Kindle Worlds

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Name: Kindle Worlds
Date(s): May 2013-August 2018
Profit/Nonprofit: Profit
Country based in: United States
Focus: multifandom fanfiction
External Links: Kindle Worlds at
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Kindle Worlds was an Amazon publishing service that was the subject of controversy in fanfic fandom when it was launched in 2013. The service was shut down in 2018.[1]


In May 2013, Amazon announced:

Get ready for Kindle Worlds[2], a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games. With Kindle Worlds, you can write new stories based on featured Worlds, engage an audience of readers, and earn royalties. Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group's Alloy Entertainment for Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries, with licenses for more Worlds on the way.[3]

Many fans promptly reacted negatively and with great skepticism, often comparing this enterprise with Fanlib, another for-profit outsider enterprise riding on the backs of fans. They chaffed at the legal constrictions, the literary constrictions [4], the lack of community, and the general feeling of being corralled into a controlled environment, something that for many fans, was the antithesis of writing fanfic.

A number of posts in professional and non-professional outlets described Kindle Worlds as crowdsourced media tie-ins.[5][6] Elfwreck commented that use of the term "fan fiction" was a red herring intended to generate more publicity.[7]

See also: Filing Off The Serial Numbers

Rules and Restrictions

The Kindle Worlds features that concern fanfiction writers include:

  • Amazon exclusivity, possibly with DRM.
  • Amazon sets the price (probably based on word count)
  • No "pornography," which is not defined
  • No "offensive content," said to include racial slurs and graphic violence but otherwise not defined
  • Amazon acquires global publication rights for the length of copyright
  • While the author retains copyright of original characters, settings, etc., they are licensed for use by other Kindle World's authors, and the original copyright holder may use those elements with no further payment to the (fan) author.

Licensed Fandoms

Wanted | The Phoenix Agency | One True Mate | Corps Security in Hope Town | The Krinar Chronicles | First Street Church Romances | Memories with The Breakfast Club | Brotherhood Protectors | Imperfect Love | Paranormal Dating Agency | Fallen Empire | The Runes Universe | Wild Irish | Infidelity | Sex, Vows, & Babies | Dane Maddock | Vampire Girl | Crimson Worlds | Plain Fame | Plundered Chronicles | Extinction Cycle | Dallas Fire & Rescue | Sassy Ever After | Legacy Fleet | Hell Yeah! | Club Prive | The Drazen World | Special Forces: Operation Alpha | Laguna Beach | Mary O'Reilly Paranormal Mysteries | Magic and Mayhem | Lone Star Burn | Sapphire Falls | Magic, New Mexico | Melody Anne's Billionaire Universe | Blame it on Texas | Barefoot Bay | Grayslake: More than Mated | Sydney Rye | The Omega Team | Montana Sky | Southern Roads | Hope Falls | The Royals of Monterra | World of de Wolfe Pack | Doublesight | Southern Shifters | Hot SEALs | JET | Muirwood | Shadow Ops | Vampire for Hire | The Remingtons | Codename: Chandler | The Lei Crime Series | The 100 | Jack Daniels and Associates | The Perseid Collapse Series | Dare To Love Series | Body Movers | St. Helena Vineyard Series | The Chronos Files | The Miss Fortune Series | The Kathleen Turner Series | Atlantis: The Origin Mystery | Sand Saga | The Arrangement | Game For Love | Four Weddings and a Fiasco | The Callaways | John Rain | Wayward Pines | Silo Saga | The Lizzy Gardner Files | The Abnorm Chronicles | The Dead Man | Veronica Mars | The Vampire Diaries | The World of Kurt Vonnegut | Pretty Little Liars | G.I. JOE | Gossip Girl | Harbinger | The Foreworld Saga | UNITY | Bloodshot | Archer & Armstrong | X-O Manowar | Shadowman | Ravenswood | Eternal Warrior | Quantum and Woody

Some Responses from Fandom


flourish writes:

