So to recap, Amazon just MONETIZED FREAKING FANFIC.
May 22, 2013 8:53 AM   Subscribe

Amazon introduces Kindle Worlds, allowing fanfic authors to profit from works based on settings and characters not their own. Kindle Worlds is set to roll out this summer. Don't dust off your classic Kirk/Spock opus just yet, though - at this point they're only working with properties owned by Warner Brothers' Alloy Entertainment (Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and Vampire Diaries).

But will fans actually pay for something that they're able to get for free?
posted by robocop is bleeding (135 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well this is certainly worth commenting on!
posted by Mister_A at 8:57 AM on May 22, 2013


Now *that* is unlucky.
posted by jaduncan at 8:57 AM on May 22, 2013


Aw, shucks. Okay, flagging mine.
posted by Sokka shot first at 8:58 AM on May 22, 2013


This guy says no porn!
posted by Mister_A at 8:58 AM on May 22, 2013


I am grateful about the no porn rule because that means this is just that much less likely to succeed.
posted by Mizu at 8:59 AM on May 22, 2013 [36 favorites]


Aw, shucks. Okay, flagging mine.

You've been NewsFiltered.
posted by resurrexit at 8:59 AM on May 22, 2013


not enough lol in the entire world
posted by elizardbits at 8:59 AM on May 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


Mefi's own John Scalazi has already posted his initial thoughts to the interwebs.

My first thought was "Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!"

Swiftly followed by, "I cannot wait to see what other Mefites think of this."

Amazon seem to want fanfic, that isn't really fanfic, and with a contract that is primo terrible for any writer anywhere. Yeah good luck with that.
posted by Faintdreams at 8:59 AM on May 22, 2013 [6 favorites]




Is there any kind of standard you have to meet, other than 'not porn'? I can't tell from reading the links, but it seems like crude amateur schlock isn't really going to help your brand very much... then again, hey, a paying market!
posted by Mister_A at 9:01 AM on May 22, 2013




Ugh. Just...ugh.
posted by custardfairy at 9:01 AM on May 22, 2013


As with many things fanfic related, a scene I missed only by virtue of not having an Internet connected computer when I was younger, I am intrigued and interested but will probably be unaffected by this.

On the other hand, familiarizing myself with the Vampire Diaries universe so that I could have the undead tear through the Upper East Side of Gossip Girl does still sound like something I'd do for free, so who knows?
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:01 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Aheheheheh. Heheheheheheheheheh. Heeeheeeheeeheeee. Aahahahahahaaa. Oh man.

I am so excited about watching this bomb.
posted by WidgetAlley at 9:02 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


They don't allow crossover works, though.
posted by elizardbits at 9:02 AM on May 22, 2013


SILENCED ALL MY LIFE.


I can't tell from reading the links, but it seems like crude amateur schlock isn't really going to help your brand very much.

There are plenty of things already hosted at Amazon for the Kindle that is a hell of a lot more amateur than... a real amateur thing.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:03 AM on May 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


So maybe a guy name Buck Chass takes a trip to New Orleans and meets a nice guy named Klaus who just recently moved in and is kinda lonely after an awkward breakup?

WHAT THEN INTERNET?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:04 AM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


- 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.


Those are conveniently vague. What will they mean in practice?
posted by rtha at 9:05 AM on May 22, 2013


As someone who never reads fanfic I'm intrigued. By having it on Amazon's rating, review and recommendation system it will be much easier to find the one or two great works worth reading. I'm never going to trawl fanfic sites looking for gems, too scary.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:05 AM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


*throws away Damon/Alaric slashfic; weeps*
posted by Kitteh at 9:06 AM on May 22, 2013




Wow, that was unexpected. It's going to be fascinating to see how it plays out.

I can see this attracting fanfic writers, a few at least: the ones who may be less thoroughly embedded in the existing fanfic world (thus the emphasis on teen- and preteen properties) and who won't realize what a bad contract they're signing up for (thus again the emphasis on teen- and preteen properties) and who've been jealously watching the 50 Shades Of Gray person rake it in (thus, well, no that part doesn't fit the preteen thing very well I guess.)

