OTW Fannews: Post-Kindle Worlds Writing

  • Amazon’s move into fanfiction has launched more than one exploration of “what it all means.” Time Magazine summed it up with “Amazon Steps Into the Cloistered World of Super-Fandom”. “[F]or professional writers, getting in on it from the beginning makes economic sense, says author Barry Eisler, whose John Rain novels are part of the program. ‘Some people just do not like the feeling of other people writing stories with the characters they created,’ he says. ;Publishing for me is a business, not an ideology. When I sold the Bulgarian rights to my book, I was very excited to sell them—and this is just another subsidiary rights offer.'” OTW Board member Kristen Murphy “points out that this isn’t the first time a non-fan organization has stepped in to try to turn fan devotion into a business. ‘I think a lot of fans are very suspicious of what looks like attempts by outsiders to come in and commodify the community and make money off of us,’ she says. ‘There’s always going to be, I think, some of that suspicion.'”
  • In Publishing Perspectives Anna von Veh discusses how Amazon’s move is disappointing for everyone. “Kindle Worlds and the form of the ebook itself fulfills a gatekeeper role for the World licensors, rather than being also an online vehicle for writing, reading and building community for the fans, which is what one might have expected of a fanfiction-based publishing venture.” Pointing out the importance of community, she adds “[O]nline writing sites, even the most basic, enable and enhance one of the most important aspects of a fandom: the sense of belonging, of community, created through the opportunities for immediate and direct interaction and feedback with readers and followers” and “also provides the means for writers to include all sorts of external pop and culture references, and hyperlinks, which can be managed by even an amateur techie.”
  • The importance of the online community is cited by many a fanfic author turned pro, exactly the people Kindle Worlds is meant to attract. Writer Carolynn Gockel mentioned this advantage and more in her post “How Fanfiction Made Me a Better Author.” “In the process I made fans, and more importantly, made fans who enjoyed my work but could be honest and critical. They helped me keep my characters true and my stories humming along…I would argue that my work which combines action, romance, fantasy and science fiction might have been hard to find a writers group for. By writing fanfiction in my chosen genres–sci-fi and fantasy–I was able to meet like minds.” What’s more, she was able to track the responses of readers to stories in progress. “I can see how many people are reading my stories, what stories they’re reading, what chapters in the stories perked their interests, and when I let them down. I can tell which stories are well read, but aren’t getting a lot of reviews…People who don’t review still buy stories.”

What do you expect to see in fanfiction post-Kindle Worlds? Write about it in Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.