So, this happened…
Amazon has officially announced they are launching Kindle Worlds, which will allow writers of fan fiction to start getting paid for their work. According to Amazon, they have already snapped up licenses from Warner Brothers so fans of, among others, Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and the Vampire Diaries, can start plugging away. And starting June, fan fiction writers can get up to 35 percent royalties on their work.
It’s true, fan fiction can actually spawn breakthrough careers. For example, it’s widely known that author E.L. James was able to parlay her Twilight fan fiction into the popular (and, in many circles, infamous) Fifty Shades trilogy. Also, you can probably throw a rock and hit a Harry Potter fan fiction site, which is almost as popular as the J.K. Rowling series.
However, from the looks of it, Amazon has not been licensed to allow either Twilight or Harry Potter fans to cash in on their fiction. That’s just one issue. That should knock down the literary quality a tad.
Of course, with what is licensed by Amazon, I’m not terribly optimistic that the cream will rise to the top. For the record, I have never been much of a fan of the Gossip Girl books, even at one point in time referring to them as literary junk food. I’m a little more than skeptical that the fan fiction produced won’t meet the same fate.
But whatever I think of it, the fact remains that Amazon will go forward with this. As a self-published author, I can only hope that fan fiction writers will take some best-practice notes from the non-fan side, and constantly be on the lookout for those errors that would make an English major jump through their skull.
And ultimately, I do also hope that Amazon steps up and secures licenses for other books, so that other fandoms will get their shot as well.