Thursday, May 23, 2013

Write Fan Fic? Amazon Wants to Help You Get Paid, Dawg

Yeah, you can't unsee this.
So, yeah, first off, let's get something out of the way here. I've written fan fic. I'm not proud of it, I didn't write very much, and it was a long time ago. If you know anything about me, you'll probably know what it was for. That's right, The Waltons. You can't know the thrill I got typing the words, "Goodnight, John Boy."

Up until recently, fan fic was the absolute literary gutter, just slightly above its more disreputable cousin, slash fic. The good fan fic was written by people that were talented writers, but fan fic really led nowhere, so one got the sense they were wasting their time. All the other kinds of fan fic are basically fan wank. That's where you get all that Star Wars meets Star Trek fan fic. Or Doctor Who meets The Dukes of Hazzard, etc.

But now, Amazon is taking things to the next level. They just announced Kindle Worlds, "a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games." Basically, they're starting a platform where people will be able to write fan fiction, submit it to Amazon, who will offer it for sale. They've gotten the license for properties owned by Warner Bros. Television Group's Alloy Entertainment. They produce shows like Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and The Vampire Diaries. I'm thinking that last one will get the bulk of the submissions, all of them dealing with suppressed sexual desire and intense longing stares. The brooding. Oh, the brooding.

That means that this fan fic will be legal, and quite possibly, profitable for everyone, including the author. Ever since Fifty Shades of Grey sprang from being originally Twilight fan fic into a publishing phenomenon, fan fic has gotten lot more credible. Now Amazon has thrown their hat into the ring. Amazon will pay royalties to the rights holder and to the authors; the standard royalty rate for works of at least 10,000 words will be 35% of net revenue. For works between 5,000 and 10,000 words Amazon will pay the royalties for the rights holder and will pay authors a digital royalty of 20% of net revenue. The author will retain copyright for all original elements in the stories, but the rights holder retains rights for original elements.

The irony of a blogger writing about fan fic is not lost on me. I'm not even going out on a limb here to say that this will be successful. Vampire Diaries alone will generate submissions. And as this is all digital, the costs for Amazon will not be huge. And if they uncover some new talent, then so much the better. A lot is going to depend on what other kinds of properties they get, and if they manage to land a big fish, then this could be the next big thing. But man, you'll have to wade through a ton of crap. Seriously, it'll be mental. And for all of you wondering, no, they aren't accepting porn, so you can forget submitting that He-Man/Betty Rubble story you had all worked out.

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