More on fiction and linking

Been thinking some more about the whole business of controlling who links to your fiction, and in what ways, and I think this may be one of those things that has a lot to do with who you’re writing for.

When I write a short story and sell it, I’m writing for a broad public audience. If someone then links to a web page with an excerpt from that story (or to the whole story, if I choose to put it online), then I assume I have no control over this. I’ve had both slightly disturbing and wildly irrelevant web sites turn up, not with direct links to my web pages, but through google searches on my name (usually via bookstore links). While I’ve been troubled, though, a moment’s thought has told me that it’s not appropriate for me to tell someone else whether they can create those links: I’ve put my work out for the public to find, not for only a specific audience to find, though I might target certain audiences as being more likely to be interested than others.

But if I’m understanding right, many fanfiction writers are not writing for the public at large, but for a very specific audience: a bounded community with a members who mostly know each other (though also room for newcomers), who have voluntarily set standards for themselves. Someone outside the fandom simply isn’t part of the audience; and someone within the fandom, by becoming part of that fandom, has agreed to its rules.

Put more simply, with fanfiction one can talk about control and have this make sense, because one is dealing with a specific, well-defined community rather than a larger, less well-defined, more public one.

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