Going On The Account: Out Of (Licensed) Character

Fanfic:  It’s no longer just a thing, it’s also a market!

Last Wednesday, Amazon Publishing announced Kindle Worlds, allowing writers who want to write about Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries to do so, not just legally but for money.  Not a lot of money (and let’s be honest, no one’s really paying anything to writers these days; just ask the staff writing for Fashion Police about their jobs…) but it’s more than fanfic writers were getting before.

And, as a bonus, one thing they don’t get is a cease-and-desist take-down notice from the rights holder, proof that sometimes it’s not what you add to the act that makes it better, it’s what you take out of it!

Is there a catch, maybe a dozen?  Sure; Ben Richmond on Motherboard does a great job of explaining those, in the form of a more-legal-than-before Gossip Girl fanfic.  The obvious ones, about the rights holder retaining all rights to the characters, having first crack to exploit anything you might come up with, and no crossovers (unless presumably both are part of the program down the road) are of course there.  Which is to be expected; remember to treat this more of a loan than a gift, and you won’t be disappointed.

Still, this is great news for those writers who fall into one of these camps:

  • The Inspirationally Challenged:  Having problems coming up with characters?  Have a situation you want to explore but not a lot of luck coming up with whom to inflict it on?  Here’s your chance to start on your piece with some of the prep work done for you.  Think of it like having a pre-made pie crust at hand to make that chocolate chip-mince meat pie that much easier to bake…
  • The Egotist:  You call that a development?  You call those story arcs?  Well, if they think that’s acceptable, you should see what happens when MY talents are applied!  They have seen nothing until they have seen MINE!  MINE, YOU PEONS!  And you WILL love it!  I just know you will!
  • The Tinkerer:  Cool, let’s see what happens if I go this way, and see if something sticks to the wall…      Awesome, so like, if we do this now…

And for the rest of you, who don’t have to worry about any of the above and can as a result expect higher royalties over more platforms, don’t be so ready to scoff at this.  Just think:

If you create something popular enough to draw a lot of attention to it, here’s an option you might not have considered:  Marketing opportunities through Kindle Worlds!  If you have a good product and a strong hide, here’s an opportunity that might get you more than those tie-in T-shirts.

Please, don’t ask me about the T-shirts; you don’t want to know…

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