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Fanfiction, Self-Publishing, and the Materiality of the Book: A Fan Writer’s Autoethnography

Price, L. ORCID: 0000-0001-7747-4210 (2022). Fanfiction, Self-Publishing, and the Materiality of the Book: A Fan Writer’s Autoethnography. Humanities, 11(4), article number 100. doi: 10.3390/h11040100


This interdisciplinary paper presents an autoethnography of an author who self-publishes her own fanfiction via print-on-demand (POD) services. It reflects upon the subject of fan writer as self-publisher, touching upon shifting notions of authorship, the format of the book, and literary practice, with implications for both fan studies and Library and Information Science (LIS). While its findings cannot be generalised to the wider fan community, the paper posits five reasons for this practice: (1) the desire to publish a work that is technically, if not necessarily creatively, unpublishable (due to copyright laws); (2) the physical presence of the book bestows ‘thingness’, physical legitimacy, and the power of traditional notions of authorship to one’s work; (3) the materiality of the book and the pleasure afforded by its physical, tactile, and haptic qualities; (4) books can be collectible (fan) items; (5) self-published books can act as signifiers both of the self-as-author and one’s creative journey. The paper recommends further study be conducted on a wider scale, engaging other self-publishing fanfiction authors in their own practice to test the conclusions presented here.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: fanfiction; autoethnography; self-publishing; materiality of the book; authorship; print-on-demand (POD); collecting
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > Library & Information Science
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