Fanfiction (also known as fanfic) is a phenomenon of digital times. It was estimated that fanfiction makes up 33% of all content about books on the web.
Fanfiction is any kind of work that is inspired by books, films, TV shows, music, and celebrities. It’s created and published by fans of the original work.
If it’s based on an original work, it usually exists to create values the original work failed to offer.
Copyright is the most sensitive issue when it comes to fanfiction. Any kind of work using characters or plot from a book written by someone else, is infringing the copyrights. Same with celebrities. To prevent this, FanFiction, the biggest fanfic site, disallowed in 2003 the stories based on real-life celebrities.
Most of fanfic on the net is free. The only legal place to buy is Kindle Worlds, enabling selected fan fiction stories to be sold in the Kindle Store.
The only exception regarding rights is a content that entered public domain. A good example of fanfiction that became a bestseller is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a 2009 novel written by Seth Grahame-Smith that combines modern zombie fiction with a classic novel by Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice.
There are several sites that list stories from single fandoms, like Harry Potter or Star Trek. They are not included in this overview. I wanted to include sites where you can find fanfiction for several topics, books, movies, or cartoons.
Thanks for all the suggestions in the comments. They make this list!
Read also 25 sources of free public domain books
An updated list of sites that offer free public domain books (ebooks and audiobooks) that you can download and use legally. Project Gutenberg, Europeana, DPLA, Internet Archive, Feedbooks, Open Library, and more.
15 most popular fanfiction websites
FanFiction is considered to be world’s largest fanfiction archive. Launched in October 1998, it has currently well over 2 million users and hosts stories in over 30 languages.
The total number of works is not revealed, but I used Google to estimate the total number of published pages (not stories) – it’s almost 8 million.
On FanFiction you can find stories about almost anything you wish. There are fandoms based on books, anime and manga, TV shows, movies, musicals, comics or games.
To give you the idea of how much you can expect, the most popular sections on FanFiction are (the number of stories at the time of writing this post):
- Harry Potter Books (Books) – over 650,000 stories
- Naruto (Anime/Manga) – over 300,000 stories
- Twilight (Books) – over 200,000 stories
Harry Potter rules them all, but as I said before, you can find almost anything here. There are, for instance, stories based on On the Road by Jack Kerouac, or Nabokov’s Lolita.
Users can follow a story if it’s serialized, favorite it, post a review, or add to a community. Under General category alone there are over 10,000 communities, with “Edward Cullen and Harry Potter” leading the way.
An important thing is that you can enjoy reading stories from FanFiction on your mobile phone. There are no special apps needed for that. Simply, in your mobile browser enter the URL address m.fanfiction.net.
FictionPress is a sister site of FanFiction. It’s a great destination to explore if you’re looking for user-generated stories that go beyond fandom. The site is world’s largest short story, fiction, and poetry archive and community.
Quotev is a popular website where users can share not only their stories and serialized novels, but also quizzes, polls, and surveys.
The site is very well organized. On a first level, it splits the content into two major groups: Stories and Quizzes.
There are over 15 categories in Stories. Fanfiction is one of the most populated ones. Once you enter the section, you’ll be able to choose from several sub-categories, including:
- One Direction,
- Harry Styles,
- anime and manga.
There are two very helpful ways to browse through the results.
First, you can check “completed stories only” checkbox in the top right corner of the window.
Secondly, you’ll be able to define the order of appearance. Options to choose from are: new, popular, favorites, and random.
Each story comes with helpful stats that let better judge the value, popularity, and buzz around it. On top of its length, and the date it was published, you’ll see how many times it was read, and how many comments were left.
3. Kindle Worlds
Kindle Worlds was established in May 2013 by giant online store Amazon.
It’s a new kind of a fanfic platform. There are two things that make Kindle Worlds different from all other sites listed here.
First, there is no dispute over the legal issues. All fanfics offered via the service are creations of specific licensed media properties.
Secondly, and most importantly, fanfic authors can earn money on what they wrote. Their works are fully-fledged ebooks and are sold in the Kindle Store, just like any other Kindle title.
