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  • Writer's pictureOlivia Kate

8 Famous Books That Started Out As Fanfiction

Before these books hit the best sellers list, they were just another piece of fanfiction.

The Mortal Instruments

Cassandra Clare's New York Times bestselling series The Mortal Instruments is extremely popular in its own right, but it was inspired by another hit teen book series: Harry Potter. Clare wrote a popular fanfiction called "The Draco Trilogy", which many think held a lot of the basis for the first Mortal Instruments book, City of Bones. The Mortal Instruments was made into a movie in 2006. Its spinoff series, Shadow Hunters, became a television show on Freeform.


50 Shades of Grey

The now popular 50 Shades series was originally written as a (seriously lemon-heavy) Twilight fanfiction. It was originally titled "Master of the Universe" and published under E.L. James's screen name, Snowqueens Icedragon.

James referred to the trilogy as her "midlife crisis.""All my fantasies in there, and that's it," she said.

The 50 Shades trilogy became the best selling book of the decade and the movie adaptations were a smash hit. In 2012, Time named James as one of "The World's 100 Most Influential People." In 2013, Forbes named James the highest paid author in the the world.


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

This mash-up Seth Grahame-Smith novel is a straight-up published fanfiction book. Based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (which is in the public domain), the remixed version features a lot of the original with undead twists courtesty of Seth Grahame-Smith. The book has since sold over one-million copies and has been adapted into a graphic novel, phone game, and film.


Point Pleasant

Author Jen Archer Wood originally wrote her eerie thriller Point Pleasant as a Supernatural fanfiction. After reworking some of the details, the book was published as an original novel. The book has received praise for portraying a rare gay romance in the paranormal genre.



Gregory Maguire's Wicked was based on The Wizard of Oz movie and L. Frank Baum's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The book re-tells Dorothy's story in the perspective of the "wicked witch" herself, who unsurprisingly has a very different version of things.

The book was a New York Times best seller and has since been adapted into an award-winning Broadway musical.


Gabriel's Inferno

This New York Times bestselling series is yet another example of a Twilight fanfiction that Is having a lot of success on its ownI. Sylvain Reynard's steamy romance was originally titled "The University of Edward Masen" and featured Edward and Bella in the story's central teacher-student relationship.

Gabriel's Inferno was recently made into a film for Passionflix streaming service, which is like Netflix for the romance novel crowd.



What kind of list of popular fanfiction wouldn't include Anna Todd's After. Todd wrote her hit series on Wattpad under the username imaginator1d.

The story was an alternate-universe fic with Harry Styles as the brooding love interest. After a few key name changes to replace the names of real people, After was picked up for publishing. Todd licensed the series to Paramount Pictures. The first movie was a commercial success and another is in the making.


Beautiful Bastard

Based on a Twilight fanfiction titled "The Office", Beautiful Bastard was picked up for publication after it got a boost in popularity following the success of 50 Shades of Grey.

It was originally written by Christina Hobbs and later rewritten and edited by Hobbs together with Lauren Billings. The two worked on the project under the joint pen name Christina Lauren. The authors have said that they only kept about twenty percent of the original piece.

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Do you know of any we missed? Let us know in the comments!


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