Amazon Publishing has announced the imminent launch of Kindle Worlds [www.amazon.com/kindleworlds] a commercial publishing platform enabling fan fiction to be sold online.
Amazon has obtained licenses from Warner Bros Television Group's Alloy Entertainment division for Cecily von Ziegesar's Gossip Girl series, Sarah Shepard's Pretty Little Liars, and L J Smith's Vampire Diaries, and has said it has further licenses to be announced soon. Through the licenses, Kindle Worlds will allow any writer to publish authorised stories inspired by them and make them available for sale on the Kindle Store.
Amazon will pay royalties to both the rights holders of the "Worlds", and the author, it said. The standard author's royalty rate, for works of at least 10,000 words, is to be 35% of net revenue and paid monthly. Amazon will also pilot a new programme for short works of between 5-10,000 words, where the digital royalty will be 20%.
The Kindle Worlds store is expected to launch in June with over 50 commissioned works from authors including Barbara Freethy, John Everson and Colleen Thompson. Also in June, a self-service submission platform will open where writers can submit their own completed work.
Amazon said that its World Licensors will benefit because "this is a new way to monetise their franchise and it allows them to more deeply engage with existing fans.
"Amazon Publishing will work with them to establish content guidelines that balance flexibility and openness for writers with what's reasonable for the franchise," it said. Writers will benefit because Amazon Publishing has obtained the necessary licenses and they can earn royalties from their fan fiction, Amazon added.
Leslie Morgenstein, president of Alloy Entertainment, said: "Our books have generated a massive amount of fan fiction, and we see this as an evolution in publishing and a valuable way of broadening our brands and engaging fans."
Amazon's announcement originated from the US. It has not currently been confirmed whether the platform will also launch in the UK.