Turning Your Fandom Into a Writing Career | Jennifer Keishin Armstrong | Skillshare

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Turning Your Fandom Into a Writing Career

teacher avatar Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, New York Times bestselling author

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (46m)
    • 1. Lesson 1: Introduction and Overview

    • 2. Lesson 2: Collecting Your Fandoms and Choosing One

    • 3. Lesson 3: Researching the Landscape

    • 4. Lesson 4: Forms of Fandom Expression

    • 5. Lesson 5: Choosing Your Line of Attack

    • 6. Lesson 6: Mixing It Up in Stan Culture

    • 7. Lesson 7: Becoming a Professional Fan

    • 8. Lesson 8: Writing Your First Piece

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About This Class

You may have thought to yourself before, “Gosh, I wish I could do something useful with all this knowledge I have about …” your favorite book, TV show, movie, or pop star. You may have even been joking a little. But it turns out you really can do something with it! For a writing career, it’s often best to have an area of expertise … and here you’ve got one of those, ready-made! 

Fandom is more prevalent than ever, and fandoms are more voracious than ever! There’s a real marketplace for this kind of knowledge. And it’s truly not that crazy to think that this can happen for you. You could become a recognized expert in the object of your fandom—and even turn it into a paid writing career by blogging, writing for publication, or publishing books. Many people have done this, including me. In this course, I will give you a step-by-step plan to do it, from choosing a fandom to focus on to finding the right platform and, finally, writing your first piece.

A little about me, so you know I know what I’m talking about: I am Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, a pop culture journalist and New York Times bestselling author of seven books about pop culture history, including Seinfeldia and Sex and the City and Us. I’ve written for BuzzFeed, BBC Culture, Billboard and many others about things I love: Britney Spears, Drunk History, Mr. Rogers, boy bands, and Beyoncé among them. I’ve also written books about things I love: The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Seinfeld, Sex and the City, and female pop stars.

Meet Your Teacher

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Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

New York Times bestselling author


A New York Times bestselling author, Jennifer Keishin Armstrong is the author of seven pop culture history books, including Seinfeldia; Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted; and Sex and the City and Us. Her forthcoming book When Women Invented Television will be published in March 2021. Her work appears in many publications, including BBC Culture, The New York Times Book Review, Vice, New York magazine, and Billboard.

