There are all sorts of essays and articles about how fanfiction allows authors to grow as writers while still having the comforts and crutches of characters, locations, and styles, as well as a built-in audience to review and critique their work, so we’re not going to go into that here.
But what a lot of articles don’t cover is the community that can grow amongst a fandom and then encourage and support authors as they transition from fanfic works to original.
Within fandom communities, you have artists, authors, editors, and reviewers. You have access to people from all sorts of different backgrounds - everything from actors to architects, from stay-at-home moms to jet-setting executives. You can find persons from every race, religion, creed, and orientation, all of whom are more than happy to become resources for the aspiring author.
Many new authors turn to their family and friends to give feedback or proofread their work. There is nothing wrong with this. However, being a part of fandom widens the circle of people who are willing to lend a hand.
For example, in our own quest, we’ve tapped resources from the anime convention fandom, the Hunger Games fandom, the Sims fandom, and the Dragonball Z fandom, all of which are fandoms that we are or were a part of. These people have provided artwork, cultural sensitivity editing, and copy editing. All of these were available to us because we were a part of fandom.
In addition, we ourselves have offered authors from within our own fandoms who are now seeking to become published both of our expertise as well as editing and proofreading. It’s the circle that keeps on giving.
So for every person out there who says fandom is a drain or a waste of time, we challenge them to find another community that’s as giving and free with their time and knowledge as that of fandom. We’re proud of our fangirl roots, and we encourage all authors to embrace them.