As for the reader side of things... there I'm a lot more skeptical. Maybe there's an untapped market of fanfic readers who prefer to avoid porn and don't like crossovers and find the idea of licensed fic appealing for some reason and are willing to pay to have someone else filter out all the porn and crossover and unlicensed fic? I guess? Maybe?
posted by ook at 9:08 AM on May 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Separate from the supply-side issues, who exactly out there is going to pay money for Gossip Girl fan-fic? A 25% rev share of nothing doesn't seem like a great deal.
posted by GuyZero at 9:08 AM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Doesn't everyone have a Damon/Alaric slashfic? In mine they are both part cat and the actors date in real life.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:08 AM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


robocop is bleeding: "So maybe a guy name Buck Chass takes a trip to New Orleans and meets a nice guy named Klaus who just recently moved in and is kinda lonely after an awkward breakup?"

I think you meant Charlie Trout.

xoxo
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:08 AM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


That's some crap contract terms right there.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:09 AM on May 22, 2013


Doesn't everyone have a Damon/Alaric slashfic? In mine they are both part cat and the actors date in real life.

i would like to subscribe to your newsletter svp
posted by Kitteh at 9:11 AM on May 22, 2013


OK, so, what about my ER fan fic from like 20 years ago?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:12 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just make everyone a vampire and sell it yourself.
posted by The Whelk at 9:13 AM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


2bucksplus, conveniently, all you need to do to find the few "great works" in any given fandom of reasonable size and recent-ness is go to AO3, find your fandom and/or pairing of choice, and sort the results by kudos. For example, if you like the Avengers (in all media types), try this link. This technique of course does not work for all things, and plenty of fandoms do not have an emphasis on posting fic to the Archive, but for a long time in internet-years AO3 has been the place to put your stuff if you care about readability and sharing with others.
posted by Mizu at 9:13 AM on May 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


I hope they do this for Star Wars. I have this really great idea with young Darth Vader and he races around in a hovercraft, and makes a prissy android to help out around the slave hovel, and then he makes friends with a weird girl that's much too old for him, and there's this funny, vaguely Caribbean dude! Plus a giant fish!
posted by Mister_A at 9:13 AM on May 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


Ugh.
posted by zarq at 9:14 AM on May 22, 2013


OMG, The Whelk–– Vampire Hospital should totally be a thing!
posted by Mister_A at 9:14 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


(side note, Jesus Christ 5 thousand kudos, man the toasterverse is *popular* for a mild content story)
posted by The Whelk at 9:14 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


And I'll stress again, I think those of you who think there might be no market for this (and granted, I think this is an experiment at best), should really take a browse at the best selling cheap reads in the Kindle Store sometime. They are very much not good. But somebody is purchasing them. I wouldn't be surprised if those same people are a currently untapped audience for fanfic.


(Okay, on preview, that sounds like I mean that fanfic is without question poorly written, which wasn't my intention. I just think people should remember that lots of shit is getting bought already on Amazon for the Kindle. Putting familiar characters in an easily accessible marketplace does seem like a possible win.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:14 AM on May 22, 2013


Mister_A, that's awesome but could you maybe have him try to impress the older girl by doing rodeo tricks on the back of a giant tick? I think that might be cool, chicks dig ticks
posted by ook at 9:15 AM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm sure if you crossover your ER fic with Doctor Who (thanks, Alex) it'll sell like gangbusters, except oh wait, no crossovers allowed.
posted by Mizu at 9:15 AM on May 22, 2013


Wait, wait, wait, so, let me get this straight--this is the type of thing where you don't have to participate if you don't want to, right?

If it works, and its participants like it, people write fanfic that they're paid for, and the people paying for it presumably do so because they actually want to buy it--since if they don't want it, they can still get fanfic free, from other places.

If it doesn't work, it doesn't work, and things pretty much continue status quo.

But in the meantime, the creators of the original characters get paid, the authors of the fanfic get paid, and the consumers are buying something they think is worth paying for.

And people hate this.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:15 AM on May 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


I'm hoping Warner Bros extends this across the board for more of their properties. After all, they own DC Comics, so....
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:18 AM on May 22, 2013


My impression when I first saw this was that this could become dangerous for the fanfic community at large. Once you start monetizing fanfic, once you charging people money for "officially licensed" fanfic, the lawyers are going to be itching to go after the free-roaming stuff. (See also the recent Jayne hat fiasco.)
posted by kmz at 9:18 AM on May 22, 2013 [19 favorites]


Damn, that was fast robocop is bleeding!
posted by Mister_A at 9:18 AM on May 22, 2013


(And Vampire Diaries is actually a pretty great little show, though this last season has been a bit of a mess.)
posted by kmz at 9:19 AM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wait, wait, wait, so, let me get this straight--this is the type of thing where you don't have to participate if you don't want to, right?

