Amazon has developed a new platform for releasing fanfiction. KindleWorlds allows fanfiction authors to submit stories based on characters and canon created by another author, play or screenwriter. The purchase price of each story generates royalties for the original author and the fanfic author.
This is exciting for me, as a fanfiction author, but also a an avid consumer of media. I read and write fanfic because I want more of the characters and worlds that I love. Amazon has not only legitimized fanfiction in a huge way by creating KindleWorlds, but allows fanfiction to benefit the original creator. I hope new worlds continue to be added to Amazon’s shelves. Additional material enriches the experience for any reader, and expands the audience as well. It gives new authors exposure, and pays tribute to creators. Great job, Amazon.
Please do not take this as a flame, because this is not. I was just wondering if you really would publish your fanfiction. Your work is wonderful and more than noteworthy for publishing, but ethically and legally (regardless of Amazon), publishing fanfiction for profit is not something many would smile about, and could get you into trouble (with a great deal of the fanfiction community and original authors). It would be the same as if I profited off of your novel, North Sea Dawn.
Have you ever considered rewriting your fanfics, and publishing them as original work? Again, please do not think this is an attack. This is anything but one. I’m just curious.
Thank you for your comment. I should clarify that Kindle Worlds is a platform designed with the permission of the original authors. That is why I feel Amazon has made such an exciting step; they have declared their agreement with many successful authors, such as George Lucas and J.K. Rowling, that fan fic is a derivative work under US Copyright Law. Amazon has taken that a step further and developed business relationships with such authors and creators to permit and encourage new works based on their universes. Legally and ethically, Kindle Worlds is a perfect vehicle for fan fic to be legitimized.
Although the Inuyasha Universe is not currently available in Kindle Worlds, I don’t know if I would publish my existing stories there. I have already started them under the presumption that they are free, and primarily a method for me to hone my writing craft. However, if Ms. Takahasi were to ever reach agreement with Amazon and allowed fan fic created in her universe to be published, I think it would create a great opportunity for some fan fic authors who stop writing great stories, or never get great ideas written down, because they can’t prioritize writing when it has no benefit to them. I understand. It is hard to find time to write, even when you don’t have to create the universe from scratch, and harder still for some of my favorite fan fic authors who have families and jobs that are depending on them. Those writers have created new visions of a universe that I love, and I want to hear how their stories end. I want them to be incentivized to invest time in their work and make it the best it can be. I want Ms. Takahasi to see direct financial benefit from the thousands of fans who are expanding upon her work and, hopefully, bringing some new fans to the Inuyasha world.
I appreciate your concern; it is my concern too. No derivative work should profit without the consent of the original creator. Amazon has made a legal and mutually beneficial relationship between the universe creator and the derivative author possible for a limited number of fictional worlds – with more coming soon. I would never publish my fanfic without Ms. Takahasi’s permission, and I might not do so even then. If it was requested of me by her representatives, I would take down my Inuyasha stories immediately. However, I still support the goals of Kindle Worlds, and those fan fiction authors who could benefit by receiving some small compensation for the many, many hours they put into entertaining us and expanding the universes they love.