Amazon has announced a new commercial publishing platform, dubbed Kindle Worlds, which will let any writer publish fan fiction based on a variety of well-known stories and characters, and earn royalties for their efforts.
The Web giant is launching the new platform with licenses for popular titles from Warner Bros. Television Group's Alloy Entertainment division, including the best-selling book series Gossip Girl, by Cecily von Ziegesar; Pretty Little Liars, by Sara Shepard; and Vampire Diaries, by L J Smith. Through these licenses, writers can now create stories inspired by the books, and make them available for purchase in the Kindle Store.
"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," Alloy Entertainment President Leslie Morgenstein stated.
The Kindle Worlds store is expected to launch in June with more than 50 commissioned works from authors like Barbara Freethy, John Everson, and Colleen Thompson. At that time, Amazon will also launch a self-service submission platform, where any writer can submit completed work.
Amazon will pay royalties to the rights holders of the books and fan fiction authors. The standard author royalty rate is 35 per cent of net revenue for works of at least 10,000 words, and royalties will be paid monthly.
"Seeing Pretty Little Liars fans adapt and create their own stories is both exciting and flattering and I think what Amazon Publishing is offering through Kindle Worlds is a great way to reward their ingenuity," author Shepard said.
In addition, Amazon is also piloting an experimental programme for short works between 5,000 and 10,000 words. The company will pay fan fiction authors digital royalties of 20 per cent for these short stories.
Amazon said it is in talks to secure licenses for additional books, games, TV shows, movies, and music to expand the platform in the future.
"Our goal with Kindle Worlds is to create a home for authors to build on the Worlds we license, and give readers more stories from the Worlds they enjoy," Philip Patrick, director of business development and publisher of Kindle Worlds, said. "We look forward to announcing additional World licensing deals in the coming weeks."
For now, interested writers can visit the Kindle Worlds authors website for more information about the new platform.
Earlier this month, Amazon updated its Kindle for iOS app with VoiceOver features to aid the visually impaired.