Thursday, June 27, 2013

Amazon's Fan Fiction Play

From the Hardy Boys to Mad Men, fan fiction may have been the growth market within the publishing industry that no one knows about.  Fans are by nature the most ardent supporters of character narratives whether they be text or image based and some fairly large online communities have developed around specific shows, characters and franchises.  Over the years, traditional print publishers have dabbled in the market and video and television have accommodated fan fiction into some of their offerings but today's announcement from Amazon is a new twist (I think).

Amazon has now launch their fan fiction site in the Kindle store.  Amazon doesn't own any content but they've circumvented this issue by establishing licensing agreements with content owners so that fans can publish their fiction within an established "world".  It is a really interesting model and given the extent of the Amazon reach one could assume revenue from these fan "worlds" may generate impressive 'found cash'.

More from the Amazon press release:

Kindle Worlds is a new publishing model that allows any writer to publish authorized stories inspired by popular Worlds and make them available for readers to purchase in the Kindle Store, and earn up to a 35% royalty while doing so. Kindle Worlds stories will typically be priced between $0.99 and $3.99 and will be exclusive to Kindle. To learn more and get started writing, visit
Here’s what authors and licensors are saying about Kindle Worlds:
  • “It’s actually a gift to be able to take someone else’s creation and see whether you can take it in a new direction. Watch every show; read every comic book. Honor the canon and honor the fans. There is a reason these stories have become so popular. And don’t feel restricted by the universe that has already been created. It reminds me a bit of writing a haiku or a sonnet. There are rules that must be followed, but within those rules, you can go anywhere. Your imagination is the only limit.” —Carolyn Nash, writer in Archer & Armstrong
  • “I believe Kindle Worlds has the potential to increase writership in much the same way the introduction of the Kindle expanded readership. I am thrilled for the Silo Saga to be a part of this program. It’s a natural fit because for the past year, talented authors have been exploring Silos of their own creation, and I look forward to reading more and to crafting some Worlds stories of my own.” —Hugh Howey, World Licensor for the Silo Saga
  • “I was intrigued by the opportunity to create something that absolutely had to fall inside a canon that someone else came up with. In one way, it was very freeing to do so. Because the universe itself exists, with all the richness of an already established background and history, I could get right into the meat of the story without having to explain everything to the readers. I did try to make it understandable and enjoyable to a newcomer to the world, however. But there’s a lot I worked to add that will hopefully tickle the fancy of the fans.” —L.J. McDonald, writer in The Vampire Diaries
  • “It was great fun to play ‘What if?’ and come up with scenarios that had ties to things that have happened on Vampire Diaries but which took things in a different direction or introduced new characters that could fit into the world of Mystic Falls. There’s probably not a writer fangirl alive who hasn’t fantasized about being able to write at least one episode of her favorite show, and I’m no different. While these stories aren’t show episodes, it’s still pretty darn cool to be able to write them with the idea of fellow fans reading them.” —Trish Milburn, writer in The Vampire Diaries
The Kindle Worlds Store is now open with over 50 commissioned stories including:
  • “Pretty Little Liars: Stained” by Barbra Annino
  • “The Vampire Diaries: The Arrival” by Lauren Barnholdt & Aaron Gorvine
  • “Shadowman: Salvation Sally” by Tom King
  • “The Foreworld Saga: The Qian” by Aric Davis
  • “X-O Manowar: Noughts and Crosses” by Stuart Moore
I expect publishers and other content producers will pay close attention to this experiment.  Licensing has always been a part of many new title, tv or movie marketing and promotion campaigns and I could see this opportunity becoming very important within product development at many content companies.

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