For those of you who don’t know, Fanfiction or 'fanfics' are stories completed by fans about their favorite TV shows, movies, books or people in popular culture.
If you’re an avid reader of this blog then you probably know that by now, however I always make allowances for newbies. That said, let’s talk about it for a moment. The writing and reading of fanfiction is a huge, thriving internet subculture that is growing every day in popularity.
Let’s also be honest it. Fanfiction is really, really weird. Since the creation of the zine it has sky rocketed to the internet on sites like fanfiction.net, wattpad.com, archiveofourown.org, fanfic.me, and the list keeps going.
People use fanfiction to portray their darkest desires, to explain their sexual fantasies, they use it to bridge gaps in existing storylines, to tell alternate endings and maybe serve a little fandom justice from time to time. However, there’s only one reason that we’re all posting online instead of publishing in the traditional sense.
It’s because fanfiction isn’t for the readers. Fanfiction is for the writer and the noisy voices in their head. When other people happen to stumble upon what we’ve done and enjoy it or even come away feeling a little bit better about it, that’s just a completely unexpected happy bonus.
Once I’ve written my fanfiction, I’ve already accomplished what I’ve set out to do. It’s a selfish world out there in fandom land and I’m not going to lie to you about it. Now don’t misinterpret! I love my readers, seeing their reviews, reading their predictions… it all brings me a supersonic charge in the whole “I love storytelling” lifestyle.
Which is why discovering Kindle Worlds has blown my mind. Maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe you haven’t? Don’t fret my pet we’re about to blow this world right open.
Amazon, the online retail and digital media store, has a new publishing platform called Kindle Worlds that allows anyone to write their own, original stories based on licensed content from a number of TV shows currently airing on the CW and ABC Family (aka Fanfiction).
How is this possible? Well, under a deal between Amazon’s publishing arm and Warner Bros. Alloy Entertainment division, fanfiction authors can now publish stories about Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and Vampire Diaries within Amazon’s Kindle store. Not only that, but those authors will even earn royalties when people buy their work.
Hello 2015, fanfiction writing can literally be a profession. Never thought I’d see the day, but here it is.
The royalty rates are actually pretty reasonable under the Kindle Worlds platform. Amazon will pay copyright owners of the original work an undisclosed percentage, while the author of the new stories will get a 35 percent cut of net revenue on each sale, provided the work is at least 10,000 words. Those authors of stories that are under 10,000 words can earn a royalty of 20 percent off net revenue, with most stories priced at $1 or less. These royalty payments, according to Amazon, will come once a month.
Beyond the new opportunities Kindle Worlds creates for authors, Amazon also points out that this is a new revenue stream for licensed content. It allows the rights owners of those original works to generate money from good stories that they otherwise wouldn’t see if an author had to change all the names and affiliations of their story so it could legally be published. For example, the world’s beloved series 50 Shades of Grey that started as Twilight fanfiction.
Now hold off on the noise makers and celebration this doesn’t mean that every big book series or popular bodies of work like Star Trek or Star Wars will be signing a deal with Kindle Worlds. Many of us fanfiction writers are still left out of this fandom loop with no hope for profit. Still as a fanfiction writer this news does make me tingle. I hope that down the line copyright owners of franchises that don’t do much business with book publishing will be interested to work Kindle Worlds and open up new doors that would have been shut otherwise.