So what is a fan writer anyway?

I appear, for once, to have some sort of verifiable credential on the topic about which I’m writing but I also know that I don’t have a good grasp of the long history/tradition of fanwriting. What is a fan writer, what constitutes fan writing, is fan writing a genre of writing or does it come down to (lack of) money or to the channel of distribution? Also, what does the sport of rugby have to do with this?

The official Hugo rules actually say very little:

Any person whose writing has appeared in semiprozines or fanzines or in generally available electronic media during the previous calendar year.

It doesn’t say “non-professional” or amateur. There is an implication from other categories with “fan” in it that implies non-professional is a key element of the term “fan” but the inclusion of semiprozines belies that implication. A semiprozine may pay its contributors and hence according to the rules a fan writer could be paid for their writing.

But those are the rules and I don’t regard formal rules as a good source of meaning. Rules are useful for delimiting meaning when we need sharp categories to settle disputes but they aren’t the ultimate source of meaning — if they were we would have no way of judging whether we have written god rules or not.

I think there are a number of ways people parse “fan writer”:

  1. Writing by anybody in the role of being a fan
  2. Writing by a fan rather than a professional writer
  3. A person who writes for fandom
  4. A person who writes fannish things i.e. within the genre of fanwriting

John Scalzi’s Whatever blog or George RR Martin’s Not a Blog hit three of those four but not the second. I see some concern about fan writing including the blogs or other channels of professional writers but I think those two examples strongly hit other (perhaps more vague) senses of fan writing. Both Scalzi and Martin are heavily involved in fandom. However, the professional aspect is a sticking point for some. I’ll come back to that.

A different issue I’ve seen discussed is what people expect from fanwriting. For example, I’ve not seen anybody explicitly say that fiction does not count as fanwriting but when looking at examples of what people expect from fanwriting, fiction doesn’t count. Fanfiction in particular, despite clearly being non-professional and for fans and of fandom(s) is not typically recognized as fanwriting in the Hugo awards. More recently I saw, frankly puzzling, notion that fan-orientated journalism/news-curation etc such as Mike Glyer’s work at File770 isn’t fanwriting, whereas I’d see that as canonically fanwriting (i.e. if I draw a big loop around what might be fanwriting, that is safely in the heartland and away from the outer borders).

I think people have developed an expectation of fanwriting being non-fiction writing in an essay format of matters to do with science fiction/fantasy and in particular:

  • reviews
  • criticism
  • discussion of the state of the genre

Which, OK, can all be fanwriting but not definitively. I wouldn’t think of Damien Walters’s Guardian columns on SF/F as being fanwriting even though his columns there often hit at least two of the possible meaning I listed above. I note also, as The Guardian isn’t behind a paywall, those columns count as generally available electronic media.

Not-paid-for makes for simple criteria (although as I note, not actually in the Hugo rules) but I don’t like that. I’m unambiguously an amateur and not just in the sense of not getting paid but also in the sense that this blog is purely a hobby (and also in the sense that I make no effort to create a polished product!) But amateur status is the essence of privilege — this is a hobby I can afford to have in terms of time and money and security. I don’t have a lingering student debt, I don’t have to work a second job, I don’t have childcare commitments (and when I did I had no time for anything fannish). Trying to use not-being-paid as a criterion becomes terribly exclusionary as well as hard to police in the era of Paetrons, Kickstarters, etc.*

Likewise, the purity of motive in evaluating fan writing can become a pernicious form of gatekeeping. I don’t disagree with a point Patrick Neilsen Hayden is reported as making that fanwriting is a genre in itself and not a junior level of professional writing but it is also NOT-not a “junior varsity” either. In other words, fanwriting can be its own very loose genre AND also be an entry point. Again this mirrors an aspect of fan-fiction — it is a genre or species of writing in itself that requires its own skills some of which are not easily transferred to or from professional fiction writing but it is also a space where potential professional writers learn their craft or find their talent.

Looking at the different types of writing done by this years Hugo nominees for Best Fanwriter, I think the mix was pretty good. It shouldn’t only be essayists and reviewers but it certainly should include them and include people whose working may be partly monetized (either as gigs at paying sources or via online crowd funding options). As a category I think it is in an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ state — a circular definition that fanwriting is what fans see as fanwriting works fine for the Hugos crowdsourced eligibility mechanism. My main dislike of “Best Fanwriter” as a category is that it focuses on the person rather than the work but “Best Fanwriting” would bring all the definitional issues above to the forefront and I suspect the category would collapse under its taxonomic weight.