Right, but as Scalzi's analysis of the thing (linked above) indicates, it's also a thing that offers fanfic authors some pretty terrible terms and will, if successful, apply downward pressure on the wages of professional authors and creators working in the tie-in business.

So it's an arrangement not without some negative externalities for potential third parties.
posted by gauche at 9:21 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


See also: the disastrous Fanlib, though that had some different terms from this Amazon thing.
posted by kmz at 9:22 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


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.

Surely there's an eager intern willing to sort through the Kindle slush pile.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:24 AM on May 22, 2013


I'm opposed to it on OH GOD SPEC WORK DIE IN A FUCKING FIRE grounds. My resolution for upcoming age 30 is never, ever do unpaid work ever again. I'd really just rather not work then not get paid.
posted by The Whelk at 9:24 AM on May 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


Attempting to "monetize" fanfic ignore the problem with writing for a living is that people will actually *pay* for the privilege of getting published.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:25 AM on May 22, 2013


The Kindle slush pile is going to be like all the other slush piles teamed up, Voltron-style. I bet they use some kind of naughtiness algorithm to find the good stuff.
posted by Mister_A at 9:26 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Alloy Entertainment is the devil of the publishing world. Seriously. Satan Beelzebub.
posted by brina at 9:26 AM on May 22, 2013


And people hate this.

I can't speak for anyone else, MoonOrb, but I don't hate this; I'm just astonished that they thought it'd be profitable. I mean, weirder things have happened I guess.

the lawyers are going to be itching to go after the free-roaming stuff

I don't see this as a threat to existing fanfic at all: the fic community is far more well organized than you might expect. I think if they found themselves under concerted legal threat they'd be well prepared to defend themselves in court. I don't know if they'd win but they could certainly make it an expensive enough fight.
posted by ook at 9:26 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


If they get a deal with the BBC I wonder if we'll see novelizations of the fan fiction scripts of Russel T. Davies and Stephen Moffat.
posted by juiceCake at 9:27 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


And yet Amazon has no problem selling the 50 Shades books which came from this very model and is porn. I don't know why anyone would pay for fanfic but I do understand why its writers would try to sell it.
posted by fuse theorem at 9:27 AM on May 22, 2013


O snap, juiceCake!
posted by Mister_A at 9:27 AM on May 22, 2013


It's "erotica," not porn.
posted by Mister_A at 9:28 AM on May 22, 2013


Once you start monetizing fanfic, once you charging people money for "officially licensed" fanfic, the lawyers are going to be itching to go after the free-roaming stuff.

Fingers crossed! About twelve years I wrote one work of fanfic under my actual IRL name and it's still on the goddamn net. Please, lawyers, save me from the ideas my younger self thought were good.
posted by prize bull octorok at 9:29 AM on May 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Man, if this was around when I was 13, I would've been eating it up like delicious cake.

"You mean I can be a (gasp) published writer!!!!1111!!!)

Now I am too bitter, too fond of tiny fandoms, and way too fond of "offensive content".

(Plus my lazy ass can barely hit 1000 words - like I could ever write a novel-length one...)
posted by Katemonkey at 9:30 AM on May 22, 2013


I'm never going to trawl fanfic sites looking for gems, too scary.

Don't worry, TVTropes got you covered.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:31 AM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Honestly, this has already happened with Star Trek and the "Strange New Worlds" series which are officially licensed curated collections of submitted work from fanfiction writers. Neither CBS nor Paramount seems to have cracked down on Trek fanfiction since the series began.
posted by inturnaround at 9:35 AM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


10,000 words about Damon remembering that for some reason he used to be able to turn into a crow and trying to recapture the magic by gluing feathers to himself and jumping out windows would be an easy, if poorly received, endeavor.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:35 AM on May 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


I actually think this might be profitable due to the following things:

1) Branding. Why did people read 50 shades of gray? It wasn't for the writing, it was because everybody else was reading it. But, the problem for Amazon is that after those network effects kick in, they have to wait on one sub-par author to churn out the next book. What if, instead, they just let millions of sub-par authors churn out this stuff? No more waiting for the next Game of Thrones!

2) essentially zero costs. Amazon already has the infrastructure to support rating/user tracking/etc.