I worry that some people in the entertainment industry are viewing Kindle Worlds as a way to "control" fans. This is a tale as old as time, or at least as old as when rightsholders really, really wanted the Harry Potter fandom to stop writing about Harry Potter being gay. (Yes, this was An Issue, long before Dumbledore came out of the closet. I swear to you, it was.) Can I blame them for wanting to control the stories they've told? Not entirely, no. I can't blame that impulse, any more than I can blame the impulse of a novelist to yell at fanfiction writers for "messing up their world."... Where Kindle Worlds may go wrong is if it is viewed by the entertainment industry as the be-all and end-all of interacting with fan creativity. That would create a no-win situation for everybody. Many waters cannot quench fandom, neither can the floods drown it—a fact that companies are likely to learn if they believe that they can condemn works that are not published within Kindle Worlds, or if they believe that fans will stop writing their porn and run happily into Amazon's corporate arms.[8]

rivkat writes:

[T]he internet grew to its present point in a context in which it was much easier to go from inventing fan fiction in your own bedroom to finding a community of people who’d made the same invention than it had been when you had to find a convention or a round robin or the like. I’m skeptical of Golden Age thinking, but at the same time I do want to make sure that people who find fandom through places like Amazon can also easily find some non-walled gardens to play in...[9]


Sunny Moraine writes:

I regard this as almost uniformly a bad thing. I regard it as such as someone with a long history in and a deep affection for fandom; totally aside from how monetizing fic for profit is a shit in the face of communities that thrive on free exchange of labor for sheer love of the product, I don’t like it when I feel like The Man is trying to make my people suckers...One of the things I love about fandom is the fierce resistance to monetization – fans in it for love of the thing of which they’re fans, in a community based not only around appreciation of a thing but around intense creativity regarding that thing. Transformative culture. I think not being in it for money is a lot of what’s made fandom so vibrant and wonderful.[10]

esteefee writes:

They're not trying to sugar-coat it at all. It's a straight-up, bare-bones IP theft type dealie, the kind of thing Big Media has been doing to comic book illustrators, musicians, and other artists since copyright first was invented, but even worser. Pennies, pennies will they offer to pay fanfiction writers for their brilliant plots and 'verses and OCs, because Hollywood has been out of ideas since 1965 and has been rehashing the same ol' since then...

So here it is: we are a gold mine, and they want to cash in by putting some pasty interns on the job of hashing through the heaps of fanfiction that impoverished writers will publish on the new service because they, you know, what to eat and stuff. One of these writers will make maybe $54 all-told on their fabulous 150K wd AU where, I dunno, some glittery vampire has a meet-cute with a barista at the magical coffee shop on the corner when he has an allergic reaction to her Chai latte. Which turns into the next mega hit for MGM starring Jennifer Lawrence and Ryan Gosling.

Writer goes to the movie, pays for the ticket out of her meager budget and gets to see her characters on the screen. But doesn't see her name on the ending scroll, or get paid a single penny.[11]

liviapenn writes:

So there's this new thing that Alloy Publishing is putting out called "Kindle Worlds" where they have licensed certain properties and they're going to allow people to basically write tie-in novels, sell them, and keep a certain amount of the profit (based on word length.)

Here's the first reason it's completely bullshit. I keep seeing people saying "you'll get 20% to 35% of the profit. And that's better than nothing!" (Well, sidebar: I don't get "nothing" from writing fanfic. If you're not a fanfic writer who shares their fic with a community of readers, it would take me another two thousand words to explain what you *do* get, but trust me. It isn't nothing.) And you're not getting "twenty percent." You're getting twenty percent of the NET. There's a difference...

