Amazon is once again upending the traditional publishing world with the launch of Kindle Worlds, a new platform where writers of fan fiction (already a large - if not yet commercialized - market in itself) can get their stories published on the site - and get paid for them.
Writers who create stories of at least 10,000 words based on pre-existing works can receive 35 percent of the net sales revenue, while writers of pieces ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 words will receive royalties of 20 percent.
Naturally, the original rights holders must agree to participate and have their works built upon. Currently, Amazon has signed one rights holder - Warner Bros. Television Group's Alloy Entertainment. For the moment, this means that fan fiction based on the "Gossip Girl", "Pretty Little Liars" and "Vampire Diaries" books will be eligible -- and Amazon said it intends to announce new agreements soon for fiction based on books, TV shows, movies, music, and games.
For many amateur writers, this could be a great opportunity, and for the thousands who already write fan fiction, it could mean a chance to get paid for existing work. But the Kindle World's contract limitations - ceding all publication and content rights to Amazon Publishing - give other writers pause.
Carol Pinchefsky, writing for Forbes, also questions the quality of the writing for Kindle Worlds.
In traditional publishing, a manuscript has to be approved by an editorial staff with exacting standards. There’s nothing in Amazon’s press release—and a query to Amazon about this has currently gone unanswered—that suggests an editorial process. Fan fiction is wonderfully fun if it’s free, but if I’m paying for content, I would want something worth paying for.
Still, for many writers, Amazon's move legitimizes fan fiction, while also creating a potentially lucrative opportunity. The Kindle Worlds store - and its self-service submission platform - is set to open in June with more than 50 stories.