Amazon to pay for fan-fic…
So, this popped up today:
“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. for
Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries,
with licenses for more Worlds on the way.”
This has the potential to be huge – or to explode spectacularly in a big flaming ball of death – but I think it’s probably more likely to be the former.
Already people are crying out that this is the end of traditionally tie-in publishing, and subsequently the end of good tie-in fiction. Others are seeing dollar signs, perceiving an opportunity to get their writing out there and get paid for it (writers getting paid is a good thing. I support that shit.) Others are already getting excited about this being way of potentially making a few bucks from writing that awesome tie-in they’ve always wanted to write that no publisher would go anywhere near – your own unique take on pre-existing IP franchise. (Note, however, that there’s a ‘no pornography’ rule in the writer’s guidelines – thank goodness – so we won’t be seeing any sweaty Buffy/Battlestar porn, for which I am eternally grateful.)
I not 100% sure how I feel about this yet, but in no particular order, here are some rambling, off-the-cuff thoughts.
- This is really weird.
- There’s gonna be a lot of crap out there. There already IS a lot of crap out there, but now that there is a potential way to make a few bucks from it, there’s gonna be a lot more. Editors, copy-editors and proof readers are pretty useful, you know… and sometimes there is a reason why a story/writer has not been published through the traditional routes.
- Writers that might never have been paid before will now have an avenue to start making some cash from their fan-fic. Writers getting paid is good. I have no doubt that this will launch a few writers’ careers, which is no bad thing.
- Publishing is a-changing. That’s pretty obvious and is certainly nothing new, but it really is changing fast, and publishers and writers need to adapt. For all the changes and challenges that are there, however, people still like to read, and are doing a lot of it (hurrah!). There are definitely new opportunities for writers now – and this may well be one of them.
- Much depends on what licenses Amazon manage to secure. Writing a dark horror Star Wars piece would be fun…
- Much also depends on how much Amazon sells these stories for. At the moment, fanfic is free. How much would people be willing to pay to read it? Having said that, it looks like the writer will get a decent cut the profits, often more than most tie-in writers would receive through traditional publishing.
- For a licensee, this is free money. However, it will also see their IP mangled, but of course, being fanfic, none of this fiction will be ‘official’, so… that might not really be a problem. It could become a problem, I guess, if this really booms… What if the fanfic starts selling more than the more expensive canonical works?
- Since there is bound to be a heck of a lot of fiction available through Kindle Worlds, if you want to make money from this, it will be really important to build your brand (as wanky as that sounds) so that your story gets bought ahead of the hundreds of others on offer.
- Could this be an avenue for established writers? Well, maybe. Who knows. On the plus side, established writers already have an established fanbase. It would be incredibly interesting to see some numbers once this thing launches. If Steven King decided he really wanted to write a 10,000 word Star Trek short story and sell it through Kindle World, I would imagine it would sell rather well. Could this make him more money than writing it through traditional publishing routes? Quite possibly, I guess…
- Taking that thought a step further, what if Amazon secured the rights for Game of Thrones fanfic, and George RR Martin wrote a short story for Kindle Worlds (perhaps tracking a side-story that wouldn’t fit in a novel). I’m sure he has a pretty good royalty rate with his publisher, but for something like this? Could he make more cash going down this route? Who knows. Martin writing fan-fic of his own fiction? Mind. Blown.
I could go on, but well, this is already getting rather rambling. Plus, I’ve got stuff to do – real writery stuff. Yes, I know that’s not a real word.
It will be very interesting to see how this goes, and what the ramifications are.
What are you first thoughts? Is this a good thing?