Amazon has just announced the launch of its new “Kindle Worlds” platform for fan fiction, which will allow writers to get paid to write stories set in the worlds of their favorite TV shows, or potentially books and movies, too. You can read the official press release HERE.
I’m very torn about this myself. There are soooo many pros and cons. Can a reader tell the difference between a licensed tie-in novel and one of these fan fic ones that may or may not have stayed true to the essence of the story world? Will they be labeled? Will this encourage a flood of copyright violations of works not in this program, as people come to think it is their right to just play wherever they want and get paid for it?
This doesn’t even get into Amazon’s potential to really take advantage of the writers. It seems, from what I can tell at this early stage, that they can take a story that’s doing well on the platform, and basically run with it, making $$ off of it that the writer will never see.
In theory, writing for the platform sounds like a fun idea. I don’t really have a problem with fan fic per se, I know some people who write it, and heck, in my younger years I wrote some myself (but never expected to get paid for it, or even thought that anyone would read it!). If the right story line comes up, I might even consider doing it.
One thing I do wonder about is the watering down of the original stories and worlds. On Forbeck’s Facebook page I said:
This is very interesting… I’m reserving judgement for now–as you point out, there are pros and cons, as there are with everything. I’m wondering about watering down the original brand/story/world, and how far reaching that impact will be. I know licensed tie-ins often are picky for that reason. They want the story to be true to the characters, the world, the core things that make that story world what it is. I can see some of that getting potentially lost with this endeavor, stories losing their essences, and if the newer versions are really popular, WB and whoever else jumps on could run with them vs. the originals. I’m torn about this. For a writer of the original, or a purist, that could be painful. But other people would say, “Hey, go where the money is. Evolve, or get lost.” That being said, it sounds like a potentially fun idea, to get paid to play in someone else’s sandbox, with few limitations.
As with anything, we’re just going to have to wait and see how this plays out–if more things aren’t optioned, it may crash and burn. But if the right story line comes up, I may not just sit on the sidelines of this one. As a writer who is also a fan, I can see some pretty exciting possibilities here, as long as everyone plays nicely.