Ylva’s having an ultimate Fanfiction-to-Book Sale, and ex-fanfiction writer LEE WINTER explains the allure of everyday writers fixing what’s broken in straight-centric TV and films. 

Okay, picture it: your two TV crushes—hot actresses with so much swagger and sapphic sizzle it should be illegal—are gazing into each other’s eyes. They’re explaining just how much their friendship means. How deep it is. How fulfilling. Soulmates, even…

Sapphic viewers spill their popcorn. Lesbian, pan, and bi besties are all madly screen-capping every time Smirky Actress One looks at Sultry Actress Two’s lips, and they’re uploading said screencaps to social media with hilarious captions.

Wait, was there a breath hitch? Roll back two frames. Oh, yep. Breath. Hitch. Could it get any better? Here’s hoping…


Annnnd next week, one of the women has just met a blandly random man and announced that he’s The One. No chemistry? No problem! The main thing is no homo for the show’s stars! (Side characters, if they must, may come out.)

But mains? No! Batwoman is the exception, not the rule! Phew. Bullet dodged, say the network execs, still congratulating themselves over the previous week’s rating spike.

And that, my friends, is how a thousand fanfictions are born. It’s why ʼships sail and form online armadas of fans who feel queer-baited or unfulfilled by TV and film’s massively hetero universe.


Okay, just as a crazy thought, why is it so preposterous that Once Upon a Time’s Emma Swan—bounty hunter, birth mother of Henry, and official savior—might be an exciting love interest for Regina Mills—town mayor, adoptive mother of Henry, and unofficial Evil Queen? If the leads were a man and a woman, for sure the writers would have gone there. The yin and yang of their backgrounds alone is *chef’s kiss*.

And is it so absurd that Andrea Sachs, awestruck assistant in The Devil Wears Prada, might have developed a super-sapphic crush on her iconic boss Miranda Priestly after discovering how incredible the queen is at shaping the world of fashion?

Don’t start us on Supergirl, Rizzoli & Isles, or the Pitch Perfect movies when it comes to potential being tossed away along with phenomenal chemistry between actresses. We’ll be here all year.



As a former fanfiction writer, the appeal for me is all about fixing shows that went places fans didn’t want them to go. Rewriting the endings. And the middles.

The top two fixes are usually: 1) making the world a whole lot less straight—that is, embracing the chemistry already existing between two women—and 2) un-killing the queer characters we loved.

I was there when sapphic fanfiction first took off in a huge, huge way. I watched in shock and horror in 2001 when a beloved TV warrior princess was killed for no good reason on Xena. I saw hundreds of online friends take to the internet and ferociously type up a storm to undo the unthinkable.

The outrage (and fanfiction output) hasn’t abated since. Not when they killed Tara in Buffy or HG in Warehouse 13 or Lexa in The 100. Fans itch to fix, and fanfiction is a fantastic outlet for doing that.

But it’s not just the fix that draws fanfiction readers; that’s simply the key that opens the door. Once you’re inside, you can discover familiar characters and an emotional rollercoaster that catapults you anywhere you want to go. And, being free, fanfiction is something anyone can write or read and love.


It’s little wonder that so many novelists got started as fanfiction writers: these amateur scribes penned fixes and explored emotions that they weren’t getting from their shows.

They attracted online followings, improved their skills, and wrote more and more. This snowballed into writing books and—in a few cases (like mine)—a whole career.

More than a few books in sapphic fiction started out as fanfiction or had a character from a TV show as its inspiration. And it’s these stories that Ylva’s proudly embracing for the next three days.

In celebration of all things fanfiction, Ylva is having a sale. Every book in this sale—all 32 titles—were once either a fanfiction or have a lead character inspired by a TV show.

The inspirations for these on-sale Ylva books come from so many sources. There’s The 100, Warrior Nun, Grey’s Anatomy, Supergirl, Once Upon a Time, The Last of Us, NCIS Hawai’i, Holby City, Xena: Warrior Princess, Rizzoli & Isles, Rookie Blue, Law & Order, Glee, The Closer, and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.


