As this editor does not believe in reinventing the wheel, let's get the original details from Wank_Report and tweak them for updates…
No one has brought up Big Bang Press here yet? Really? It's got all the hallmarks of a brewing classic wank. Monetary investment! BNFs aplenty! Celebrity recruitment! Profiting from fanfic! Publishing industry existential angst!
Our tale begins with the launch of BBP, a publishing house based on a totally new model that no one has ever tried before ever ever ever: Publishing popular fanfic authors' original novels. The first step on this journey is a Kickstarter, set up to fund the first three of these novels. Not the press, mind you, because that would be against Kickstarter TOS; just the novels themselves.
Which goes over fine — the authors involved are Gyzym, Febricant, and Eleveninches, so anticipation runs high — until someone notices the $40,000 price tag and starts to ask questions. The answers are not especially satisfying.
Others begin to dig deeper into the BBP team's backgrounds. Turns out, nobody associated seems to be all that qualified for their gig, most notably their "recovering law-type person," who's experience seems to consist of a year or so of paralegaling it up. This is kind of important, given that BBP's assurance that the novels will be finished is riding on their "legally binding contracts."
Yep, you read that right. The novels aren't complete yet. But they will be!
Further questions are asked. Further answers are not really given. "Details? Noooo, you don't want details, details are boring! Look at the shiny!"
And then there's the part where one of the $500 backer rewards is the completion of a WIP by Gyzym. Meaning fanfic is being offered for straight-up monetary gain here, no charity auction in sight. Which Aja — did I mention the part where Aja is the Submissions Editor for BBP? — then starts a pool for, in the hopes of getting another Inception fic out of all this.
The latest is a Twitter campaign on the part of BBP to get exposure through celebrity retweets. So far, they've hadsuccess with Orlando Jones, and are now going after Amanda Palmer. This will end well.
One thing not noted in the above writeup is that Gyzym has a lot of unfinished WIPs and does not write well under pressure.
On another note, BBP's editor-in-chief is Morgan Leigh, who has been mocked on FFA for the pretentiousness of her fic and her commentary.
FFA has wanked about BBP since it was first announced. Some highlights:
- "I suspect I am far picker about quality writing than most, but if those blurbs are any indication of the standard we can expect from the finished books, I would not touch any of them with a ten foot pole."
- "Apparently people are now talking about whether criticizing BBP is 'tearing other fans down.'"
- Nonny: "Big Bang Press posts on their higher level ($250+) rewards. … "stories you may already recognise." Uh huh."
- Nonny: "Oh, hey, now they're reccing the authors' fanfic to get donors."
- Gyzym, Febricant, and Eleveninches had been advertising BBP in the authors' notes to their fics on AO3, which is against AO3 TOS. Various nonnies reported them. The BBP links have since been removed from their fics.
- "Big Bang Press backing options that are selling fanfiction: [multiple links]"
- Nonny: "Big Bang Press continues to deflect questions. My ask + their response. My reply was basically, 'that's not what i was talking about, and we both know it, but if i were, then i don't see how 'You give us $$$, we give you fanfic' isn't selling fanfic'. I expect to either be ignored from now on, or further have Kickstarter's 'rewards' ~explained to me~ with regard to them not semantically being products for sale."
- Nonny: "Giving someone a present consisting of updates! And...updates! And more updates! Oh and some books that won't come out until next year (or ever). Show your recipient that you really just don't give a shit."
Best of all, meme had a Dec. 12, 2013 visit from the incomparable Aja! Reaction ranged from hearty laughter to blunt questions that went unanswered to lots and lots of snark to "It's still 13 days till Christmas, but this comment was all the present I need." (Mods froze that thread; discussion of freeze here.)
Here's a list of FFA discussions on BBP, up to date as of a week before Christmas, 2014:
- Nov. 23, 2013: General discussion.
- Dec. 1, 2013: General discussion, continued.
- Dec. 6, 2014:
- "$27,092 of $40,000, 15 days to go."
- "I would be super-grateful if people would help me compile a selection of the ways the BBP people are outrightlying about publishing (stuff like traditional publishing requiring specialized training), because I want to talk about this but trying to read it directly is leading to inordinate amounts of rage. I just can't believe what exploitative bastards they're being."
- Dec. 9, 2013: More updates.
- Dec. 10, 2013: "Does the Big Bang Press and the pressure from BNFs to be ~out and proud~ freak out anyone else?"
- Dec. 15, 2013: "Fanfic vs 'legit' fic (more BBP): What do you demand from each? Brought to you by (link to BBP page for Juniper Lane)
- Dec. 17, 2014: "They're nearly at $39,000 with only four days to go."
