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Many know that bestseller “Fifty Shades of Grey” began as erotic “Twilight” fan fiction, but it never could’ve been successful unless author E.L. James rewrote it into a completely original work. Copyright law wouldn’t allow it.
Now, Amazon has figured out a work-around that will let fans publish and sell their derivative works. Starting in June, authors will be able to submit fan fiction for sale in Kindle Worlds, a new store specifically “for fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games.”
Amazon says it has already licensed three series geared toward teen girls: “Gossip Girl,” “Pretty Little Liars” and “Vampire Diaries.”
Fan authors will get 35 percent of net sales for books that are at least 10,000 words long, and 20 percent for stories between 5,000 and 10,000 words, paid on a monthly basis, Amazon says. Amazon will set prices, usually under $4. The author behind the original setting and characters will get royalties, and Amazon will take a cut.
Amazon has laid out some restrictions, including:
- Pornography: We don’t accept pornography or offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts.
- Offensive Content: We don’t accept offensive content, including but not limited to racial slurs, excessively graphic or violent material, or excessive use of foul language.
- Illegal and Infringing Content: We take violations of laws and proprietary rights very seriously. It is the authors’ responsibility to ensure that their content doesn’t violate laws or copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity, or other rights.
The store’s launch won’t be filled with amateur writers, either. Amazon says it commissioned 50 titles from established authors including Barbara Freethy, Colleen Thompson and John Everson.