There's loving a TV show, book or movie, and then there's loving a TV show, book or movie: being so inspired by its universe and characters that people imagine whole new narratives for them and put their thoughts on paper – so called "fan fiction."
The Internet has long been a place for die-hard fan fiction writers to post their work, but Amazon has taken it a step further, announcing a new platform Wednesday where people's work can be monetized. Starting in June, aspiring fan fiction writers can submit their works to an Amazon service called Kindle Worlds. If approved by the Amazon team, the works will be available to Kindle customers, with authors receiving 20-35 percent of the net royalties (depending on the work's length).
Fan fiction has often been maligned by some in the creative community, with authors like Anne Rice, Ursula K Le Guin and George R.R. Martin aspersing it. So Amazon has teamed up with Alloy Entertainment, a division of Warner Bros. Television Group that turns book titles into television shows. So far it is offering licenses to write fan fiction about "Gossip Girl," "Pretty Little Liars," and "The Vampire Diaries," with more titles promised for the future.
"Seeing 'Pretty Little Liars' fans adapt and create their own stories is both exciting and flattering and I think what Amazon Publishing is offering through Kindle Worlds is a great way to reward their ingenuity," author Sara Shepard said in a statement.
Amazon says it will not publish fan fiction that includes pornography, other offensive material, content that violates copyright laws, content with a poor customer experience (i.e. poor formatting, misleading title or cover art), excessive brand promotion or works that crossover into other "worlds." Amazon will set the price of works, typically from $.99 to $3.99.
"Our books have generated a massive amount of fan fiction, and we see this as an evolution in publishing and a valuable way of broadening our brands and engaging fans," said Alloy Entertainment President Leslie Morgenstein in a statement. "When working with Amazon Publishing on this scale, we know we're in good hands and everyone will benefit."