As I said in a previous post, I write a fair bit of fan fiction. I also said I had no intentions of publishing it for profit, mainly because doing so wasn’t really an option. The copyright issues are unclear to say the least, and making money off fanfic is not why I write it. That said, I recently was reading about Kindle Worlds, and it changes things, slightly.
Now, Kindle Worlds has existed for about two years, and apparently there was a big uproar about it in the fanfic community in general, and on Tumblr in particular, when it was first announced. Don’t ask me why I’ve never heard about it before, because I’m as baffled as you.
For those who, like me, don’t know what it is, basically Amazon have a branch of the Kindle store specifically dedicated to paid, legal fan fiction. The catch is they only have permission to do this within certain “worlds” (i.e. fictional universes, or fandoms). Oh, and you also need a bank account in the US.
Needless to say, with these restrictions in place, the opportunities are limited, but they’re also growing. When Kindle Worlds first kicked off, you could only publish work to do with three specific shows (no cross-overs!) and that has expanded considerably. I would say it’s fair to assume they plan to carry on this expansion and will probably open it up to the rest of the world at some point also. How long that will take, though, is anyone’s guess.
All that is by the by. The main point is that fan fiction is getting more of an attention, and big businesses are willing to try things out with it. I find that both exciting and encouraging. Maybe Kindle Worlds isn’t the future of fan fiction, and a lot of people have raised good points as to why its not, but it helps pave the way. If things carry on like this, and copyright legislation regarding fanfic is taken out of the big gray area where it currently resides, then it’s perhaps a path I may walk down, after all.