Amazon's Kindle Worlds will allow writers to sell fan fiction

The digital publishing platform will let fans write, publish, and sell the stories they've written based on popular books, TV shows, and more.

The 'Harry Potter' and 'Twilight' series are currently two of the most popular inspirations for fan fiction on the popular website Fanfiction.net.

The world of fan fiction – in which fans write stories based on the characters in popular book series, TV shows, movies, and games – has few rules.

For example, in some fan fiction on the popular site fanfiction.net, where users share fan fiction for free, Harry Potter may get pregnant, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth may share their first kiss on the moon, and Bella Swan might actually be a Soviet spy. 

The one and only rule of fan fiction: you can’t sell it. (Unless the fan fiction is based on work already in the public domain.)

Until now. On Wednesday Amazon announced 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,” according to Amazon’s press release.

For the first time, the new digital publishing platform allows writers to write, publish, and sell fan fiction legally, all through Amazon.

“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, in a statement. “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.”

Here’s how it works: Amazon acquires licenses from the original copyright holder, whether it’s Stephenie Meyer’s publisher, Warner Bros. Television, or a movie production company, and agrees to fan fiction content guidelines, thus opening the way for writers to write and sell their fan fiction on Amazon’s platform. For any works of fan fiction published and sold on Kindle Worlds, Amazon pays royalties to both the copyright holder, as well as the fan-fiction author, who gets 35 percent of net revenue. Amazon retains the rights to any fan fiction published and sold on Kindle Worlds.

Already, Amazon has acquired licenses from several bestselling series, including LJ Smith’s “Vampire Diaries,” Cicily von Ziegesar’s “Gossip Girl,” and Sara Shepard’s “Pretty Little Liars.”  

Kindle Worlds will officially launch in June with more than 50 commissioned works from authors like Barbara Freethy, John Everson, and Colleen Thompson, according to Amazon. Amazon Publishing will set the price for the works, with most priced at $0.99 to $3.99.

Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.