Amazon is now monetizing fan-fiction. I mean, I guess? The press release (with scads more detail) is right here. I am of two minds on this. Maybe three minds. MAYBE… Read The Rest
I don’t even know, man.
Amazon is negotiating with copyright holders for licensing permissions, and then yes, allowing fanfic writers to publish their works through Amazon for money.
Assuming you fit all the licensing requirements and whatever contract details Amazon includes, of course.
And you’ll want to read the contract closely, to find out whether you retain any rights to your own work once you start publishing through Amazon.
And the 20%-30% royalty is…well, I suppose that compared to traditional book publishing it’s not too bad, but on the other hand THOSE guys typically get paid an up-front advance. If you’re looking for loose pocket change, this might not be bad, but only a small fraction of people who do it would see a significant profit.
And finally, once Amazon starts doing this, I expect that we’ll start seeing other companies—ones with a better deal for writers—begin breaking through that wall too.
1: HOLY SHIT, THEY’VE ACTUALLY GOT THE BALLS TO START PUBLISHING FANFIC FOR MONEY.
2: I wouldn’t go into this assuming that they’ll treat you fairly or with respect. Do your research if you want to try it.
3: Personally I’d also hold off for a little while to see what sort of backlash and repercussions this has. If our little fanfic-writing minds are boggled, you can bet that copyright holders are going to be experiencing epidemics of exploding brain matter.
I…am kind of excited but also wary. Because I know a lot of fanfic writers blow off issues of information policy and intellectual property, but we may be on the brink of finding out just how much they really matter. I’m not 100% certain that the “pay the studio, then earn money off your work” model is one we want trickling through fandom, especially when there have been noises in the legal world that actually lean in favor of NOT NEEDING permission from the copyright holder to create transformative works from their original material. (Before you go out and sell your fanfic on your own terms, though, I’ll also note that it’s early enough in THAT discussion that the leaders in the crowd are still moving targets. If you’ve got the guts and you’re willing to sweat the legal fees, more power to you!)
A dear friend of mine was on the team that developed Kindle Worlds, and I helped pitch in fanficcy advice every now and then through the process.
The way it works is that Amazon has spent the last year developing contracts with various property owners (Hasbro, Marvel, etc) to decide WHICH of their properties are cool for fanfic-publishing. So you can’t just stroll in with a kickass Stargate fic and assume it will be published, it has to fall under one of their okay-ed categories first.
There’s no guarantee this will work, seeing as all that quality material is already available for free. But depending on which writers jump on this opportunity (and which properties Amazon has acquired), it could be a game changer. At the very least this entire thing is proof that big companies want to start taking fanfiction and transformative works seriously, which is a big deal.