Amazon Enters The Fan Fiction Business. This Will End In Fire.

Yesterday Amazon unveiled the Kindle Worlds program, which launches in June and will allow fans of certain properties to sell their fan fiction through Amazon’s Kindle Store and get some of the money. (More on the money part in a moment.) Right now, only three properties owned by Warner’s Alloy Entertainment division (Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl, and Pretty Little Liars) are part of the program, with plans to add more licenses soon.

The fan fiction, of course, has to fit into some submission guidelines, so erotic fan fiction and crossover stories are probably out. There goes all my Vampire Diaries slashfic that I totally don’t have.

For works of at least 10,000 words, fan fiction writers will receive 35% of net revenue, paid monthly. It drops to 20% for works between 5,000 and 10,000 words, which the press release says will probably sell for less than a dollar per download.

Some of the language of the press release is disconcerting, however. As John Scalzi points out:

“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.”

i.e., that really cool creative idea you put in your story, or that awesome new character you made? If Alloy Entertainment likes it, they can take it and use it for their own purposes without paying you — which is to say they make money off your idea, lots of money, even, and all you get is the knowledge they liked your idea. [Scalzi]

Usually, media tie-in writers get advances and/or WGA scale minimum. All the Kindle Worlds writers are guaranteed is 35% or 20% of Kindle Store revenue, meaning if no one downloads their work but Alloy Entertainment wants to mine it for ideas, the writer gets nothing. Good day sir.

“Amazon Publishing will acquire all rights to your new stories, including global publication rights, for the term of copyright.”

Which is to say, once Amazon has it, they have the right to do anything they want with it, including possibly using it in anthologies or selling it other languages, etc, without paying the author anything else for it, ever. [Scalzi]

Yep. Another new format in a long series of changes making sure everybody gets paid except the creative content producers. After all, their work is based on passion, my kid could do that, starving artists are more noble, it’ll look great in their portfolio, they should be grateful for the “exposure”, et cetera ad infinitum.

As someone making the majority of his income on writing, phrases like “without further compensation” and “will acquire all rights” set off my “we’re-gonna-get-screwed-again-aren’t-we?” klaxon. It’s the amateurs, man! I’ll defer to Harlan Ellison’s swearword-laden rant on the subject.

Or, if you don’t want to watch the video, we’ll let this dog sum it up:

My spirit animal.

[Pictures via Reddit and Pauly.]