Ever since reworked Twilight fanfic Fifty Shades of Grey hit bookstore shelves and immediately burned a path up the charts, many publishers have been giving more serious consideration to fanfic. Might it make a decent source of publishable stories, a sort of Internet slushpile they could mine for nuggets at their leisure?
But it seems that history shows yet again that you can always count on someone to learn the wrong lesson: If one Twilight fanfic is able to strike it big, why not try again with another one? A Simon & Schuster imprint has just made a “substantial” book deal for another repurposed Twilight fanfic—a story called The Office that turned Edward and Bella into a boss and his assistant. Taken offline in 2009, it will be republished under the title Beautiful Bastard in February 2013. (Found via GalleyCat.)
According to the Hollywood Reporter story, The Office actually came out before (and arguably “paved the way for”) Fifty Shades’s own fanfic incarnation, Master of the Universe. It took off so fast in the fannish community that its authors were overwhelmed by its sudden popularity and took it offline in 2009, but were inspired to revisit it after the sudden success of Fifty Shades. They have reportedly rewritten and revised it extensively for traditional publishing.
Of course, filing serial numbers off and republishing Twilight fanfic for money isn’t exactly a new practice. Indeed, it’s so widespread that it seems to make up its own fannish self-publishing subgenre, complete with fannish abbreviation “P2P” (for “pulled to publish”). And for all I know, Beautiful Bastard might very well have that same spark, that je ne sais quois that made Fifty Shades (and, for that matter, the original Twilight itself) such a big hit. But it amuses me that the faddish nature of publishing is explicated so transparently in this move. How many other Twilight fanfics are the Big Six publishers going to regurgitate before the horse is hamburger?
And what does it say about the characters in Twilight that they so readily lend themselves to having their serial numbers filed off and remolded into stories in other people’s novels?