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1. Lesson 1: Introduction and Overview: Welcome to Turning Your fandom into a writing career. You may have thought to yourself many times that you had all kinds of useless knowledge about something like Lord of the Rings or Britney Spears or ships Creek. And you may have had no idea that you could actually do something worthwhile with it, besides just bonding with your fellow fans and enjoying it. But in fact, you really can turn your fandom into a profitable writing career. Fandom is bigger than ever. There are many phantoms that congregate online all the time. You probably know that they want more content, they want more knowledge, and you could be the one to give it to them. Meanwhile, if you want to be a writer, one of the things that is really important is to have an area of expertise. While here you are, you already have one. You're a fan, so you just need to put those two things together. And voila, you have a fandom based writing careers. So let's talk about that in more detail in this lesson. You really can use this to get established and maybe even paid to write about the things that you care about the most. You can become a recognized expert in the object of your fandom and turn it into a paid writing career. And there are a couple ways to do that. We're going to talk about them in this class. There's blogging, there's writing for publication, there's publishing books. I have in fact done exactly this with my career. And I will talk about me in a minute just so that you know what I'm talking about. But I want to tell you that overall in this course, I am going to give you a step-by-step plan to do exactly what I have done from choosing a fandom to focus on, to finding the right platform and finally, writing your first piece, which will be our final project in this class. So they tell you a little bit about me. I am Jennifer cation Armstrong. I'm a pop culture journalist. I'm a New York Times bestselling author. I've written seven books about pop culture history. I've written for BuzzFeed, BBC culture, billboard, and many others specifically about the things that I love in pop culture that includes Britney Spears, drunk history, Mr. Rogers, boy bands, and Beyonce among many others. So you can see that you can also use multiples of your fan Don's it doesn't have to just be one, but we're going to focus on picking one for nows In this class. I have also written books about shows that I love and people that I love, including the Mary Tyler Moore Show, Seinfeld, Sex in the City and female pop stars. Here are a selection of those exact books. So you can see the proof is really there. It can happen for you. So in this class, you're going to learn to turn your fandom into a writing career. Here's how we're going to go about that and we're gonna go into more detail throughout the next several lessons. First we're going to collect your phantoms and choose one to focus on. Then we're going to research the fandom landscape and decide how you can distinguish yourself. Then we're going to look at the different forms of fandom expression that you can use to establish yourself. Those include blogging, writing for publication, social media, podcasts and books. Then we're going to choose your line of attack. Decide which expression is right for you. We're gonna learn there that of course, most of us do several, but we're going to focus on one and we're going to focus on a writing based one for this class and for the purposes of your final project. Then we're going to talk a little bit about the pros and cons and do's and don'ts of mixing it up in fan culture, Stan culture, as we also say, that we're going to talk about how you can distinguish yourself thereby becoming a professional fan. And then we're going to talk about your final project which will be writing your first piece based on your fandom. With that, let's get started. First up, we will survey your fan DMS and talk about how you can choose one to focus on at least for now. 2. Lesson 2: Collecting Your Fandoms and Choosing One: Welcome to lesson two of turning your fandom into a writing career. In this lesson, we will be collecting your phantoms and choosing one for you to focus on, at least for the purposes of your first project and going out into the world to explore this further. This is where we're going to make big long list of all the things that you love and might want to focus on. If you came to this class with one clear fandom in mind, that's probably a good one to choose. Your instincts are probably right. But most of us consider ourselves members of several Phantoms. I mentioned at the top how many different things I've written about. And I'm going to tell you in a minute some more things that I haven't written as much about, but I still love. So there's plenty to go around for most of us who are excited about pop culture to begin with. But now is the time to consider all of your options. Make list, get out your pen and paper right now. Do it, go for it. You should be truly passionate and knowledgeable about the AES. If you've heard the word Stan or if you haven't, I'll tell you about it now. When you hear people say that they stand something or they are a stan of something, it means they really, really, really love it, like super nerd level. And that's gonna be the kinda person that you are wanting to serve with your writing expertise in the span done. So you should definitely consider yourself with that level of fan of whatever it is that you choose. But we do want to go big right now, come up with a lot of ideas that narrow it down. So make a list, go through each of the big, you know, different kinds of fandom. That there could be books, comics, film, stage, music, TV, video games. Anything else you can think of? Just go through each of those one by one. Think about what you might be really, really into. Write them all down. Here are a few examples of some of my recent favorite things that I could choose to write about that I haven't written a ton about yet. Love, love, love the television show ships Creek. Also loved the television show in secure. Hamilton. Huge fan from the beginning of that one have consumed in every possible way and multiple times. Taylor Swift, in particular, her recent album folklore, really loved it. And I recently rewatched Jerry Maguire and remembered how much I love that movie. So that's another wine and it's good to kinda think, meow, not just recent, but maybe