After my recent post debating the merits of writing fan fiction under one's own name, I got an email from Susan Bridges of PendantAudio.com. With her permission, I'm reprinting it below.
I saw your blog post with the question regarding fan fiction. My husband and I are kind of in the same boat in some ways.
See, we have a podcasting company -- PendantAudio.com, which we founded back in 2004. It's not the "here's some guys talking about what they think" type of podcasts -- all the shows are scripted serials released monthly. Pendant started out as all DC fan fiction, but over time we added other original shows (and we still add the occasional fan fiction show as well, both DC related and in other genres). We also maintain a comic-type continuity among our DC shows.
While no one who works on Pendant shows is paid, it's, well... huge. We have writers, editors (including a continuity editor who focuses on all of our DC universe material), actors, directors, producers, and promotions people from all over the world. As far as podcasting companies go, we're very well respected, and nobody else puts out material on deadline so consistently -- we haven't missed a scheduled release date in years. We're also popular -- right now we are slated to have over 3 million MP3 files downloaded this year.
Currently we're leveraging Pendant to get in with comic companies. We've got some comic proposals put together with the help of some of our friends, and I mention to them that Pendant basically produces scripted original serials. By having some business cards and explaining a bit about Pendant, I managed to get our proposals to editors at IDW and Aspen. So I'm using Pendant to gain some leverage and set us apart from other unpublished writers, even though much of Pendant is fan fiction related. Whether or not it'll really work... well, it's too soon to tell, I suppose.
So perhaps I spoke to soon and fan fiction can be a legitimate way into mainstream writing. Time will tell, I suppose.