So, this won't work if the authors of the original books are actually making the books better vs. a cheaper "fan-fic" replacement.
posted by The Ted at 9:35 AM on May 22, 2013


Right, but as Scalzi's analysis of the thing (linked above) indicates, it's also a thing that offers fanfic authors some pretty terrible terms and will, if successful, apply downward pressure on the wages of professional authors and creators working in the tie-in business.

Fair enough. But, I think this is the crux of it for me:

The argument here could be, well, you know, people who were writing fan fiction weren’t getting paid or had rights to these characters and worlds anyway, so only getting paid for their work once is still better than what they would have gotten before. And that’s not an entirely bad argument on one level. But on another level, there’s a difference between writing fan fiction because you love the world and the characters on a personal level, and Amazon and Alloy actively exploiting that love for their corporate gain and throwing you a few coins for your trouble. So this should be an interesting argument for people to have in the real world.

If fanfic authors aren't interested in these terms, they don't need to participate, right? So they can just keep on keeping on. I'm not taking a position on the wisdom of whether fanfic authors should participate. I'm just saying that this seems win-win for at least some fanfic authors, and for the fanfic authors for whom it's not acceptable, they lose nothing.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:36 AM on May 22, 2013


I also thought that Offical Teen Wolf fanfic contest was just a legal umbrella to read a bunch of fic.
posted by The Whelk at 9:36 AM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


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Cybele Silverhand (Author)
★★★ (148 customer reviews)
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And if she can conquer the conqueror, is she brave enough to share him with the mysterious Lynch, lycanthropic CEO of Barnes & Noble?

Don't miss out on this exciting new saga from the acclaimed creator of the Yoknapatawpha high school AU!
posted by Iridic at 9:38 AM on May 22, 2013 [17 favorites]


I'm just astonished that they thought it'd be profitable. I mean, weirder things have happened I guess.

I'm thinking that they're looking for a hit like Fifty Shades of Grey which was basically fanfic of Twilight. If they get even just one hit and the fallout isn't too bad with both Amazon and the author profiting, the fic writers will come in droves.

Personally, I hope they go by the way of FanLib (mentioned above) which incidentally was the catalyst for the creation of the Archive of Our Own.
posted by Wonton Cruelty at 9:39 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


But in the meantime, the creators of the original characters get paid, the authors of the fanfic get paid, and the consumers are buying something they think is worth paying for.

Well, okay. There are legitimate reasons to be wary of a move by large, wealthy entities to offer a service like this.

Fan fiction is a discourse; it is one of many ways the meta-community of fandom talks about stuff. It is an ongoing conversation fueled on an economy of attention. The introduction of an economy of actual dollars could, if very successful, disrupt fandom in a way that is bad for people who like the way it currently functions.

Not every—indeed, not even most—fan writers have ambitions of being paid. Those that do can participate in a long and glorious tradition of graduation to the ranks of original authors who were once fan writers, by retooling their fan works or simply employing the experience they've gained as a fan writer to create original books. This path has the virtue of being functionally no different from any other path to authorhood—you write a book, a publisher buys it and publishes it. There's no separate caste of "fan writer" where they get to offer you bad terms and less money. You're a professional writer, or you aren't.

The creation of a special sanctioned class of official fanfic could potentially disrupt and homogenize the almost unbelievably vibrant discourse that fan culture currently enjoys—but I don't think that's going to happen, because why would anyone eat preprocessed, rules-complient pabulum when Ferran Adria's making deconstructed masterpieces around the corner and giving them away for free. So there's that.

However, it could potentially exert a downward pressure on authors who make some or all of their living doing work-for-hire, which is a shitty enough business as it is. Kindle Worlds seems to basically be work-for-hire, minus the cash up front, with really terrible terms. It's damned near spec work. And spec work is evil.

Finally, it creates a class of sanctioned fanfiction, which seems to imply a class of unsanction fanfiction. And while the OTW is well-equipped to defend the rights of fanfiction writers to keep writing, if it turns out there's real money to be made here, it's not hard to imagine a scenario where Disney, say, decides you have to write Avengers fic their way or not at all, and decides to lobby for copyright reform to back this assertion up. I mean, that's admittedly a pretty dystopic projection, but still.
posted by Sokka shot first at 9:39 AM on May 22, 2013 [21 favorites]


10,000 words about Damon remembering that for some reason he used to be able to turn into a crow and trying to recapture the magic by gluing feathers to himself and jumping out windows would be an easy, if poorly received, endeavor.

Not to mention that fog machine he used to drag around.

