Fanfiction is a form of spin-off writing where fans showcase their storytelling skills, express their passion for a particular book series, and engage in a collaborative and interactive storytelling experience. It serves as an outlet for fans to share their love and enthusiasm for a particular work with like-minded individuals.
While fanfiction can be traced back well before the internet, modern social media has allowed the community to grow exponentially. What was once a small collection of professional authors and obscure forums is now a conglomerate of competing websites where anyone can read, write, and enjoy.
Below is a list of some of the best fanfiction websites for readers and authors alike!
Note that when creating this list, we are not necessarily supporting or recommending any particular fanfiction website. Instead, this is a culmination of fanfiction websites that are most prominent online and utilized.
1. Archive of Our Own (AO3)
AO3 is a non-profit, fan-created, and fan-run archive for fanworks of all kinds. They host fanfiction, fan art, fan movies, and podfics (fanfiction performed verbally). AO3 is one of the most prestigious platforms for fanworks, touting a 2019 Hugo Award in Relative Works, a category typically assigned to speculative fiction and critical commentary. The platform is known for its high-quality authors, lack of censorship, and zero advertisements. With tags, sorting, and a first-rate search engine, it is a source of fanfiction that anyone can dive into and enjoy.
Being one of the most popular fanfiction websites around, this list wouldn’t be complete without Wattpad. While it has a large library of content with genres of all kinds, the fanfiction community on Wattpad is alive and ever-growing. There you will find works mostly derivative from pop culture and contemporary media, like TV dramas, anime, movies, and much more. With that comes a collection of fanfiction ranging from professional-level writing to lower quality works from beginners looking to learn. This is a further incentive to use Wattpad; there’s no pressure and it’s easy to get eyes on your work. Explore your voice, expand your interests, and find like-minded authors on Wattpad.
FanFiction.net is the largest archive of fanfiction on the internet, and that comes with a lot of perks. The website is very user-friendly with hundreds of specific, media-related tags to browse in order to find exactly what you’re looking for. Users can find fanfiction spun-off from popular works like Star Wars and Pokémon, or from more delightfully bizarre works like Fresh Prince of Bel Air and The Sound of Music.
Quotev is a popular fanfiction website that is based more in the social aspects of alternative writing. It carries a large community of active users who post more than just fanfiction. Quotev has sections for trivia, Buzzfeed-esque quizzes, surveys, and more. The search system is very easy to use, and there is even a comprehensive chat system for users who want to connect. Quotev also has sections for nonfiction and original fiction for those looking to branch away from fanworks.
Webnovel is the largest online novel community in the world, boasting over 10 million digital works and more than 3 million creators. While Webnovel focuses primarily on lengthy original novels and comics, it has an entire section of its website dedicated to fanfiction. Through the website’s easy-to-use browse function, you can find the most popular, the highest rated, and the newest fanfiction books uploaded. They even have a ranking system for users who want to find the highest rated fanfictions of all time.
Benefits of Self-Publishing Fanfiction
If you are a passionate writer with a deep love for existing media, fanfiction can reap incredible rewards. There’s a massive community of readers waiting for new content, and writer’s looking for new friends and collaborators. Online fanfiction is a sandbox to explore new ideas and techniques, but it can also be a proving ground to show the world what you’ve got. So, here are some great reasons to publish your fanfiction on some of the websites listed above:
- Building an audience – Self-publishing fanfiction allows writers to cultivate an audience and gain exposure for their work. It can be a slow build, but you never know which story might be the one that sticks.
- Overcoming traditional publishing – Posting work online can be a way for aspiring authors to overcome barriers to traditional publishing. Some stories have even become mainstream hits, like After by Anna Todd, which amassed millions of reads on Wattpad and became a four-movie saga.
- Gaining new skills – For writers of all kinds, fanfiction can serve as a stepping stone. It allows them to build their skills, gain experience, and try new things without the pressure of putting a price tag on their work.
- Feedback and community – There is a vast community of fellow fans and writers who share their passion for the same source material. That can serve as a wellspring of valuable constructive criticism for your work; a microcosm of what could eventually become a hefty breadth of influence.
- Flexibility and Control – Publishing your work on a fanfiction website means you have full control. There’s freedom in creative expression, technique, release schedules, and much more. There’s nothing stopping a writer from testing the waters and releasing their artistic voice to the world!
Fanfiction is a great way to get your voice out there as a writer, so give one of these websites a shot. If you’re not much of a writer and prefer reading, I hope this list has helped you find the fanfiction community that fits you. So, get out there and enjoy these high-quality fanfiction platforms!
A BFA Creative Writing student at UNCW, Conner DiGiacomo is an author known for short stories and poetry in the realm of magical realism. He has won awards for his poetry since high school, written multiple published investigative articles, and is an active participant in the creative community at large. If you’re in Wilmington, you can find Conner volunteering at WHQR Public Radio, reading at open mics, and perusing local record stores.