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Author Guidelines


Theory: These often interdisciplinary essays with a conceptual focus and a theoretical frame offer expansive interventions in the field of fan studies. Theory essays undergo blind peer review. (6,000–8,000 words, plus a 100–250-word abstract) [contact]

Praxis: These essays analyze the particular, in contrast to Theory's broader vantage. They may apply a specific theory to a formation or artifact; explicate fan practice; perform a detailed reading of a specific text; or otherwise relate transformative phenomena to social, literary, technological, and/or historical frameworks. Praxis essays undergo blind peer review. (5,000–7,000 words, plus a 100–250-word abstract) [contact]

Symposium: Parallel to academia's tradition of compact essays, often published as letters, fandom has its own vibrant history of criticism, some of which has been collected at the Symposium archive. In the spirit of this history, TWC's Symposium is a section of concise, thematically contained essays. These short pieces provide insight into current developments and debates surrounding any topic related to fandom or transformative media and cultures. Symposium submissions undergo editorial review. (1,500–2,500 words) [contact]

Review: Reviews offer critical summaries of items of interest in the fields of fan and media studies, including books, new journals, and web sites. Reviews incorporate a description of the item's content, an assessment of its likely audience, and an evaluation of its importance in a larger context. Review submissions undergo editorial review. (1,500–2,500 words) [contact]

Although authors specify during submission whether their essay best fits Theory or Praxis, the Editor may change it in consultation with the readers and the author to best fit the submission. If submitting for a special issue, please note this in a comment to the Editor, as cued by the software.

Guest-edited sections or issues

TWC welcomes inquiries for guest-edited special-topics issues. Proposals should include a timeline; suggested issue numbers and dates that would work with the guest editor's schedule; a prospectus for the topic, including a description of why the topic will contribute to scholarship in the suggested field; and brief biographies of the guest editor or editors.

It's possible to guest-edit an entire issue or guest-edit a smaller section, comprising perhaps four or five essays. If an entire issue is desired, we would like all sections of TWC, including reviews and symposium, to be on the topic.

Proposed topics must be broad enough to permit wide interpretation of the notion of transformation.

The guest editors will perform the following duties:
  • Write and widely disperse a call for papers.
  • Recruit peer reviewers who are specialists in the topic.
  • Act as a peer reviewer for the essays.
  • Actively solicit essays, including, if relevant, essays for the symposium section.
  • Write an editorial that contextualizes the topic and links the essays to a larger theme.
  • If desired, submit an essay.
  • If relevant, suggest recent book titles on the topic to the review editorial team.

The TWC editorial team will perform the following tasks:
  • Create and enforce a firm timeline for receipt of essays.
  • Post the call for papers on its Web site.
  • Assign each essay received to peer review, including the essay written by the guest editor.
  • Arbitrate the manuscript's final disposition (accept or decline) by mediating the peer reviewers' remarks, and correspond directly with the author, in consultation with the guest editors, with revision requirements and final disposition.
  • Ensure the integrity of the blinded peer review process.
  • Provide editorial review for symposium, book review, and other non-peer-reviewed content.
  • Shepherd all accepted essays through production (copyediting, layout, proofreading).

Book reviews

TWC reviews books and other texts of interest to the general fan studies audience and will only print reviews within 3 years of the text’s copyright date. Publishers and potential review writers should contact the Review Editor for more information. TWC does not consider unsolicited reviews.

Reviews should be no more than 2,500 words long. For longer reviews, or for reviews of more than one text, please contact the Review Editor. Book reviews should include a critical engagement with the ideas explored in the book rather than just summarizing its contents, and they should also include a recommendation for the target audience. Provide parenthetical page references for direct quotations only, and include a works cited list if necessary. It is not necessary to list every section and chapter title.

Most reviews are in the following format, with a paragraph for each section (reviews may deviate from these guidelines): (1) a summary of what the text purports to do, the title of the most recent other work by the author/editor, and any other relevant contextualizing information; (2) a physical description, including the existence of images, index, tables, parts, and number of chapters—if multiauthored, a few names will be mentioned here; (3) several paragraphs comprising a chronological or thematic analysis of the contents, with specific points pulled out to relate to the book’s overall thesis, focusing on the book’s strengths; (4) a paragraph or two on the reviewer’s critical analysis of the text’s place in its field and how well the book succeeds in its goal, along with a brief analysis of the place the text holds in the larger corpus of its field; and (5) an assessment of the book’s overall usefulness and its target audience.

Preparation of text

Because TWC is an online-only publication, to ease citation of articles in other forums, TWC requires that all heads be numbered (1. Introduction) and that all paragraphs be numbered in brackets according to head: [1.1]. Only use one level of head. Display extracts should be numbered in sequence as if they were regular text. The works cited head is numbered, but its individual entries are not.

