Why Fifty Shades of Grey would never have made the cut at Kindle Worlds

Kindle Worlds

My post a couple of days ago about Kindle Worlds garnered a lot of readership and some interesting comments, so I thought I might update it with some specifics about writing guidelines for the gig at Kindle Worlds and how Fifty Shades would never have made the cut.

Any material published as part of Kindle Worlds will first meet Amazon’s Publishing guidelines for its new fan fiction wing.  Here are the guidelines:

Content Guidelines for Kindle Worlds

  • 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.

Okay, I didn’t know this until my middle daughter told me a few days ago, but Fifty Shades originated as a sexy take off on Stephenie Meyer’s fabulously successful Twilight series.  Apparently E. L. James, the author of Fifty Shades, modified the story enough after its initial run on the Internet so that it wouldn’t run afoul of copyright infringement.

What Amazon is doing in Kindle Worlds is to take the fan fiction phenomenon that already exists on the Internet, legalize it and make it a profit center for Amazon, the original author and the fan fiction author.

Stephenie Meyer

In other words, if Twilight had been a part of Kindle Worlds, Stephenie Meyer would have received a royalty on Fifty Shades of Grey sales, as would have E. L. James.

Except for the Amazon guidelines that would have disqualified Fifty Shades.

But you catch my drift.

What Amazon is doing with Kindle Worlds is embracing a practice that exists on the fringes, the grey area so to speak, of legality on the Internet and bringing it mainstream.

I think what we will see on Kindle Worlds is a proliferation of fan fiction, a genre that will emerge from the shadows of the Internet and become a mainstream reality.

I am wondering now if Amazon has signed a licensing deal with the estate of Robert B. Parker.

I’d sure like to take a shot at a Jesse Stone book.



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