throughout your life the different things that you've gotten excited about because sometimes you might want a real niche of a fandom. Maybe there's a huge group of underserved Jerry Maguire fans out there you now, so you wanna think about everything. It will be difficult to choose your favorite fav. I know that I don't have to do it quite yet, but here are some of the things that you are going to start to think about as you look at your list. It isn't just about your absolute favorite though that is obviously a factor because your passion's going to carry you through. You want to think about how much material there is to mine, whether you have a unique perspective on this and I think that that is a huge one. Can you imagine spending months or years delving into this person or work, especially if you get to something like a book. I have spent many, many years of my life at this point thinking about and talking about and writing about Seinfeld's. So you better 3n to it, because if people start to like it, you're going to want to give them more and you're going to be stuck with it. So make sure it's a good one. You know, do others share your passion enough to build a community around? It might be a small community, that's okay. But you know, someone else out there should be interested in those for you to make it your career as well. Do you already know a ton about it? There's gonna be people out there who do so you better be ready to bring your a gram in that vicinity because I promise you they will tell you when you're wrong, which is also ok. But you want to have some level of knowledge. Are you the right person to be commenting on this? You know, you might want to think about things like gender and race. Or just, you know, your knowledge base. Any of those things you might want to just sort of start to think about. Are you the person, people are gonna want to come to for discussion about this or how can you make your niche so that you are that person? And you also want to think about how much competition there will be. And I understand that we're balancing two things here, right? You might not want to completely open field because it might be more fun or more profitable to be part of an actual community of professional fans who are, have different parts of the discussion that they are really focus on. And we will be going into depth on this in the next lesson. 3. Lesson 3: Researching the Landscape: Welcome to lesson three of turning your phantom hand writing career. In this lesson, we are going to research the landscape of the phantoms that you've chosen for yourself the main thing you're going to be doing parent is Googling. You're going to be googling a lot that's going to be our thing. So of course, you can just google your topic itself and see what comes up and seems like probably worth doing just to make sure shifts cream Hamilton and whatever. But that will likely give you, you know, big broad hits where it's airing its Wikipedia page, it's actual show page, that kind of thing. So we want to go a little bit deeper and try to see what else is out there. Try some other options here. So try topic plus fans or fandom, Hamilton fans, Hamilton fandom. I think you should do all of these actually and see all the things that are out there. Try Hamilton blogs, try Hamilton podcasts, try Hamilton books. Make a list of everything that's out there for the phantoms that you are seriously considering focusing on. All of us discourage a lot of stuff out there because it says that people are really interested in this. And as I've mentioned before, it might even allow you to kind of reach out to other people in the fandom who are kind of the professionals out there and network with them and build on what they've already done. So there's good and bad, too. Crowded landscapes and not crowded labs landscapes. We're going to talk more specifically in a minute. So take one of my recent favorites, shifts Creek. When I did all of this Googling, basically, I came up with the fact that there is a Facebook group called the shit heads. They have about 17 thousand fans there. There is a Sheets and giggles podcast, which as of this recording there last episode was a few months ago. So that's it. That is a wide open field you can really make a mark here. You could really be the person for ships Creek. This makes sense. You know, it's a show that only recently ended and really recently even became a big hit because it moved to Netflix and won a bunch of Emmy awards. So it's really only just getting started and it makes sense that the landscape is so wide open. An opposite is if we take Taylor Swift, who I also love. Now, this is a tiny, tiny fraction on this slide that I'm showing you of things that are out there about Taylor Swift. I just wanted to show you how much there are and what they're like. So there's a very broad, even generic websites that have been out there for quite some time. And you can sort of tell they're like all things Taylor Swift, they do not have. A specific niche at all. So there's Taylor Swift web, the swift agency. Cute names. You gotta, you gotta think about cute names while you're doing this, right? The Taylor firewalls, Taylor Swift styles. So that's, we're getting a little bit more niche here. We're talking specifically about her fashion choices and kind of analyzing them. Where might you be able to get some of the stuff that she's worn, that sort of thing. That's a great niche. There's a podcast called swift dish. There's another one called good for a weekend. That's based on a little nod to a Taylor Swift lyric. You'll see a lot of these kinds of Inside joke things. To name, blogs, podcasts, that kinda thing. Play it again, podcast, many, many, many, many more besides what you see here. So this can be challenging, but it also could be great because you can reach out to these people and others and say, hey, I have my own, you know, Taylor Swift style podcast or something like that. And you probably didn't have to do better since there's already a Taylor Swift styled the blog out there. But, you know, this can be good too. It's just a matter of what you want and what's going to work for what you have to say. So you have to figure out where you fit in. You need to find your stan, niche. As I said, neither of these examples is good or bad or a reason to eliminate one or the other. They just present very different missions. You could become the podcasts that everyone turns to as they continue to discover sheds