Alternatives to fanwriting or additions to the category, might include:

  • A Best Related Work – Short Form as a space to reward essays, reports, speeches etc
  • A micro-ficition award
  • A fan-ficiton award

But, I can’t say I find any of those particularly compelling as ideas.

Wait! I promised some point about rugby at the beginning! Actually I know very little about rugby despite growing up in a family with deep connections to Rugby League and also being brought up in one of the strongest centres of Rugby League in the world and somehow now living as far away as possible from where I grew up and STILL live in a place that is mad for Rugby League. Anyway, Rugby League split from Rugby Union as codes of football because working class players needed some pay to keep playing. There’s a metaphor there about priviliege, the use of amateur status as a means of social exclusion and possibly something about cabbage ears. Luckily I don’t have an editor to tell me I need a better metaphor and a snappier conclusion.

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40 thoughts on “So what is a fan writer anyway?”

  1. A few thoughts:

    a. Although work in semiprozines is not non-professional in the sense of unpaid, semiprozines are defined as non-professional publications (a point people often miss); this is further defined by means of the ‘a quarter of someone’s income’ criterion, which, though weird in many ways, is presumably meant to capture the idea of ‘not someone’s actual profession‘.

    b. I think there is a good reason why fanfic is not generally considered for this award, though in principle eligible: it’s very fragmented, being written for a particular fandom (in a different sense of the term from the traditional SFF one), and so not having the broad appeal needed for a Hugo. (Though that said, one of Sarah Gailey’s submissions in the Hugo packet was fanfic in all but name. Though as it was in a semiprozine, perhaps we should not mention this.)

    c. In the olden days, as I understand it, fan writing didn’t have to be about science fiction at all; it just had to be published in fannish media. Journey Planet is an example of the classic kind of fanzine, still active, and while it’s often about science fiction, it doesn’t have to be; they had an issue about Richard III, for instance, and classically, I think, the articles in that would be just as much fan writing as anything else. But this would be hard to maintain now that there is not such a clear separation between worlds. (I did consider nominating Ada Palmer for Fan Writer on the basis of her blog, when it was more active than it is now, on the grounds that, while not about SFF, it is written by a fan and read by many fans – and it qualifies technically by the ‘generally available electronic’ criterion – but I doubt I would have got much support for this.)

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    1. a. Yes but it’s the running of the semipro that’s not professional rather than the contribution. Mind you that gives a gateway to an interesting criteria: work that has not been PROFESSIONALLY edited (insert Baen and/or Grauniad joke here).

      b. Good point – it would seem odd to me for the category to include people because they write fanfic but also it seems quite reasonable for a fan writer to include fan fic in their portfolio of fan writing. I don’t exactly *not* write fan fic here (if we count parodies)

      c. Yes non-SFF writing can still be fannish

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      1. a. Yes indeed. One odd consequence of the present rules is that John Clute – who is the archetype of a professional SF critic, for many years the only one, I believe – qualifies as a fan writer, as he writes for Strange Horizons.

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    2. A – I think the point of semiprozine (or a point, at least) is that it’s somewhere between pro and amateur, so saying they’re not professional isn’t the full story. Looking at Lightspeed and Clarkesworld prior to achieving pro status, and Uncanny now, there’s a big difference between them and fanzines – they’re able to pay good authors pro rates, have covers from professional artists, and generally behave like professional magazines would. It’s just that they don’t make enough money to support their editor – and yet I wouldn’t describe Neil Clarke, JJA or the Thomases as anything other than professional editors, it’s just they need(ed) to do other work as well.
      (Consider what you would call a traditionally published novelist with a day job?)

      b – I don’t think fanfic sits particularly comfortably in the “usual” sort of fan writing that gets awarded – but I do think it needs a home. Stuff like @MicroSFF seems to me to have a fannish sensibility, perhaps from a sense of meta-commentry in the fics.

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      1. MicroSFF has made the longlist in the best fan writer category at least these past two years, so many people clearly believe that this is the correct category for it.