(In general you have to treat the first six eps of TVD like how Worf responds when asked about TOS Klingons not having face ridges: "we don't like to talk about that.")
posted by kmz at 9:40 AM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would totally be interested in writing fanfic that crossed the worlds of Beacon Hills and Mystic Falls.
posted by Kitteh at 9:41 AM on May 22, 2013


Duval Patrick, Governor Witch?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:42 AM on May 22, 2013


Surely you mean Gravity Falls?
posted by The Whelk at 9:42 AM on May 22, 2013


What boggles the mind about this is how it was done completely without discussion with the large vocal and dedicated fan-base. Really not an instance where you should 'build it and they will come', especially when it's more 'well we'll shack shop up here and lure you all in'.

I know this isn't the intention but does seem like a good way to divide and sap the life out of fanfic community. Which I hope won't happen.
posted by litleozy at 9:43 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


If it loses it's samizdat status doesn't fan-fic become a tie-in? And this becomes basically a tie-in content mill. Yuck.
posted by Artw at 9:44 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Finally, it creates a class of sanctioned fanfiction, which seems to imply a class of unsanction fanfiction.

But isn't fanfiction pretty much unsanctioned as it is? And it's wildly popular. If what gives fanfiction part of its cachet is the notion of its unsanctioned-ness, then people who don't want to adhere to the sanctioned-fanfic community guidelines will still have a pretty big audience, right?
posted by MoonOrb at 9:44 AM on May 22, 2013


This is a very poor substitute for bringing properties into the public domain.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:45 AM on May 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


Not to mention that fog machine he used to drag around.

That's another 5k words on Damon searching the attic for Ole Smokey while Stefan frantically tries to keep it hidden from him (along with Damon's electric drum set, super skinny jeans, and eyebrow wax).

I mean, seriously, give me enough rum and cola and I'll turn the Kindle World Terms of Service into a veritable Skippy's List.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:46 AM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Has Stefan ever considered trying to hide Damon's booze? Because if TVD were a drinking game--at least in the first three seasons--I'd be dead by now.
posted by Kitteh at 9:47 AM on May 22, 2013


OH NUTS, VRAMPIRES!, a Kindle Worlds book by R. I. Bleeding.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:49 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man, if this was around when I was 13, I would've been eating it up like delicious cake.

Me, too. At 13, I'd have been all over that Six Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman fic. I would've been so delighted to be a writer I probably would have even thrown in some Fantasy Island fic for free.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:50 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


My Dog Trainer is a Vampire! By Hugh B. Kidding.
posted by Mister_A at 9:51 AM on May 22, 2013


A number of media companies have learned to monetize fan-generated content from the web; earlier this month, Nintendo began filing claims for the ad revenues from videos (mostly Let's Play) featuring footage of their games.

I'm with John Scalzi, Racheline Maltese, Faintdreams, and Sokka shot first (among others) who've pointed out the ways this problematically further extends the profitability of derivative works. More generally, it seems like a way to create a new field of free or low-income creative work and at the same time shore up IP. No one wants to miss out on the next Fifty Shades of Grey if they can effectively convince the author to become a much subordinate partner or unofficial intern.

I suspect that the longterm cost will be the end of the "grey" IP culture that enabled fanwork to grow to the point that it could be monetized.

On preview: Sookka shot first also has a good point about the nature of fanwork as discourse.
posted by kewb at 9:51 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I am Damon, that guy from that vampire show. Now sit," said Damon.

"Woof woof! Arf!"

"I command you," Damon commanded the dog.

"Woof! Pant!"

Damon turns into a bat.
posted by Mister_A at 9:54 AM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Now I'm just like "You do it, I'm bitter."
posted by octobersurprise at 9:54 AM on May 22, 2013


The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 fanfic should be pretty interesting.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:55 AM on May 22, 2013


I'd be all for this if they added 'must have some semblance of proof reading' to their requirements for all their self-published material. And also instituted a quota system for vampires, aliens made us do it and I hate this female character so I'm just going to kill them right now and have everyone cheer plots.

Fanfiction has been on its way to being monetized for quite some time now, though.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 9:55 AM on May 22, 2013


I've actually kinda wondered when the "Farm team" for soliciting writing jobs would start setting up. (he said, hopefully)
posted by The Whelk at 10:00 AM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 fanfic should be pretty interesting.