Craig. And then, on the other hand, for Taylor Swift, you really have to think creatively, but that can be really fun and yield great results. So maybe you are a Baby Boomer who just got into Taylor Swift because you love Joni Mitchell, are called Carly Simon and you've realized that she writes songs in a similar vein, and that would be a really cool niche to be writing about. I think I would love to read that blog no matter what age I am. Or maybe you're a team, you know, maybe you're 13 years old and you just got into Taylor Swift to the share. And you've decided you're going to listen to her entire discography, song by song and blog about each song and what you think about it in the moment or that sort of thing. So both of those things sound very appealing to me as a tailor fan. And I am in neither of those age groups. So that's great. And it can really help to refine what you do in this fandom. So here are some examples of what I'm talking about from real life. There is a podcast called Bradshaw Boys, which I love. It is a group of straight guys watching Sex and the City all the way through episode by episode for the first time. And they, each of those each of their podcast episodes is about them watching an episode of the show. Super fun. Again, really clear niche on something that has been quite covered. There's a podcast called the Baker Street babes, which features women talking about Sherlock Holmes fandom With a feminist slant. Another great example. There's the every outfit on Sex in the City, Instagram, which has been wildly popular over the last few years. And it does exactly what it sounds like. It chronicles each effect featured on the show and has, and this is key, very sort of cheeky commentary on it. And often they talk about sort of crossovers between the show and modern life. Lots of fun, appealing things that have made them very, very popular with Sex and the City fans. And other really weird example which is either something you will love or be like, I have no idea what this is, but you can go check it out and see for yourself, I love the Seinfeld 2 thousand twitter feed, which it's complicated. It imagines Seinfeld in modern scenarios and memes and things like that. You know, like it's, there's a presidential election. He'll be posting it kind of like using Seinfeld lines and means of things like that to comment on current life like that. And it is kind of from the perspective of a particularly obsessed and unhinged Seinfeld fan, which he's kinda putting on a persona. This is where it gets complicated and you can go look at it if you're interested and see what you think for yourself. So now it's time for you to think about how you can distinguish yourself in these ways. Look at your list that you've made so far. See if you can brainstorm a few particular corners of the phantoms that you're considering and really, really make them your own and make a splash and that way you don't have to choose just yet. But we're going to we're going to start to narrow things down as we discuss this summer. And next, we'll have a little break from that and discuss the different platforms you can use to express your fandom and talk about which ones might be right for you. 4. Lesson 4: Forms of Fandom Expression: Next in lesson four of turning your fandom into a writing career, we are going to talk about forms of fandom expression. And we will start to talk about the different kinds. And you'll start to see which ones might be right for you. So first, an overview of all the forums we're going to talk about. There's blogging, writing for publication, social media, podcasts and books. Now we're going to look at a couple of case studies in some of these areas. And we're going to focus on the writing here for the most part as we go forward. But you should know that, of course, you know the podcasts and other things like that can really help you to bolster the writing aspect of your expertise. So the first one is blogs, and we're going to look at a blog called Tough pigs, which I love. This is a blog that was started and run by a group of what they call themselves map it fans who grew up. So it's for adults. But fans, very clear, very important. It has lasted for 19 years now, started pretty early in the Internet phase of our lives and has continued really strong till this day. They have become a trusted source of news and believe me, that is a real thing. And they launched a podcast. So they have really had a very successful run at this. Johannes, who is the co-owner and editor. He actually ended up working at Sesame Workshop as a result of this. So that is a full evolution into a truly professional imbedded fan. Next up we're going to look at writing for publication. And just to be clear before we go on with us, the difference between say, starting your own blog and writing for publication is just that, that you would start your own blog where you're in charge. You get what you want. Maybe you will bring people on to help you out. But you are the one, you know, running that, maintaining it, and making all the decisions. Writing for publication is where you would pitch a story to an editor at an established publication and you would write about the subject of your fandom expertise for those, that publication. So you might be going around to several publications writing about your topic instead of just blogging about it at your own blog. So for this case study, we are going to look at my writing about Britney Spears. And a lot of it came in 2016. I think this is really important for you to know for your own purposes that it's kind of amazing. A lot of this actually came from me over the years before 20-60 and tweeting a lot about how much I love Britney. And a lot of the people who follow me and who I follow on social media are editors at pop culture publications. And when she had a new album out in 2016 called glory, a lot of them actually came to me and asked me to write things for them because they knew I had the professional base of knowledge to actually write for publication. And they knew how much I loved Britney. So it's a great lesson in the ways that social media can really help you to become the go-to expert on something like this. So I it at that time because of all of this, once this album was coming out, I got to write, basically review essay for Billboard. I got to go to her comeback performance at the MTV Video Music Awards that year and read about it. And I wrote a piece for them also about her album