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My World is Your World

So if you haven’t heard, Kindle Worlds has gone live. What’s Kindle Worlds you say? Kindle Worlds is an Amazon program that makes certain worlds available to fan fiction authors. As in, if you want to write fan fiction in X universe, and X universe is available on Kindle Worlds, you can now do so and sell your book, for actual real money, in a special Kindle bookstore. This is a pretty big deal. This is going to open up a whole new area of Kindle self publishing. Never before (I’m going to conveniently ignore the fact that Hugh Howey opened Wool up to his fans a couple months ago at this point) has the intellectual property of a popular world been available to its fans like this.

Personally, I don’t like fan fiction stories much. I feel like they detract from the original work in a roundabout way as well as discourage “original” creativity. I would much rather see someone trying to create something purely of themselves rather than taking what someone else has created and adding onto it. But thats just how I feel, and ultimately my feelings on the matter of fan fiction are pretty moot. I don’t write it and I generally don’t read it, and that is the scope of what my opinion affects.

Still, regardless of my personal dislike for fanfiction, I think opening up Kindle Worlds is an awesome thing. I may not like fan fiction, but there are quite a few people out there who do, and none of this is forced on anyone. The authors/intellectual property owners opt into the program of their own volition and I seriously doubt there’s someone cracking a whip over someone elses head as they force them to write Gossip Girl fan fics. Options, that what this is all about. I may not want to take advantage of this opportunity, but there are a great deal of other writers out there who do (and even more readers who want to read their stuff) and the fact that they now  have the option to (assuming their desired world is on the list) is awesome in my opinion.

Now that we’ve burned through my opinions, lets take a quick look at the facts. Publishing through Kindle Worlds isn’t quite like publishing via Kindle Direct Publishing. Once you submit a piece of writing to Amazon and they publish it, they retain the rights to your work, not you (This is about the only part I really don’t like). They also set the price of the work, which will range from .99 cents to 3.99

Fan fiction authors will receive royalties of 35% on their books over ten thousand words and and royalties of 20% on their books at five thousand plus words (but less than ten thousand). Another chunk of the book sale goes to the creator of the content you’re riffing off of, Amazon won’t tell us how much though. Then presumably the remainder of that chunk of money goes to Amazon. Aside from Amazon retaining the rights to your creation, the setup seems fairly reasonable to me.

Currently, the intellectual property Kindle Worlds has to offer is limited to some Warner Brothers television series, Alloy and Valiant Entertainment and authors Barry Eisler, Blake Crouch, Neal Stephenson, and Hugh Howey. They have stated that they are interested in striking deals with other companies to widen their selection of worlds to other book series, tv shows, movies, and even video games.

The long standing effects of the change are yet to be seen. Some people believe this may herald in the end of fan fiction stories as we know them, while others believe the effects will spread even further than than. Even more people just don’t know or don’t really care. So what do you think about Kindle Worlds? Is the sky falling? Has the path the promised land opened up? Or perhaps you just don’t really care? I’d love to hear your opinions on the subject, so please take a minute and comment!

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3 thoughts on “My World is Your World

  1. Sorry to leave a couple of comments all at once but this post caught my attention and caused me to read a few other posts. I’m going to have to think about how I feel about this but I think it’s great! As our series gains popularity we want to invite people to write within the world of The Eighth City and we want to feature it for other readers.

    Part of our reasoning was we want to be able to give aspiring writers a “leg up” by featuring good work set in our world and offering editing and advice for those we choose. Hopefully, this would give aspiring writers something to put on their resume as well as some valuable experience. I wonder how Kindle Worlds will factor into that process and if we’ll be able to see more interaction between authors and their fans?

    • We’re already seeing so much more interaction between writers and fans now than we have in the past. All one needs to do is look to Hugh Howey. I’ve followed him on facebook for probably over a year now and he is one of the most humble and interactive authors I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. He constantly chats with his face book fans, holds google hang outs for more of his fans, and is incredibly accessible. (All my Girlfriend had to do to get me a signed copy of his book, Wool, in which he wishes me a happy birthday was email him, ask, and buy the book.) On top of all of this, he was allowing, even encouraging people to write fiction in the world he created and THEN he encouraged them to publish and sell their fan fiction, for real money. (and quite a few people have jumped on it, Patrice Fitzgerald, Michael Bunker, and Jason Gurley just to name a smattering of them.)

      I’m a bit concerned about what the long term effects of Kindle Worlds could mean for the entire fan fiction community (specifically due to amazon retaining the rights to the works published under the Kindle Worlds program). But I think its definitely a step in a positive direction. If nothing else, where fan fiction writers were getting nothing in return for their work, they can now actually get something for it.

      • I’m going to be checking Hugh Howey out soon. His books seem awesome and I love what you said about how interacts with fans. It’s exciting to see other authors become so successful.

        It’as awesome that he encourages people to write and even sell fan fiction, there is a real and growing community in that. It’s something I hope to do in the future.

        I agree, it’s encouraging to see all kinds of writers getting recognition and rewards for their work. It’s uncharted territory so we’ll have to see if Amazon’s model is a fair one!

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