Angry Robot Books encourages you to create your own fan-fiction and fan-art

Illustration for article titled Angry Robot Books encourages you to create your own fan-fiction and fan-art

Many creators are skittish, if not downright hostile, when it comes to fans creating derivative works. But some other creators and producers actually embrace fans' creativity — and Angry Robot Books is taking that tendency to the next level.


Angry Robot is starting a new initiative called WorldBuilder, in which fans are encouraged to create fiction, songs, art and photos based on selected novels. The first book under the program will be Empire State by Adam Christopher, with a website at which launches in January. And the best fan creations will be featured in anthologies, and the fan creators will be compensated for their work.

It's like the anti-Pottermore — a fan community that actually lets the fans create their own stuff.


Here's the full press release:

Angry Robot are embracing the fan creator community with their new project, WorldBuilder.

Fans have a long and proud tradition of creating their own works based on their favourite stories, but have traditionally found resistance from the publishers or authors of the original tales. With WorldBuilder, Angry Robot are reaching out to the fan creators, and encouraging them to create derivative works based on specific Angry Robot novels. The first novel to feature will be Adam Christopher's noir-fantasy thriller, Empire State, and additional works will be folded into the project over time.

The WorldBuilder project will allow fan creators to feature their fiction, art, songs, photography, and other creations and collect them on a central, dedicated website.

The best of the fan creations will also be featured in anthologies, and the creators will be paid for their work. A number of specially commissioned works will also feature.

Angry Robot editor, Lee Harris, said "There are some extremely talented creators in the fan community, and they already produce some excellent work. We hope they'll embrace WorldBuilder as much as we intend embracing them." launches in the autumn, and will contain information about the project, along with a WorldBuilder Guide. is the fan community home, and will launch in January, alongside the novel.

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It's a neat idea, but I have reservations about whether it will do what the publisher wants it to. Fandoms usually start due to a sort of viral enthusiasm for the source material. You can't fake that.

This initiative seems like the publisher trying to create a fandom for books that aren't likely to get one spontaneously. I think it will only work for those titles that would have generated a fandom regardless. It's like trying to fake hand-selling; the lack of genuine enthusiasm will kill the attempt.

All that said, I applaud them trying to do this. I've long thought a healthy fandom only helps the source material's creator sell more copies.

Word-of-mouth is the main reason people try out an author they haven't read before. While most fans stop talking about a book after a few months, fandom fanatics will keep talking about it for years. That can only benefit the author, financially, regardless of his/her reservations about the copyright infringement involved.