called blackout that was turning ten. And I kinda did a retrospective. And that is a huge market. Just as a side note, for you to think about when you have your expertise, you want to look out for those big 5-10, 15-20, et cetera. Year anniversary is because a lot of times publications really liked too, recognize big anniversaries at this point. So I actually wrote for several other publications about her as well, bustle, some others, Mental Floss. But the best stuff that I got to do really was for a billboard. And these are all really good examples of that. If you want to start a social media feed that gets you established as an expert in your fandom. A good one to look at is one called tricky girls. We have another one of these where it's kind of a traditionally male fandom, often thought of that way at least. And we have women kind of coming in and establishing their own lane in that phantom. With this social media feed, they have more than 12 thousand followers on Twitter. They have a blog where they post events that they have an occasional interviews they've gotten with Trek universe personalities. They've even, I've heard of this with a couple of different professional fans that they've even consulted with major organizations on how to reach Star Trek fans. I've heard of others consulting on even things like, you know, a Netflix movie that's coming out that that is about some part of the fandom. The yeah, all of these things you can become an actual consultant about the thing that you're a fan of, which I think is really amazing. Next up, podcasts, This is a great way to establish yourself in a fandom and then use that to go out and write about your fandom as well. Really wonderful case study here is buffering the Vampire Slayer. Great name about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Of course. This has gotten lots and lots of attention. So if you do a particularly good job on something that people really love, people will take notice. It was on best podcasts lists for retirement paste, Esquire, and BBC America, among others. They've interviewed big names from the buffer universe including James masters, charisma Carpenter, and South green. Something that you want to start to look into as you establish your Nietzsche's landing, those big interviews, they even have a great line of merch. I highly recommend checking it out if you're a fan of Buffy and certainly check out the podcast while you're at it. And of course, there are books which, you know, is something that I have done a lot, I know a lot about. To me. It's like you could even build to a book from these others, these other ways of establishing yourself. If you haven't written a book before, especially that can be a good thing to do. So these are just some good examples of books that essentially target fans of specific kinds of work or specific works. So we have a Pretty in Pink by Jonathan Bernstein, which is about the eighties John Hughes movies. You have generation friends by Sol Austerlitz, which is of course for fans. The TV show Friends. As if by Jen Cheney for fans of the movie clueless. And this is one of my favorites because it's such a good niche style topic. It like a Gilmore, which is obviously for fans of Gilmore Girls, but food is a big part of that show. And if you have the expertise to also be able to make a themed cookbook. I've seen this for several different kinds of property, is there's a Mean Girls cookbook as well, for instance. So I think that can be a really fun niche if that is something you have knowledge about, like if you can bring your food knowledge and your fandom together and that's a thing to think about in general as well. Is there something in life that era, you know, expert on that you can then apply to something that is your fan down if you're, you know, psychiatrist and you also love something, is there a psychological analysis to be had? I think there's a lot of possibilities and stuff like that. So quick recap before we move on of the different forms of expression and your options. You want to have a blog that brings something new does is to the discussion. You could write for publication. If you can bring unique angles to what you're writing. Social media accounts with a distinct perspective. Podcasts was something new to offer and books with, of course, a new and interesting perspective. Next, we will be looking at how to choose which of these formats are best for you based on your topic, as well as your own strings. 5. Lesson 5: Choosing Your Line of Attack: Welcome to lesson five of turning your fandom into a writing career. In this lesson, we're going to talk about how to choose your line of attack. In this, we're going to pick one to three of the different forms of expression that we just talked about to focus on. And we're going to emphasize writing in this class, of course, that is what we're here for. So you'll want to choose at least one of the writing forms. And I would say, you know, either choose blogging or writing for publication to start. It could be both too, but they're very similar. As we talked about, the differences that, you know, the blogging is totally up to you. And you'd get a blogging platform. Start a blog, right your heart out. And the other will involve either, you know, making contact with editors and getting assignments from them or pitching them stories. And these can work perfectly well in tandem. You can definitely choose both. Books are kinda something you work up to, especially if you don't have any experience with writing books before. But if you establish yourself with one of the other forums, it can be great if you decide you want to write a proposal and eventually a book, it'll be great to have that sort of what they've helped platform to work from. You might also choose social media Andorra podcast to further build that platform and supplement your writing practice. So some things to consider when you are choosing one. Really it just all comes down to your personality and your strengths and weaknesses. So you want to launch blog if you work on your own and you're disciplined, you'll wanna write for publication if you have some writing experience in particular, and you don't mind pitching stories to editors. Start a social media account if you already have an active social presence and you know, you know, you're good at it. You have a really good feel for the social platform that you are planning to work on. And you can create a podcast if you are a good