Monthly Archives: May 2013

Amazon’s Kindle Worlds

Amazon has announced that they will soon be seeking submissions for Kindle Worlds

Get ready for Kindle Worlds, a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games. With Kindle Worlds, you can write new stories based on featured Worlds, engage an audience of readers, and earn royalties. Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. for Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries, with licenses for more Worlds on the way.

This isn’t as earth-shattering new as some are portraying it. Pocket Books has been selling Star Trek fan-fiction for decades. Yes, authors have to submit their fan-fiction to Pocket Books/Paramount. Pocket Books/Paramount decides what gets published. Authors will have to submit their fan-fiction to Amazon. Amazon, with input I am certain from the rights holders, will decide what gets published. The website already lists several content restrictions:

  • 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.
  • Illegal and Infringing Content: We take violations of laws and proprietary rights very seriously. It is the authors’ responsibility to ensure that their content doesn’t violate laws or copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity, or other rights.
  • Poor Customer Experience: We don’t accept books that provide a poor customer experience. Examples include poorly formatted books and books with misleading titles, cover art, or product descriptions. We reserve the right to determine whether content provides a poor customer experience.
  • Excessive Use of Brands: We don’t accept the excessive use of brand names or the inclusion of brand names for paid advertising or promotion.
  • Crossover: No crossovers from other Worlds are permitted, meaning your work may not include elements of any copyright-protected book, movie, or other property outside of the elements of this World.

This will make selling fan-fiction in the specified universes easier. Selling fan-fiction in other universes will still be as illegal as it was previously. Publishing, but not selling, fan-fiction in other universes will remain as illegal as it was previously.

The only legal questions I have are related to the fact that the current acquired universes seem to be television shows based on written works. Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith. Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard. Amazon says they acquired the rights to the universes from Warner Brothers. Meaning, I think, that in addition to Amazon’s cut, and the fan-fiction author’s cut, Warner Brothers will get a cut. Will the author of the original series get a cut? Did Amazon ask the original authors for permission? Did they need to? If they only have Warner Brother’s permission, do the fan-fiction authors have to be careful about using characters and plot references that only appear in the novels, and not in the television show?

Update: Their press release indicates the rights were obtained from Alloy Entertainment – the book publishing arm of Warner Brothers. This suggests that Warner Brothers/Alloy own the rights to both the novels and television series, in which case there should be no legal issue.

The Red-Billed Oxpecker

I found this poem in my drafts folder. I wrote it back in January of 2011.

The Red-Billed Oxpecker

She builds her nest
with energy
she plucks
from the souls
of her co-workers.

The shortest fine line between Scylla and Charybdis is a tightrope

In my Work-in-Progress I am having a slight issue making certain one of my characters doesn’t appear dumb. I have a distaste for dumb characters wherever I run across them – books, television, or theater. I don’t require all characters to be geniuses, but they need a bare minimum of intelligence. The characters of Phoebe and Joey on Friends always bothered me. As did the character of Rose on Golden Girls. I understand the comedic potential of this type of character. Gracie Allen perfected it. But it’s time to move on.

My character isn’t stupid, but he is naïve, inexperienced, and other synonyms. Several in my critique group thought he sounded stupid in the latest pages I brought. If I could make him a geek, that might be a solution. Everyone knows Sheldon Cooper isn’t stupid. (Or, at least, isn’t supposed to be stupid when the writers are portraying him correctly.)  However, my setting is pre-20th century. There are other things he could be geeky about, but I don’t want to fall back on that as a solution unless no other choices present themselves.

Fixed (not quite)

It took a little longer than I said. A month as opposed to a weekend. However, a cursory look suggests everything was backed up and has been returned. (I know there are posts with broken images; that was the case beforehand.) Feel free to leave comments, and hopefully I will find some time to write some posts. (And to add a little pizzazz to the design)

Correction: everything ended up getting backed up except one thing. Every single comment ever left by any of my readers, or by myself. Now it looks like I’ve been blogging since 2002 without any interaction with my readers. At least one of my readers left a word-count roughly equivalent to a novel in my comments. I think I have some older backups before the comments went screwy, and I might be able to restore some of those.

Update: I found a backup containing comments that was 18 months old. I think that’s pretty good, especially considering how lightly I’ve used this blog in the past 18 months. I am pleased that the WordPress importer recognized that all the posts were duplicates, but still imported the comments.  (pats WordPress on the head.)