Following the launch of Kindle Worlds (see trailer above), Amazon’s platform that lets fan fiction authors sell their stories in the Kindle Store, there is an intense debate about fan fiction and how it shapes self-publishing.
The video from BBC News got my attention, as it asks a very important question. Do online users really start writing fan fiction expecting their stories to earn money?
Yes, there are breath-taking examples (or I should rather say “exceptions”) like the Fifty Shades trilogy, which evolved from a Twilight fanfic to an international bestseller sold so far in over 70 million copies.
Who knows, if E L James were not forced to remove the stories from fan fiction sites (reason: sexual explicity), maybe we would have not saw such a success. She later rewrote the stories, renamed characters to avoid copyright issues, and published the work as a trilogy in 2011.
Copyright is the most sensitive part of the fan fiction. If the author of the fan story is going to be paid for it, what about the author of the original piece?
Kindle Worlds fixes that issue by signing a deal with a TV division of Warner Bros. Kindle Store will only offer fan fiction based on three TV series: Gossip Girls, The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars. Authors (the fan fiction ones) will receive 35% of the overall price.
Compared to 4.7 million fan fiction pieces uploaded to Wattpad, the launch of Kindle Worlds platform is not going to shake up self-publishing. On the other hand, it puts money in the landscape, while raising copyright awareness.
In a video (link below) BBC speaks about these issues to Naomi Novik, Francesca Coppa, and Jen West, passionate fan fiction authors living in New York.