[P]lease, fellow fans, don't be the next Kirby or Friedrich. Please don't let them make you the next L.J. Smith! This is NOT a good deal, and not all book contracts are like this. If you have a great fanfic novel in you, write it as fanfic and publish it as fanfic. And if you have a great book idea, go to a reputable publisher (either traditional or ebook) where you get paid a flat fee for your work, plus royalties, and YOU retain your copyright. Don't let Alloy Entertainment be the legal author of *your* works.[12]


seperis writes:

: Weirdly enough, approaching this from a reader standpoint, I seriously love beyond words this. I can pay my favorite authors for my favorite fic. This is like a dream come true. I mean, the ones without offensive porn, incest, or violence...which are usually my favorites. I'm assuming A/B/O Sam/Dean SPN fic isn't going to be widely available there, is what I'm saying."[13]

morgan dawn writes:

As long as we have open range where we can run naked and free writing our slash and our het and our threesomes fic, we have nothing to fear. But god help them if they try to take our knotting fic away."[14]

Some Responses from the Fan Community

May 22, 2013


1) Interesting that so many in the "this is a good thing" camp say it's good because writers with good ideas will get noticed by the rightsholders and offered real tie-in work for better-negotiated terms. Huh. Why would the rightsholding corporation give better terms to an author discovered through fanfic when they can harvest more content from other writers under the iffy terms offered by Kindle Worlds? Maybe I'm too skeptical and suspicious of corporations. >.>

Would I ever consider writing something under this model? Given that most of what I write is slash, that would be a no. Very sadly, I can't imagine a world in which the rightsholding corporation (and I'm assuming it's just going to be corporations playing in this model) would be okay with slash. Or even canonical same-sex relationships with a hint of explicitness.

But let's say one of my beloved fandoms comes onto the market at Kindle Worlds and I have a non-slash idea for it. The answer is still no for me because OMG! Talk about the Yuletide assignment from hell! Well, perhaps without the deadline. :D YMMV.

2) Maybe I missed something, but I never paid any fees to Amazon (or Smashwords) to self-publish my book. They take a cut from the sales, but I didn't pay any upfront fees. Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing definitely has all sorts of for-a-fee services -- to get your book in their Kindle promotion service, to get it published in print, etc. -- but I opted out of those. What I did pay for (not to Amazon): the cover art (wellllll worth it, since it is beautiful!) and the ISBNs (not cheap, completely optional, but I'm an old fogey who thinks an ISBN makes a book "real," heh). Anyways. I saw some people of the opinion that Amazon would be fleecing the fanfic authors with fees; if they do, the self-publishing structure would be different from the existing Kindle Direct Publishing, based on my experience. Hmmm. Maybe they start charging fees with the second book... but I'd have to write another book to find out... and sadly, that doesn't seem to be happening... [15]


I have never taken issue with people making money off their fanfic or other derivative work, although usually what you see is authorized tie-ins or people "filing off the serial numbers" so that it gets rewritten from fanfic to "original," like E.L. James did with 50 Shades of Grey. This, I think, is something a bit different. For one thing, it opens up the copyright licensing to a much broader group. I'm suspicious that Amazon is starting with teen-oriented dramas, i.e. targeting younger fans and customers who maybe have no idea how much fanfic is already free on the Internet, or how a lot of older fans view fanfic as a "gift economy." Mostly though I'm just curious how much profit and participation this program is actually going to get. I'm sure authors will want to participate, but will readers really pay? Just look at these content guidelines, which are fairly limiting. The whole thing strikes me as impractical from a business perspective, but then again, many fans do seem happy to give financial support to authors they love when those authors start charging money for writing that was previously free (E.L. James, Cassandra Claire, S.U. Pacat being some examples that come to mind). And there may also be some purchaser bias in people thinking that if something has a price tag on it, it's superior in quality to free stuff. [16]


My initial thought was that Amazon is trying to get in on the ground floor of the next 50 Shades of Grey so they could cash in on future licensing, like sequels and films, but if they say, "no pornography" how does that work? I wonder if they're going to distinguish between "pornography" and "erotica" to get around that, and anything that Amazon/original copyright holder doesn't like would be considered porn (my guess here is anything other than het content would be porn). [17]