talker, interviewer. So think about all of that. We've got lots of questions to ask ourselves and lots of big list to work from. And in fact, we are going to talk in the next lesson about mixing it up and stand culture. But we're also going to finally get to the point where we're going to start to narrow things down and choose both the fandom that you're gonna focus on for now and the ways that you're going to talk about that the platforms you're gonna use. 6. Lesson 6: Mixing It Up in Stan Culture: Welcome to lesson six of turning your fandom into a writing career. In this lesson, we are gonna talk about mixing it up and stand culture and also start to make some real decisions about what you're going to focus on and how you're going to do that. Phantoms are obviously fun. That's the whole reason we're here. You are a fan of the thing that you want to focus on. You are going to be there to learn even more about it. And you're going to share that with other fans. And the good news about this is that it makes the whole process really organic. You won't seem like an interlope or who doesn't know what they're talking about. That's the whole point. You want to give yourself some quality time now to engage with the fandom in a way that maybe you haven't been doing before. You've probably just been interacting as an actual fan, but you're starting to really do some market research now. So read blogs, set a Google alert for your topic so you can see everything being set out there about it. Follow social media accounts in the fandom, listen to all the podcasts, read books, do all your homework. It's really fun. I am, this is not the worst homework tough to do, right? And while you're doing that, pay attention on a kind of more intense level to what the fandom is really like. What are the shared values and norms of the fandom? Is it super inclusive and friendly? Is it a little combative? Hopefully in a playful way? We've seen that, you know, this can happen and Phantoms, they get a little intense. We've, they've been known to wreak havoc in the wider world at times. So pay attention to that. Are there unexplored niches that you could fill or questions that keep coming up among fans that you could be the one to answer. Basically, you know, you want to look, as we've said many times already, at what unique contribution you can bring to the scene. So it's really, really time now. It is time for you to choose your adventure. So decide, based on everything we've talked about so far, which of your phantoms you are going to officially concentrate on for now. And think about and decide what your unique angle will be. Just as a review as you're thinking about this and the final moments. Examples that we've talked about before include tailor Slow style, the Baker Street babes, the Bradshaw Goya's, every outfit on Sex and the City. Seinfeld, 2 thousand tough pegs and eat like a Gilmore. So how are you going to be like those? And finally, it is time to choose what your primary platforms will be. As we discussed, maybe choose one to three for now. We know you're interested in writing. So think about whether you want to blog or write for publication or both. And think about and decide, will you also launch a social media account or a podcast to further support these efforts. So this is it, this is where are the excitement really starts to happen. And next up, we will be talking about how to take your game up to the next level, from regular rank-and-file fan to professional fan. 7. Lesson 7: Becoming a Professional Fan: Welcome to lesson seven of turning your fandom into a writing career. In this lesson, we are going to learn to become a professional fan. Not just a fan, not just any old fan, but a professional one. And this is super important because I think this is really where you distinguish yourself. And it's important to do so because otherwise it's just like you could be any old fan with social media account and talking about the things that you love. You really need to act like a professional. Once you have made the decision to stake your claim and this fandom and become a leader and not just a rank and file fan. As we've discussed, the great news is you are already a member of this community, so you know how it works. You have the same or better level of knowledge. And other fans don't tell them that, or at least don't say it that way. But other fans are really going to appreciate and trust you because they're going to feel that you are one of them. This is really, really important when it comes to Fanon's phantoms are about belonging and feeling like a part of something and feeling like you're above your people. So first and foremost, the fact that you are already among your people, they're going to know it. They're gonna know you're there for, as they say on the Bachelor and bachelorette, the right reasons. And that's great. But it is, as I said, important for you to distinguish yourself eventually as a professional who actually stands out from other fans. You have to be a leader. You have to be the one they look to for analysis or news or reaction or whatever it is that you are offering. You want to have that feeling that like something happens and they go, I want to hear from so, and so about this new Taylor Swift album or whatever. And they come to you first because they're so excited to hear what you have to say among all of the fans. That is how you become the one editors seek out to write a piece. How you become the right person to write a book on your topic eventually as well. So how do you do this? One way is the thing we keep hammering away at, which is that you provide unique analysis that fans can't get anywhere else. You have a unique point of view. You have that one lane of the fandom that you own and that people come to you for some ways you can do this. You can score some great interviews, as we briefly mentioned before, might not be with the actual star. You know, that can be a big ask. Famous people are, you know, have people around them to kind of screen these requests and decide which ones come through. A good way to think about this is maybe start on kind of the more outskirts of up production, for instance, a television production or a movie. You start with the stylist. Who worked on the costumes for it. You interview a writer on the show that you're specializing in. You talk to a set designer. There's tons and tons of people who work together to make the magic that we love so much and they're so fun to talk