Sunday Book-Thought 139

Unlike royalty-published, indie-published, or hybrid authors, fanfic authors are ushering in a new era of prose fiction: one that is open-ended, palimpsestual, intra- and intertextual, inviting to new contributions, shaped around community and discourse, with room for multiplicative forms of creativity, play, and experimentation. Despite the arguments in this section, fanfic writers may not need external validation for the legitimacy of their work: given their numbers, their passion, and their youth, they may simply shift cultural reading habits to their new realm, rather than attempting to fit into the old one.
R. Lyle Skains, Digital Authorship: Publishing in the Attention Economy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019), p. 82.

Sunday Book-Thought 129

If Franklin W. Dixon [the pen name used by numerous authors for The Hardy Boys series] seemed like a criminal imposter in my childhood, he seems more like the model of authorship today. As many critics have noted over the last several decades, authors get conjured out of collaborations between and among an array of co-producers, both other people and other institutions, none of which can claim sole jurisdiction over the literary work that results. Whatever writers do with paper and ink, they only become authors through a network of editors, publishers, distributors, book stores, reviewers, and universities, to name only a few of the main institutional participants in the process. One great irony of authorship is that people may scribble away as long as they like, but they remain writers, not authors, until institutions like publishers and book stores legitimize their work, and in the process, transform the nature of their own authority.
Jason Puskar, ‘Institutions: Writing and Reading’, in The Cambridge Handbook of Literary Authorship, ed. by Ingo Berensmeyer, Gert Buelens, and Marysa Demoor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019) pp. 429-443 (p. 430).