It'll be pants!
posted by octobersurprise at 10:01 AM on May 22, 2013


My takeaway from the Scalzi article, it's yet another demonstration that copyright really belongs to the people with the most expensive legal team.

I need to start with a disclaimer up front that I don't read or write fanfiction, outside of a few RPG settings that are explicitly, "here's the setting, do what you like with the character as long as you don't try to sell it." Mostly that stuff ends up half-finished on my hard drive.

Commercializing, licensing, and exercising editorial control probably changes the equation where fan culture (including art, cosplay, and filk) are tolerated as long as no one gets paid for it, and the authors keep aggressively promoting the cinema releases, collectors editions, box sets, games and DLC, and officially licensed novels and comics.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:02 AM on May 22, 2013


No porn?

I once had the idea that I would become rich writing Amazon Singles--so I went over to Amazon to see what was selling. The #1 single at that moment was something called Wesley Crusher: Teenage Fuck Machine. I can still remember bits of dialogue:

"What is this? An orgy on the holodeck? This is outrageous!" Picard bellowed.

"Go fuck yourself, old man," Wesley replied.

I never did write an Amazon Single.
posted by LarryC at 10:05 AM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


WC:TFM on the blue previously.
posted by Nomyte at 10:07 AM on May 22, 2013


This thread is making me realize, not for the first time on Metafilter, that I should start watching The Vampire Diaries. Combining that with yesterday signing on for reading Finnegan's Wake and you pretty much have me in a nutshell.

I've actually kinda wondered when the "Farm team" for soliciting writing jobs would start setting up. (he said, hopefully)

Related, how to tell I'm not really a serious writer:

One of my first thoughts when I read about how Alloy keeps the rights was "OMG what if I wrote a Gossip Girl fic that was so good they felt the need to bring it back! That would make me really popular for a certain definition of 'really popular.'"
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:10 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


LarryC, I hear ya. I've several times thought about it - I'm a capable writer, I ought to be able to write something that the Amazon rubes will eat up! And then you read what's selling... just can't do it!
posted by Mister_A at 10:11 AM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


This thread is making me realize, not for the first time on Metafilter, that I should start watching The Vampire Diaries.

You should! Just keep in mind the first few eps are a bit blah.

(Everybody should also watch Nikita! Even better than TVD at plot propulsion.)
posted by kmz at 10:14 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Vampire Diaries?

Jesus Christ, poor LJ Smith. First she's thrown off her own series, and now Alloy gives fans permission to publish stories in "their" universe for profit. What the fuck? Seven shades of messed up.

But hey, maybe this gives her the chance to post her own fanfic of her own characters?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:14 AM on May 22, 2013 [11 favorites]




(The Best Bartender Ever just had all her backlist sold to another publisher who slapped it on the amazon marketplace ...and totally neglected to tell her until after it happened. Sigh)
posted by The Whelk at 10:17 AM on May 22, 2013


Maybe we should collectively write a hilariously over the top Amazon Single and divide the pennies between us.
posted by The Whelk at 10:20 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Vampire Hospital / Vampire Chartered Accountant crossover!
posted by Mister_A at 10:22 AM on May 22, 2013


"The Taxes will ...bleed you dry."
posted by The Whelk at 10:23 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


"This man is dead!"

"Whew, that's a relief. Let's turn into bats!"
posted by Mister_A at 10:25 AM on May 22, 2013


There's non-pornographic fanfic?

...why?
posted by Jacqueline at 10:26 AM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Does a coffin count as a home office?"
posted by The Whelk at 10:27 AM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Huh. I never knew The Vampire Diaries were work for hire. Weirdly it sounds like the author was unclear on that concept too.
posted by Artw at 10:27 AM on May 22, 2013


As soon as I saw they weren't allowing porn, I was relieved and thought, "well, this won't take off at all." I mean, I love me some gen fic, but you'll pry the porn from fandom's cold, dead hands, and even then, we will arise zombie like to wrest it back.
posted by yasaman at 10:34 AM on May 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


Huh. I never knew The Vampire Diaries were work for hire. Weirdly it sounds like the author was unclear on that concept too.

It was done back in the 90s and she had other successful books under her belt. I'd imagine that she viewed it like any other contract. I'd like to say that writers are more savvy now, but I look at stuff like James Frey's Full Fathom Five and think "Nuh-uh."

