5 Reasons the World Needs More Jane Austen Fanfic

5 Reasons the World Needs More Jane Austen Fanfic

Happy Autumn, ya’ll! My neck of the woods just started dipping into the 40s and 50s, so it’s sweater weather, YAY! +10 points if you accessorize with overpriced coffee!

Some may not know, but I wrote and published my first book in September 2011. Back then, the world of indie publishing as we know it today was still in diapers! Now, it’s evolved to nearly 40% of all Amazon sales (Data Guy, 2015)ย but in the early days, authors of all genres had to stick together!

Since joining the ranks of writing Jane Austen Fan Fiction last year, a genre near and dear to my heart and inducing major eye strain since the mid-2000s, I have brought amazing authors from other genres over to our happy, happy world of balls, marriage dramas, and our favorite dear couples! Have you read Barbara Silkstone’s Mister Darcy Series? My fault. What about L K Rigel? Yep, guilty there, too. April Floyd? She was my editor for my first six books and has been my business partner for 2 years prior to that! And check out Jemma Thorne’s new modern, that’s a pen name of an author I know who writes smashing fairy tale and folklore stories!

It’s not like I go up to just any author and say “You must write JAFF!” but Jane Austen is so loved the world over, MOST of the time when I get on my JAFF soapbox people marvel about this genre of books they didn’t know existed. As in, the paint guy at the Home Depot last summer jotted down my name on register tape to share with his wife because she LOVES Jane Austen. LOL.

So in the spirit of screaming at the top of my lungs on why we need more JAFF written, here are 5 reasons for everyone with a story idea in them to get to typing (or dictating, I love my Dragon!). And I am talking to all of you with a love of Austen and a story idea reading this post. Get to writing!

Colorful autumn morning in the mountain village


#5 The movie, TV adaptations take too long to make.

Every 10 years or so we get a variation that is much loved and then defended by the fandom. And slowly we are getting more and more JAFF for our viewing pleasure (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies comes out in February) but it takes sooo long to make a movie or TV show. Years. Jane Austen fans do not have that long to wait. We need more JAFF to keep everyone happy with new stories and ideas.


#4 More JAFF equals keeping Jane alive in the modern reader’s heart and mind.

I am a reader who had little appreciation for the original novel until AFTER I read page-turning JAFF. (Don’t Insult My Jane!) Jane Austen is viewed today as a historical writer, but she was a contemporary writer in her time. Just like 200 years from now readers may need a definition for “twerk,” I needed a thrilling introduction to the vocabulary of Jane Austen’s novels. Reading JAFF naturally introduces the Regency vocabulary to readers in a non-threatening way because no writer can completely keep their modern voice out of the prose.


#3 More JAFF authors means a larger #TeamJane

It’s hard out there for a book! In a niche genre like JAFF, unless you have a couple dozen authors working together on social media, with the samples in the back of their books, at conferences like next week’s AGM, the niche dies. It takes WORK to keep the word out there that there are these wonderful stories with familiar characters and setups to tickle your imagination. One, two, three authors, even big name authors, can’t do it all on their own. The more the merrier!


#2 Jane Austen’s stories are remarkably flexible.

Although Jane Austen was a masterful storyteller, the woman left many things unexplored. All of the great writers do. What happened after? What happened at Longbourn while Jane was in London and Elizabeth was in Kent? What aboutย in Antigua in Mansfield Park? The modern reader is addicted to director’s cuts, series guides, and storylines that span years of episodes. The more explorations and reimaginations we do in Jane Austen’s world, the more captivating the original novels become to a whole new audience. Also, many of the social ills that Jane Austen touched on in side stories or tangents to her main plots are still alive today. We can still carry on her work of social commentary with our JAFF.

#1 Jane deserves to be free.

I’d love to say our society is the polar opposite of the strict gender roles that Jane Austen lived in. There are many, many changes, but there’s also still room for improvement. Every author brought into writing for the genre posthumously allows Jane Austen to stick it a little bit more to those powers that said as a woman, she could not write. As a lady, she must publish anonymously. As a female, she should be paid a pittance. Bringing authors with success in other genres to JAFF brings new readers to our world, too. Win-win-win. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love to be a little bit of a crusader for the genre, using the love of Jane Austen to emphasize the fact that the oppressed need not stay oppressed. It takes time, but eventually, we can prevail!