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      2. Fan fiction has a home – the fiction categories. It may never win, but it is eligible there. But we don’t have a “Best Author” award, and it would bug me to have “Best Fan Writer” go to “best author of fan fiction.” I’ve always thought of it as non-fictional, though there’s nothing in the rules about that. But I’d never nominate someone there for fiction and if someone were nominated on the strength of mostly fiction, I’d use No Award and leave them off my ballot, methinks.

        But as I always say – we don’t need a Hugo for every concept; not every concept has to have a Hugo.

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    3. Fanfic can by definition not be more fragmented than the field it is drawing on – a particular writer might be writing predominantly Star Wars, Harry Potter, or MCU (to name three universes with very wide popular appeal), and many write in numerous fandoms – and many fanfic readers follow numerous writers and fandoms.
      The problem with fanfic is that the writers might* not have the rights to what they write, and I am actually a bit surprised to find no explicit stipulation about this in any of the award categories, though it is not unreasonable to take this as read. So while a work like “Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality” could have been eligible for best novel (it’s something like 650k words, an interesting take, and a good read (also praised by David Brin, so there’s a thing)) by the letter of the definition, I doubt it would have been accepted by the award committee. But I could be wrong.
      From a personal point of view, I enjoy writing fanfic occasionally, and a lot of what I write is effectively in conversation with the tropes of SF/F in general, but I do take care to only post a limited amount of explicit fanfic, simply because it means less to worry about.
      * It’s fine if the subject matter is out of copyright, like Sherlock Holmes (as of a couple of years ago), Robin Hood, King Arthur, or the Bible – in those fandoms, anyone has the right to write what they like.

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      1. Fanfic can by definition not be more fragmented than the field it is drawing on

        I’m not sure that’s true. Fanfic is generally accessible only to those already familiar with the source material, in a way that the source material itself is not. (Of course, it is true to an extent that a lot of original material is accessible only to those already familiar with its characters and world, and this is affecting the Hugos, especially in the graphic and dramatic sections, and now Best Series, so it becomes harder to find things with actual cross-group appeal, and more a matter of what has a large following to start with. But I think it’s more true with fanfic than elsewhere.)

        Regarding the legal issue, a work of fanfic was shortlisted for the Tiptree award a while ago, and I don’t think there was nay legal fallout.

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      2. Andrew M: Regarding the legal issue, a work of fanfic was shortlisted for the Tiptree award a while ago, and I don’t think there was nay legal fallout

        The Tiptree is not as high-profile as the Hugos. I can pretty much guarantee that if a work of fanfiction with an easily-identifiable copyrighted source won one of the fiction Hugo awards, WSFS, the Hugos, and the author would be looking at a lawsuit. While I think that a work of fanfiction making the ballot in one of the Hugo fiction categories is highly unlikely at this point due to the size of the nominating participation these days, I strongly suspect that if it ever happened, the Admin would disqualify it as a copyright-infringing work, to avoid putting WSFS and The Hugo Awards at legal risk.

        Note that the Fanzine, Fan Writer and Fan Artist categories are for bodies of work rather than a work, so there is plausible deniability for WSFS and The Hugo Awards in terms of infringement. If a complaint were received about a work of fanfiction appearing in the packet in one of those categories, an apology and removal would likely suffice since the packet is not publicly available. However, the creator might be subject to further legal penalties.

        This is a huge part of the reason why Archive Of Our Own opts out of search engine indexing, and members are deliberately encouraged to, and advocate for, keeping a low profile for derivative works of copyrighted properties. They are well aware that one high-profile lawsuit by a major corp such as Disney could get the entire thing shut down — and they would very much like to keep their ability to create those derivative works, under the legal radar.

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      3. Assuming a work of fanfic wasn’t in the Hugo packet, would WSFS be infringing copyright by awarding a work that itself infringed copyright? [Note: I can see why nobody would want to step into that hornets nest and there are ethical & reputational reasons as well but I’m not sure they’d be legally liable]

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      4. IMHO no. I can award “Best Red Light Runner” – I am not legally on the hook for the nominees or finalist running red lights. There’s no law against nominating, voting for, or giving awards to copyright-infringing works.

        As you say, though, inclusion in the packet would be dicey; I imagine packet creators might include links or might not want to include anything at all. I can see even linking being considered problematical.

