Amazon Announces Fan Fiction Publishing Platform Kindle Worlds
If the success of series like Fifty Shades of Grey and The Mortal Instruments tell us anything, it's that fanfiction can take a writer places. In the case of the former, E.L. James' steamy novel is said to have been developed from Twilight fan fiction. And Cassandra Clare, author of The Mortal Instruments series, is known to have dabbled in other writers' worlds before penning her own series. Suffice to say, fan fiction has an audience, and it has a lot of writers. And now it looks like Amazon is looking to corner that market with Kindle Worlds, "the first commercial publishing platform that will enable any writer to create fan fiction based on a range of original stories and characters and earn royalties for doing so."
Wondering how this could possibly work without infringing on trademark and copyright laws? It sounds like the mentioned "Worlds" are limited to certain works of fiction. Amazon publishing has acquired licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group's Alloy Entertainment division for Cecily von Ziegesar's Gossip Girl, Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars and L.J. Smith's Vampire diaries. They plan to announce more licenses soon. And these licenses will allow writers to publishe "authorized stories" inspired by those worlds, and sell them through Amazon's Kindle store.
Amazon Publishing will pay royalties to both the rights holders of the Worlds and the author. The standard author’s royalty rate (for works of at least 10,000 words) will be 35% of net revenue. As with all titles from Amazon Publishing, Kindle Worlds will base net revenue off of sales price—rather than the lower, industry standard of wholesale price—and royalties will be paid monthly.
Writers can visit Amazon.com/KindleWorlds for more information on how to get started.
As an avid reader and someone who dabbles in creative writing, I'll admit, I've never had any interest in reading or writing fan fiction. I guess, in my mind, if it's not "canon" - meaning, from the original author(s) - it doesn't count. Maybe someday I'll be so compelled to read a work of fan fiction - or write it - that I'll find myself eating my words, but even during that excruciatingly long gap between Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix, I couldn't bring myself to take interest in other people's stories from J.K. Rowling's world, no matter how good the writing or the stories were said to be. My opinion on the subject hasn't changed in the years since. So, even if I was a fan of Pretty Little Liars or The Vampire Diaries, I can't say that I'd have much interest in reading other people's stories from those worlds. But the popularity of fan fiction indicates that others disagree.
That said, I think Amazon's self-publishing features are pretty great, and it looks like this is one more way to give writers a chance to reach their audiences and profit off there work. And with licenses acquired, they're doing it legally.