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!