I have a confession to make. I’m a moron. I worked so hard to become a professional writer — spending years slogging away as a journalist, freelance magazine writer, non-fiction author, freelance TV writer, novelist, and writer-producer — when all I really had to do was join FanStory.com. Now, thanks to those helpful folks at Writers Digest, who shared with me this moving letter from Jason Parker, I have learned the error of my ways and can save you from making the same, horrible mistake:
"If it weren’t for FanStory.com, I wouldn’t be a tenth of the writer I am today. For three years I’ve been a Premier Author at FanStory – posting stories, novels, articles, poetry; giving reviews and rating material; remaining in personal contact with published novelists; and enjoying the hell out of growing as a writer. Not only does the community of writers at FanStory support and help one another, they compete in a yearly ranking system. At the end of each year, the top five authors in four categories receive trophies in the mail. Related to competing, each month FanStory holds many writing contests in which the winner receives $100. To top that, there is a Seal Committee that brands top-notch work with a Seal of Quality, the author gaining the status of professional."
Jeepers. If only I’d known that FanStory had the awesome power, respect and prestige to grant writers The Status of Professional, I could have saved myself years of pointless effort and experience trying to establish my reputation among newspapers, magazines, publishers, editors, producers, studios and networks.
What a fool I’ve been!
I realize now that what has been missing from my career, and from my life, is the FanStory Seal of Quality, my entree to the exciting world of publishing. Think of it. Someday, if I really apply myself, I can attain the highest honor in the field. And all it will cost me is $2.80-a-month.
My new goal in life is to become a Premier Author at Fanstory (even if it takes years) and maybe, someday, becoming a true professional. Thank you, Writers Digest, for sharing this important information with me from one of your wonderful marketing partners. You’re doing an amazing service for aspiring writers everywhere.
UPDATE 4-11-06: A blogger disagrees with me. She compares fanstory.com to participating in any competition:
We won the grand final last year and we each got a big trophy. Are the
Hockeyroos scoffing at me because it’s not an Olympic gold medal? Are they
annoyed because I’m just excited about it as they are about their Olympic gold
medal? It’s like gaining particular status just for being a part of a particular
university society. You can’t say that it means "nothing".
status. Lee Goldberg sometimes feels like his status means nothing.
sad, and I don’t why he feels like that. But that, folks, is what it’s all
I don’t think contributing to fanstory.com and winning their competitions is akin to, say, my daughter playing in a junior soccer league and getting a trophy if her team wins the championship. For one thing, the league doesn’t doesn’t grant her the status of professional soccer player. They give her a trophy for winning the local championship.
What fanstory is selling (and let’s be clear, it’s a business) is the false impression that their granting of status means something (it doesn’t) and that the honor carries some meaning in the writing profession (it doesn’t).
My status does mean something to me. But it wasn’t "granted" by a cheesy website. It was earned.