This week, ForeverGeek is going to peer into the crystal ball, based upon a rather startling development this week in the world of Amazon. (For which you could just read Earth, Amazon being the giant that it is.)
Amazon has announced the release of Kindle Worlds, where it will be possible to publish fanfiction based upon the licences that you so passionately care about, and earn a rather healthy percentage in royalties.
Yes, you read that correctly: – your fanfiction earning royalties. Let me put that in Amazon’s own words.
“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.”
Entering into an agreement with Warner Bros, the first licences offered are Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl and the Vampire Diaries. Hardly the spandex worlds we all love, and in this writer’s opinion, a pretty lame selection.
However, to write this off purely on the strength of the first three properties would be a mistake. There is one salient name above, and that is Warner Bros.
Warner Bros, the owner of DC Entertainment, the parent company to our beloved DC Comics.
The fact that a company that is normally so very precious about its copyright has been enticed by Amazon to open up this market can only be a good thing, and where a giant like Warner treads, the other license holders can only follow.
So, here we maybe see a form of ‘democratisation’ of fiction, and the opening up of whole new vistas. Of course, some writers may be alarmed by the statement that Amazon will acquire all rights to your new stories, yet this is simply the same deal any freelance writer would get, but with a healthy 20% royalty, who would complain, especially when sweetened by the following statement: –
“Kindle Worlds is a creative community where Worlds grow with each new story. You will own the copyright to the original, copyrightable elements (such as characters, scenes, and events) that you create and include in your work, and the World Licensor will retain the copyright to all the original elements of the World. When you submit your story in a World, you are granting Amazon Publishing an exclusive license to the story and all the original elements you include in that story. This means that your story and all the new elements must stay within the applicable World. We will allow Kindle Worlds authors to build on each other’s ideas and elements. 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.”
It is on this foundation that shared universes are built. Now if the Big Two could jump on this bandwagon, they would have a chance to make money from the fans work AND elicit even greater loyalty from the fanbase. And who would refuse? The chance to play in your favourite universe, and to challenge the professionals.
After all, all writers start somewhere.
Oh, and my recommendation for this week? Young Avengers. If you have missed this title so far, grab it. It is young, fun, and free of the heavy Avengers continuity.