Amazon is working with WB to publish (read: sell) fanfiction from the Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries ‘verses. And they said that more “worlds” will be announced soon. Basically, fanfic writers will be able to sell their fics - formatted for Kindle - via Amazon, and the restrictions are not as massive as you’d think! No crossovers. No excessive product placement for non-show brands. No porn. But here’s the thing about porn! Amazon says they don’t allow porn to be sold on their site, so as long as your fic content is no more explicit than anything that’s on Amazon’s site today (see: 50 Shades and anything in the erotica category) then it won’t run afoul of Amazon’s content restrictions - and if they say it does, then the Internet will stand behind you as if you were a Nutella fan barred from celebrating its wonderful tastiness. HOWEVER, each World Licensor will be providing “Content Guidelines” for their specific 'verse - and I can’t find those anywhere. THAT might make a significant impact on what types of fanfic one can and cannot sell, but until we’ve had a chance to look through them, we can’t determine the specifics. I don’t think it’s realistic to be concerned that the existence of Kindle Worlds will mean that tv show/film/book creators will stamp out freely given fics. At this point, Kindle Worlds will only accept things over 5000 words, anyway, and the longstanding laches issue that protects fics posted elsewhere and given away will still hold. However, it does mean that people who write in the fandoms covered by Kindle Worlds and sell ebooks of those stories outside of the Kindle license may find themselves dealing with cease & desist letters. But there was always a chance they would because of the commercial aspect of that action. Also, this will leave fandom with a lot of questions on issues other than legality be on fan-created gift culture, commissions, fundraising for charity, or even the ability of pro writers to write in other universes. Does this further “legitimize” fan creativity (which I think has long been a pretty legit hobby), will it just create an additional outlet for story distribution, and what other fandoms will WB add? I wouldn’t be shocked if they bring Tomorrow People into this as the show launches in the fall, but what about things that are ending their runs like Nikita, or shows with massive fanbases and almost a decade of fan creativity, like the behemoth that is Supernatural? [18]


I’m definitely not the first to note that (1) these are already corporate entities–created by work for hire agreements, with no human entitled to claim “authorship” or object to this; unlikely to be a model for works with “auteurs”; and (2) the content restrictions are likely, like other Amazon restrictions, to be enforced unevenly (“new adult” is so profitable, after all) and more heavily against certain kinks/pairings/sexualities. That isn’t to say that people should refuse to participate; commercialization makes me uneasy, but as long as there are also noncommercial spaces with greater freedom then it’s one choice among many. The key thing is preserving that choice! (And holding Amazon accountable when it inevitably does engage in biased enforcement.) My real concern is preserving fair use. I don’t think this announcement changes the fair use environment in any significant way; the content restrictions show exactly why copyright owners don’t have the right to control markets for transformative uses, even when they’d prefer to monetize them. But it’s definitely a development that many will be watching. Alloy Entertainment in particular probably sees little downside in making sure that it gets paid for any potential 50 Shades of Grey arising from its properties. Further proof that anyone who tells you that they know what entertainment markets will look like in 5 years is overly optimistic. I also note that I’ve actually written in all 3 of these fandoms! Though I don’t think I have anything that would qualify for the program, and I wouldn’t use it if I did, being an open access sort of girl. [19]


Being paid to write fanfic without legal action!! ^^ My first reaction was definitely jaw-drop and glee. If I wrote in these fandoms, it would be something I would maybe consider... This looks to be a really positive step for fanfic. Also, writers in Worlds can play with others' writings in Worlds! This is, admittedly, wavering between "Good" and "Bad", but I'm sorta insanely possessive of my writing. I read all my fanfic for free. Being part of Kindle Worlds wouldn't do me much good as, a, I don't have a Kindle (and kinda no longer want one. ePub 4evah!) and, b, there is a treasure trove of fanfiction just at AO3 (and other places. But AO3 panders to my laziness by ePub-ing all those awesome fics for me ^^'). Not only that, but, given there are now licenses in place with Amazon, isn't it a little . . . obvious to think there may be less tolerance for fanfic not created under Kindle Worlds in these fandoms? Also, there are no crossovers and no porn. Really, Amazon, the difference between a porn fic and a porn-less fic is, usually, a whole lotta more hits on the porny one. I am not a professional writer. I've never published a book or even a short story (aside from a collection of poetry. But I was in grade four and the bindings were pipecleaners). I know a very, very little bit about what to look for in a deal to sell a hypthetical book I am selling... and John Scalzi's post put a few things in focus for me. Should I write in these fandoms under the umbrella of Kindle Worlds, I would be compensated for what I published with them.... And my stripped-down conclusion? I'm kinda wavering on the good-bad of it all. It could be good for people who know what they're getting into. It could be bad for people who don 't know what they're getting into. My conclusion is, I will wait for more information before I make a decision one way or another. [20]


