Amazon Launches Kindle Worlds, New Fan Fiction Platform for Indie Authors
Expanding its vast array of services catering to authors, Amazon has launched Kindle Worlds, a fan fiction platform that will allow authors to reap financial rewards writing stories based on already existing characters and settings.
Acting as a conduit for intellectual property, Amazon will pay royalties to both the authors of the new works and the rights holders for the original works.
Amazon has already acquired licenses for authors to start working on and profiting from stories based on franchises Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries. The company plans to announce more deals soon.
The project launches with 50 works already created by known authors such as Barbara Freethy, John Everson and Colleen Thompson.
In a press release (below), Amazon touts that Kindle Worlds benefits rights holders, authors and readers.
For rights holders, it gives them a new way to monetize their worldwide rights to intellectual property. For authors, it gives them a way to sell fan fiction. And for readers, it gives them yet another conduit to engage with characters and settings they already know and love.
One open question is how will Amazon control how authors expand a story’s characters and settings in way that rights holders and other stakeholders are comfortable with? Amazon has eliminated the possibility that Kindle Worlds could create another Fifty Shades of Grey, which started as fan fiction for the popular Twilight series with a “no porn allowed” disclaimer (the blockbuster hit is not alone in the genre of taking familiar characters and putting them in a more erotic setting than where they started); but what about when fan fiction conflicts with itself or when characters and stories are taken in a direction that leaves the rights holders uncomfortable?
According to an Amazon spokesperson, “World licensors have provided content guidelines for each world.”
Amazon Publishing Introduces “Kindle Worlds,” a New Publishing Model for Authors Inspired to Write Fan Fiction—Launching with an Initial License of Popular Titles from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment
Like Kindle Singles and Kindle Serials, Kindle Worlds Adds a New Approach to Digital Publishing
Today, Amazon Publishing announces Kindle Worlds, the first commercial publishing platform that will enable any writer to create fan fiction based on a range of original stories and characters and earn royalties for doing so. Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment division for its New York Times best-selling book series Gossip Girl, by Cecily von Ziegesar; Pretty Little Liars, by Sara Shepard; and Vampire Diaries, by L.J. Smith; and plans to announce more licenses soon. Through these licenses, Kindle Worlds will allow any writer to publish authorized stories inspired by these popular Worlds and make them available for readers to purchase in the Kindle Store.
Amazon Publishing will pay royalties to both the rights holders of the Worlds and the author. The standard author’s royalty rate (for works of at least 10,000 words) will be 35% of net revenue. As with all titles from Amazon Publishing, Kindle Worlds will base net revenue off of sales price—rather than the lower, industry standard of wholesale price—and royalties will be paid monthly.
In addition, with the launch of Kindle Worlds, Amazon Publishing will pilot an experimental new program for particularly short works—between 5,000 and 10,000 words. For these short stories—typically priced under one dollar—Amazon will pay the royalties for the World’s rights holder and pay authors a digital royalty of 20%.
Beginning today, interested writers are encouraged to visit Kindle Worlds (www.amazon.com/kindleworlds) to learn more and get a head start on writing. In June, the Kindle Worlds store is expected to launch with over 50 commissioned works from authors such as #1 New York Times best-selling author Barbara Freethy, Bram Stoker Award-winner John Everson and RITA Award-winner Colleen Thompson. At that time, the Kindle Worlds self-service submission platform, where any writer can submit completed work, will also open.
World Licensors benefit from Kindle Worlds because:
It’s an entirely new way to monetize their valuable franchises
It allows them to extend their Worlds with new stories and characters and more deeply engage with existing fans, while also reaching new audiences
Amazon Publishing will work with them to establish content guidelines that balance flexibility and openness for writers with what’s reasonable for the franchise
“Our books have generated a massive amount of fan fiction, and we see this as an evolution in publishing and a valuable way of broadening our brands and engaging fans,” said Leslie Morgenstein, President Alloy Entertainment. “When working with Amazon Publishing on this scale, we know we’re in good hands and everyone will benefit.”
“Seeing Pretty Little Liars fans adapt and create their own stories is both exciting and flattering and I think what Amazon Publishing is offering through Kindle Worlds is a great way to reward their ingenuity,” said Sara Shepard, author of Pretty Little Liars.
Writers benefit from Kindle Worlds because:
Amazon Publishing has already secured the necessary licenses to write about any Kindle World
They can earn royalties writing about established characters and universes
The Kindle Worlds self-service submission platform is easy to use
“I loved writing the characters in this world, the dynamics of the friendship between the four girls as they deal with life-threatening situations,” said Barbara Freethy, writing in Pretty Little Liars. “I also really enjoy the ongoing mysteries and surprising twists that always keep the reader guessing. It’s great that Amazon Publishing has given those who put passion into fan fiction the opportunity to commercialize this work.”
And readers benefit from Kindle Worlds because:
They can find a stream of new stories in Worlds they love
They can discover new Worlds and corresponding great new stories
As with all Kindle books these are “Buy Once, Read Everywhere”—they can read on Kindle or Kindle Fire as well as with a free Kindle app for all of the most popular devices and platforms
“At Kindle, we’re not only inventing on the hardware and software side of the business, we’re inventing new ways to create books,” said Philip Patrick, Director, Business Development and Publisher of Kindle Worlds. “Our goal with Kindle Worlds is to create a home for authors to build on the Worlds we license, and give readers more stories from the Worlds they enjoy. We look forward to announcing additional World licensing deals in the coming weeks.”
Amazon Publishing is engaged with additional rights holders from different areas of entertainment—books, games, TV, movies and music—and looks forward to announcing future deals soon. To get started writing works in licensed properties, visit www.amazon.com/kindleworlds for submission guidelines and updates on licensed properties.
About Alloy Entertainment
Alloy Entertainment, a division of Warner Bros. Television Group, develops and produces original novels, television series, and feature films. More than seventy-five of AE’s books have been on the New York Times bestseller list, including The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl, The Clique, The Lying Game, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Private and The Luxe. AE has successfully adapted several of its top selling books into hit television shows for broadcast across multiple networks including The CW, ABC, ABC Family and Nickelodeon. Current Alloy Entertainment television series include Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, Lying Game, and soon to premiere Originals, Ravenswood and The 100.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth’s Biggest Selection. Amazon.com, Inc. seeks to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. Amazon.com and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as Books; Movies, Music & Games; Digital Downloads; Electronics & Computers; Home & Garden; Toys, Kids & Baby; Grocery; Apparel, Shoes & Jewelry; Health & Beauty; Sports & Outdoors; and Tools, Auto & Industrial. Amazon Web Services provides Amazon’s developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon’s own back-end technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any type of business. Kindle Paperwhite is the most-advanced e-reader ever constructed with 62% more pixels and 25% increased contrast, a patented built-in front light for reading in all lighting conditions, extra-long battery life, and a thin and light design. The new latest generation Kindle, the lightest and smallest Kindle, now features new, improved fonts and faster page turns. Kindle Fire HD features a stunning custom high-definition display, exclusive Dolby audio with dual stereo speakers, high-end, laptop-grade Wi-Fi with dual-band support, dual-antennas and MIMO for faster streaming and downloads, enough storage for HD content, and the latest generation processor and graphics engine—and it is available in two display sizes—7” and 8.9”. The large-screen Kindle Fire HD is also available with 4G wireless, and comes with a groundbreaking $49.99 introductory 4G LTE data package. The all-new Kindle Fire features a 20% faster processor, 40% faster performance, twice the memory, and longer battery life.
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