Checking in on Kindle Worlds

Checking in on Kindle Worlds

One of Amazon’s most innovative programs is

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

It took the idea of fan fiction (or “fanfic”), and changed it considerably.

In fanfic, the works are unauthorized (although some rightsholders approve the idea, within limits, including J.K. Rowling). The authors are generally not compensated, and the rightsholders do not control the works.

Fanfic is not a profession, although some great work has been produced in it.

In Kindle Worlds, Amazon licenses a property from the rightsholder.

The rightsholder can set certain rules about the world.

Anybody can then write within that world. Amazon gets a cut, the rightsholder gets a cut, the author gets a cut.

Hypothetically, you could make your living writing Kindle Worlds stories…and it would all be legal.

You would not own the stories or the characters you create, and you just need to be aware of that going into it.

That’s not that different from writing, say, an episode for a TV series.

If you create Harry Mudd on Star Trek,  you can’t stop the series from using the character again…however they want.

That’s just part of the deal…you play in their sandbox, but they own the toys. 😉

I think there is a lot of opportunity still available to Amazon with Kindle Worlds.

I keep looking for licenses for older properties: The Addams Family, Man from U.N.C.L.E., Get Smart, and so on.

That seems like a real way for rightsholders to both create a new revenue stream, and to possibly revitalize a franchise.

They do have G.I. Joe, and I do think we’ll see more.

Here are the current Kindle Worlds and their title counts:

  • The Vampire Diaries (173)
  • Silo Saga (112)
  • G.I. JOE (72)
  • Pretty Little Liars (50)
  • The World of Kurt Vonnegut (46)
  • Wayward Pines (38)
  • John Rain (33)
  • Harbinger (27)
  • Veronica Mars – the TV series (24)
  • Gossip Girl (20)
  • The Lizzy Gardner Files (18)
  • The Foreworld Saga (17)
  • The Arrangement (16)
  • Unity (16)
  • Bloodshot (12)
  • Archer & Armstrong (11)
  • Body Movers (10)
  • Four Weddings and a Fiasco (10)
  • Game For Love (10)
  • The Abnorm Chronicles (9)
  • Dare To Love (9)
  • The Perseid Collapse Series (9)
  • XO Manowar (8)
  • Shadowman (8)
  • Ravenswood (6)
  • The Dead Man (5)
  • Atlantis: The Origin Mystery (4)
  • The Chronos Files (4)
  • The Callaways (3)
  • Eternal Warrior (1)
  • The Kathleen Turner Series (1)
  • Miss Fortune Mysteries (1)
  • Quantum & Woody (1)
  • Sand Saga (1)

In terms of amount of product, the top world by far is The Vampire Diaries, based on a TV series based on a book series.

When I checked in about a year ago, the numbers I had were these:

  • The Vampire Diaries (113)
  • Silo Saga (70)
  • Pretty Little Liars (36)
  • The World of Kurt Vonnegut (34)
  • Harbinger (25)
  • John Rain (19)
  • Gossip Girl (18)
  • Wayward Pines (13)
  • The Foreworld Saga (11)
  • Archer & Armstrong (10)
  • Bloodshot (10)
  • Unity (9)
  • Shadowman (5)
  • XO Manowar (5)
  • The Dead Man (3)

You can tell that the number of Worlds has grown, and generally, the number of titles within the worlds has grown.

The licensed comics, perhaps not unexpectedly, seem to have the fewest titles…there are a lot more people who write prose books than do comics, and they can do them more quickly.

Contemporary works do quite well: Hugh Howey’s Wool series has had a lot of interest.

I recently read a book

Snapshot: Power, Sex & Revenge (at AmazonSmile*) (available through Kindle Unlimited)

which I thought was a great case of world building. I e-mailed the author and recommended they contact Kindle Worlds to see about licensing it.

That certainly doesn’t mean Amazon would do it. If I was this author, though, I wouldn’t worry too much about a “signing fee”. I think the stream of income it might create would help support the author’s writing, as well as it being great to see what some other people would do with it. My Goodreads review of the book is here:

The #1 book that comes up in a “New and Popular” search of the 785 titles is

Dare To Love Series: Daring Attraction (Kindle Worlds) (at AmazonSmile*)

is ranked #2,226 paid in the USA Kindle store…a very respectable showing. That’s certainly in the top one percent.

While it still doesn’t feel to me like Kindle Worlds has really broken into the mainstream, I think the program is a solid success for Amazon at this point.

What do you think? Do you read Kindle Worlds books? Do you worry that a less well-written book would “spoil” your feelings for the originals? What Kindle Worlds would you like to see…and would you write in one? Are you a rightsholder that has tried to get a property into Kindle Worlds? If so, what was the experience like? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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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.


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