Text should be ordered as follows: title, abstract, suggested keywords, text broken up by first-level heads, acknowledgments, notes, and works cited. The author name is omitted from the manuscript for peer review for Theory and Praxis submissions. The author name is not omitted from the manuscript for editorial review of Symposium and book review submissions. Supplemental files may be submitted at the same time as the manuscript file. Please upload images as supplemental files. Do not embed them the paper.

For multiauthored contributions, a single author should be designated as the corresponding author, who will traffic the submission through the submission and publication processes.

TWC encourages authors to consider using images and embedded media in their papers.

TWC will not hide hotlinks under words; nor will TWC publish shortened URLs generated by services such as or Tiny URL. A hotlinked URL will always appear in full.

Text file format

TWC prefers files to be submitted in DOC or DOCX format. Please delete identifying metadata from the file's Properties before submission. (For further details, see Ensuring a Blind Peer Review.) Files are uploaded through TWC's software interface. Authors must create a user ID and sign up as Author, log in, choose "Author" at User Home, and then submit the paper.

Supplementary file format

In addition to the file containing the text itself, authors may upload supplemental files, such JPG files, as guided by the software during submission. Images should not be embedded in the paper. If they are, the file may be too large to upload.

Please refer to images sequentially in text according to their number: figure 1, figure 2, figure 3; video 1, video 2. Figure files (JPG images) should be numbered, e.g., figure-1.jpg to expedite matching the image with the in-text callout.

Please provide a figure caption for each figure or video describing the image, placing the caption where you would like the image to appear. In addition to the caption that appears under the image that credits and contextualizes it, for accessibility reasons, we require separate text that describes the image itself, to be placed within the image's coding. Any text that appears in an image ought to be transcribed. TWC production personnel will generate this text if it is not provided; authors are responsible for its correctness, which can be assessed during the final phase of production.

TWC may reformat or resize images to expedite production.

Video format

TWC does not currently host video but hopes to soon. If contributors wish to submit video clips, please contact the Editor for instructions.

Articles can embed video code, as for YouTube. The embedding will be added during production, so for submission, authors should simply provide the video's URL and a caption for the video where the display item ought to be placed. If relevant, ensure that the URL conceals the identity of the author so as to retain blind peer review.

If no embed code is provided by YouTube, then permission has been withheld for such embedding by the creator. In these cases, TWC will print only a hotlink.

TWC recommends that authors download a copy of the YouTube video for their records using a tool such as YouTube Downloader.


Authors, not TWC, are responsible for obtaining and paying for permissions.

TWC, like its parent organization, the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW), is committed to the free expression of ideas, particularly in the context of scholarly activity about derivative fan artworks. Therefore, we do not require the consent, explicit or implicit, of the original author of a transformative work under discussion, such as a piece of fan fiction or a vid. All citation URLs to such texts need only be open to the public.

TWC permits screenshots of media sources, such as television programs or films, and clips to be printed under our rationale of fair use.

Protection of fan sources

TWC strongly recommends that permission be obtained from the creator for any fan work or blog post cited in a submitted article.

When citing fan blog sites such as LiveJournal or Dreamwidth, only unlocked posts may be used. TWC prefers that the direct URL to a page not be provided. Instead, submissions should use the following format: blog source (LiveJournal, Dreamwidth), user or community name, and date of post. This provides correct sourcing information while permitting fans a modicum of privacy. Direct URLs to these sources may be provided if explicit permission has been obtained.

Informed consent

TWC follows the tenets of online research laid out in the Association of Internet Research's Guide on Ethical Online Research.

Any paper that uses informants must provide an explanation of methodology, including receipt of institutional review board approval (if relevant), the form that informed consent took for the project, and the mode of interaction (face to face or online). Authors must be particularly wary of including informants who are minors because of the inherent problems in obtaining consent from guardians, particularly in online contexts. TWC will not consider papers that use informants but that do not explain the methodology.


Submissions to TWC should be formatted according to the most recent edition of the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) using author-year style. Style for TWC issues 1–5 was based on CMOS, 15th edition. Style for TWC issues 6 and on are based on CMOS, 16th edition; refer to chapter 15, "Documentation II: Author-Date References."

In-text parenthetical literature citations should provide author name, year, and, if relevant, a page number: (Jenkins 2006, 3–7; Gunnels and Cole 2010). If URLs are provided, the date of the original post should be given; the date accessed is not necessary.

Although endnotes may be used, they should be kept to a minimum. Acknowledgments, which must list the names of specific people in order to be included, should appear before the endnotes.

The dictionary used is the most recent edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. Authors may consult Merriam-Webster Online. Compound words not in the dictionary appear as two words. Where CMOS and Webster's differ, Webster's will take precedence. TWC imposes American spelling to ensure conformity across documents.