        But I can’t imagine why admins would throw out fanfic, and while I would never nominate fanfic and would likely leave it off my ballot and MIGHT even put No Award last on my ballot in that case, I would not be happy at admins for throwing out fanfic. I mean, the constitution doesn’t say it’s ineligible, does it? Shoot, they’ll allow and link to libel. 😛

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      5. As Cam says, the question is more one of “hornet’s nest” than it is of legality.

        Firstly, awarding a copyright-infringing work would bring WSFS and The Hugo Awards into disrepute, regardless of whether it is illegal.
        Secondly, WSFS does not have the bottomless financial resources to fight a legal battle long enough to make an entertainment-industry behemoth such as Disney to go away. WSFS might not be legally culpable, but they would go broke long before getting a judgment of “Not Guilty”.
        Finally, as I mentioned earlier, a copyright-infringing work making the Hugo ballot would likely mean the Kiss Of Death for Archive Of Our Own and other such sites, because all of the entertainment-industry rights-owners would likely start cracking down on all fanfiction a la Axanar, because of one high-profile infringer.

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    4. Andrew M: In the olden days, as I understand it, fan writing didn’t have to be about science fiction at all; it just had to be published in fannish media. Journey Planet is an example of the classic kind of fanzine, still active, and while it’s often about science fiction, it doesn’t have to be; they had an issue about Richard III, for instance, and classically, I think, the articles in that would be just as much fan writing as anything else. But this would be hard to maintain now that there is not such a clear separation between worlds.

      This is still the case. Journey Planet and numerous other fanzines often consist of writing which has nothing to do with speculative fiction subjects (fanzines which do this exclusively are also referred to as “perzines”, or personal fanzines). I had a conversation with Mike Glyer last year about this, when I told him that while a piece about Hamilton and a piece about romance books which appeared in the packet were interesting reading, I did not consider them “fan writing” because they weren’t related to speculative fiction. He pointed out that historically a lot of fanzines and fan writers wrote about things not related to speculative fiction (a lot of which I would classify as “navel-gazing”, and which is usually of little interest to me personally), but were still very much considered fan writing. He still publishes such pieces by fan writers in File 770, but I rarely read them because I have found them mostly to be tedious and eye-rollingly pretentious.

      I will absolutely agree that other fans are entitled to consider such works fan writing and to nominate and vote for them. But on my ballot, they generally get ranked at the bottom or below No Award, because they’re not what I personally expect of “fan writing”.

      Suum cuique, de gustibus non est disputandum, etc.

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      1. My feelings and how I look at this stuff are too tedious to describe, but I’m between @JJ and @Mike Glyer on this. But I’m a lot closer to @JJ’s end part of the spectrum. Sorry, fan writers & fanzine editors.

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  2. I would say there are more problems with the meaning of Best Fanzine in the internet age than with Fan Writer at the moment.
    Fan Writer seems easy to understand, it’s just that everyone understands it slightly differently; but it seems to me that the aggregate wisdom of many readers arrive at a fairly satisfactory conclusion.
    I think the perennial problem I’m mostly bothered about is pro fiction writers getting awards – not because their awarded writing can’t be/isn’t fannish, but because part of their popularity stems from their professional writing not their blogging/essays/etc and it slants the playing field.
    For example, this year I think Sarah Gailey was a reasonable finalist as although they’re now a pro fiction writer they’re very much on the cusp and their non-fiction work still “feels” within fanwriting to me. On the other hand if in a few years time they’re a big time novelist with “The Hippos Take Manhattan” and still getting nominated for fanwriter despite not writing as much non-fiction any more I might feel differently. (Hopefully that doesn’t sound like I’m picking on Gailey, they were just the obvious example from this year)

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      1. Sarah goes by “they/them” now, it’s a recent change. Was still going by “she” as of Murder Hippos writing.

        But they TOTALLY need to write “Hippos Take Manhattan”, and of course it has to be a novel b/c it’s going to take at least 40K words to explain how it could possibly happen. With triumphant hippos taking over all the lakes and fountains in Central Park.

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      2. Cam, please Tweet at her that there are at least 4 of us who want to see “Hippos Take Manhattan”.

        I even looked it up; the big reservoir in Central Park was built before the stories were set, even!

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  3. Are cabbage ears the same thing as cauliflower ears? Or is the different vegetable a sign of some subtle difference of which I, a mere Yank, am unaware?

