When I first came across fan fiction I was amazed – not at the idea of writing my own stories with TV and literary characters as heros (I used to do that as a kid) – but at the volume and scope of this quite amazing genre.
I guess I can call it a genre?
When you start investigating it, you find fan fiction has been thriving for decades, mostly in the USA, and covers a huge spectrum from Pride and Prejudice, to CSI spin-offs, to porn.
Lev Grossman said in, TIME, July 18, 2011: “Fan fiction is what literature might look like if it were reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker. They don't do it for money. That's not what it's about. The writers write it and put it up online just for the satisfaction. They're fans, but they're not silent, couch bound consumers of media. The culture talks to them, and they talk back to the culture in its own language”.
Roots in Science Fiction
According to Wikipedia, fan fiction has its roots in the Science fiction genre.
“Before about 1965, the term “fan fiction” was used in science fiction fandom to designate original, though amateur, works of science fiction published in science fiction fanzines, as differentiated from fiction that was professionally published by professional writers; or fiction about fans and fandom.
However, the modern phenomenon of fan fiction as an expression of fandom and fan interaction was popularized and defined via Star Trek fandom and their fanzines published in the 1960s. The first Star Trek fanzine, Spockanalia (1967), contained some fan fiction; many others followed its example.”
Kindle Worlds – New Publishing Platform
Kindle Worlds, a new publishing platform promises to pay writers royalties for stories inspired by established works. Naturally, the original rights holder needs to be a willing participant as well, and they'll also be paid a royalty for all fan fiction stories sold (Amazon itself with retain the rights to those stories).
Through the new partnership with Alloy Entertainment, which publishes tie-in novels based on Warner Bros.’ television shows, Amazon writers can now write, self-publish and sell fan fiction stories based on Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries.
Writers of stories between 5,000 to 10,000 words will earn 20% of the revenue, while stories that exceed 10,000 words can earn 35%. The rest of the revenue is split between Amazon and Alloy Entertainment. By comparison, an author who self-publishes an original Amazon book in the Kindle Store mostly earns a 70% cut (depending on cover price, territory etc.)
To get the ball rolling, Amazon has commissioned several higher-profile professional writers, including Barbara Freethy, John Everson and Colleen Thompson, to write several fan fiction launch titles for the three Alloy Entertainment franchises.
This is just the beginning! Kindle Worlds aims to grow into a sprawling universe of fan fiction, akin to Star Wars’ Expanded Universe.
So, indie authors, what do you think? Is it for you?