So John Scalzi posted this: Amazon’s Kindle Worlds: Instant Thoughts
But I’m not sure this is meant to be an attempt to quash fanfic so much as an attempt from Amazon to mine yet one more form of writing to make money. Which in and of itself seems a bit ruthless. I’m sure quashing as such is not on the agenda.
(Besides, we all know it won’t work. You can’t stop fanworks from happening. Ever.)
As both an author, a fanficcer, and a fanthropologist, I am waiting patiently to read what Organization of Transformative Works and my agency, Forward Literary (who are very plugged in to the digital fanscape) have to say.
But so far I don’t feel indignant. Or celebratory. Just sort of resigned. I am sighing at Amazon. They really do want to be all things to all people, and I just don’t know if they can sustain it.
So far, my reaction is pretty even keeled, and along the lines of Scalzi’s.
Would I allow my copyrighted works join those of Alloy Entertainment’s on Amazon Worlds? I’m uncertain. I think Scalzi’s concerns re: copyright and who owns what (point #2) are on the mark. I feel like it’s unfair that I, the author, might get to use a character that you, the fanficcer, made up for nothing. That’s, well… that’s sort of like theft.
I don’t care if you fanfic my work; in fact, I encourage fanficcing as a creative exercise. It teaches you lots about telling a story, finding a voice for yourself in a mainstream that might exclude you, and learning to be a professional creator. I learned how to be a writer by writing fanfic.
I honestly think it’s kind of cool that we could work together on your story, that you could fanfic my work as a pro-tie-in, and get paid for it. What I don’t like is that you could do all the work making up the AU or original characters, and I could be the one getting paid for it. That’s all… squicky.
And I’m not certain that I’m cool with people publishing what amounts to a tie-in without any input from the original creator. I mean, if my publisher is sanctioning it, then it’s more or less official, right? Which means I should be consulted.
Except then you can have really controlly or paranoid authors ruining the fanficcer’s story, especially if it’s an AU or crossover. Or authors who could just end up being jerks to the fanficcers. Or totally offended by the notion of fanfic.
I don’t know, I’m sort of spinning with this point.
Here’s a thought… are there going to be Kindle World’s employees scouring FF.N and AO3 and LJ, reading fanfic as if reading slush, and reaching out to fanficcers to publish their work?
And, I mean, what if some of the copyrights holders/production studios/publishers that own the rights to the worlds I’ve written fanfiction in jump aboard and start contacting fanficcers for permission to publish my fanfic? Do I use my pro name?
So many thoughts!
As for point #3… I do know some authors who do media tie-ins professionally. I have even pitched a few tie-in ideas myself. The thought that this might be the catalyst for the death of officially sanctioned media tie-ins scares me; it’s the main source of income for a lot of writers.
Lastly… I don’t know about the rest of you, but personally speaking, I don’t think I’d everpayto read fanfic. There’s just such an abundance of incredible fic out there that I can’t imagine the need to pay for it just to ensure that what I’m reading is quality work. If I were to pay for a fanwork, I would do so through a method that ensures the creator gets 100% of the profit. I would either donate to their site, or buy them a year’s subscription to LJ, or buy their fanart/comic/knitted Dalek tea cosy at a convention, or buy through their Etsy shop, etc. If I’m going to give a fancreator money, it likely won’t be via Amazon.
Anyway. There’s my first thoughts, for those who have been asking about it. And like Scalzi, I may change my mind later when I’ve read/learned more.