24 Aug 2011

Fear of the Fansites

Back in May 2010 the Warcraft blogging community were asked if they’d consider writing for the World of Warcraft Official Magazine. I have to be honest with you: I considered it, asked a few questions but ultimately didn’t go through with it. I was a new blogger on the scene (still am by most accounts), still finding my voice and didn’t think I’d have anything the editors would be interested in.

While my opinion of my own writing hasn’t changed much (Gaz in print? Ludicrous idea!) it’s something I’d like other bloggers to achieve if it’s the career they want to go for. Which made me all the more surprised when I read this blogpost from the first Editor In Chief of the aforementioned magazine.

The first question that came to mind was that two well known and respected contributors to the community had their names stripped from the first issue on Blizzard’s request. I’m not sure why they’d ask for such a thing and I don’t really want to second guess their motives, but it does raise some troubling questions.

Are bloggers and fansite contributors writing themselves out of a job? By having a go at trying to develop their skills and demonstrate success are they eliminating themselves from a career path they’d actually quite like to take? What does this mean for fansite writers hoping for an eventual gig writing professionally?

I don’t know the answers to this. What I am worried about is the idea that it may put off bloggers from expressing themselves for fear of jeopardising that dream job they’ve always wanted. I don’t even know what the endgame is. The magazine today now includes bylines for all contributing authors. That’s not to say that your work will ever get used – it could be dropped for any number of reasons as part of the editing process.

It makes me more grateful than ever of the culture that we have in the blogsphere – the love of writing. Some people are happy with writing purely for fun and more power to them. Others hope to supplement their income from it or become a writer full time, and I’m fine with that too. I just hope they don’t stop writing because of what it may do to their future.

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