Death of fanfic predicted, film at 11.

Well, kinda. Actually, I think it goes more like this:

Fanfic can do whatever it wants as long as they don't charge for it in any way. (This is not the legal case but it is pretty much the ethical case: fanfic is an expression of love.)

But fanfic that is officially authorized and charges for it is not about love, it's about money. So it's not fanfic.

And not-fanfic that is authorized and monetized is jealous of fanfic which is unauthorized, even if it isn't monetized. Legal fights occur. Cue threats and lawsuits.

I don't see anybody coming out of this looking like the good guy, but especially not Amazon. [21]

[phoenix rising]:

The owner of the currently licensed "worlds" is Alloy, a very notorious book packager. (Remember this?) All the comments about Amazon's bad contractual terms in this whole deal? How writers pretty much have no control over how their work is marketed and sold? How their ideas become property of the license holder? How other writers can use their ideas in their own works? That's fairly standard for book packagers. Especially this one. I promise you that Alloy is doing that shit now, already, without any help from Amazon. All this deal does is allow Alloy to now do it at a lower cost and lower immediate risk to them on a much larger scale than before.

(For a more thorough explanation about book packagers and their deal, read Gwenda Bond's post.)

I've seen it described as crowdsourcing media tie-in novels more so than monetizing fanfic and I think that's more accurate. As I said on Twitter, I personally think the person who wrote the Amazon press release intentionally used "fanfic" instead of "licensed media tie-ins" because it would attract more attention and publicity. Whatever else you may think about Amazon, you can't say people weren't talking about Kindle Worlds today. Which means the press release was very effective and that the person who wrote it did their job well. [22]

[mazarin221b ]:

Except with spinoff novels, the author retains the copyright to the novel and may (or may not have, depending on the source material) have paid royalties for use of the source to make money. Here, Amazon has secured the deal for the source so you don’t have to pay, but Amazon itself retains the copyright to your work.

And not only that, but the fact they’re being so restrictive regarding content means they’re dictating what constitutes “legitimate” fanwork (I just saw that word used on Twitter, that this goes some way to legitimize fanwork) and what isn’t; I would argue that fanwork as it exists right now is legitimate.

The slippery slope I’m seeing right off the bat is that by creating two separate classes of fanfic - paid and not, and also porn and not and violent and not, etc - you’re creating an atmosphere where its easy to say “This fanfic is legit and this one isn’t, so we’re going to go after the one that isn’t.” or, perhaps, “We have created a space for you to create fanwork, and we’re even paying you! NO MORE FIC CREATED OUTSIDE OF OUR SPACE WILL BE PERMITTED." [23]


Seriously, Is This Happening?

Weirdly enough, approaching this from a reader standpoint, I seriously love beyond words this. I can pay my favorite authors for my favorite fic. This is like a dream come true. I mean, the ones without offensive porn, incest, or violence (per observation by [personal profile] coffeeandink) which are usually my favorites. I'm assuming A/B/O Sam/Dean SPN fic isn't going to be widely available there, is what I'm saying.

