Amazon to Start Selling Fan Fiction

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Amazon to Start Selling Fan Fiction

Kindle Worlds

Amazon's new Kindle Worlds service will give fan fiction writers a place to publish their work and earn royalties.

Sometimes stories just don't turn out the way you want them to. When that happens there a few things you can do. You can move on and accept the ending, or, as some do, you can bake cupcakes. Another alternative many take is fan fiction. Whether you're reading or writing it, fan fiction can be an outlet to explore new takes on familiar content, explore different facets of story, or introduce new scenarios for beloved characters to run through. Granted, fan fiction can be a bit weird at times (go ahead and Google "Batman dates the Joker"), but it's nonetheless a niche with a real audience and wide appeal.

An appeal that Amazon would like to monetize. Along those lines, the online retailer has announced Kindle Worlds, a publishing service writers can use to create and sell fan fiction. To do this, Amazon has signed licenses to publish material based on television shows including Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries, with more properties on the way.

To test out Kindle Worlds Amazon gave several fan fiction authors early access to the service. The response was overwhelmingly positive. "There's probably not an author/fangirl alive who hasn't fantasized about being able to write about her favorite show," said Trish Milburn, who writes fan fiction for The Vampire Diaries. "The fact that you can earn royalties doing so makes it even better." The royalties range from 20-35% percent of revenues earned from story sales. Stories, meanwhile, will be priced between $0.99 and $3.99 depending on length. Amazon can opt to reject stories based on content guidelines provided to writers.

While it could be easy to roll your eyes and pass it off as Amazon trying to turn the enthusiasm of fans into money, there is some arguable potential behind this. While there are indeed some lousy writers involved in the world's fan fiction communities, there are also arguably authors that have put out solid takes on established franchises. There are abundant ways this could suck, but there are also ways this could open new doors across a variety of mediums. Imagine, for instance, if this were a service for fan made films or games? There are plenty of fan developers building projects gamers love that actual game companies won't touch. If profit were an option, perhaps the industry might offer more support and fewer "cease and desists."

Source: Amazon

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Well now, I'd better start writing.

But I thought they already sold 50 Shades of Grey!

Is... Is this legal? I mean, if companies can smack fan-tributes being made with no intent to profit with C&Ds, how can it be legal to SELL works that derive entirely from another persons IP without permission? Or will express permission be required for each work? I guess Amazon's lawyer team must be convinced it will work, so it must be.

Hopefully this will go well and then we can stop having fan tribute games getting shut down.

EDIT: Ah. Only fanfics whose authors have opted in to this can be sold. That explains things.

Oh dear god no... Kill it with Fire and then melt the ashes with Acid!

As popular as my own fanfics have been in the past...this seems a bit sketchy to me. Especially since a rather important part was left out of that article: I read somewhere else that Amazon will own rights to your works.

One can only wonder how that last bit will work if you write self-insert fic.

I was wondering about the legality of it as well but looks like Amazon will take get per-approval for specific series and they'll split the lions share of the cut.

I'm not 100% sold on this, as your starting to charge money out of something that was done freely out of pure fan interest. If there are fanfic writers that actually end up being really good, I think it would be more effective to find ways to get them hooked up with a publisher to do some legit writing.

Watch as Games Workshop decides to start suing every single Warhammer 40K fanfic in existence. Greed can be a powerful motivator.

I'm not sure this is legal is the original owners have copyright claims...

Froggy Slayer:
But I thought they already sold 50 Shades of Grey!

Sigh, I was hoping to make that joke.

GamemasterAnthony:
As popular as my own fanfics have been in the past...this seems a bit sketchy to me. Especially since a rather important part was left out of that article: I read somewhere else that Amazon will own rights to your works.

I've read this on another site as well, yesterday in fact, and from what I can tell anything you submit to Amazon is theirs and the copyright holder's plaything. Whatever OC you may create is there's too. It makes sense from a copyright stand-point but it really bothers me.

OT: any writer, no matter how good they are, won't be receiving my money. Not because I'm cheap or don't want to support their efforts but I truly believe that fanfiction should always remain a labor of love and not one that gains you monetary value. Call me old school but we write for the love of it and the passion we have for the fandom we're in. If you want to make money, write an original story.

