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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fan Fiction Gets a New Twist – Or Is Strategy a Better Word?

Stephenie Meyer: her Twilight books have
resulted in lucrative fan fiction spin-offs

For those who may not know - fan fiction is fiction written by fans of a popular published work and based on characters of that original work. An example of fan fiction is the many successful vampire-themed spin-offs of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books.

The inherent intrigue with fan fiction has been the violation of authors’ intellectual property rights and the inability of the original author to profit from fan fiction, even if his/her original work sold millions!

Well, the new strategy referred to in the title of tonight’s post is offered by Amazon’s new fiction publishing platform Kindle Worlds.

Kindle Worlds is offering a platform for fan fiction that will pay both the original and fan author. While not perfect, it is better than complete rip offs.

What is hard to understand by yours truly is the difficulty or complete inability of the publishing industry and members to enforce copyright infringement --- Could it be that, although laws are on the books, it just costs (especially for newer authors) too damn much to execute for the possible returns in most cases? I really don’t know – anybody out there know?

These details offered by Catherine Scott in The Telegraph:

Amazon launches fan fiction publishing platform

Kindle Worlds, Amazon's latest venture, promises to make fan fiction profitable for both original authors and those inspired by their stories.

Until now, authors have been unable to profit from fan fiction – even when books based upon their original work have sold millions. Amazon is aiming to remedy this with Kindle Worlds, a new platform whereby authors can license their work to be adapted as fan fiction. Fans can then publish their stories as e-books for the Kindle, and royalties will be paid to both the original author and the fan fiction writer.

The Kindle Worlds store is expected to officially launch in June and promises over 50 commissioned works ready for sale. It will then launch its ‘self-serve’ submission platform on which authors can add their own completed works for consideration. Fan fiction writers will be entitled to 35% of the royalties on any work over 10,000 words – half of the standard 70% paid to those who self-publish original work on Kindle.

Perhaps mindful of how vampire-themed Twilight resulted in an incredibly lucrative fan-fiction spin off, Alloy Entertainment has already licensed LJ Smith’s Vampire Diaries series for use on Kindle Worlds, as well as Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar and Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepherd. More major fiction titles are expected to follow.

Despite questions over intellectual property rights and the vocal opposition of authors such as George R R Martin and J K Rowling, neither the law nor the publishing industry has been able to stop the growth of fan fiction so far. Authors may decide that, if their work will be imitated anyway, they might as well get credited and paid for it in the process. If successful, Kindle Worlds will give authors some control over how their work is adapted.

Read and learn more

The Writers Welcome Blog is available on Kindle J

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