- Dec. 19, 2013: BBP gets funded
- Dec. 23, 2013: BBP backer update 23-12-13
- Dec. 27, 2013: Nonny notes that the BBP mess "finally made Fandom Wank — Took long enough!"
- Feb. 25, 2014: "Oh noes! Big Bang Press is too a real, conventional publisher. Wired even said so!"
- Mar. 17, 2014: Kickstarter updates
- May 21, 2014: "You wouldn't know it looking at the website, official tumblr or twitter, but the first book is apparently well under way."
- Jun. 5, 2014: BBP #9: Books, Art, Updates and more!
- Jul. 5, 2014: "What's been happening with Big Bang Press lately?"
- Jul. 7, 2014: BBP Update 10: Book Release Updates and Summer Convention Schedules
- Jul. 27, 2014: A nonny explains why they want BBP to fail.
- Jul. 29, 2014: OP asks if there's been any recent word; first reply says, "…last update said there'd been troubles with the printer (SHOCK) and there were pushing back the first book release a week or so. (Only one book's scheduled to release in fall. Another's confirmed unfinished and possibly won't be released until '15, with no known info on the third at all.)"
- Aug. 13, 2014: Supposedly the first BBP book will be released Nov. 11, 2014. There is some wank in FFA over the date being Remembrance Day.
- Sep. 5, 2014: Eleveninches' book gets a starred review from Kirkus.
- Sep. 30, 2014: A nonny shares the latest BBP email, which includes the sentence "IT'S ALMOST BOOK TIME!" There is a recap of the wank to date in this thread after one nonny who might be in earnest or who might be Aja trolling asks meme to justify its hateboner for BBP.
- Oct. 2, 2014: A nonny shares m_leigh's "Project Update #16: Big Bang Press: Original fiction for an original audience." (Highlight: The UPS dude dropped off the finished book at Leigh's apartment. She cried.) Nonnies take note of her surprise that she'd have to handle all packaging and shipping herself, vs. the printer. This shouldn't have been a surprise.
- Oct. 4, 2014: In the regular "Books" thread, a nonny who's read eleveninches' book A Hero at the End of the Worldreports that it "wasn't terrible" but "the execution was meh. Characters were not particularly interesting and the worldbuilding felt lazy." They also report some wank on GoodReads between a reviewer who called the book "turgid" and Aja.
- Nov. 9, 2014: A brief discussion of Hello Tailor's post on the Ladybusiness DW community.
- Nov. 21, 2014: A second nonny reviews A Hero at the End of the World: "It was bad, but in a way that makes me think this author could write a book I'd love to read someday, with a little more authoring practice under her belt." Nonny believes eleveninches needs to work on plot, pacing, and characterization, but that the basic ideas were worthwhile.
- Dec. 7, 2014: A nonny asks for updates. They are linked to the two above-noted reviews of AHatEotW. There is discussion about how BBP at this point is any different from self-publishing, despite BBP having "made a lot -- a LOT -- [of] noise from the beginning about not being like a self-publish/vanity press venture from the beginning. And from the beginning, it's been pretty clear they have no idea what they're talking about." That nonny linked to this Dec. 2013 comment from a bookbinder nonny explaining why BBP's statement "We plan on having [the books] printed by a real printer, not by a self-publishing firm or print-on-demand service" is "a bold-faced lie that shows they have no idea whatsoever what they're doing." Bookbinder Nonny chimed in on the current thread to stand by their words. And a bookshop nonny added, "[I]n effect, BBP are self publishing."
- Dec. 15, 2014: Another nonny asks if anyone on meme has read AHatEotW. Another who had called it "kinda like eating candy? I thought it was fun - with some snarky banter and stuff - and it just felt very familiar, in a good slashficcy way." Yet another wrote, "I'm halfway through and enjoying it as light fluffy reading."
- Jan. 29, 2015: The editors of BBP host a Reddit AMA.
- Feb. 9, 2015: eleveninches hosts a Reddit AMA.
- Apr. 21, 2015: One nonny asks,"Are they ever going to release those other books they promised they would?" Another answers, "All signs point to no."
- May 21, 2015: M_Leigh announces that "Juniper Lane's original release date was delayed because [Gyzym] had some problems with writer's block over the winter, but we're now happy to announce that the book will be published this Fall."
- May 23, 2015: Amidst discussion of publishers monetizing fanfic, nonnies wonder if Febracant is ever going to complete her book.
- May 24, 2015:"Does anyone know what's happened to them?"
- Jul. 19, 2015: A Hero at the End of the World is featured in the current Humble Bundle. "The preview did not inspire me to buy it."
- Jul. 24, 2015: "No new events, I just wanted to wank about BBP." Nonnies discuss how much BBP backers spent on the fanfiction available as Kickstarter rewards.