As a writer--I don't think I've written anything without two of the three above (three of three on a good day). And--okay, I'm not sure how I feel about pay-only access, either, if it can't be archived (which this going to Amazon's copyright ownership terms, that would be a no).</ref>

May 23, 2013

[sophia helix]:

I was intrigued at first, but then realized this is far from the kind of thing I've wanted for fandom -- I don't care about making money on my stuff, I'd rather have ten nice comments than a ten dollar royalty pittance... [24]

[livia penn]:

So there's this new thing that Alloy Publishing is putting out called "Kindle Worlds" where they have licensed certain properties and they're going to allow people to basically write tie-in novels, sell them, and keep a certain amount of the profit (based on word length.)

Here's the first reason it's completely bullshit.

I keep seeing people saying "you'll get 20% to 35% of the profit. And that's better than nothing!" (Well, sidebar: I don't get "nothing" from writing fanfic. If you're not a fanfic writer who shares their fic with a community of readers, it would take me another two thousand words to explain what you *do* get, but trust me. It isn't nothing.)

And you're not getting "twenty percent." You're getting twenty percent of the NET. There's a difference. [25]

May 24, 2013


I'm more of the school of thought that says "the LAST thing I want is for something that gives me pure joy to be 'finally legitimized' and turned into a cog in the capital-making machine" (goodness, I sound like a communist!), but on the other hand I couldn't fault anyone at all for wanting to see if they could make some extra money to live on through their hobby. [26]


Even if this is successful, which I don't think it will be, it will not stamp out "free" fanficition. If places like go away for some reason, fanfiction will transform once again. It's last this long, it's not going anywhere. To me, this whole thing sounds like a cheap way to mine for ideas. I want to ask, isn't this why you hired writers for these shows? Maybe their intentions are sincere, but I don't like the rules. [27]

[Bradygirl 12]:

I never trust corporate America sniffing around fanfic. While I'd love to get paid for my fanfic (joy and love is great, but there's always those pesky monthly bills!), the terms are awful. You get a pittance for writing and any original characters are Amazon's and the license holder's. If you're lucky, your descendants MAY get the rights but that's unlikely. They can just pick and choose what ideas they want and not pay you a penny beyond the basics of the contract. Doesn't seem like a good idea for writers to me. I do wish fanfic could be unknown to the general public again, but that genie's out of the bottle. It just smacks of corporations trying to exploit fanficcers, most of whom are women. Surprise! [28]

[me ya ri]:

I'm profoundly negative on the whole idea, not so much because of the 'legitimize fanfic' thing but because they're taking so much away and giving so little back. They take all the rights, everything, for your lifetime plus (I think) 35 years. You get royalties on your story but nothing else. As people above said, they can take your character and do incredible things with it and you'll get zip. Ever. I don't like that. I don't like that at all! It's a viciously greedy money grab that makes total sense for Amazon and the creators but horrible sense for fanfic writers. Not that I don't understand wanting a little more cash, of course. *sighs* Overall, horrible idea that I hope crashes and burns quickly. [29]


I feel like this is a bit of an attempt to cut out professional writers from the tie in market - generate new authors who then won't have the same rights a professional tie in writer would have - and maybe at the same time prevent something like Fifty Shades of Grey by giving people a way to monetize without filing of the numbers. (It will fail on the second point, of course, because *duh* porn.) On that note, I'm not really interested in making money of my fic. It's a hobby for me and I earn my money with other things. If I want to be a published author, I'll polish up my original stories. And the legal side of this seems very skeevy for the potential authors. I'd never do it. If they want my ideas to monetize them, they'd have to give me better conditions. And then, like I said, this is not my interest in fanfic. I don't want TPTB to read or interact with my fic or be interested in my ideas or give me money for it. That's not why I write fic. [30]


I think about how Siegel and Shuster signed away all rights to Superman for $137.00 and the legal fight may not yet be over 75 years later. And I ask myself if I really want to see a character I created make it into canon but instead of being some bystander who shows up in one arc be another Lucius Fox. And how I'd feel seeing DC make a fortune with the character while I get my 20 cents every time someone downloads my 99-cent fanfic and that's only if they buy it the way I posted it and not in a sampler or anthology... and the answer is... I'd want a bit more of the pie. [31]