If you wrote a fanfic, and if it falls into any of the licensed properties, you can submit your work to Kindle Worlds Self-Service Submission Platform.
Licensed worlds include, among others:
- The Vampire Diaries,
- G.I. Joe,
- Veronica Mars,
- Pretty Little Liars,
- Silo Saga,
- The World of Kurt Vonnegut.
The fact authors can sell their fanfics means the books available via Kindle Worlds are not free. They usually cost between $0.99 to $3.99.
If you have an Amazon account you can, however, read the free sample, before making an investment.
Based in Toronto, Wattpad is one of the largest book communities on the web, and one of the largest sources of free reads.
Monthly audience of over 10 million readers spends here over 2 billion minutes every month. Every minute the site connects more than 10,000 readers with a new story.
As much as 70% of users access Wattpad from mobile devices. Very well designed apps are available for iOS and Android devices.
Fanfiction is not the only category, but it’s one of the largest. With almost 3 million stories written and published so far, it gives place only to romance (almost 4 million, but fanfiction is also a sub-category here).
While FanFiction is mostly powered by Harry Potter community, Wattpad is more about fanfic inspired by celebrities and comics. There are over 100,000 stories about One Direction. You can also find the fanfic about Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, or Zac Efron.
The site has an extremely strong and active community. One of the most popular fanfic stories, a serialized With Your Love (A One Direction fanfiction), was being read over 19 million times.
5. Archive of Our Own
The Archive of Our Own (also referred as AO3) is a project founded and operated by the Organization for Transformative Works. It’s a non-profit, non-commercial archive for the fanfic of all formats, including not only writings, but also graphic art, videos, and podcasts.
Currently, there are over 170,000 users, who uploaded over 700,000 works up to date, collected in over 12,000 fandoms.
Fandom categories include books, cartoons, celebrities, movies, music & bands, TV shows, video games. The works can be placed in more than one fandom. Marvel is most popular here, with around 50,000 works, followed by Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, and real person fiction.
The site has a very well designed and detailed search feature, where you can narrow the search by work’s info (single chapter or not, word count, language), tags (what fandom does it belong to, level of warnings), and stats (hits, kudos, comments). It helps find the relevant story very quickly – you’re not going to read all 45 thousand Marvel stories at once, right? I think all user-generated archives should be searchable as easy as that.
The site is still in beta. An invitation is required to unlock all user options. You can receive it from the existing user of via automated invite queue, available at the homepage. However, even without being signed in, you can still search and read the stories.
The site is pretty well optimized for mobile browsers, so you can open and read the stories on your tablet or even a smartphone.
Don’t worry, the site is in English. The name, however, very well describes the profile of Asianfanfics. It’s mostly about Asian characters and topics that often revolve around Asian culture.
Created on April 2009, originally as an alternative to Winglin (another Asia-focused fanfic website to consider), the service claims it’s “one of the most feature-rich Asian fanfiction websites on the Internet.”
Currently, there are over 220,000 fanfic stories. The number of users (both readers and authors/artists) crossed 400,000.
One-shot fanfic (stories no longer than one chapter) is very popular on Asianfanfics. Over 35,000 stories are listed in this category.
If you don’t know how to start exploring the site, try Popular Today and Featured sections. Stories can be further sorted by the number of subscriptions, comments, and recommendations.
deviantART is one of the most important sites that let artists showcase and discuss their work. The site is most famous for visual art, but there is a surprisingly high number of texts, as well.
Currently, deviantART has over 25 million users. Since launch in August 2000 as much as 246 million works of art were submitted. The daily upload rate is around 140,000!
There are almost 200,000 deviations for fanfiction, grouped in six categories:
- general fiction,
Very often the texts come with self-made illustrations. There are also many comics and a lot of fan art.
Fanfic stories referring to Naruto manga, with a special focus on SasuSaku, are very popular on deviantART.
The most popular one, however, is Not in Harry Potter, with quotes and words that should be included in Harry Potter books – but aren’t. The text was read 161,000 times, and there are 2,435 comments left so far.
