When Amazon announced their Kindle Worlds program, which would allow authors to sell their own fanfiction and media tie-in works from certain properties, I had mixed feelings.
The fine print was a little troubling, and I was not particularly interested in any of the properties that had signed on. But I remember how much I used to love writing that sort of thing. If you had told teenage Joanna she could have gotten paid to write “Star Trek” stories (for instance) she would have been thrilled. And if that meant the money came with ownership conditions—just as it did for the writers-for-hire of the Pocket Books Star Trek novels, to be fair—that would have been just fine.
So it was with that mindset that I accepted the Kindle Worlds program as a ‘wait and see’ thing. I thought the Kindle itself was a silly idea when I first heard of it, because Sony had e-book readers for years and they had yet to hit it big. So why would Amazon? And they surprised me there. So maybe Kindle can make this fanfic idea succeed after all?
No surprise, then, that they’ve been quietly growing the program since its announcement. In addition to the three properties they started with (“Gossip Girl,” “Pretty Little Liars,” and “The Vampire Diaries”) they have announced some new additions—Blake Crouch, Barry Eisler, Neal Stephenson and Hugh Howey. I have to admit, I am intrigued.
I’m not sure what Crouch has written that would inspire a fanfic writer’s devotion, but Hugh Howey’s “Wool” series seems like it was tailor-made to inspire that type of devotion.
I don’t plan to write any of it. But I’d love to see what other people do!