to you. Let me tell you. I really believe that I've had some of my best interviews with not necessarily the star is, but even the fans or, you know, the extras for the secondary character actor is, or set designers, all of those sorts of things. They're so much fun to talk to you because they haven't done 3 million interviews like the famous people. So you can start on those outskirts AND actually work your way toward the big name stars and directors. These people did work with those big-name stars and directors. They, you've gotten one degree closer to them and maybe you can work it so that eventually someone recommends you to the person, the big star, or even just the fact that the star sees that you have done all of this work. You've talked to all of these other people they love. They may be more apt to talk to you eventually or you'll just have such a big following by that point, that'll make sense for them to make the time to talk to you. Hone your interviewing skills as you do this. You know, It's not as easy as it looks sometimes. And, you know, do what you can do some research to see how other people interview. There's lot of deal practice, practice, practice. That's the best way to do it. And you will get better as it goes. You may have some awkward moments. Don't sweat. It happens to the best of us. But really pay attention to kinda getting better at these things as you go along. And that's what will make you a super professional eventually. And do keep your interactions with these people super professional. I personally like to maybe not do a lot of fan girl laying around. I'm like can do a little bit. You can certainly flatter them if it feels right, you can take a selfie, that kind of thing. But I like to make it more over a professional interaction than say, a fan interaction. So, you know, try to keep your cool as much as you can while still professing your enthusiasm. Of course. This is also where you want to just think about doing what you do best. If you're great at making memes. And you have a social media account as one of your lanes for what you're, how you're expressing your fandom. Those mediums do the thing, you know, this is where it actually becomes a professional skill. Are you good at making videos? Do that? Are you good at making sung mashups? Do that. This is the time to use all of those fun, quirky skills that you might have to really shine among the phantom. And you need to treat it. Most importantly, like a real job because it is, might be a side hustle right now. But presumably, it is your goal to make this as big as you can to work toward that book or just that, you know, Empire within the little fandom that you've chosen, whatever it is, treat it like a job. Track, the big conventions, gatherings, whatever events for your fandom, attend them, network with other fans, professional and otherwise. And really just make a name for yourself among the fandom and start to stand out among the phantom. And with that, we are finally ready to dive in to our project and our final lesson. 8. Lesson 8: Writing Your First Piece: Welcome to the eighth and final lesson of turning your fandom into a writing career. This is where we are going to get you to actually write your first piece. Here are the guidelines we are going to follow. Think of this as a blog post, even if you, you know, really would rather focus on writing for publication, for instance. For now, just think of it as blog post and you can do with it what you want later. Let's write a 500 to 750 word piece about your topic. Keep your unique angle on your topic in mind. If you're planning to folks on fashion, for instance, that should be what drives this piece. This is your first chance to stake your claim in this phantom. Other than that, please let your creativity flow. The more unique, the better we know this. We've hit this over and over again throughout the class. This is the time to be as unique as you can. Here are some examples that you can look at in forming your own PS. Both the idea itself and actually even, you know, kinda formulating the actual P is and structuring it. And I will be including these in the class resources. So I'll have the actual links that you can link out to you. But you can see even just from the headlines here, what makes some of these so grade and some ways that you can approach things. Here are some examples that you can follow when you were conceiving and reading your piece. Both in terms of their unique angles on their topics, as well as the ways that they are actually structured. And I will include these pieces with the links that you can click on to them in the class resources so that you can really go and visit them and see them easily. But you can see even just from the headlines here, how unique they are and why they might be great. So we have all of my red roses wigs on ships Creek ranked. Think that's important. And it's not just all the wigs, but they are ranked on vulture. We have a Muppet Show Retrospective, episode review from tough pigs. Not super sexy headline, but really fun piece. Britney Spears is blackout turns ten. I talked about this in the section about me writing about Britney Spears, how her worst year gave us her best album for billboard. That is by me. You can check that out. And a delightful report on the left coast Sherlock Ian symposium from Baker Street babes. I like that too because it's a good example of you could just go to an event and write up a really colorful report on it. And that can be a great contribution in and of itself. You are ready. So it is time for you to write what you love. Remember, fandom really is a form of expertise. You just need to take the right steps to be recognized as an authority among fans. And that is what we are here to do and learn about. Your passion will fuel your work. Important to keep in mind that you may and can change tactics over time depending on what's gaining traction or what's interesting you. It's totally okay. This is supposed to be fun and gratifying your feeling your way towards something here. That's what you should do. You should follow your views no matter what. Stay focused on your unique contributions and professionalism, this will distinguish you. And now it is time for you to go forth. Your fellow fans are waiting for you to make a contribution and you can do this. Thank you so much for taking this class with me. It's been really, really fun. If you'd like. You can visit me online at Jennifer K. Armstrong.com.