Will it legitimize fanfic writers and remove some of the stigma? (Though I think it's already starting to be removed since there are a few authors that have found success even though their works evolved from a fanfic. Cassandra Clare and of course EL James come to mind) But...but I don't WANT to be legitimized! *sobs* Seriously, I really preferred the days when fanfic and slash especially were hidden in a dark corner where we could all play to our heart's content, and creators were shocked in the rare cases they found out about it... *sighs* But yeah, there's no going back to that, most likely... [32]

May 27, 2013

[crooked halo]:

I don't think we'll get back to the days when only hardcore fans knew about fanfic. Or the early days of internet fandom when it had more of a community feeling instead of hundreds of people arguing over things. :( [33]

2013, Unknown Day


like…man, we’re entering into a really cool age. i mean, we’re in the thick of it right now. how fan interaction and social media can drive, inspire, reinvent narratives. we’ve got remakes and reboots and fan presence and fan writers and fans becoming professionals and fan culture as a whole right now is HUGE—and, what’s more, i’m pretty sure we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of how much this is going to change our concept of ‘original’ works. now, fanfiction has been with us forever, i’d say; it’s only gained recent momentum and notice, even if it’s a human impulse at its core. love a story? you don’t have to leave it. we’ve always been like this. dante wrote freaking self insert fanfiction about himself and his favorite historical writer for god’s sake. we are part of a legacy that only recently has gained the need for some kind of categorization in the face of copyright.

but this whole deal, to me, seems like a really clever and underhanded ploy on alloy’s part to exploit a willing and eager fanbase, to mine them for ideas, and then to screw them out of their rights, take what they like, and reap the benefits.

in the coming years, faster than i think many of us ever could have imagined, the whole dynamic of fan vs creator is going to shift in a major way, because it has already begun to do so. we are watching it happen right before our eyes. and of course there are going to be people who attempt to make a profit on that in an unseemly and greedy way—which, by the looks of it, this foray into monetizing a fanfiction friendly franchise with kindle worlds appears to be. [34]

Some Responses from the Pro Community

Some pro authors have said the restrictions are not notably different from those normally expected from work-for-hire writing assignments. Others have noted that the restrictions are not dissimilar from how licensed tie-in novels already work, and that this development may pose a greater threat to those who write and publish licensed tie-ins than to fandom per se. John Scalzi points out:

...there’s probably a technical argument here about whether this is precisely 'fan fiction' or if it’s actually media tie-in writing done with intentionally low bars to participation (the true answer, I suspect, is that it’s both.)" He also writes, "So, on one hand it offers people who write fan fiction a chance to get paid for their writing in a way that doesn’t make the rightsholders angry, which is nice for the fan ficcers. On the other hand, as a writer, there are a number of things about the deal Amazon/Alloy are offering that raise red flags for me." [35]

Racheline Maltese asks:

Question 1: To what degree does Kindle Worlds suggest that the fanfiction can only be legitimized through the eradication of fan culture’s gift economy?

Question 2: Fanfiction has significantly changed our media culture. Kindle Worlds isn’t just capitalizing on it, but arguably represents an attempt to shape it. Is this a feedback loop in action or an attempt to stop the catalyst that is fan work?

Questions 3: The contractual terms of Kindle Worlds are the sort traditional professional writers would be strongly advised against signing on to. Is fannish work worth less? Should it be?[36]

An author who had been commissioned to write something for Kindle Worlds' initial launch shared her experience:

As one of the fifty authors commissioned for this launch program, I can tell you, I’m more than pleased with the contract and the pay structure. These are ‘commissioned’ works + royalties. I wrote in the Pretty Little Liars world. The licensing came from Warner Brothers/Alloy via the television show – not Shepard’s publisher. As for the copyright – an example is if I should create a character within this world, I am free to use that character elsewhere in my own work.[37]

John Scalzi writes:

Likewise, I would caution anyone looking at this to be aware that overall this is not anywhere close to what I would call a good deal. Finally, on a philosophical level, I suspect this is yet another attempt in a series of long-term attempts to fundamentally change the landscape for purchasing and controlling the work of writers in such a manner that ultimately limits how writers are compensated for their work, which ultimately is not to the benefit of the writer. This will have far-reaching consequences that none of us really understand yet.[38]

Seanan McGuire writes:

Fanfic is a huge, collaborative, interactive way for people to be a part of the stories that they love, and I worry that Amazon Worlds is a big step, not toward monetizing fanfic, but toward mainstreaming it in a way that will sap many of the qualities that make it so important. The minute I can say "sorry, this fanfic over here is licensed, and yours is not, so cut it the fuck out," there is a problem. People need to be unafraid to write their stories, the way they want to write them, and learn in the process.[39]

Further Reading


  1. ^ Amazon to Shut Down Kindle Worlds, Archived version, The Digital Reader, 15 May 2018.
  2. ^ Kindle Worlds announcement, May 2013
  3. ^ Announcing Kindle Worlds, accessed May 23, 2013
  4. ^ "Fan authors were restricted to specfic media properties, and within those properties, further boundaries applied. For example, stories set in the world of Veronica Mars are required to fall within the timeline of the original series, which covered, in more or less real time, 2005-2007, and depicted Veronica’s last two years of high school and her first year of college. Speculation regarding the characters following the time of the series, including Veronica’s once-planned internship with the FBI and subsequent career, is not allowed. Other strictures applied to all Kindle Worlds stories relate to adult material, copyright-infringing content, and crossovers from other franchises." -- Authorizing Authorship: Fan Writers and Resistance to Public Reading, Cait Coker, Candace Benefiel, 2016
  5. ^ Malinda Lo. Amazon Tries to Monetize Fan Fiction; I Freak Out, Huffington Post, 22 May 2013.
  6. ^ Inkstone. the first post after I come back from vacation and it's about this. god, why., posted to Dreamwidth 22 May 2013.
  7. ^ comment thread in flourish's dreamwidth post. 23 May 2013
  8. ^ Kindle Worlds, accessed May 23, 2013
  9. ^ The fandom is political, accessed May 23, 2013
  10. ^ What fresh hell is this Amazon, accessed May 23, 2013
  11. ^ Big Media Cashes In on Us, accessed May 25, 2013
  12. ^ Two really good reasons why Kindle Worlds is bullshit, accessed May 23, 2013
  13. ^ amazon wants to sell your fanfic, accessed May 23, 2013
  14. ^ Tis the End Times, Archived version, accessed May 23, 2013.
  15. ^ thought bubbles
  16. ^ Amazon Wants You to Publish and Sell Your Fanfic
  17. ^ Amazon Wants You to Publish and Sell Your Fanfic
  18. ^ It’s Kindle Worlds, we’re just living in it?
  19. ^ rivkat],
  20. ^ Kirana
  21. ^ Gosh, Archived version
  22. ^ the first post after I come back from vacation and it's about this. god, why., Archived version
  23. ^ Announceing Kindle Worlds, Archived version
  24. ^ Amazon Wants You to Publish and Sell Your Fanfic
  25. ^ Two really good reasons why Kindle Worlds is bullshit.
  26. ^ superhero-muses
  27. ^ superhero-muses
  28. ^ superhero-muses
  29. ^ superhero-muses
  30. ^ superhero-muses
  31. ^ superhero-muses
  32. ^ superhero-muses
  33. ^ superhero-muses
  34. ^ second and final thoughts regarding kindle worlds, Archived version
  35. ^ Amazon's Kindle Worlds: Instant Thoughts, blog post May 22, 2013
  36. ^ Kindle Worlds: Not bigger on the inside, accessed May 23, 2013
  37. ^ Barbra Annino. 22 May 2013 comment on a post in The Passive Voice.
  38. ^ Amazon's Kindle Worlds Instant Thoughts, May 22, 2013
  39. ^ Go then, gunslinger; there are other worlds than these: Seanan ponders Amazon Worlds., June 3, 2013