Having read her other series, it's really, really clear why they kicked her off, too--pretty much because she always resolves her love triangles in a way that's completely contrary to the Steph Meyer's manner that's become popular over the past few years. Which sucks. Because her way is better.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:34 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


So now the Fantasy and Science Fiction sections of the Amazon Kindle Store on the Kindle itself will be even shittier to browse? Great.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:43 AM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am grateful about the no porn rule because that means this is just that much less likely to succeed.

Might I just remind everyone about the origins of 50 Shades of Gray?
posted by JHarris at 10:45 AM on May 22, 2013


As soon as I saw they weren't allowing porn, I was relieved and thought, "well, this won't take off at all."

I'm under the impression that they're still going to allow stuff that's more or less as explicit as the erotica that's already available on Amazon which includes 50 Shades, and well, we all know how that turned out. So I'm not so sure about discounting this yet. Unfortunately.
posted by Wonton Cruelty at 10:47 AM on May 22, 2013


This thread is making me realize, not for the first time on Metafilter, that I should start watching The Vampire Diaries.

And you totally should. I was a naysayer for the longest time until my best friend convinced me to at least watch the first season on Netflix. It is soooooo good (though the first few eps ARE rocky). I love that TVD is balls-to-the-wall plot and pretty people.

Also, Ian Somerhalder's eyebrows are thing of magic.
posted by Kitteh at 10:49 AM on May 22, 2013


The content guidelines just say "We don't accept pornography or offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts." I assumed that would include erotica a la 50 Shades, but I suppose there's a lot of weasel room in that description. What, after all, makes a depiction of graphic sexual acts offensive?
posted by yasaman at 10:51 AM on May 22, 2013


Y'know, this seems like a great time to start working on my Supernatural/Vampire Diaries crossover.

(Spoiler, everybody dies-- or as much as a Winchester can "die")
posted by eyeballkid at 10:52 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ooh! Vampire Spock!
posted by Mister_A at 10:57 AM on May 22, 2013


Y'know, this seems like a great time to start working on my Supernatural/Vampire Diaries crossover.

(Spoiler, everybody dies-- or as much as a Winchester can "die")


DO WANT

(except no Wincest; that shit creeps me out)
posted by Kitteh at 11:00 AM on May 22, 2013


Weasel room or not, I'm betting hardcore omegaverse isn't gonna pass muster. Terrible shame, really.

Anyway, here's another link people might find useful:

Fanhackers: "This concept seems to repeat a lot of fan-unfriendly aspects of previous forays by companies into the weird world of fic monetization."
posted by Wonton Cruelty at 11:08 AM on May 22, 2013


But hey, maybe this gives her the chance to post her own fanfic of her own characters?

No way. She ships Delena, which is why she got fired in the first place.

The rest of my rage, I'm taking to my blog because I just cannot even.
posted by headspace at 11:11 AM on May 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


It was done back in the 90s and she had other successful books under her belt. I'd imagine that she viewed it like any other contract.

Maybe it's because I do a lot of WFH in an industry where WTH have had previous cause to be paranoid about contracts, but it seems like the difference should be pretty apparent.
posted by Artw at 11:22 AM on May 22, 2013


STEFAN! STEFFAAANNNN! BE THOU NOT AFRAID! NO HARM WILL COME UNTO THEE!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:28 AM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's because I do a lot of WFH in an industry where WTH have had previous cause to be paranoid about contracts, but it seems like the difference should be pretty apparent.

It sounds like she didn't have an agent watching her back at the time ("an agent called me up") and YA was a really, really different beast then. In 1990 I don't think any writer would have had reason to think that some vampire romance series they worked on would have ever been revived 20 years later and made into a TV show.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:31 AM on May 22, 2013


Maybe it's because I do a lot of WFH in an industry where WTH have had previous cause to be paranoid about contracts, but it seems like the difference should be pretty apparent.

It was a different time in juvenile fiction. It was mostly unheard of for jFic of any kind to sell subrights, so no one negotiated for them. As a matter of course, the house kept all rights. Authors mostly worked for a flat fee, they didn't get royalties, etcetera.

Then youth media programming exploded in the late 90s. The author who wrote CHEETAH GIRLS gets nothing, but for Disney, it's now a billion-dollar international industry with films, CDs, merch, etcetera.

We now call the media companies "packagers" because that's what they do- they come up with a hook, and package it in as many ways as possible. Many of them still offer the same lousy terms for the author, though most of them now expect a lot more than "write 45,000 words of Sweet Valley High based on this chapter by chapter outline."

