Attention all fangirls! If you’re into writing fan fiction (or fanfic, as it’s also called), then I have some big news to share with you: Amazon is introducing a new platform that gives you the opportunity to get your fanfic published! Yes, published.
The new platform is called Kindle Worlds and it will allow you to not only get your fan fiction out there, but you’ll also get paid. The catch? Only a few fandoms are invited to the party so far. Currently, Amazon Publishing only has licenses for Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries. However, Amazon is in the process of securing other licenses, so in the near future one of your favorite television or book series might be included in this project.
Here’s how it works: A fanfic author can submit their 10,000-plus word fic into Kindle Worlds and will receive 35 percent of the retail sales, as will the owner of the original work. Amazon will receive the remaining 30 oercent. These fics will be priced anywhere from $.99 to $3.99.
This is big news and I understand the appeal it has to both fan-writers and creators of popular fandoms. The idea of having fanfic supported and encouraged by those who created our favorite TV or book series is exciting. And to get a little bit of profit for every fanfic that is bought could be a great little source of income, which feels rewarding after the work that has been put into a long story. And for the owners, another source of income and additional buzz about a popular TV show or book series never hurts. So I get why this would be appealing.
However, as someone who has been writing fanfic since I was 14-years-old, this whole thing puts an awful taste in my mouth. Those of us who write fanfic do it because it is a fun way to share ideas and create alternate scenarios that we just can’t stop thinking about when it comes to our favorite books, television shows, movies, etc. It’s a hobby that’s all about sharing our creativity with a community, building writing skills and receiving constructive criticism.
I really should have predicted fanfic’s launch into the mainstream spotlight coming, ever since the success of fanfic turned novel Fifty Shades of Gray.
Call me a fandom purist, but fanfic becoming a for-profit venture perverts its very nature. Sara Shephard, the author of the Pretty Little Liars book series said that this is project is, “…a great way to reward [fanfic writers’] ingenuity.” With all due respect to Shephard, fanfic authors have been rewarded by our ingenuity in ways that are more meaningful than profit. Writing fanfic has rewarded me with kind reviews of my stories and plenty of advice on ways to improve my writing. Fanfic has rewarded me by allowing me to meet so many awesome people in various fandoms who I can fangirling with. Reading fanfic–the good ones, that is–has inspired me to become a better writer. A price tag can’t be placed on any of these things, period.
While I doubt that JK Rowling would ever allow the Harry Potter series to be included in this project, the idea that I could potentially get paid from submitting my Harry Potter fanfic to Kindle Worlds just feels wrong to me. I want to be rewarded financially with work I’ve created from my own characters, not characters that I borrow and play around with them for fun. Money should be the last thing on someone’s mind when they write fanfic. How long until fanfic becomes all about money instead of all about creativity and fun? There’s enough drama in every fandom, and money definitely doesn’t need to get thrown into the mix.
Then again, Amazon’s guidelines prohibits pornography from its submissions. Knowing fandom, that is enough of a turn off to leave several fanfic authors shouting, “Hell, no!”
I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.
What do you think about fanfic becoming a profitable hobby? Are there more pros than cons? Tell us in the comments!