Romancing the Tomes: four new Kindle Worlds open

Romancing the Tomes: four new Kindle Worlds open

Amazon sent me this

press release

announcing the addition of four new worlds to

Kindle Worlds (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

That’s the Amazon-created platform that licenses works from the copyright holders, and then allows anybody to write within those worlds (and within certain guidelines). Amazon gets a cut, the rightsholder gets a cut, and the author gets a cut.

It’s commonly conflated with fan fiction (fanfic), although they really aren’t the same thing. Fanfic is unauthorized, and typically non-commercial. This is commercial publishing, just like other books for sale at Amazon, and expressly authorized (without review by the publisher of each individual work).

I was just thinking about KW the other day, kind of wondering how it was going. There are a lot of properties I would like to see them get, and I would certainly consider writing in some of those.

There are works already in these Worlds (in order of most works to fewest):

  • The Vampire Diaries (142)
  • Silo Saga (94)
  • The World of Kurt Vonnegut (42)
  • Pretty Little Liars (41)
  • G.I. JOE (33)
  • Harbinger (27)
  • John Rain (27)
  • Wayward Pines (22)
  • Gossip Girl (19)
  • Veronica Mars – the TV series (16)
  • Unity (15)
  • The Foreworld Saga (13)
  • Bloodshot (12)
  • Archer & Armstrong (11)
  • Shadowman (7)
  • XO Manowar (7)
  • The Abnorm Chronicles (5)
  • The Lizzy Gardner Files (5)
  • Ravenswood (4)
  • The Dead Man (4)
  • Eternal Warrior (1)
  • Game For Love (1)
  • Quantum & Woody (1)
  • The Callaways (1)

These are the new worlds, according to the press release (at least one is represented above):

  • Barbara Freethy’s The Callaways—The hit series from the best-selling Kindle Direct Publishing author of all-time on Amazon
  • Bella Andre’s Game for Love—The sizzling series about the superstars women lust after from the New York Times best-selling author
  • H.M. Ward’s The Arrangement—The steamy, sexy New York Times best-selling new adult romance series with over a million copies sold
  • Lucy Kevin’s Four Weddings and a Fiasco—The sweet, contemporary romance series from the USA Today best-selling author

In terms of how well they are doing, here are the bestsellers:

Kindle Worlds bestsellers (at AmazonSmile)

The bestselling one is in one of the new worlds, Game for Love, and doesn’t have an overall rank yet.

The second bestselling one is in the John Rain world, and it is ranked 21,428. That’s actually very high: top ten percent.

While Amazon has to think about where it spends its money, I think we’ll see more Kindle Worlds licensing announcements this year and next.

Rightsholders have to consider: if Amazon is going to have difficult relationships with publishers (such as the one evidenced by what I call the “Hachazon War”…Hachette and Amazon), they may want to make sure they are on the Amazon publishing ship as it sets sail.

This new group, all romance authors, is an interesting one.

It looks to me like these series were all published through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, although it is hard to be sure.

That should be good news to some of the authors who read this blog. It’s been one of the questions: my guess is that there are many authors who would like to license their books to Kindle Worlds, and it hasn’t happened yet.

The license costs Amazon money, of course, and at this point, they need to still be impressing people with the selections.

That doesn’t mean that every individual title has to be excellent…the way this is done, there is no way to guarantee that.

However, they do (presumably) want to attract big name Worlds. I want them to get things like The Addams Family and The Man from U.N.C.L.E…., media tie-ins. Sure, I’d love for them to get Star Trek and Harry Potter and such, but I think these other properties are underserved in publishing.

To do that, it has to look like a “real thing”, and that requires recognizable names.

I wouldn’t say that all four of these authors are known to the majority of the public (although Barbara Freethy would be recognized by many serious readers).

They are, though, all successful.

I think these new books show a bit of a shift.

Getting Kurt Vonnegut was a brilliant move, and these new ones show that they aren’t just trying to woo the media elite, but the “working authors”…and that’s a good thing.

Amazon=innovation, and Kindle Worlds is definitely part of that.

What do you think? Are you interested in Kindle Worlds? What Worlds would you especially like to read…and is there a World that would get you to write something? Is Amazon strengthening its market position in a way that it will become less dependent on tradpubs (traditional publishers)…and if so, what will that mean for future negotiations and Kindle store availability? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


3 Responses to “Romancing the Tomes: four new Kindle Worlds open”

  1. Lady Galaxy Says:

    So far, I’ve never found anything in Kindle Worlds to interest me. I’ve tried reading some of the network sanctioned fiction based on series like Star Trek and Eureka, and I’ve been disappointed in the books I’ve tried. Maybe once my brain has been keyed in to seeing and hearing characters it has a hard time transitioning to experiencing them in the written format. So I don’t think there’s any franchise that could convince me to buy into Kindle Worlds. Still, the teacher in me would like to see Kindle Worlds extend to the universe of children and young adults. When I taught HS creative writing, one of my assignments was to have my students write an “Amelia Bedilia” story. If I were to write a Kindle Worlds story, I would like to be able to write a “Little House on the Prairie” story based on my own family’s history [which closely followed that of the Engle’s family] using those characters to tell the stories.

  2. Jane Newhagen Says:

    A caveat for writers. The fine print explicitly says that you agree to give Amazon all rights to whatever you put in one of these worlds. This means you can never submit it again anywhere else. Ever. This may seem like a good idea at first, but I gave up all rights once in a contest and have regretted it several times since.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Jane!

      It’s a good point to make, although I wouldn’t exactly call it fine print. 🙂 It seems to me like they are very clear about it, and it’s not unusual when you are writing with authorization in a world where someone else holds the rights.

      The example that I gave in this

      Amazon Kindle Worlds forum thread (at AmazonSmile)

      was screenwriter Stephen Kandel creating Harry Mudd for the original Star Trek series.

      Harry Mudd was a great character, and reappeared several times. No question, Mudd could have existed in works outside the Star Trek universe.

      However, when Kandel wrote the script, that would have been part of the deal: the studio owned the character, not the screenwriter.

      As always, when there is money involved, you should read all of the conditions. If someone isn’t clear about them, they should get someone else to review them.

      It’s good that you are bringing it up, and I appreciate your concern for other writers. I don’t consider this a special case: I would say the caveat is to always read the contracts carefully (or have someone else do so), and understand what the benefits and risks are going into it. Then, if it makes sense for you (and it may or may not), you can proceed from there.

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