Please note the styling, following Webster's, of the following common terms: Comic-Con, Doctor Who, Dreamwidth, e-mail, fan fic,, fan fiction, fan sub, fan vid, game play, Internet, LiveJournal, MediaWest*Con, Middle-earth, off-line, online, role-play, screen cap, screen capture, screenshot, story line, video game, voice-over, Webmaster, Web site, YouTube.

Preparation of works cited section

The works cited section should include only works cited. Reference to URLs, dailies, newspapers, and ephemera may appear in text, without being included in works cited. Titles of texts mentioned in passing also may be omitted from the works cited.

TWC prints DOIs instead of URLs for sources that have them. TWC will research and insert these; authors do not need to worry about them.

Examples of bibliographic format are as follows.

Book (CMOS 15.9)

Braudy, Leo. 1997. The Frenzy of Renown: Fame and Its History. New York: Vintage.

Hellekson, Karen, and Kristina Busse, eds. 2006. Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Jenkins, Henry. 1992. Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture. New York: Routledge.

Article/chapter in book (CMOS 14.111)

Ehrenreich, Barbara, Elizabeth Hess, and Gloria Jacobs. 1992. "Beatlemania: Girls Just Want to Have Fun." In The Adoring Audience, edited by Lisa A. Lewis, 84–106. London: Routledge.

Article in journal (CMOS 15.9, p. 791)

Bryant, Rebecca. 2009. "Dungeons & Dragons: The Gamers Are Revolting!" Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 2.

Coppa, Francesca. 2009. "A Fannish Taxonomy of Hotness." Cinema Journal 48 (4): 107–13.

Malamuth, Neil M., and James V. P. Check. 1981. "The Effects of Mass Media Exposure on Acceptance of Violence against Women." Journal of Research in Personality 15:436–46.

Dailies and ephemera (need not appear in works cited; CMOS 15.47)

Ebert, Roger. 2010. "A Risky Romantic Triangle." San Antonio Express-News, July 2.

Fernandez, Maria Elena, and Denise Martin. 2009. "Exclusive: Ryan Murphy Calls Tonight's Episode of Glee a 'Game Changer.'" Los Angeles Times, November 11.

Williams, Thomas. 2009. "One-Man Army to Boost Games Workshop." Financial Times, July 29.

Theses and dissertations (CMOS 14.224)

Cochran, Tanya. 2009. "Toward a Rhetoric of Scholar-Fandom." PhD diss., Georgia State University.

Paper presentation (CMOS 14.226)

Wilson, Anna. 2009. "The Blessed Mary (Sue): Medieval Fanfiction and the Time Travelling Fan." Paper presented at the 30th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, Orlando, FL, March 18–22.

Fan artworks (directly hotlinked only with permission)

obsession_inc. 2010a. Concession. Fan fiction. Archive of Our Own, May 11.

LiveJournal and Dreamwidth posts (need not appear in works cited)

obsession_inc. 2009. "Affirmational Fandom vs. Transformational Fandom.", June 1.


All submissions, including interviews, will be copyedited to bring the document into conformance with TWC's style.


Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.

  1. The submission has not been previously published in English, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor).
  2. The submission file is in DOC or DOCX format. If submitting to a peer-reviewed section of the journal, the instructions in Ensuring a Blind Peer Review should be followed.
  3. The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines.
  4. Images, such as JPG files, are not embedded directly in the paper but are uploaded separately under the Supplementary Files option.
  5. All documents, including solicited essays, symposia, and interviews, will be copyedited to bring the document into accordance with grammar and style rules.

Copyright Notice

Creative Commons License

Content in TWC is licensed under
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

TWC, not the author, retains copyright. Anyone seeking to reproduce content for profit, including authors, must obtain permission from TWC. Such permission is routinely granted for free. Submit queries to the Editor.

TWC retains copyright for three reasons: (1) because this is standard in the academic journal industry and it streamlines permissions because there is a single point of contact; (2) because we are committed to open access, and our policy ensures that authors cannot abrogate this; and (3) because it permits us the ability to grant reprint requests if the author becomes unreachable.

We are a Gold Open Access journal, allowing postprint archiving according to the standards established by the Bethesda Meeting on Open Access Publishing.

We believe images, including images altered by an artist to create a derivative artwork, and song lyrics may appear in TWC under fair use under US copyright law. Such images and lyrics are fair use because:
  1. They are lower in resolution and quality than the original.
  2. They do not limit the copyright owners’ distribution rights.
  3. They are being used in the context of academic analysis in a manner that contributes meaningfully to our culture.
  4. They represent only a tiny fraction of the whole artwork.
  5. They are hosted by the OTW’s servers, and the OTW is a nonprofit organization.


Privacy Statement

The names and e-mail addresses entered in TWC's Web site will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of this journal and will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party.