as there have been stories that enrapture readers, begging them to live in the world beyond the time they spend while reading the source material.

As the mother of a teen firmly entrenched in a few fandoms, a teen who is also starting to write her own fan fiction, I have a deep understanding of this issue from a personal standpoint. I am constantly looking for books for her to read, books that she will enjoy, books that acknowledge her fandom loves while reaching outside of them [because there is never enough simply within the fandom itself].

With social media making fandoms easier to join and more immediate than they ever were before, this is a main stream leisure media issue that librarians need to feel comfortable with. We need to know how to advise these fans as they look for more leisure reading and watching options.

If you are new to this trend, I have a few suggestions on where to start for more background. In One of Our Thursday’s Is Missing, Jasper Fforde gives one of the best descriptions of fan fiction I have ever read.  Click here for my review of the book and to see a picture of “Fiction Island” which has a fan fiction area in the SE corner.

In 2012, I also had this post about Fan Fic including a guest post by an author in the genre.

But a simple way to think about it is to look at the world of Star Wars and all of the books that use the characters, refer to the characters, or incorporate the characters from Star Wars that are not part of the Lucas, Star Wars world. Everyone can think of 1 or 2 at least.

But fandoms are about more than fan fiction.  And helping readers in fandoms is about more than finding them every possible book that includes mentions or references to their fandoms. Often there are great books that are technically outside of the official fandom that would be a great suggestion for that reader.

For example, when I read Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Ferrell, I mentioned how it read like an episode of Dr. Who.

Rainbow Rowell, is an author who is actively exploring the concept on fandoms and fan fiction in her enormously popular YA fiction.  There is a reason beyond her writing skill [which is very good] that her stories are capturing the attention and love of so many readers.  Her finger is on the pulse of the fandom issue and readers are drawn to that.

Thankfully, I am not the only one getting these questions or thinking about these issues.  NoveList has been too. Here is a post, with links to resources on a recent presentation at the North Carolina Library Association Conference entitled, Fandom, Fanfiction, and Readers’ Advisory by NoveList staffers.

Click through to learn more about this issue and start helping fandom reader ASAP. They are avid and voracious readers.  Let’s show them that we care about their leisure reading needs, and capture them as library users now and for the future.


Shaynie Klein said...

I am delighted to see this as a topic of one of your posts!

Just one suggestion about this post: the link that is supposed to go to the 2012 fanfic author interview post needs to be fixed because clicking on it leads to the same 2011 post as the "One of Our Thursdays is Missing" post.

Becky said...

THanks Shaynie. I fixed it. It was YOUR guest post too.