Fan Fiction, and Amazon

A few days ago Amazon announced their intentions to start a new line. Fan fiction… for pay.

This is unusual because fan fiction is usually skirting copyright by avoiding pay.

Basically, if you write fan fiction for “Vampire Diaries” or “Pretty Little Liars”, and it isn’t porn, then you have a chance of earning some money from the sale of that fan fiction. However, in exchange Amazon, and the original IP owners (in this case the studio producing that franchise) get to use your stories in whatever way shape or form they want to, and they don’t have to cut you in on the deal.

This is good, in the way that it allows some people who like writing fan fiction to write it, and sell it. To earn money they would not have been able to earn otherwise.

This is bad because if you do write the fan fiction, then the producers decide your fic is good and they want to make that into an episode… well they already have it. You aren’t getting paid anymore for it, no matter what you say or do. You don’t even get the regular writers fees for people who work on these shows.

If you write it anyway, maybe it is okay for you. But in all honesty I like Hugh Howey’s idea of fan-fic better. He encourages it, and lets you sell. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t even care what kind of fan-fic it is because it’s your work. He even advertises it on his website!

Fan fiction is an interesting beast all it’s own. I wrote it when I was younger. E.L. James wrote it then changed it up and made millions off “50 Shades of Grey”. Fan fiction isn’t going anywhere.

But I don’t agree with giving Amazon, or “Pretty Little Liars” the ability to use your work unchecked. If they want to hire you as a writer… great. If they want to use your work, license it. But don’t just claim it for a few bucks while they make millions.

John Skulzi had something to say about Amazon’s new world, and Neil Gaiman agreed with him. Here is Neil Gaiman’s opinion on fan fiction itself.

If you want to write it, and publish it, just know what you’re getting into.

 

NOTE: “Twilight Tales” will only be available for a few more hours, but if you did pick it up, and read it, please consider giving it a review. Reviews mean so much to new authors. Also, there are three more books available ranging .99 to 2.99.

Fan Fiction

Last month someone asked Neil Gaiman a few questions about specifics concerning the background of his characters. I thought his answer was beautiful:

“I think that is what fanfiction is for. Go and make it up, and learn.”

For years, many writers have argued about fan fiction. And here it is from one of the (imho) great writers of our time. “Go, make it up… learn”.

There are some great things to be said for fan fiction.

  • The world is already created.
  • There is a HUGE reader base already, much of the time.
  • You get to explore new ideas.
  • You get to use you imagination.
  • You practice writing.
  • You practice getting criticism.

What’s more, Fan Fiction gives the reader a vested interest in the world.

Remember all those little kids pretending to be Jedi, Power Rangers, or Transformers? Maybe you were one. Fan fiction is just the next step. It’s doing something you love, exploring a world you adore, and making it your own.

Legally, fan fiction is okay in most places as long as you don’t try to sell it. Some authors, like Piers Anthony and Gaiman, even actively encourage it. Why? Because they love their fans. And if you actively participate in their world through stories and art of your own you will be more likely to keep investing in it later by buying their books, or watching their (potential) movies.

Those kids that played Jedi in the backyard? They grew up to be adults who flocked to the theaters in droves when Phantom Menace came out. They still dress up sometimes and call it “cosplay“, only now they spend small fortunes to do it. (How much does a Stormtrooper suit cost?)

So, participate in fan-fic. Enjoy it. Read it. Write it. Then encourage it for your own fans. It’s good for the heart, the soul, and even some pocketbooks. But really, it just brings more life to a story, and gets people thrilled to read, and write. What could be bad about that?