Interestingly, the biggest source of inspiration—sparking no less than six Ylva books—was The Devil Wears Prada(DWP). Okay, sure, most of those are by Roslyn Sinclair, but a fair few of our talented authors have written DWPfanfiction too, even if they haven’t created books from those stories. There’s just something about an office setting with an age gap, an imperious ice queen, and a boss/assistant trope.

But, whatever your taste or fanfiction fandom or favorite fictional world, the bottom line is, we have the book for you!

Check out Ylva’s ultimate Fanfiction-to-Book Sale from April 5-7. 

* Lee Winter is an award-winning veteran newspaper journalist. Now a full-time author and part-time editor, Lee is also a 2015 and 2016 Lambda Literary Award finalist and has won several Golden Crown Literary Awards. She lives in Western Australia with her longtime girlfriend, surrounded by much fluffy wildlife.
Her latest book is Vengeance Planning for Amateurs.

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About the Author : Lee Winter


  1. Chantal April 5, 2024 at 18:58 - Reply

    Those fanfic writers repaired a whole lot of broken hearts and did it with style and finesse.
    Most staying true to the character and their character developments.
    Forever gratefull to these creatives

  2. Charlie Fisher April 6, 2024 at 11:29 - Reply

    I discovered fan fiction in the early 2000’s and it completely changed my life. As you say, wrongs corrected, avenues explored that were previously ignored. My sense of self validated with those words others had penned in the absence of seeing someone like me in the mainstream media who wasn’t ‘punished’ in some way for being gay.

    • Lee Winter April 6, 2024 at 12:57 - Reply

      I don’t miss those days, Charlie, of the punishing the lesbians. It was a depressing time. It’s a lot better now – thank goodness. But there’ll always be a need, I think.

  3. Kadyan April 6, 2024 at 16:53 - Reply

    For me, it was Startrek Voyager and the couple Janeway/ Seven. I read fanfic about them and wrote some myself.

  4. P. Rhapsody O'Brien (probrien) April 6, 2024 at 23:34 - Reply

    Like some others, I also discovered fanfic back in the Xena days. Della Street, B.L. Miller, Patricia L. Ennis (may she rest in peace), Vera Foster, Vada Foster, Missy Good, just to name a few. I even penned a few, but never had the courage to post them. It wasn’t until years later (and in a different fandom) that I posted my first story on AO3.

    Not only is fanfic a great place to “right the wrongs/un-kill,” (I’m STILL livid about that final episode) it’s also a supportive place for people to: 1) dip their toe into writing 2) stretch rusty writing wings 3) practice the craft 4) hone skills. No matter what the fandom, readers are always rabid for new content.

    My current WIP actually started out as an uber fanfic. Even though it’s set on a horse ranch in the old west, Janeway/Seven shippers will definitely recognize the framework for my main characters. I consider it to be a private little wink between myself and fans. 🙂
    Every. single. person. who has left a comment on my work has been instrumental in building my confidence to where I feel like people will actually be interested in reading my debut novel. Every. single. comment motivates me to keep going.

    As of today, I am about to graduate from GCLS Writing Academy and am still working hard to finish my WIP. In addition, I’m working on another novel length Janeway/Seven story. And it’s all because readers took the time to let me know I’m doing something that touches them. There aren’t words enough to express my gratitude.

    The authentic fanfic community is truly magical.

    • Lee Winter April 7, 2024 at 10:49 - Reply

      What a wonderful evolution! Good luck with your WIP!

  5. Jess Robson April 8, 2024 at 11:16 - Reply

    I adore reading fanfic especially those couples who ooze chemistry – Devil Wears Prada ( Mirandy) and those that even the actors themselves play into the fandom ie Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Madam Spellman That ship that never sailed was a huge loss so god bless fanfic ♥️

  6. Ellie May 9, 2024 at 01:11 - Reply

    The link is broken since the sale is over, is it possible to see which books fell under that category?

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