And I honestly think Miss Austen would approve. I think if she saw the far reaches and influences of her stories today, she would be stunned at what one lady with a sharp wit and quill could unleash upon the world. The pen is mightier than the sword, so I vote we train a whole army of pen wielders!



29 Responses to 5 Reasons the World Needs More Jane Austen Fanfic

  1. I definitely think that we always can use more JAFF! There can never be too much for me ๐Ÿ™‚ I am one of those people who wants the story to continue. Like Gone with the Wind – I was THRILLED when the Scarlett book came out and even if it wasn’t written by the original author, it helped finish the story. I soooo wanted to read like 10 sequels to P&P because I can’t get enough of Darcy and Lizzy. And I agree that if someone happens to pick up a JAFF book and read it not realizing what it is and that leads them to read all the original Austen, then that is just one more fan ๐Ÿ™‚ And there are always going to be new ways to tell the stories or keep them going or whatever!

  2. Thanks for this post. I love your reasons. There are so many JAFF being released I can’t keep up and may never catch up on reading. My JAFF TBR i about 300 long. Although, I must say, for me, books are as necessary as food. Thanks to all you ladies for your wonderful writing.

    • Thank you so much for reading Debbie! ๐Ÿ™‚ TBR piles are impervious, aren’t they? Not fair! ๐Ÿ™‚ But that’s okay, as long as we’re all reading, we’re doing something right!

  3. When my stories give someone an escape, I am so pleased! Reviews, emails, and messages of support are all that really matters at the end of the day. I don’t write so that I can be approved by anyone other than my readers. For them, I hope to always entertain.

    • Speaking of, I better get back to writing Blessing of I am going to have some emails that are NOT so happy with me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I agree, we can only please some of the people some of the time, so let’s focus on them. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Writing is good because if gives you greater appreciation for the efforts of the published authors that we all love to read. Until I started writing stories for the D&L forum, I never dreamed how much work went into putting together a good tale. My compliments to the authors here and in the JAFF community as a whole. On the other hand, I don’t necessarily think that everyone who writes should jump right into publishing. I would like to see new authors hone their skills and put out stories that have well thought out plots and interesting character development, not to mention a grammar beta. When looking at recommendation on Amazon, I always check the sample and check the reviews for a story that I am interested in purchasing. Recently I’ve noticed more criticism in the book reviews for technical issues that should have been looked at before publishing. Though I love to have a broad selection to choose from, I also like quality. Just saying. Thanks for your post. Jen

    • I hear you Jennifer, but my experience is that those who will take care to edit and hone their writing skills don’t need added pressure that they might not be good enough and too many great writers have waited years and years to publish as a result. The people who aren’t going to work on those skills won’t care in the first place, so to me, harping on quality over quantity becomes just a subliminal message of “You can’t do this.” I only speak from my own experiences. I tell anyone and everyone with a drop of desire to share a story to do so. You’re only going to get better the more and more you do it, and even the very definition of quality varies from reader to reader. There are JAFF authors that are not my personal cup of tea that other readers love. I would never dream to tell them to go work on their storytelling skills. ๐Ÿ™‚ And yes, that includes some names that would shock many because I feel their books lack conflict and read too much like a documentary. Then again, other readers hate, and I mean hate, my books for the seemingly never-ending rollercoaster ride I put them on. There’s room for everyone. ๐Ÿ™‚

      There are books that I consider complete trash that make the NY Times Bestseller lists . . . clearly nothing stopped them from being published (they didn’t ask me, LOL). Write. Publish. Readers will make their own decisions and the readers who do love your writing deserve to have it. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Well, I agree and disagree on this… It’s definitely true that not every story is going to be everyone’s cup of tea – and that’s totally fine. There will always be an audience for all different types of stories – thank goodness! But I think you are confusing “style” with “craft.” Writing is a skill and it does need to be honed. I would encourage ANYONE who thinks they have a story to tell to put it down on paper and to do everything in their power to get it out into the world – but it does take work. I began writing my first novel five years ago and I am just now getting to the point where I feel like it is ready to query. Unfortunately with self-publishing, I think it’s a little too easy for writers to jump the gun and publish before their novel ready. The bones may be good, but books are made in the revision process. And there is NO EXCUSE for publishing something that hasn’t been properly edited. It drives me nuts when I read books riddled with errors that even a good critique partner would have caught. So by all means, if you feel like you have a story to tell GO FOR IT! Just put in the time to make it the best it can possibly be before you seek to publish it.

