Writer. Adventurer. Currently working on The Dreamless City, a series of steampunk novels and short stories.
Despite writing four more pages today, I’ve been a bad, bad writer. I wasn’t working on my Dreamless City novel-in-progress, nor was I finishing the last section of our Life of a Foundry Moth short story project. Noooo, I wandered off and started something new, another short story. >_<
I didn’t mean for it to happen, honest!
I was just going to write down my idea, then set it aside for later. Get it out of my system, sketching out the story in a couple of paragraphs. Then I started a bit of dialogue, adding in another character… and the damn thing took off with me like rampaging elephant. /sigh It was quite a ride… I just wish it would have happened with one of the projects I need to finish. /shrugs
Enough about me and my writing escapades, here’s some news, while not particularly fresh, that I would like to add my two cents to:
For anyone still mired in exams, on vacation, or not trolling the publishing hinterlands, Amazon announced last week that they are getting into the fan fiction biz. Kindle Worlds would allow “any writer to create fan fiction based on a range of original stories and character and earn royalties,” but only for licensed stories, such as Gossip Girl and Vampire Diaries. There is also a no porn rule.
As I have mentioned before, I’m rather ignorant of fan fiction culture, but on the writerly side, I do have an opinion.
Who decides to license the rights to Amazon? Is it the author or the publisher? If the rights lie with the publisher, then it doesn’t take much imagination to see an author’s once-great world laid low by scads of fan fiction not matching the author’s vision. The author would be powerless to stop it.
What would happen if the fan fiction became more popular than the original story? Amazon has the marketing muscle to make potential readers notice whatever product it wants to push. To a certain point, it is numbers game — the more people who notice, the more people who buy. It is feasible that the fan fiction could outsell the original work. It’s gonna happen eventually to somebody, and someone else (probably Amazon) is going to make a lot of money off of it.
Also, this is a SUPER RED FLAG: Amazon Publishing will acquire all rights to your new stories, including global publication rights, for the term of copyright. <– That means that once Amazon has paid the author the 20% for the fan fic, they can do whatever they want with it and never, ever shell out another penny to the author. It’s a great deal for Amazon… but sucks if you wanted to be rewarded for your good story.
I want control of MY creative content. I want to tell MY stories. If you want to tell stories set in MY world, that’s fine. Most fan fiction writers have limited distribution power, so MY vision would remain the prominent one. However, Amazon has enough power that it could invert the general perception of an author’s work just by pushing the fan fiction based on it.
Mostly though, if YOU are writing stuff based on MY worlds and characters, and if YOU are making money off of it, I want to make MY money off YOU.
Some authors have also weighed in on this, if you care to read some expert opinions on Kindle Worlds:
Some of my friends around the Internets have really great ideas, some of which they have been kind enough to share. In case you missed some really interesting thoughts about writing, entertainment, and life, here they are:
Who Decides if You’re a Real Writer or Not?
Brain Hardware vs. Software