Monday, May 27, 2013

Why This Kindle Worlds Thing Is Gonna Be Okay

For those who haven't heard, the masterminds at Amazon have decided to let people publish e-book versions of a specific subset of fan fiction.


I gotta be honest (cuz that's how I do.) Morals-wise, I'm not a huge fan of Amazon. They support freedom of information regarding illicit substances to the point of seriously questionable ethics and financially support websites that support not only legalization of marijuana but a variety of other narcotics (I will not link those sites here for a number of reasons, not the least of which being my blog is accessible by minors.)

So I went through the spectrum of negative feels when I read the whole Kindle Worlds thing on Wednesday.

Then I thought about it and drew the following conclusions. 

1. Amazon is a necessary evil...unless you're Barefoot Books. But as a writer in an increasingly Internet-based world, I'm not going to bite the hand that feeds so many of us. Until something better comes along, we *need* Amazon. Many indie/self-pubbed authors do all their business in the Marketplace. Still I cannot give enough props to Barefoot Books for their recent efforts to fight the power. I think that's pretty Awesomesauce, actually.

2. Kindle Worlds is actually helping the primary authors--and with their permission. While fan fic isn't new, the ease of dissemination and accessibility sort of is. If my friends wanted to read my Transformers FF in fourth grade, we had to ride our bikes to the bank to get a roll of dimes, then ride another mile to the public library to make copies of the loose-leaf handwritten sheets in my NKOTB TrapperKeeper. Now? This stuff is all over the interwebz. And the authors whose original ideas are being...borrowed...for fan fic get NOTHING. Not credit. Not money. Maybe ego boosts if the fic is halfway decent. But honestly what's the ratio there? 

3. Writing high quality ripoffs is hard work. I've made no secret (other than by using an alias) that I got my feet wet writing RPF. And when I say writing I mean like it was my job at times. Sometimes it was hard work for which I got little to nothing in return. (Although I still say you cannot place too much value on loyal readership, so there is that.) Good, original writing deserves credit, and I think at the end of the day what we're going to find is that the FF that sells well comes from good, albeit inexperienced, writers. 

4. At the end of the day, fan fiction is the sincerest form of writerly flattery. Really and truly, if someone eventually loves Skylar and Noah (or Skylar and Cole or **gasp** Cole and Noah?) enough to write a sequel to Imperfectly Fine, that tells me they fell in love with my characters almost as much as I have. And I'm beyond okay with that. Unless, ya know, they change the names and add in a little BDSM. Then it's plagiarism.

What I'm actually interested in is how folks whose stuff has been borrowed without their consent--a la Fifty Shades--respond to all this. I think in the long run we will find ourselves more protected if this trend takes off. But we shall see.

In the meantime, I'll be over here working on my Sparkly Vampire Blue Bloods of the Zombie Apocalypse Fan Fic if you need me.

What are your thoughts on Kindle Worlds? On Fan Fic in general?

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