Amazon to Publish Fan Fiction

It’s interesting to watch the big boys of the book world duke it out for the next big thing to keep their burgeoning bottom lines in the black. A little over a year a go, Random House gobbled up E. L. James and her successful Fifty Shades trilogy, a former Twilight fan fiction in another life, and turned it into a phenomena that is still going strong. Many authors and readers held their collective breath, waiting for a legal shoe to drop that never did. Soon other publishing houses followed and signed fan fiction authors in an effort to duplicate the success of Fifty Shades. And while none have risen to the same heights as E. L. James, many of these books have enjoyed their time on various best-selling lists as well.

Kindle WorldsSo why am I talking about old news? Earlier today, Amazon announced their new publishing program, Kindle Worlds, aimed specifically at works of fan fiction. They have secured licenses from the various copyright holders of popular fiction, whether it be book, television or movie, and are now offering an avenue for fan fiction authors to cash in on their written odes to the original works that inspired them.

Amazon sees this as a win-win for both the copyright holder and the fan fiction author because both will enjoy the royalties from more sales and an expanded fan base. And while the readers will now pay for something that was originally free to them in the past, the convenience of having their favorite fan fiction stories in book format on their e-readers is a bonus. It might also encourage these readers to branch out into other fandoms.

Amazon plans to launch Kindle Worlds in June with over 50 commissioned works. To read the full press release, go to Amazon’s Press Release page.

So what do you think of this new development? Is this a smart move on Amazon’s part or is this just another ploy to exploit the little guy? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

4 comments on “Amazon to Publish Fan Fiction

  1. I am just getting into the shallow end of writing Fanfiction, but if it gets me a chance to be published and get a foothold in the world of publishing I will give it a shot!

    • Good for you, Joe. I know people on both sides of this fence. I’m a bit of a fence sitter on the subject… to each their own. Mostly because I can see both sides of the argument and the points are valid. So I say, do what’s right for you. The rest will sort itself out. Good luck with your book!

  2. This is going to dramatically change the Fan Fiction world, which is founded on the tenet of providing a place for amateurs to tell their stories and refine their writing at no cost to the consumer (or the author for that matter). Now, all sorts of parameters and expectations will change at every level (from reader to copyright holder to executives) and there’s no going back. Whoever came up with this idea is a marketing genius and Pandora’s Box is open.

    Whether The change is for better or worse is a matter of opinion, and I’m sure it’s going to be a matter of great debate because there are valid points on both sides. Since I have 28 fan fiction stories amassing 1.5 million words, I am very interested to see what develops. For example, who will pull stories from sites where one can read them for free (assuming Kindle will accept stories for publication that have already been posted)? What quality of stories will be left? Will this expand audiences? And will original authors get a say in what sort of FF gets published? For example, will someone like Stephenie Meyer be able to set boundaries for mature content? And what happens to work posted on FF sites, does it fall under new dictates or is it business as usual?

    It’s an entirely new world and change is hard. I’m sure there are going to be all kinds of arguments for and against. We’re all in for a new experience, for certain.

  3. It’s both a smart move and a bit of exploitation. They get richer and people pay $ for entertainment. Maybe a few fan fic authors will make a little $. If so, great. Maybe a few readers will mistakenly buy what they consider drivel when they thought they were buying the real deal. If so, that’s a problem in the longer term, if fans start mistrusting a brand/series/writer they previously admired.

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