For now, the only “Kindle Worlds” available for authorized, licensed fanfic-for-sale are Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl, and Pretty Little Liars. But Amazon says more fanfic licenses are coming.
Royalties will be shared by Amazon between the license owner (Warner Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment) and the fanfic writer. Royalties will fall into two different classes, based solely on length.
On the dark side, Amazon Publishing owns your story. “Amazon Publishing will acquire all rights to your new stories, including global publication rights, for the term of copyright.” So if they lose the license, you’re kinda outta luck.
“Kindle Worlds is a creative community where Worlds grow with each new story. You will own the copyright to the original, copyrightable elements (such as characters, scenes, and events) that you create and include in your work, and the World Licensor will retain the copyright to all the original elements of the World. When you submit your story in a World, you are granting Amazon Publishing an exclusive license to the story and all the original elements you include in that story. This means that your story and all the new elements must stay within the applicable World. We will allow Kindle Worlds authors to build on each other’s ideas and elements. We will also give the World Licensor a license to use your new elements and incorporate them into other works without further compensation to you.”
So if you come up with a great piece of fanon or a new character, they own it and you don’t. You’re working for the company, just like somebody putting out a comic or a novel in the traditional licensing way.
Also, you don’t have control over how much it costs, and thus how much royalty you end up with, and you don’t have marketing control. “Amazon Publishing will set the price for Kindle Worlds stories. Most will be priced from $0.99 through $3.99.”
There are also guidelines. Which, oddly enough, will probably ensure that fanfic survives in the wild.
“Pornography: We don’t accept pornography or offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts.
Offensive Content: We don’t accept offensive content, including but not limited to racial slurs, excessively graphic or violent material, or excessive use of foul language.
Illegal and Infringing Content: We take violations of laws and proprietary rights very seriously. It is the authors’ responsibility to ensure that their content doesn’t violate laws or copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity, or other rights.
Poor Customer Experience: We don’t accept books that provide a poor customer experience. Examples include poorly formatted books and books with misleading titles, cover art, or product descriptions. We reserve the right to determine whether content provides a poor customer experience.
Excessive Use of Brands: We don’t accept the excessive use of brand names or the inclusion of brand names for paid advertising or promotion.
Crossover: No crossovers from other Worlds are permitted, meaning your work may not include elements of any copyright-protected book, movie, or other property outside of the elements of this World.”
Yup, even when it’s all owned by the same company. Crossovers are tricky in the legal world.
So there you have it. Definitely not as restrictive as the traditional sort of work for hire, and you even get royalties. But still, it’s writer beware, so be careful out there.
If you’re interested, visit Kindle Worlds today!