For years, readers created fan fiction without anyone paying much attention. Fans loved it. Rights’ holders either took a live-and-let-live stance, or were outraged.
That changed a couple of years ago. Once fan fiction started making BIG money — when EL James’ Twilight-inspired fan fiction developed in to Fifty Shades of Grey, publishers looked at fan fiction again.
Now Amazon, which is of course a publisher too, has created a new imprint, Announcing Kindle Worlds:
“Get ready for Kindle Worlds, a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games. With Kindle Worlds, you can write new stories based on featured Worlds, engage an audience of readers, and earn royalties. Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment for Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries, with licenses for more Worlds on the way.”
If you’re interested in contributing to Kindle Worlds, read Amazon’s Author page for the new program carefully. You need to be aware of what you can, and can’t do.
Big as this announcement is, it’s huge when you look at publishing in general. From a dubious practice that publishing hated or ignored, fan fiction has become legitimate. And that will change publishing,
Fan fiction goes legit
As Nate Hoffelder points out in this article, fan fiction has gone legit, and that’s the bigger story:
Kindle Worlds is probably going to make Amazon a lot of money in the long run. But more importantly, it’s also going to legitimize a new segment of publishing that has been quietly ignored for decades. And that is the larger story today.
Amazon has just expanded the publishing industry beyond legacy publishers, self-published authors, and indie publishing. Now fanfic authors can go legit, and that is going to have an interesting effect on the rest of publishing.
The question isn’t whether Kindle Worlds will make money or not; it’s HOW MUCH money. Will that inspire rights’ holders, and authors, to license their characters and worlds for a cut of the profits?
Amazon has started a new publishing industry all on its own… 🙂