        • I am so happy for you that you are on the road to publishing. I am going to tell you though that no matter how many critique partners, robots, programs, or read throughs you do, your book will not be error-free. Such a book does not exist. Not even the #1 bestseller on Amazon. Not even a book published by a large publisher. You can and will drive yourself nuts if you aim for perfection, it is the enemy of good.

          I no longer blame self-publishing for any bad books being out there. Bad books, good books, they happen. ๐Ÿ™‚ Without self-publishing our generation would not be free to escape the draconian contracts of old publishing. 25% and the agent gets 15% of that and that’s on net, numbers we can doctor to whatever we feel like and you can only get paid every 6 months and oh yeah, if you want to audit us, you can, but only with our rules and you can’t sue us because you agreed to mediation. No thanks. Without self-publishing we wouldn’t have The Martian in theaters this weekend; a story that queried for years and self-published when that became viable through digital distribution partners like Smashwords, Amazon, iTunes, Nook, etc.

          And as an author I no longer judge another author’s work to be good or bad. I don’t know any author out there that isn’t doing their absolute best. What you look at and say “any critique partner would catch” I can say all six of mine and hundreds of people on the forums never caught the mistake in the first chapter of A Winter Wrong that’s still there. It wasn’t until the book was downloaded by 55,000 readers as part of a major free promotion that someone in a review pointed it out. And even then, unless you KNOW to look for it, you’ll miss it. Because our brains fix the mistakes and even though some people are great at catching mistakes (they are often editors) they don’t find them all.

          No one likes getting bad reviews. And I’ll tell you, even when you’re watching over 100 sales on a day happen, it’s that 1-star review that guts you to the core. I don’t know any author that is out there publishing with anything but their A-game.

          • 100% agree with you on this – there is no such thing as perfection and no one wants to set the bar so high they can’t possibly succeed. Yes, even with multiple critique partners, beta readers, and even professional copy editors, errors can (and do) slip through. And if that happens, you have to let it go (or at least try to, sometimes it’s hard :)) I certainly did not mean to imply that a few editing issues makes a book “bad” nor did I mean to imply there is anything wrong with self-publishing. I think it’s AMAZING that that option exists – without it I wouldn’t have had many happy hours devouring Pride and Prejudice fan fiction!! And I would absolutely consider going that route with my own book (if and when I write it!). I only meant that I think there are some writers out there who don’t bother with critique partners/copy editors at all – and if they did, at least some of the mistakes would be caught, resulting in a more pleasant reading experience for those who want to enjoy their stories.

  5. We all have our strengths. I don’t write stories…I just read and review them….over 150 last year and so far over 125 this year. I don’t have any ideas but I love reading all the books you authors come up with. Even with the high number I read I can’t keep any where near up with all that are being published. I did make a remark on one blog that we were due for another P&P movie this year as it is 10 years since the Kiera Knightley one but never expected that it would be Zombies. I don’t read that genre usually although I did love Mr. Darcy’s Bite and Mr. Darcy Bites Back. I have not read nor seen any Zombie stories/movies so even going to the movie will be a new adventure for me. But I also re-read the good ones…just re-read one of Jan Hahn’s and I am following 2 online so unless they publish those are not included in my count. I keep trying to win people over to JAFF as I am so addicted to it and get such pleasure when someone else finds it and agrees. Trying to win my granddaughters over (ages 2 and 6 mos.) by buying and gifting the children’s editions, i.e., Cozy Classics.

    Please keep on keeping on! And thank you to all.

