Admittedly, I read my share of fan fiction. Sometimes a show’s run ends too early, or a video game pulls me in so deeply, that I want to read more about the characters (this happened to me with Mass Effect, for instance).
Amazon announced Kindle Worlds today, the first commercial platform for writers to create fan fiction and earn royalties. Amazon says it has secured licenses for Gossip Girls, Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries.
According to Amazon, it 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 percent of net revenue.
Amazon Publishing will pilot an experimental program for short works—between 5,000 and 10,000 words. For these short stories—typically priced less than one dollar—Amazon will pay the royalties for the World’s rights holder and pay authors a digital royalty of 20 percent, the company wrote in a release.
There is no porn allowed in the new Kindle Worlds, which means a book like Fifty Shades of Grey will not get created.
However, you have to wonder what rights holders of these books will think of some of the storylines for the characters. What if the rights holders don’t like the turn of the story? Can they pull it? Amazon does state that not every story will get approved, but that it will try to get most posted.
Kindle Worlds will start with 50 pieces of work when it launches this June.
One of the things I love about fan fiction is that it’s not commercial. Truly, these people enjoy a story so much that they’ve actually felt compelled to write about it. Another little known secret about me: I’ve been down that road before, too. I have enjoyed a television show so much, but wanted a different storyline, so I created one.
Writers who publish through Kindle Worlds should note that this is not a self-publishing situation. It’s being published through Amazon, and the company retains all the rights to work.
Personally, I wouldn’t get involved with something like this. It seems like a cheap way for a company to get ideas, and ultimately, it misses the essence of fan fiction. Of course, there are people who want to get paid for the popular fan fiction stories they have created … but at what cost?