- Jan. 1, 2016: Febricant and Gyzym's books, which were due out at the end of 2015, have still not been released, and there has been no activity on the BBP Twitter since July 2015.
- Jan. 26-27, 2016: After months of near-silence, Big Bang Press quietly delivers Gyzym's and Febricant's finished books to their Kickstarter backers. Nonnies discuss how the press has basically faded away and isn't even bothering to publicize these books, in contrast to AHatEotW, which was heavily touted once it was sent to backers. The overall consensus is that BBP's founders no longer care about the project and are just trying to push the books out with minimal effort so they can move on to other things, to the detriment of their authors and backers.
Various external links:
- Listedheart replies to the BBP FAQ skeptically.
- Spooloflies: "The thing about Big Bang Press is that it seems to think that fandom and publishing are two completely separate entities and... lolololol."
- Spooloflies also points out: "Regardless of feelings on Big Bang Press, can we PLEASE all agree that the authors aren't getting ADVANCES, they're getting PAYMENT?" and "If the money is based on preorders, it isn't an advance against royalties, it's exchanging money for goods."
- Im_not_a_lizard: "I'm not one to get involved in Fandom Wank but 'original'? Really?"
- BookHype mentions BBP.
- Undie Girl supports BBP because FANFICTION! (And in comments she dismisses objections as coming from stodgy fans or turf-protecting "industry professionals.")
- Impertinence (more about whom here): "big bang press has raised almost $12k from 270 backers. sucker born every minute."
- Hello_Tailor, who is involved in BBP, tries to get YA author Maureen Johnson to retweet their Kickstarter. Johnson declines, saying that BBP is not a press. H_T argues otherwise, but Johnson replies, "It's three books, which don't appear to be complete and have no distribution?"
- Bonspiel10 defends BBP: "But why do you need to post on your tumblr implying that they suck, and it’s not even worth trying?" and "I just don’t understand the outpouring of negative, 'that’s never going to work, no one should give them any money' responses."
- In reply, Impertinence defends criticizing BBP: "Because they want money, basically. This isn’t just some random experiment, this is a group of people asking for a major investment. Your comments really encourage the idea of kinship between myself and other fangirls, and while I certainly believe in fandom as a community, that doesn’t translate to an obligation to abstain from criticism about monetary concerns. I don’t want to see fandom’s good will abused, intentionally or otherwise, and right now I think that’s happening."
- Katiegeeks does not feel "the details are too boring to tell you about" is a sufficient response: "(Jesus Christ, for real though. i read the entire NHL CBA and devised an alternate formula for the progressive division of hockey-related revenue for shits and giggles during the lockout last year. I built a 30-page spreadsheet detailing every tour date, public/media appearance, and article for 5 years of MCR’s career to canon-check fic I never wound up writing. You think a couple hundred words on the process you have established for bidding out your print run is too tedious to hold my interest???? And I’m not even close to the most detail-oriented person in my immediate circle of friends.)"
- IO9 links the Kickstarter. Comments are skeptical.
- Airawyn: "I would have told [Gyzym] to start by writing the novel. That’s kind of an essential step."
- BBP founder Morgan Davies claims in a PolicyMic article" that traditional publishing houses "don't know what to do about fanfic," despite the existence of Fifty Shades of Grey. She also gives interviews here (FFA discussion) and here.
- Sweaterkittensahoy: "I’d also like to note that I do have small press experience, and my concerns aren’t just coming from out of nowhere. I look at what BBP is doing and seeing a lot of things missing in how they’re running things. I say this from the experience of being—amongst other things—a project manager."
- Infiniteeight8, to Sweaterkittensahoy: "Like you, I think that they have the best of intentions, but that they don’t really understand what they’re doing. All of them seem to be amateur or semi-professional writers, but the only one who seems to have any editorial experience that I can track down is the Production Co-ordinator, and she’s an editorial assistant with a publication a lot like two of the ones I’ve worked at."
- Absolute Write thread
- Febricant and Davies do a podcast, in which they explicitly refer to the fanfiction available in their reward tiers. "I think the (reward level) we may actually get some traction with is Gyzym's Work In Progress folder. Which, is like, somewhere between 200- and 300,000 words' worth of unfinished pieces of fanfiction in a PDF — with like, annotations, um, of her explaining where the story was going to go. [...] There's a lot of stuff in there, like, massive quantities of stuff. So, um, if you want to give us a lot of money, uh, that [reward level] would be a good option."
- Badfic.net questions Big Bang Press: for people concerned about Big Bang Press; Lies Big Bang Press have told Us.
- The OTW's Franzeska throws in against Big Bang Press (FFA discussion).
- Tor posts a glowing review of A Hero at the End of the World (Meme discussion).