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  4. The fabled Damon Knight said: Science fiction is what we point to when we say it.
    Norman Spinrad said: Science fiction is anything published as science fiction.

    So it is with Fan Writer/Writing.

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    1. Not a bad “definition.” 🙂 I may want to reach out and disrupt someone’s pointing, occasionally. . . .

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    2. Knight may be right (I think G.E. Moore said something similar about philosophy) but Spinrad is surely wrong. Things not published as SF can still be SF, and some such works have won Hugos (Vonnegut and Chabon, at least).

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      1. Spinrad was griping about how the SF category market should have a lock on what’s SF or not, in part because his career started when the category market was dismissed by many as a paperback system of pulp and general fiction SF was often sold as non-SF SF (i.e. not pulp.) But tons of science fiction is published in general fiction by general fiction publishers and shorter works in general magazines and fiction anthologies. It’s still science fiction even when a SFF specialty publishing house doesn’t publish a work. The category market is not all of SFFH.

        Vonnegut was part of the category market, which was fluid even back then. He got annoyed that he was “ghettoized,” especially since sometimes he wrote things that weren’t SFF, so they moved his books into general fiction with Knopf. And voila, he was no longer a category author to many. His work made in-roads in the educational market as well. But he still hung at conventions, did publicity with the category market, etc. and was one of the SF lions.

        It’s amazing how people confuse book-selling placement with a social caste system. They do it less now, but it’s just really ingrained. And easy to manipulate both in and out of the category markets when doing PR and packaging as a sales technique.

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  5. There’s always been a doubtful boundary between pros and fans, hasn’t there? I mean, look at someone like Fred Pohl, who was a pro writer, an active fan, and a pro editor (and also an agent for other writers. I don’t know what he did with his other hand.) Or Donald Wollheim, very prominent in this year’s Retros. Finding an exact dividing line between their fanac and their professional writing would be like trying to nail fog to the floor. (Is Wollheim’s fanzine “The Phantagraph” a professional publication, given that it’s written by a pro writer who is also a pro editor?)

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    1. Fred’s Fan Writer Hugo came from his writing about “the good old days” of when he was a fan/neopro/neoeverything. It just happened to be wrote on a website in the 2000s.

      Wollheim was still fanning in 1943 even though he was also proing. Bob Tucker never quit being actively fannish, though he did stop publishing his zine.

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  6. I found some words I liked in a John Scalzi blog post on this very subject, from 2014.

    “…if the writing is fannish (I.e., largely done outside a direct professional context and touching on matters relating to science fiction/fantasy culture and interests).”

    I always thought of Terry Carr (Best Fan Writer 1973) as the most excellent example of a balance between fan and pro. As a pro, he was the editor who acquired THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS and NEUROMANCER. But in my only chat with him, at a con party, we discussed fanzine reproduction costs and he was explaining the advantages of owning your own copier.

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  7. So do we need a definition? Obviously, the constitution has to contain a formal definition, but it could be a purely vacuous one: ‘Any fan writer who has written fannishly during the year of eligibility’. But I feel we probably do need more than that, because we want new people to join in, so ‘everyone knows’ won’t work, but we also want new people to get a sense of how things work and not just rely on their own preconceptions, so we have to be able to explain it to them.

    I don’t see a problem with the way it currently works – all this year’s finalists seem obviously acceptable to me – but others apparently do, so there is a question how it can be clarified, to show who is an appropriate candidate and who isn’t.

    It strikes me that, although the ‘generally available’ thing clearly doesn’t mean what it was intended to mean, and if interpreted strictly lets in far too much, it has the advantage that it covers almost anyone one might actually want to nominate, so saves us from debates about eligibility that might otherwise arise.

    But there does seem to be an issue about whether Tor.com counts. Galiey’s victory suggests that it does, as much (though not all) of their work is published there; but if it were universally agreed that it counted, this might affect nominations quite a bit. I don’t read Tor.com as much as I used to, but at one time I could have made up a whole ballot of people from there – Jo Walton, Kate Nepveu, Mari Ness, Leigh Butler etc. etc. I was always doubtful whether this was acceptable, though.