FicWad is an archive of both fanfiction and original work, launched in 2005 and managed by K&D Lynch. The site is currently in beta stage, but you are free to read the stories even if you are not a registered user.
Out of ten categories, the most popular ones are Anime (7,708 stories) and Celebrities (14,151). The latter category is dominated by fanfic about My Chemical Romance, an American alternative rock band from New Jersey.
9. Internet Archive
Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library that offers free access to books (or texts in general), as well as video & audio files.
Founded in 1996 it collected so far over 4,5 million items in the Ebook and Texts Archive alone.
The Internet Archive allows users not only to download digital material but also to upload their own one. Therefore you can find here not only lots of public domain works but also original contemporary stuff.
Search was always a very strong part of the service, and thanks to it I’ve found over 500 works under tags fan fiction and/or fanfic – not only texts but also audio recording, including several episodes of “MuggleNet Fan Fiction’s Audiofictions”.
Feedbooks is an ebookstore where you can find not only top ebook bestsellers but also a lot of works uploaded by site’s users into Original Books section.
All users’ books are free to download. There are over 800 fanfiction books on Feedbooks. Most popular fandoms are Batman, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and Narnia.
An advantage Feedbooks has over other fanfic sites is that you can easily upload the work to a book application or an e-reader, as they are available in mobi (Kindle), epub and pdf formats.
If you are a dedicated Goodreads user, don’t look any further to start exploring fanfiction stories.
The site has over 18 million members, and most of them are readers who share their passion for books they’ve read. But users can also share their own stories – some 400 are fanfiction.
Most popular ones are about Twilight, Harry Potter, and Naruto.
Tumblr? Yes, you can get in touch with what’s new in fan fiction without leaving your favorite network. It’s just a matter of using the right tag to search the posts, and finally picking up Tumblr posts you want to follow.
You can use either fanfiction or fanfic tag to get the list of latest entries. Many users are sharing the stories they have published on FanFiction or the Archive of Our Own, and some of these stories are in full length. Other users publish their stories exclusively on Tumblr, and you won’t find their works anywhere else.
It’s hard to find out how large is the fanfic on Tumblr, but the site gives a fresh way to look at it. Simply follow the tag and get all that’s new to your dashboard.
I’ve been going through the stories for some time, and as Tumblr is mostly about visual stuff, you can find here wonderful images or animated gifs in addition to text posts.
LiveJournal is a social network established by American programmer Brad Fitzpatrick back in 1999.
At the end of 2012, there were almost 40 million accounts, with up to 2 million ones being active.
The site is powered by communities. All users are divided into five groups, from owners to watchers.
Fandom is one of 10 major communities. There are over 800 separate fandoms listed here. You’ll be able to watch communities, only if you sign up to LiveJournal. However, you can read recent posts listed in Fandom section without singing in.
This is the youngest site in this selection, but definitely worth a try.
It was established in 2013, so there is still not a lot of content, but the way it’s organized and optimized makes it a very natural choice for users who spend most of their time on mobile devices.
You can read the stories without being signed in, on a computer, tablet or a smartphone – it works in a browser, and is very well optimized for small screens.
Stories are categorized by fandoms, genres, characters, and tags. Five most popular fandoms on FictionPad are:
- Twilight ,
- Harry Potter,
- Janet Evanovich,
A very useful feature is how you pick up stories. You can select one fandom, and them the other one, to find the stories which cross both worlds.
The site brings together people who are interested in fanfiction: both as readers and writers. You can also place here your fanart.
Three major section are:
Right on the landing page of each section you’ll see an advanced tool that will let you find the stories you’re interested in.
A good thing is that right at this first step you can pick up a very specific fandom from a drop-down list.
There is no need to sign in to be able to read the stories.
• • •
FanFiction, Archive of Our Own, and Wattpad, are by far the best fanfiction websites to explore, but other services listed above will be a refreshing way to find interesting bits and pieces that can’t be found anywhere else.
Have some more time? Explore other lists:
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- Top 20 Kindle bestsellers of 2018 to add to your summer reading list
- Amazon’s best selling print and Kindle books of 2018 so far
- The top 100 Kindle books of all time, based on annual bestseller lists
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