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Amazon Branching Into Fanfic

Ah, fan fiction. Birthplace of 50 Shades of Grey, and home to an infinity of Harry/Snape slash-fiction bongo-opuses. And now, it would appear, a monetisable literary genre.

Amazon have today announced a ground-breaking deal and the launch of Kindle Worlds - to quote the release, "Kindle Worlds [is] 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. Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment division for its New York Times best-selling book series Gossip Girl, by Cecily von Ziegesar; Pretty Little Liars, by Sara Shepard; and Vampire Diaries, by L.J. Smith; and plans to announce more licenses soon. Through these licenses, Kindle Worlds will allow any writer to publish authorized stories inspired by these popular Worlds and make them available for readers to purchase in the Kindle Store."

The revenue model for authors is ok-ish, but what will be interesting is the extent to which the license-holders will police the content. I'm not sure how happy the people at Warner Bros will be when some of the characters from their more family friendly franchises start turning up in situations that are rather more R-rated than they're used to. Expect there to be at least one massive breakout hit from this, though, and quite probably a film or TV spinoff. The rights holders stand to gain considerably from this officially sanctioned creative output - there's not too much detail about how rights would work in the event of any film / TV adaptations of works...

EDIT: This post has a lot more detail - there's a 'no porn' clause, apparently, which is unsurprising. Also, the media owners will, it appears, keep the rights to reuse elements: “We will also give the World Licensor a license to use your new elements and incorporate them into other works without further compensation to you.”

If you're interested, you can check out the Kindle Worlds here - it's not yet live, and it's US-only for the foreseeable future, but that situation's unlikely to persist...


Posted by in Literature, Media