[UPDATE: One of my readers made an observation that made me think of a question: if John Scalzi doesn't like getting paid for fanfic, why did he write Redshirts? - Great book, by the way.]
Get ready for Kindle Worlds, 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.
Point (Megan McArdle):
It’s a brilliant and even fair solution. Some writers are better world-builders than others; why not let them profit off of their imaginations, while also compensating the folks who can do interesting things within that world? Of course, some fan fiction purists may be disappointed in the control that this will give the world-builders over what is done with their work. Amazon will not, for example, publish pornographic or highly explicit fiction. Under those rules, 50 Shades of Grey would never have been published; it started out as slash fiction set in the Twilight universe.
Still, as a writer I’m always glad to see more ways to compensate writers. And as a business writer, I’m excited to see how much innovation is taking place in this new market.
Counter-point (John Scalzi):
…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.
The thing that can be said for it is that it’s a better deal than you would otherwise get for writing fan fiction, i.e., no deal at all and possibly having to deal with a cranky rightsholder angry that you kids are playing in their yard. Is that enough for you? That’s on you to decide.