LJ Smith's case shone a light on the business, and YA authors working for hire now are a lot more aware of the value of their work. Smith sadly won't likely be the last author who got fuxxored over by a packager who owned everything and owed her nothing. But she may be the last generation of them.
posted by headspace at 11:31 AM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


So, does this mean I'm more or less likely to be able to retire if I start writing fanfic now (which I've never tried)? Also, is it necessary to actually watch shows featuring teenagers in order to do this, or might I try my hand at something with a more... mature character set? Yes - I am talking about writing Bill Moyers fanfic. Or maybe Tavis Smiley. Actually, I'd really like to do a cross-over, but if that's not allowed, maybe Travis Smalley can make an appearance, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, keep the faith."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:24 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ahh Bill Moyers fanfic. That is pure gold!
posted by Mister_A at 12:30 PM on May 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is almost as good as the fake Onion headline I thought up last week after Yahoo bought Tumblr:


"AOL Accidentally Purchases Grindr."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:31 PM on May 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


"We don't accept pornography or offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts."

W'den, I'll just have to shop my Garth/Bugs ms somewhere else.
 
posted by Herodios at 1:12 PM on May 22, 2013


Finally, a reason to write the series finale of Hogan's Heroes.
posted by juiceCake at 1:16 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Will Hogan be a vampire?
posted by Mister_A at 1:20 PM on May 22, 2013


Maybe but I know for sure he's into some really kinky shit.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:37 PM on May 22, 2013


Sergeant Schultz looks in the mirror.

"I see nothingk!"
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:47 PM on May 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


Might I just remind everyone about the origins of 50 Shades of Gray?

Well yeah, it was a horrendous porny fanfic of Twilight. Which would likely be disqualified from this silly program, because of the porn.
posted by elizardbits at 2:27 PM on May 22, 2013


The most disheartening thing about this are the comments out there offering congratulations to Amazon for ushering in a "new level of creativity", closer to the "anarchic" "minstrel" traditions of old. Like, what the fuck, are you kidding me? A giant corporation's gonna own your shit. How is this gonna be like folklore?
posted by Wonton Cruelty at 3:03 PM on May 22, 2013


This is going to create loads of great meta about fandom in general, which makes me happy. I do feel as though it should die in a fiery, but not before it gives me lots of things to read about fandom.
posted by stoneweaver at 3:39 PM on May 22, 2013


Wait, wandering minstrels singing songs?

/ come on down to the baaaar sweet Peeeeeegy-O

The Olson girl from creative sweet peeegggggy-O

Fell for a journalo while longing for a beardi-oooo

Haunted by the heavy drinking Bonny Donnie-O/
posted by The Whelk at 3:48 PM on May 22, 2013


I cannot wait for the unofficial porny AU fanfic based on the official nonporn fanfic. I may have to learn to write porn and/or watch Vampire Diaries just so I can write bootleg porn.

But wait, what if I write bootleg porn based solely on the L.J. Smith books from 1990s? Is that still verboten? What if L.J. Smith is so inspired by an Amazon Worlds romantic-fluff fic that she writes an explicit Damon/Stefan/Elena sequel to it? What if I record a podfic of myself reading an Amazon Worlds story aloud and release it for free on the internets? What if before releasing it I fucking insert the fucking word "fuck" into every fucking sentence on the motherfucked recording?

brain hurts now
must read free smut to recharge
off to download all Sherlock snogging before the internet says I must pay $$$ for it
posted by nicebookrack at 3:49 PM on May 22, 2013


I really wonder if this would let LJ Smith publish her final Vampire Diaries book under her own name and make some money off it, even if part of it (still) goes to Alloy.

I mean, it is her fucking name.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:18 PM on May 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Intriguing proposition, PhoBWanKenobi! And if not L. J. Smith, surely unrelated fan author Elle_Jane_Smythe.
posted by nicebookrack at 5:40 PM on May 22, 2013


Imagine the text of the later Vampire Diaries books converted, 09 F9-style, into beautiful artwork depicting kittens and daffodils and Damon's magnificent eyebrows. L. J. Smith could sell digital file downloads on her website, for the express intended purpose that you print them onto cardstock and hang them on your wall. Yes.
posted by nicebookrack at 5:52 PM on May 22, 2013


I'm never going to trawl fanfic sites looking for gems, too scary.

Don't worry, TVTropes got you covered.


Gah! I had things I wanted to do today...
posted by talitha_kumi at 7:16 AM on May 23, 2013




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