Books written by Ray Sullivan

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Amazon - A Fan of Fiction

I don't think anyone can doubt the impact Amazon has made on literature.  From a seller of second hand books, to a pioneer of the electronic book via its Kindle eReader series of devices, Amazon have paved a path into history.  No matter what you think of Amazon, and I have some strong views that aren't all flattering, they've provided the means for established authors to reach new readers and for new authors to reach any readers both in print through its CreateSpace subsidiary and in eBook form.  They are now breaking into a new area.

There's a literary style named Fan Fiction where authors use characters from other books and create their own stories using them.  Some authors, and for that probably you should read publishers, are very protective of their creative constructs.  You might get away with parodying James Bond in a book - though who on earth would want to do that? - heaven forbid anyone trying to create a new James Bond story for sale without incurring the wrath of the Fleming estate or whoever owns the rights to the characters.

Some authors are quite cool about the idea - apparently JK Rowling is happy for Harry Potter characters to be written into new stories.  I guess JK has made enough cash to not have to worry about the odd redirected sale, but probably more importantly she has confidence that her creation is well established and known for what it is.  Plus there's a certain marketing savvy in allowing imitation - allegedly the sincerest form of flattery- because it keeps your characters in the public eye longer without any marketing effort.  If the attempt is poorly done than it just makes your effort appear better and if its good then it just enhances the character.

Fan Fiction isn't new in concept either.  The multi-million selling 50 Shades of Grey book was originally a Fan Fiction work based on Twilight. Now I'm not sure exactly how that works, but I'm reliably informed that's what started it.  It was also self published and although not my cup of tea is my favourite reply to accusations that self publishing won't work.  It will and it has already.

Amazon have started a Fan Fiction concept in the US - no news on if and when  it will be rolled outside of the US - that allows Fan Fiction books and short stories to be published through them.  The new service, to be named Kindle Worlds, will be launched with authors given the right to produce Fan Fiction for three TV series as a result of Amazon negotiating a deal with Warner TV.  The three series are Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girls.  Predictably I've only heard of one of these series.

Author royalty rates are 35% for extended short stories of over 10,000 words, with 20% going to authors producing stories of less than 10,000 words, or essays as they used to be called.  In return for these royalty rates, which are remarkably similar to the standard terms anyway, Amazon get the world-wide publishing rights to the stories.  This marks a new direction for Amazon, which has acted as the facilitator for books up until now.    It leads me to speculate if they are looking at a broader publisher role.  That would tie in with the approach they've been pushing with their Amazon Select programme where authors sign up to sell their books exclusively through Amazon in return for listing in the Kindle Library, where they take a chunk of royalty for every book of theirs that is borrowed.  Perhaps Amazon is looking at locking authors in further by acting as the publishing house?  Speculation, sure, but not an unreasonable synthesis of their intentions possibly.

The Fan Fiction might be a good opportunity for aspiring writers to cut their teeth in the eBook business and it gives them the chance to develop their own plot lines with established characters.  It's not for me - I'd be too busy attempting to parody the stock characters to  make a successful Fan Fiction writer, I suspect.


                                                          Visit my Book Website here

        Visit Project: Evil Website here                                        Visit DLF Website here

        Follow me on Twitter  - @RayASullivan

        Join me on Facebook -  use to find me

No comments:

Post a Comment