Anyone know if My Immortal is on there yet? That's some high quality S***. Also have to give a shout out to Cupcakes.

At last, the prophesied collapse of the literary world is upon us and it is slashy.

Falterfire:
Is... Is this legal? I mean, if companies can smack fan-tributes being made with no intent to profit with C&Ds, how can it be legal to SELL works that derive entirely from another persons IP without permission? Or will express permission be required for each work? I guess Amazon's lawyer team must be convinced it will work, so it must be.

Hopefully this will go well and then we can stop having fan tribute games getting shut down.

EDIT: Ah. Only fanfics whose authors have opted in to this can be sold. That explains things.

AgentShiver:
I'm not sure this is legal is the original owners have copyright claims...

You guys apparently missed the part where it said that Amazon has signed deals with certain show producers to publish fan-fiction based on their shows. You can't publish just any fan-fiction here, only fiction for which Amazon has already signed a deal with the appropriate rights holder.

image

Goddamit, Amazon. Stop encouraging these people. Please. For the sake of everything? Have you learnt nothing from 50 shades of grey?

AgentShiver:
I'm not sure this is legal is the original owners have copyright claims...

Amazon has paid the owners of the IPs for licenses. This is completely legal.

Now if only they wanted to open up the gates for stuff I actually wanna write fanfics of. I don't have any interest in this teenage girl nonsense; I want to write comedy based on stuff with much wider appeal.

P.S. Thanks

GamemasterAnthony:
I read somewhere else that Amazon will own rights to your works.

One can only wonder how that last bit will work if you write self-insert fic.

I'm not an expert on copyright law, but from what little I know, I would expect they'd own the actual text of the story, but anything else is up for debate!

They could potentially call out "infringement" on anyone writing (and selling) another piece of fiction with an identifiably similar character, but it would have to go through the same hilarious court-room circus that every other "is X too similar to Y?" case involves.

I don't think a character being based on yourself has any real affect on the above, but it could do, depending on just how similar your self-insert character is to your real life self. For example, if you give your self-insert character angel wings, then any use of that "character" without the wings is likely to be "different enough" to be allowed.

I'm now wondering how autobiographies are treated by copyright law, as that may be relevant.

WaitWHAT:
image

Goddamit, Amazon. Stop encouraging these people. Please. For the sake of everything? Have you learnt nothing from 50 shades of grey?

You know, some of us try to write good stories in fan fiction.

erttheking:

You know, some of us try to write good stories in fan fiction.

image

Sorry. I slipped for a second there. *ahem*

Yeah, I'm sure there is good fanfiction out there somewhere. The key word, though, is "somewhere". The fanfiction that I've seen doesn't exactly fill me with confidence....

This is not your doorway into a glorious career writing books, movies, TV or whatever. If this article makes you think that's what it is, it isn't. It isn't even a farm league for future media tie-in writers (although it arguably should be). It's just people with lots of money hoping to make a little more from your pursuit of your hobby. (Pretty much just like your hobby is your attempt to make a name for yourself based on other people's hard work and creative output.)

But if nothing about anything in that first paragraph bothers you and you want to get paid in spare change for pursuing your hobby, this isn't an inherently bad way to try to do that.

Yet you've still got to get your labor of love past an impersonal, anonymous slush-pile editor who's probably only reading through your labors of love because he's either being punished or is an intern.

--Morology!

I've got only one word.
What.

WaitWHAT:
Yeah, I'm sure there is good fanfiction out there somewhere. The key word, though, is "somewhere". The fanfiction that I've seen doesn't exactly fill me with confidence....

The trick is to look for humor. It's largely written by people who are bored and simply don't care, and is frankly far better than most of the typical drama stuff where people fall in love for no reason at all.

I mostly just hope they never allow Sonic or Final Fantasy fanfics. Sonic and Shadow are not madly in love and never will be, and the same goes for Cloud and Sephiroth. Or really any other popular protagonist + rival/enemy pairing you can think of.

P.S. Thanks

Covarr:

WaitWHAT:
Yeah, I'm sure there is good fanfiction out there somewhere. The key word, though, is "somewhere". The fanfiction that I've seen doesn't exactly fill me with confidence....