    • You rock, Sheila! ๐Ÿ™‚ I know not everyone wants to write, but I do run into many who have story ideas and just think they can’t do it. Heck, I was one of those readers myself for THREE YEARS. That’s right, I first had the idea for “what if Georgiana Darcy wasn’t saved by Darcy at the very beginning of the book” way back in winter of 2009 when I was holding my infant daughter and reading I think Linda Wells. Yep, Linda Wells (just wen to check the publication date). LOL. I didn’t dare write it more than just notes and ideas in composition notebooks because I worried I wouldn’t be historical enough, or I wouldn’t be as good . . . then I got over that fear in the summer of 2014 when I experienced a devastating personal setback and couldn’t find a good title to read. I had money to spend and already read or considered everything that was 90 days new. I was MAD! (And admittedly, I was jonesing for a particular fix of D&E focused) So then I tried to reread some of my favorites, but I had just done that the previous months because I was stressed out from my job, so that didn’t work. And that’s when I sat down and wrote The Trouble With Horses just for me. I even published it at midnight July 4th so I wouldn’t chicken out!

      So I do understand if someone isn’t a writer, but if anyone out there is wondering if they can, I am here to say, “YES, YES YOU CAN!” because that’s what all of us who write JAFF stories had to hear at some point or another. Write a story you love, chances are some other fans of the genre have a similar taste. ๐Ÿ™‚

      And awesome about conscripting the granddaughters early. My 6-year-old already knows the story ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I discovered Pride and Prejudice fan fiction a year or two ago and I literally can’t get enough. It’s like crack. I am also a writer getting ready to query my first MS but I have only ever written middle-grade. Now I have this P&P story taking shape inside my head… and I think it’s going to be my next book. But I’m definitely nervous since it’s SO different from anything I’ve written before – not to mention the fact that I’m probably going to have to double the word count I’m used to working with. But I think I’m going to give it a try. Stay tuned… ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yes, it IS like crack, at one point my Darcy habit cost me $100 in a weekend. It was a bad weekend, hubby was out of town, I was stuck at home with the kiddos and I read all weekend while Shaun the Sheep played in the background. We also had breakfast for dinner. ๐Ÿ™‚ And as far as word count all of my novellas are 30k-40k long. Some authors will tell you novellas don’t sell in this genre, but I write them and clearly label them and don’t do badly at all! ๐Ÿ™‚ Some of us have to squeeze are Darcy fixes in anyway we can and there are busy readers who appreciate a quick fix they can read in an hour or two.

      • True! Personally, I’m not usually a fan of novellas (just not enough meat to the story) but I can see how they would appeal to some people. For me though, if I’m going to write one, it will be novel length – though maybe on the shorter side. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I really like your reasoning. I wish I had the talent and imagination to write such wonderful stories but I only see great ideas when I am reading them! Many thanks to all JAFF authors who write about Darcy and Elizabeth so well ?

    • Jot down your ideas when you’re reading, that’s how I started! ๐Ÿ™‚ We all play in the same sandbox! And if writing isn’t your thing, you can always share the books you love on social media. Authors really appreciate any kind of help in spreading the word! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Love your number one reason, Elizabeth. And thank you so much for convincing me to bring my comedy and light sarcasm to Jane Austen Fan Fiction. I am having so much fun! Group hug! Yay! Austen Authors!

  9. Great post, Elizabeth! Your 5 reasons go right up there on my wall!! Good luck in the crusade, it’s a worthy one. Especially as – I think you’re the one who said this too, a while ago, and you’re so right! – we can never be in competition with one another because it takes 1-2 days to read a JAFF story (if that! Some HAVE to be devoured in a matter of hours) and several months to write & publish one.

    • Yes, ma’am! We can’t be in competition because it takes a blink to read a novel or story compared to how long it took to write it! ๐Ÿ™‚ And the more we work together and promote releases, the bigger the genre will get, the better for all authors involved. Last year when I started it was RARE that a JAFF book cracked the top 1,000 in the Paid Kindle store, now I am seeing new authors with a debut do it! Yes, that is partly due to that author’s awesomeness and sometimes KU is a huge contributor, but another part of it is that now there is just about a New Release every single day or every few days. We as an author collective are keeping our readers ENGAGED!

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