I am not a published author, though I am nearing that stage. This is because I decided many years ago to learn all I could about writing, and hone my skill with practice, before actually writing my first novel. It's that practice that is now the problem.

I practiced writing by creating fan fiction and posting it on a fan-based website devoted to a board game (great way to start, btw - free critiques). My question now is: is that fan fiction going to be a problem once I have a published novel?

I've been assuming that I'll have to either delete all the fan fiction or just never mention it altogether to avoid people finding it. However, I recently asked myself why this was, and found that I couldn't think of a good reason. Are there drawbacks to readers/publishers finding fan fiction I wrote before I began publishing?

The fan fiction in question is copyrighted by the website, and is fully integrated with the board game it is about, so plagiarism shouldn't be an issue.

  • Exhibit A: EL James. Not a stellar example to follow, granted, but having fanfic posted clearly didn't hurt her. Jul 8, 2016 at 20:44
  • @LaurenIpsum I seem to recall you saying on another question I asked that she had to delete all of her fan fiction though. Jul 8, 2016 at 23:03
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    She had to delete that set of stories because it was the set she was publishing in print, yes. But if she's written anything else, I don't think that had to be deleted. Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, who write Dragonlance novels, also write fanfic, and they are spectacularly successful. Jul 9, 2016 at 1:17
  • Did you notice, there "… readers/publishers finding fan fiction I wrote before I began publishing…" is a contradiction in terms? They cannot find what you did not publish; never. How you published whatever… on paper, on line or however else… is a very different question. If you created fan fiction or anything else and posted it on a fan-based website or anywhere else, that constitutes publishing. It might in theory be possible to delete all the fan fiction and have you heard of anyone achieving that? Feb 23, 2021 at 23:15

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If you are proud of the work, you needn't be concerned. I wouldn't draw attention to it if it wasn't a professional sale or if it isn't related to the work you are doing now, but otherwise? I really wouldn't worry about it. If you want to use any of the stories or concepts, however, you might want to pull those works down. When you're querying agents and editors, they may do a Google search to see what else you have out there. You just want to make sure what they find doesn't misrepresent you. Good luck!

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