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    1. I think I’d struggle to write a definition that excluded tor.com while including blogs, unless you moved to excluding anyone writing for pay – and with patreon etc I don’t see that as feasible either.
      It is a bit weird that the venues who can give content away for free are either the best-funded (tor.com) or the not-at-all funded (e.g. here or f770) while some venues in the middle don’t qualify.
      Like you I’m not sure current results suggest there’s a problem though

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  8. Well, some people do clearly think that paid-for stuff shouldn’t count – though that clearly doesn’t fit either the letter of the rules or historic practice, (I wonder if the sense that ‘fan’ means ‘unpaid’ may have crept over from transformative fandom, where there are strong taboos against payment – though again they don’t perfectly fit with practice.) But I think there is thought to be a special objection to Tor,com, in that it’s a professional publication (as defined by the ‘quarter of someone’s income’ test, and also, in this case, by common sense). If it were printed, it would be a pro magazine; and stuff in Asimov’s isn’t fan writing. I think it would be possible to write a formal definition which took account of this – though it’s not clear that would be a good idea.

    I don’t like the ‘quarter of someone’s income’ test (as I’m sure I’ve made clear), but I can’t think of a better one. I’m beginning think it might be possible to eliminate references to pro status entirely, and define fannishness, if at all, in other terms. Pro Editor seems to have self-destructed anyway, possibly by accident. Pro Artist could be changed to Illustrator, which I think would catch its intent. People often don’t notice that ‘non-professional’ appears in the definitions of Fanzine and Semiprozine, and Semiprozine may be disappearing anyway.

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    1. Andrew M: Pro Artist could be changed to Illustrator, which I think would catch its intent.

      No, not at all. “Illustrator” is an incredibly narrow and restrictive criterium. An illustrator provides visual images to accompany a specific work. The Professional Artist category needs to encompass far more, beginning with standalone drawings and paintings done physically or digitally, three-dimensional artwork which includes sculptures, jewelry, and combined media such as constructions including wood, fabric, metal and other materials (and yes, even costumes!), and newer forms of art such as animated gifs.

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  9. (I wrote this comment when the post had no other comments, then left it open in a browser window for two days while others made some of the same points. Anyway …)

    The Fanzine category have a strict requirement that the contributors should not earn money. The Fan Writer category have no such requirement. I have to assume that this is a deliberate choice by whichever Business Meeting who passed the current definitions, but it’s a choice I think creates some problems. While I agree that the definition should encompass people who are professional writers who also blogs for fun (i.e. Scalzi or Martin), I’m less happy that it also includes people who are basically paid journalists in online magazines as long as the magazine is either ad-funded or a PR tool for a publisher and thus “freely available”.(*)

    Also, I think the main issue here is not who qualifies as a fan writer, but what metric we should use to say that A is a better fan writer than B. I have decided on a sort of head canon here that the point of the fan awards – both writer and artist – is to honor contributions to fandom more than “quality” in a more general literary and artistic sense. I.e. I’d like to honor the people whose writing make fandom a great place to be, more than people who are great writers.

    As for this:

    More recently I saw, frankly puzzling, notion that fan-orientated journalism/news-curation etc such as Mike Glyer’s work at File770 isn’t fanwriting, whereas I’d see that as canonically fanwriting

    I can see an argument that simply collecting links may be fannish but is not writing – but my opinion is that the sorting and excerpting that Mike does in his Pixel Scrolls is enough extra work to count as writing.

    (*) I also suspect some pro writers who blog do so deliberately to foster a fanbase, so even if they’re not paid directly pr article they’re blogging as professional writers and not as Fans doing it for fun. Writing a definition that excludes that would probably be unreasonable.

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  10. Right off I don’t see how your definition matches up with reality. Just looking at the list of Hugo finalists, aren’t Sarah Gailey and Bogi Takács both professional fiction writers? Gailey was even a finalist for the Nebula Award.

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    1. Hi Lela,
      I’m not sure which definition you are referring to – I suggested several different meanings of the term but there were others in the comments as well.

      Also, I’ve discussed before I (or at least the meat robot) *am/is* paid to write words, just not in the context of science fiction or that milieu. I’m not paid to write the stuff here but a heck of a lot of my real life job involves forcing ideas into coherent sentences nor is that unusual these days.

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      1. Interesting point – writing isn’t the main point of my job but the results have to be communicated in some way, usually in writing, and sometimes writing down what I think is mandatory.
        You’ll probably be hard pushed to find a fan writer who hasn’t been paid for something that involves producing words at some point.

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