I mentioned in a couple of places that I had a vision for FanLit Forever, but I don’t think I ever laid it all out. If fact, I know I couldn’t have because so much has become more clear for me as we’ve gone along.
I want the FanLit Forever site to be first and foremost a community catering to writers. I think of it as being the cyber equivalent of a really good coffee house; the kind where people hop from table to table without worrying about their welcome. A friendly coffee house where there’s a small stage with an open mic night.
We don’t have to limit ourselves to Romance, though I expect most of those in it will be because we started off over on Avon. The way we are set up should be able to handle any genre. Many of us already write more than Romance, and some of us primarily write Mysteries or Fantasy. I would like to see the challenges open to all genres.
With the various discussion areas and goals board I think we already have a wonderful support system set up. The publishing world can be cold and harsh. FanLit Forever doesn’t sugar coat it. But we do hold one another’s hands as we watch the contest results come in. And we did not get a single 0 bombing or .5 bandit on any entry. Not even once.
More than simply a place to hang out, I want FanLit Forever to be an incubator and showcase for talent.
The game gives us deadlines to get the creative juices flowing, which can spill over into other projects. As we work with the various premises we can learn what kind of ideas are easy to work with, and what are hard. This can help us sort through the multitude of ideas we come up with in our other writing efforts. We can develop our voices, learn marketing technique, and hone our craft.
More, because of the And The Beat Goes On section we can take individual stories that capture our interest and run with them. We can get some feedback, show off our efforts, create longer works, and maybe even earn a following.
I am hoping eventually we will draw the interest of editors and agents. Once we get rolling, we should naturally have an appeal to those looking for talent. After all, in FanLit Forever we can prove to the world we are capable of producing good quality material quickly and regularly. Isn’t that what the publishing world wants?
It is possible for FanLit Forever to become one of the ways in which to launch a career, much like Romance Writer’s of America Chapter contests. And much like chapter contests, it can be a great tool for growing as a writer. Unlike RWA there’s no charge, the feedback is much faster though not as deep, and the contest takes place in a friendly environment. FanLit Forever allows us to focus on our writing in a different way.
We are very small right now. Avon’s FanLit brought in over 5,000 registered members all told. We have barely over 50. As near as I have been able to figure by using the Find feature, only about 200 people, or roughly 4%, ever submitted anything to Avon’s FanLit. We had about half a dozen, or 12%, submit in the first round. Avon was mind blowingly big in comparison, but we have a higher proportion of people who are active, and that when NaNo, the Golden Heart, and the Holidays had everyone distracted.
I see a day when FanLit Forever always has someone posting and frequently has people in the chat room. I see a day when there are enough votes and comments on each entry for each entrant to have a solid grasp on how they are doing, when Shameless Self-Promotion is entertaining for itself, and everything has the zest of knowing you are in the right place at the right time for a something big to happen.
But it’s going to take time and effort to get there.
Tomorrow I’ll suggest ways you can help make this dream a reality.