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Pop Culture Happy Hour, Small Batch: The Rise Of Fan Fiction

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Anna Todd recently signed a six-figure book deal with a Simon & Schuster imprint for her One Direction-themed erotic fan fiction. That sentence will have many different meanings for different people, but consider this: The cover of Todd's book After boasts that the online work from which it's drawn has been viewed a billion times via a service called Wattpad. Given Fifty Shades Of Grey's roots as Twilight fan fiction, and given that Fifty Shades has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, it's not hard to understand why the publishing industry has taken an interest.

So I pulled aside NPR Books' resident fan-fiction expert, Petra Mayer — don't miss her piece on After for Monday's episode of Morning Edition — to ask for her thoughts on fan fiction, "slash fiction," ways writers interact with their readers, After and its impact on the future of publishing. And, because it's Petra and Petra is awesome, we couldn't let the discussion pass without a few recommendations: She's especially fond of these books by Naomi Novik, who got her start in fan fiction, and this work by a writer called Doyle, who she says mashes up Doctor Who and Black Adder for a story worthy of both.

ADDENDUM: Petra just emailed us to say, "I realized in horror this morning that I had named the Leaky Cauldron as the Harry Potter fanfic site, when in fact, it is the Sugar Quill. Accio bag to hide my head under!"

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)

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