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Amazon Launching Licensed Fan Fiction Publishing: Kindle Worlds

Amazon is going to offer a platform to publish fan fiction, though licenses they establish. Some Warner Bros properties have already been picked up and more are on the way. This could end up being a pretty big deal if amazon manages to get licensing for enough of the right properties, but it also has a few hurdles, which I'll get to.

It seems like a great idea initially, but I'll be interested to see how this plays out.  Offering a chance for fan fic writers to get paid for their work and to have some sort of relationship with the rights-holder to the work is potentially a great thing.  Once you start officially putting your work under the umbrella of someone else though, you begin to give away your own rights.  Sure, you could never make money off of someone else's concepts by writing fan fic before, but the trade off is that they can now make money off of your idea as well, with no compensation to you.
“Amazon Publishing will acquire all rights to your new stories, including global publication rights, for the term of copyright.”
“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.”
So remember, if you offer up a great concept in your fan fic, you are also offering the rights of that concept to the publisher as well.  They could spin off official books and even movies and you wouldn't see a dime from that.  If you are content to give up some of your rights in order to get paid a small amount for your fan fic, then by all means go for it.  We just hope to make folks aware of the fine print.  This is not, legally speaking, a very good deal to sign up for, but if you truly have no worries about your rights with your fan fic, then it may be for you.

Amazon also has guidelines about things such as pornography, which will leave a piece of a very popular segment of fan fic out in the cold, slash fic.  Not to mention, it will depend on who they get licensing from going forward.  Some authors may never want to have people semi-officially writing in their world.  I remember George R.R. Martin saying he wasn't a big on fan fic, preferring people to put all that hard work into something of their own.  Crossover fan fic falls outside of the rules as well, so no Castle meets Gossip Girl.

Most of all, remember you will be opening up your work to possibly be judged, not as fan fic, but as any other piece of writing on Amazon.  Prepare yourself for criticism in the ratings and comments, or even rejection from Amazon as they do mention basic quality standards.

(Press Release after the break)

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 GirlPretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries, with licenses for more Worlds on the way.
The Kindle Worlds Self-Service Submission Platform will launch soon and enable you to submit your original works for publication. Can’t wait to start writing? Learn more on our Kindle Worlds for Authors page.

We asked a few authors to try out Kindle Worlds. Here’s what they had to say:

“I loved writing the characters in this world, the dynamics of the friendship between the four girls as they deal with life-threatening situations. I also really enjoy the ongoing mysteries and surprising twists that always keep the reader guessing.” —Barbara Freethy, writing in Pretty Little Liars

“There’s probably not an author/fangirl alive who hasn’t fantasized about being able to write about her favorite show. The fact that you can earn royalties doing so makes it even better.” —Trish Milburn, writing in The Vampire Diaries

“The opportunity to cut loose and play with the wit and voice of a character so unlike those I usually write was a real treat. It pushed me outside my normal comfort zone as a storyteller, and that’s a very valuable experience.” —Joseph Brassey, writing in The Vampire Diaries

“I really enjoyed the short format of this work. I’m a novelist. I’m used to writing books that take me months to complete. Writing something start to finish in such a short time was really rewarding.” —Nancy Naigle, writing in Pretty Little Liars

“Fun from beginning to end! It was freeing to write something about the show’s characters and world.” —Carolyn Hughey, writing in Gossip Girl

“I loved having so many intriguing characters to explore. They’re all unique with so much backstory, yet there’s just enough space to create something new. When I realized I could create my own characters to toy with the others, well, that was icing on the cake.” —A.R. Kahler, writing in The Vampire Diaries

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