One of the reasons that big franchises like Star Wars are still so popular today, is because of their fans and more specifically, the content that those fans create. You have fan films, fan art, fan costumes and of course, fan fiction. Delving into the world of the latter can leave you bewildered at the varying quality (not often great) and the fact that it’s sometimes out-of-the-blue sexualised (regardless of genre) but it helps continue the love of a specific bit of fiction and that’s great. Now though, Amazon is looking on how to monetise this mass of fan created content, by teaming up with several companies to sell fan-fiction to consumers, while giving the original creators a taste of the action.
It’s called Kindle Worlds and it could open up a whole new audience for authors and help promote franchises by highlighting the best of the expanded fiction that fans have to offer.
However don’t go expecting your Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, My Little Pony crossover graphic novel to make millions just yet, as so far Amazon has only teamed up with Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment. This gives them permission to sell fan fiction surrounding the shows: Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and the Vampire Diaries.
Royalty rates have already been sorted out, with works over 10,000 words netting you 35 per cent of total sales. However, if you’re doing a short story – between 5,000 and 10,000 words – expect only a 20 per cent cut. You’ll also be giving all rights to your work to Amazon, so should that story be optioned by a publisher in the future, or if the original creators of the TV show/movie decide they want to use your characters or work, it’s unlikely you’d have any claim to further payment. There also won’t be any print options for your work, it’ll be Kindle only and pricing is fixed between $0.99 and $3.99.
So just bear that in mind. If you submit work to this, you are getting completely bent over a barrel creatively. The price you pay for being able to sell work based around established characters, is that you have zero rights as the creator of new, but related content.
KitGuru Says: Personally I’m hoping Amazon do a deal with Games Workshop (though it’ll never happen) and then I could publish by Ork epic that got a flat zero from Black Library’s submission process.