For a book that started out as Twilight fan fiction, Fifty Shades of Grey has succeeded beyond anyone’s (naughty) dreams. Most fan-fiction authors toil in obscurity, reimagining books, movies, or TV shows for fun and not much else. A new Amazon platform, though, could help turn hobbies into hot properties. ”There’s a lot of potential here,” says Philip Patrick, publisher of Amazon’s new fan-fiction platform, Kindle Worlds. ”Our job is to work really hard to realize that potential.”
Kindle Worlds is scheduled to launch later this month and has licensing rights for Alloy Entertainment’s popular books-turned-TV series Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries, among others. Writers submit works that are reviewed and published as e-books priced between $0.99 and $3.99 (a similar price point to those in Amazon’s successful Kindle Singles store). The original rights holder and the fanfic author will get royalties, and there are opportunities beyond e-books. ”We would be thrilled if a writer’s work was adapted for a movie…or a TV episode or a game,” says Patrick.
The launch will feature more than 50 e-books, including one from the Angel’s Bay series author Barbara Freethy and her daughter, a Pretty Little Liars-inspired story called Hush Little Baby. ”It was fun to come into a world where a lot of things were already created and put your own spin on it,” says Freethy. PLL author Sara Shepard understands the impulse. ”I used to write fan fiction too,” she says. “I was a Judy Blume fan.”
Fans of other franchises may get their shot soon. Amazon has signed several more to-be-announced worlds and intends to expand into movies, games, and music. ”Whether it’s…Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars or other things we have coming up, people respond to them because they’re great stories to start with,” says Patrick. ”And they want to tell more stories.”