So, apparently Amazon has decided to start selling fanfic for select fandoms, specifically Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and Vampire Diaries. Kindle Worlds is set to launch next month. Don’t worry, they’ve licensed these fandoms, and you can let them license yours as well.
While Rebecca Pahle at The Mary Sue is optimistic about this, it just doesn’t feel right to me. I don’t disagree that fans put a lot of hard work into their stories, videos, artwork, etc. I’ve written fanfic, I know it takes work.
But I think this comment by Jim Chines sums up my feelings about Amazon better than I ever could, “Finally, Amazon is not pro-author, nor are they pro-reader. They’re pro-Amazon.”
Sentences like this make me nervous: “[Amazon] will also give the World Licensor a license to use your new elements and incorporate them into other works without further compensation to you.”
Most fanfic writers aren’t ready to publish, and I would argue that the majority don’t read widely about the publishing industry. Yet, they’ll be signing contracts without the benefit of agents to provide that industry savvy.
Amazon will become the gatekeepers for what type of fanfic is published. No porn, no crossovers, and nothing offensive, and yes, Amazon will determine what qualifies as offensive and porn.
On benifit they’ll offer is some content editing, though again they’ll determine what content does and doesn’t provide “poor customer experience”.
Chuck Wendig brings up very interesting point about the fuzzy separation between canonical and non-canonical works if the reader is paying for both. Though, I’d like to think most people can keep this straight without too much fuss.
It just doesn’t feel right to me. I can see so many potential problems with this, and very few benefits. It will be an interesting experiment to watch unfold though.
What do you think? Would you publish your fanfic with Amazon Worlds?
I haven’t updated in ages, but I thought this would be particularly relevant on this blog. What do you all think?