Hi, I’m Hubbard and I’m late to the party.
The big news on blogs and Twitter today is Amazon’s planning to sell fan fiction under a new banner Kindle Worlds. LEGALIZED FAN FICTION! And the author will even get to make some money, a small percentage, 35% of total sales if the story is over 10,000 words, and 30% for works under 10,000 words which would sell for under a dollar. LEGALIZED CORPORATE APPROVED YOU GET PAID FAN FICTION!!
For now, Amazon has purchased licensing rights to ‘Pretty Little Liars‘, ‘Gossip Girl‘, and ‘Vampire Diaries‘ (I still love the briefly used commercial that said catch the VD on the CW on Thursdays. Best marketing strategy ever). So if you’re a fan of any of these shows you can start writing and getting paid to do stories of some of your favourite characters. Even add characters of your own creation to the soon to be expanding mythos. INSANE!
Amazon has found a way so that both the creator, Amazon, and you fan fictianado all get paid. Once again, INSANE. Now this isn’t carte blanche, firstly, no porn, crossovers, or slash type material, no NC-17, keep it clean, you pervs. And it looks like any submitted material to the Kindle World will be read and have to be approved to be published. So you won’t have to worry that you’re getting just any fan story written so poorly as to make you wonder if your reading English.
Does this mean unpaid, pornographic, slasher fan fiction will disappear? No, not even close. It will continue to thrive in whatever form it thrives in now (I’ve never read any, and am not sure how I would go about finding fiction).
Will this venture be a success? I’m sure it will be a huge big boom in self-published books. Thousands of people will jump, sprint, and fly at the chance to write their stories. And as other companies, creators, and properties see how big this is more of them will jump on the band wagon. By the end of this year who knows who else will join in? My Little Pony? Barbie? G.I. Joe? Maybe even your favourite TV show.
I doubt this will cut into established expanded universes, such as, Star Wars, Star Trek, or Dr. Who, but professional writers’ who do most of their work in those areas are probably feeling a little bit of heat if this really, really blows into something super profitable and amazing. It could happen, and then why pay them when thousands of writers will write stories for a pittance of what established authors make.
Now, of course, nothing is perfect. Most people are clamouring over authors’ rights to items, characters, and ideas that they create. You won’t own those characters; they are not yours. Once it’s published by Amazon, Kindle World, per the agreement you agree to, all those new elements and characters have to stay in that expanded universe. Meaning, you and every other author who wants to write a story in ‘Vampire Diaries‘ world can use a character or setting or plot point that you or any other author themselves created. And if you create super sexy and studly Steve for a VD story, you can’t use him in another story for ‘Gossip Girl‘. Not only that, but since they stay in the cannon they were written for, you could see your creation on the TV show, or even the big screen someday, which I think would be cool. But you only get compensation for the story, not for creating the character, so you wouldn’t receive a sales percentage or kick backs any time someone else uses your creation.
Also, you get paid for the ebook you write, but it looks like if Amazon then repackages your story for an anthology, you don’t receive compensation for that. Not sure about if they publish it another language, but the writing and terminology suggest that no you wouldn’t. Don’t quote me on that, just how I read this line
“Amazon Publishing will acquire all rights to your new stories, including global publication rights, for the term of copyright.”
Still, like I said earlier, I think this will become a big thing, and will even eat more into the self-publishing market. Guess I better get a hell of a lot better at merchandising my own wares. Maybe I should start practicing fan fiction to grab new readers.