Is Imitation the Best Kind of Fan Flattery?

By Linh Ngan

In July, I released my 6th ebook, a labor of three years of love, a contemporary romance set in Qatar, called Love Comes Later. I waited to see what readers’ responses would be and was not disappointed at the latest self-taught lesson in writing, marketing, and publishing.

Two things stand out: 1) if academic work is for a select audience, then fiction is for everyone. And 2) if I want people near and far to have a crack at my book, then I have to stick with novels. You may disagree with me (which is allowed and please do share) but my stats don’t lie. In my previous eleven months of publishing electronic titles, I felt like a salmon going upstream. Trying to get reviews or bloggers to notice my book was tough. In the six weeks since this title has been out, there are 27 reviews and 43 likes. That’s more reviews than all the other books had a month after release and more downloads during the free period of any of my books to date.


I did also put quite a bit of PR muscle into this release and have to congratulate Sandra for her entry on the Kindle Fire giveaway as to how people fall in love and why e-readers are especially important for women. Maybe it was all the PR and not the genre.


Even so, my conclusion: People love a good novel more than memoir or short fiction. Many readers used social media to tell me they couldn’t put this book down. One said she read while she cooked. Another said she was in the process of finishing it and would have a surprise for me in a few days.


“What’s the surprise?” My husband asked. I had no idea. She had so intrigued him, he kept checking back with me.


“Did she tell you the surprise?”


A week later, I could say yes. She had loved the book so much, she didn’t want it to end. So she had written an epilogue for two of the two main characters! I’m sharing some of it with you here below. Her style is very different from mine – much sexier! – and as I read my characters’ names speaking lines I hadn’t written for them, I felt mixed emotions. On balance though, I’m taking it as it was intended – a positive sign that an aspiring writer took her hand to telling a story, imitating characters she admired.


How do you feel about fan fiction? Is it the ultimate compliment? Or like designer brands, is imitation worse than flattery?


Love Can Wait – Epilogue ** By DohaSu


Abdulla was adjusting his gutra in the mirror, when he caught Sangita looking at him.


“I promise we’ll find a new apartment.”


“Its okay, Fatima will always be a part of our lives.  As long as you’re okay with me adding a few personal touches…”


“Of course.”


Sangita removed her shayla and the pins that held her hair in a bun and shook her hair free.


“You know that you don’t have to wear it?”


“I want to. For you. I like the idea of you being the only man to see my hair and skin.”


Abdulla’s eyes burned with longing for Sangita and he strode over to embrace her. He’d been resisting doing this the last few weeks, as he’d been afraid that he would not be able to restrain himself. Though wounded, he’d accepted that he would not be her first but was contented to be the one and only from now on.


“I’ve been wanting to do this…” he said as he pulled her towards him and ran his fingers through her hair again and again.












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Reader Comments

    • Mohana

      Hm, that’s an interesting idea for a contest, right Rachelle? To host people and ask them to write about someone else in the story… I do have a sequel planned for this particular book so I’m glad that she encouraged me to keep on thinking about these guys :).

  1. Darlene Jones

    This poses an interesting question. It is flattering that your reader liked the books so much she wrote epilogues, but I think my first reaction would be, “Oh, no, they’re my characters. You can’t mess with them.” Selfish, I know.

    • Mohana

      I sort of had that parent reaction, Darlene, but it was more, “Wait, why is Abdulla doing that?” On balance though, I took it as encouragement to get on with the series and praise for having created characters that resonate.

  2. jaya

    fan fiction is always, ALWAYS good.
    it implies that a story you created got under another person’s psyche.. so much that they think about it and can imagine it in situations that they create in their own mind.

    it means that YOU are an inspiring writer.. or, you have an inspirational story.

    and that little bit you shared here, very well written and, wow. steamy! (who knew that covering your hair could be so em.. inspiring)

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