I have very good memories surrounding fanfics. From the tender age of twelve when I stumbled across Fanfiction.net at a recommendation of a friend of a friend, I was hooked. Why? Well because after any form of media be it movie, book, television show I would make elaborate stories afterwards with the characters. Over the years I left FF.net (except for Harry Potter fanfics) broadening my horizons with LiveJournal and AO3 (An Archive Of Our Own).
I have sampled everything at least once, even the really weird stuff. So yes, it is safe to say that on the subject of fanfiction, I am something of an expert. Fanfiction is a labor of love on the part of the writers who go out there and put up their stories. They don’t do it for the money but rather because they love the character they are writing.
Of course being paid wouldn’t hurt either. I mean look at Fifty Shades of Gray that was adapted from a Twilight fanfic. That? That whole body of work is not good fiction and substandard fanfic. If Fifty Shades could be a phenomenon, then imagine what could happen if the really good fanfic writers could publish their stuff for sale.
Amazon, trying to corner every publishing type market, has decided to give this theory a test run. Yes they have announced Kindle Worlds, which basically allows people to publish fanfic.
So as someone who has spent the majority of her young adult years reading and writing fanfic, how do I feel about this?
I think it’s awesome and kind of weird at the same time.
Don’t get me wrong here. A fanfic writer has no real legitimacy within the world except amongst fans. Some people have an issue wrapping their heads around it. It can be a subject of teasing and mockery. However, fanfic writers still write on and all they ask in return is love, kudos and comments. What Amazon is doing with Kindle Worlds is giving what all fanfic writers secretly dream of: cred/props/reputation/legitimacy. The fact that Amazon wants to recognize the hard working fanfic writers is a huge thing.
Fanfic authors and the rights holders are both getting paid for the work. Kindle Words is talking to more rights holders in order for that fandom to be included on Words. The three biggest names to join the brand are Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries. The fanfic authors are getting 35% net revenue.
Plus Amazon has rules set in place: fics have to be at least 10K and content guidelines. There are also talks of programs to include works of 5k to 10k in as well.
Fanfic has been around for a long time. The first fanfic, or so I’ve been told, was a Kirk/Spock pairing written in the 1960’s. Ah Original Stark Trek, you have provided us with so much.
So as a writer and reader, I think this is an awesome yet weird idea. I’ll have to read the guidelines when they come out. Fanfic writers, however, do need more respect. I think this program can help give voice to some of the unsung heroes of fandoms.
And if it doesn’t work out? Well it’s not like fanfiction is going to die if this doesn’t work out. We will always have our favorite fanfiction websites to go to. Fanfic writers have always marched to the beat of their own drum.