The trick is to look for humor. It's largely written by people who are bored and simply don't care, and is frankly far better than most of the typical drama stuff where people fall in love for no reason at all.

Now that, I could get behind. That might be good. The stuff where random people (who have far less skill and knowledge of the original material than the original writer) try to emulate and expand the story beyond what the author thought was appropriate pisses me off.

So there may be hope for me making a career as a writer after all.

Froggy Slayer:
But I thought they already sold 50 Shades of Grey!

Yes, but now every Can't-think-up-original-idea-must-copy-Twilight half-wit will be trying to make a similar winner.

Soviet Heavy:
Watch as Games Workshop decides to start suing every single Warhammer 40K fanfic in existence. Greed can be a powerful motivator.

It is ever so much fun to flip the bird to Games Workshop though, my friend makes 3d models, I own a 3d printer, and another friend paints, we have completely custom made Warhammer models without paying Games Workshop a dime for their overpriced junk

I too wonder at the legality of this, but in Japan they have a thing called doujinshi that are fan made comics based on existing works (mostly pornographic in nature but not always) and the companies there are cool with that.

WaitWHAT:

Goddamit, Amazon. Stop encouraging these people. Please. For the sake of everything? Have you learnt nothing from 50 shades of grey?

The entire Star Wars EU is practically fanfiction (though it's more like... next generation fiction? Is that the term?). I remember reading that Michael A. Stackpole was actually a big name fan who wrote popular fanfiction for Star Wars and because of that was chosen to write an actual Star Wars novel.

Don't the guidelines rule out 99.9999999% of fanfiction? Or is that just me?

Because that's pretty pointless.

First of all, I don't think this is actually legal. Second of all, Fanfiction is mostly shit and nobody should be asked to pay money for it. Third of all, really? Have we really fallen this far?

WaitWHAT:
image

Goddamit, Amazon. Stop encouraging these people. Please. For the sake of everything? Have you learnt nothing from 50 shades of grey?

Oh come on this could actually be a good idea. Now i'm off to write my yaio yahtzee x jim fan fic, keep any eye out guys.

As a budding author myself this news is incredibly concerning. That people can make money from another person's IP is a terrifying concept.

I have no doubt that there are some talented people amongst the writers of fan fiction but I would urge them to write their own unique stories instead of pulling content from other authors. This sort of practice just serves to stunt creativity and opens up a whole mess of trouble where copyright is concerned.

George R R Martin has been quite vocal about his views on fan fiction in the past and I agree with his points: http://grrm.livejournal.com/151914.html

If the original author signs off on it, I see absolutely nothing wrong about this. Japan has its doujinshi, which actually serves to boost sales and is downright encouraged by a lot of authors and studios. Hell, a lot of now respected artists and authors got their start in that market.

RJ Dalton:
I don't think this is actually legal.

StewShearer:
Amazon has signed licenses to publish material based on television shows including Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries, with more properties on the way.

It's legal because they're only doing it for properties that they've already made arrangements with the owners for. Presumably, the owners of these shows will get a cut of the profits.

P.S. Thanks

Actual purchasable Fallout:Equestria(and side stories)?

This has my attention

Come to think of it, I would really like to see some of the hard work of some authors get recognition, provided that it doesn't fall in with a lot of the dross you can see in the world of fan fiction

Also I would only buy Fo:E if it came packaged with chapter 20.5 unharmed.

Proverbial Jon:
As a budding author myself this news is incredibly concerning. That people can make money from another person's IP is a terrifying concept.

You, along with several others, have missed the part where Amazon will only publish fanfiction based on IPs whose rights owners have already signed a contract with Amazon. Your IP is safe.

"I have a brilliant idea! Let's allow people to publish fanfiction on our Kindle and allow them to make money off of it!"

"Go home, Amazon. You're drunk."

"I'm serious! This is a really good idea."

"Have you...read some of the fanfiction."

"Not yet, but I have confidence that some of it is really good. I already picked out a few to read tonight."

*much later*

"Oh...oh god. And then Amy put that in Sonic's what...oh my word...I'm starting to think this was a bad idea."

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