OTW Fannews: Fanfic and publishing models

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  • Digital Book World examined the motivations for including Kurt Vonnegut in the Kindle Worlds program and concluded that fanfiction = marketing. “The backlist works of iconic authors fundamentally need exposure and marketing. That’s how fans of one book choose to read others by the author, and how new readers discover the work. The marketing budgets of large, traditional publishers are overwhelmingly focused on their frontlist offerings, so the backlist is forced to ‘sell itself.’ This is not the practice of the movie, music or textbook business, but it is the practice of trade publishers.”
  • OTW legal staffer Rebecca Tushnet also addressed Kindle Worlds in an article on Airship Daily. “Amazon’s doing an experiment, and the good thing about not paying advances is there’s not a huge amount of overheads,” she explains. Groups like OTW are pushing back at Amazon’s exploitation of their genre. “It’s just another business model representing another way of Mechanical Turk-ization the world of literature.”
  • Fast Company had an interview with Philip Patrick, director of business development and publisher of Kindle Worlds, who claimed Amazon wanted fanfic of properties that were already selling well on its site. Asked what “makes one author’s work more ‘fan fic-able’ than another?” he replied “Really it comes down to great storytelling, compelling characters, and vibrant geographies that writers are excited to explore. Some Worlds are more current or popular than others, of course, but there are many iconographic works and characters that Kindle Worlds writers are going to love, like Billy Pilgrim.”
  • A writer at the Huffington Post described what may be the new reader pattern: Finished Your Favorite Book/Show? Try Fan Fiction. “Despite stereotypes to the contrary, fan fictions can be quite entertaining and of very high quality. It is not uncommon for fan fictions to be better than their source material. Continuity and fluctuations in tone are less of an issue with fan fiction than you might imagine. Consider that your favorite TV Shows are written by a large, revolving group of writers. The multiwriter nature of TV Shows makes many works of fan fiction seem perfectly at home within the rest of a series. In many cases, the only difference between a fan fiction and a canonical manifestation of a fictional universe lies in its creators’ willingness to pay for official rights to the brand.”

What stories about fanfic and publishing do you know of? Write about them in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

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