9 Books That Got Their Start As Fanfiction, Blogs, Or Columns

Despite the Twitter feuds and fake news, the internet is actually kind of a paradise for writers and readers alike. Never has their ever been a medium that allowed people to create and share their work with such ease.

As a '90s kid, I grew up right alongside the internet, and it's also been tied into my experience as a book-lover. To me, being a reader means being a citizen of the internet. As a teen, I used to stay up all night reading fanfiction. As a college student, I pored over online literary journals. These days, I follow my favorite authors on Twitter to keep an eye on things they're writing at all time. As a writer, too, the internet can be incredibly liberating. I've grown into a writer during an age in which you can immediately post your work and have people read it and comment on it near instantaneously.

So, let's take a look at some books that had their beginnings on the internet. Some of these books began as popular blogs, columns, fan fiction, or even YouTube channels. Some of these books were self-publishing success stories. So, if you need proof that the internet is a reader's best friend, look no further than these nine books:

'The Martian' by Andy Weir

Andy Weir originally posted his blockbuster story online, chapter by chapter. He was even prone to going back and making changes as readers pointed out mistakes in his science. The story of an astronaut who gets left behind on Mars, and his incredible, slightly crazy, attempts to MacGyver his way back to Earth.

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'Fifty Shades of Grey' by E.L. James

Fifty Shades of Grey began as Twilight fan fiction, which James wrote under the screen-name "Snowqueens Icedragon." on She then went on to post her writing on, before self-publishing an e-book, and then eventually getting a book deal with Random House.

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'Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously' by Julie Powell

This book started out as a blog, and is one of the most famous success stories of a cooking blog getting published. The book chronicles Julie Powell's adventures as she attempted to cook every single recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a single year.

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'The Novice' by Taran Matharu

This epic fantasy adventure series started out as a NaNoWriMo project, and was originally posted on Wattpad, before being picked up for publication by Feiwel and Friends. When Fletcher discovers he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he trades in his job as blacksmith's apprentice to become a student at the Adept Military Academy, where he's trained to be a battle mage.

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'Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History' by Tori Telfer

This fantastic book got its start as an addicting column on Jezebel. Telfer dives into the stories of female serial killers, who have been for the most part overlooked by history in favor of their male counterparts.

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'Hyperbole and a Half' by Allie Brosh

Allie Brosh's Hyperbole and a Half blog spawned hundreds of internet jokes and memes before being published in book form. Characterized by its humor, candor, and MS Paint-style illustrations, Brosh's stories are absolute gems.

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'Let's Pretend This Never Happened' by Jenny Lawson

The delightful Jenny Lawson, a.k.a. The Bloggess, has been blogging about her life for about a decade and her blog is immensely popular. Her well-known wit and charm made their literary debut in her memoirs Let's Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy. Lawson doesn't seem to hold back as she tells you stories from her life, from her marriage to struggles with mental illness.

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'Texts from Jane Eyre' by Mallory Ortberg

From the co-founder of The Toast, this absolutely hilarious book began as a feature on The Hairpin. The book imagines text conversations from literary figures like Scarlett O'Hara, Daisy Buchanan, and (of course) Jane Eyre.

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'The Haunting of Sunshine Girl' by Paige McKenzie and Alyssa B. Sheinmel

This book is based on a hit YouTube series by the same name, created by Nick Hagen and Mercedes Rose. The YouTube version consists of 2-minute videos recorded by "Sunshine Girl" (played by Paige McKenzie, who was 16 when the series began) as she shows you all the mysterious hauntings of her house. Both the YouTube series and the book are super creepy, and highly addicting.

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