WTF: Amazon is going to see legal fan fiction

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by JD, May 22, 2013.

  1. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    I just stumbled across this story on IO9 today.
    Apparently Amazon has started a new program that will allow them to legally publish fan fiction based on specific IPs that they have bought the rights to. They will pay royalties to both the writer and the IP owner.
    Right now they only have rights to Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl, and The Vampire Diaries, but it says that they are attempting to get rights to more stuff, including movies, TV shows, games and music.
    Right now it doesn't affect Trek, but it's still pretty big news in the fandom world, and I thought it would be worth discussing her.
     
  2. Halmirdax

    Halmirdax Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    That's surprising but intriguing. Wonder how they decide on royalties and whether writers would want people writing rubbish and selling it connected to their work. (Not all fanfiction is terrible, there are some very impressive pieces out there.)
     
  3. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    Your link doesn't work.
     
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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  5. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks for the right link, Christopher.
    Sorry, I apparently forgot to change tabs when I copied and pasted.
    I'm honestly not really sure what to make of this idea. It just seems kind weird to me that they would sanction fan fic like this, but I guess somebody must have decided it was worth it to make some money off of it.
    Scalzi brings up some good points there. It is a little unnerving that companies can get the rights to everything in the books without actually paying the writers. Not to mention the effect this could have on licensed tie-ins.
     
  6. datalogan

    datalogan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Seems to me like it's not much different than Strange New Worlds. Just getting permission to publish stories for the IP using "untried" authors.
     
  7. SeerSGB

    SeerSGB Admiral Admiral

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    Call me when they get Star Wars or Star Trek :lol: (oh come on, you know CBS will whore this if they see $$$ to be made). Here's an ideal what's to keep someone from ripping stories from (example) fanfiction.net and selling them?
     
  8. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Apart from the quality control and editing aspects.

    Even if there is some sort of quality editing done, the guidance and direction of editorial teams will not happen. You can pretty much forget the 'coherent universe' that we currently enjoy.

    This could be a 'way in' for budding writers, in the same way as Trek TV's old open submission policy, but it could also damage the position of our current (and appreciated) authors, and thus official Treklit.

    On the plus side, authors not currently being employed like KRAD and David A McKintee could easily (should they wish) self produce novels which a lot of us would jump at.

    It's swings and roundabouts I suppose, but I am concerned that the drawbacks may outweigh the advantages...
     
  9. SeerSGB

    SeerSGB Admiral Admiral

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    Oh I can see the pros getting screwed on this deal. Why pay a pro when the fanficcers will do it for free. If the pros do self-publish, they'll end up taking a cut in income that'll seriously hurt them. This is a bad deal for the professional writers.
     
  10. Lonemagpie

    Lonemagpie Writer Admiral

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    Well, I'm employed writing more books than ever this year- just not Trek ones.

    I can't see myself doing anything like Kindle Worlds, unless it was a franchise I *really* always wanted to do something in and there was no other way. And even then I'd probably just post it on a normal fanfic site or something...
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Because experienced professionals will turn out better work than most of the amateurs and thus their work will sell better?
     
  12. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    True - given a choice between a new novel by either Joe Bloggs or one of the pro's, which one would you go for ?

    Whilst Joe may (or may not) be an undiscovered genius, I'd spend my £6.99 with Christopher, Lonemagpie, KRAD and Co.

    ;)
     
  13. SeerSGB

    SeerSGB Admiral Admiral

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    Quality of work aside, why pay a higher amount to a professional when you can pay zero to a fanficcer and make pure profit? You can bet the royalty scheme on Kindle Worlds is going to be IP holder weighted.

    Why pay 1 person out of my pocket, when I can get a dozen little monkeys working for me for free and all I have to do is cash the check coming in?

    Not saying it'll be the death of professional tie-in writers, but it's has the potential to cut into their bottom line and clog the market.
     
  14. rahullak

    rahullak Commodore Commodore

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    Agreed, there won't be quality control and editing. Agreed, we can wave goodbye to coherent continuity in the fan fiction.

    Disagree on damage to the current authors and official Treklit. I don't see fan fiction in any way overriding or chipping away at professional fiction, at least when it comes to Star Trek for the reasons you mentioned: quality and editing.

    I think most people who read Treklit today are going to want to continue consuming official (EDIT) professional Trek novels. While publishing fan fiction would give a fillip to budding new authors to try their hand, it is what it is: fiction written by amateurs who could turn out professional work occasionally.

    They could co-exist. Just as someone we know likes to say, Trek has room for many different kinds of stories and universes, so does it have room for different kinds of publishing.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2013
  15. datalogan

    datalogan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Did I miss something?
    I thought the writers would be getting paid.

    It’s just that Amazon is “finding” the writers and prose by looking at pre-existing fanfic work that hasn’t yet been officially published.
    Seems like a no-brainer, no-big-deal to me. But maybe I’m missing something.
     
  16. SeerSGB

    SeerSGB Admiral Admiral

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    There's no upfront cost to the IP Holder/Publisher. I (the IP Holder/Publisher) wouldn't being paying you (the fanfic writer) and advance or any other fee to write the book. Where as under the Kindle scheme: You write the book, it sells you get a % of the money (probably Kindle's 35% / 30% they've been pushing on Kindle authors for a while), Amazon keeps their "download fee", and the IP holder cash the check. I've not paid you, you've paid me a portion of your sell for the "license" to write in my franchise.
     
  17. DorkBoy [TM]

    DorkBoy [TM] Captain Captain

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    So hypothetically, why would I (as a consumer) want to pay for Star Trek fanfic when there's plenty of free fanfic out there?

    I happily pay for a professionally-written novel because I value my time. Its worth it to me to pay for an experience that I know will (usually) be good. Not that all of the fanfic out there is bad. But finding good fanfic is time consuming.

    SNW was a little different, in that it was curated. Editors combed through the submissions and only published the best work. I enjoyed SNW, but even so, only a few stories came close to being as good as what the professional tie-in authors create. (And, they were all short story length. Producing a full length novel is a lot more difficult.)

    It sounded to me like this concept wasn't even going to be curated, but I could be wrong. (And, curation and editing costs money. Cheaper than hiring a writer? Maybe. But if so then why didn't it replace professional writing already after the SNW experiment?)

    All that to say I think that the professional tie in market will continue. They are already competing against free fanfic and so far I'd say a lot of us think it is worth the money.
     
  18. SeerSGB

    SeerSGB Admiral Admiral

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    They don't curate Kindle publishing as it is (Log in, upload, and unless Amazon gets complaints or your violate the TOS, they don't care). So I can't see this being any different.
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    You miss my point. The amount of profit depends on how many people buy the books. And well-written, professional books would presumably satisfy the audience more and thus sell more copies -- i.e. make more profit -- in the long run.

    In other words:

    Because the checks coming in may not be as big in the latter case. If the audience doesn't like a product as much, it won't be as successful. As DorkBoy suggested, a lot of people who'd read fanfiction for free wouldn't necessarily pay for work of the same quality. Particularly since these works won't have the freedom of fanfic to do things like slash, erotica, or crossovers with other franchises. So it takes away a lot of what makes fanfic worthwhile to its readers and becomes just conventional tie-in fiction of inconsistent quality.


    Initially, perhaps, but I'm hopeful that the market will speak and the quality, professional work will sell better overall.


    Although as HuffPo pointed out, since it's for profit, it's not really fanfiction. It's crowdsourcing licensed tie-in fiction. The risk is that publishers could see that as a cheaper alternative and be less inclined to hire folks like me, Dave, KRAD, Kirsten, Greg, and the rest. What I'm hoping is that they'll choose to go with names they can trust to sell well rather than gambling on unknowns, however cheap.
     
  20. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Blessing chunks of fan fiction I think is ultimately a good thing. The fans will decide how to separate the wheat from the chaff. I mean, there's been wildly varying quality (and adherence to canon) in official Trek Lit as it is.

    Whether people will pay for what's already floating around for free could easily be asked about anything, given the proliferation of piracy.