Today is the launch of the Jack Daniels and Associates Kindle World, which includes my short story White Lady: A Jack Daniels/Bill Roberts Thriller. I’ve talked to a number of writers and bloggers, and to my surprise, few of them knew about Kindle Worlds. I thought the idea of the original KW was intriguing but when Joe Konrath let a number of his friends, fans, and followers know what he was planning, I couldn’t resist. In fact, I couldn’t wait. I didn’t even have to think about it. I quickly emailed him with, “I’m in!” Here’s why.
For those unfamiliar with Amazon’s Kindle Worlds, the KW site describes it as: “Welcome to 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. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment for Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries; Valiant Entertainment for Archer & Armstrong, Bloodshot, Harbinger, Shadowman, and X-O Manowar; Hugh Howey’s Silo Saga; Barry Eisler’s John Rain novels; Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines series; and The Foreworld Saga by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, Eric Bear, Joseph Brassey, Nicole Galland, and Cooper Moo. Licenses for more Worlds are on the way.”
Here’s a visual of the different Worlds.
Essentially, there is a preexisting storyline, environment and characters that have been successful and have a following. The originators or owners, are allowing anyone else to use their Intellectual Property to build on. To be clear, this means you can write your own stories based in these Worlds. This has been a great way to get your name out there. To tap into an already primed audience. To introduce readers of a similar genre to your work. Besides that, you get to expand on stories you may already love. And, you get paid for it!
Although this has been a great opportunity, there was a hitch. Everything you submit to KW, becomes the property of KW. Your stories and characters could, in turn, be used by future writers to expand on as well. Still not a bad deal.
Then Joe Konrath came along and explained a different scenario to the people at KW. He explained that people are reluctant to give up the rights to what they create. There must be a way they could keep their rights. Through a lot of negotiation and working with KW and their team of lawyers, the New KW was born. Available only with the J.A. Konrath and Associates (for now), you keep your Intellectual Property (or at least some of it). The story belongs to KW, but any characters, places, or things you create remain yours.
What does this mean? The biggest advantage, and it’s huge, is that you can blend your existing world with Joe’s. In White Lady, I bring a couple of Joe’s main characters, Lieutenant Jack Daniels and her partner Herb Benedict, of the Chicago police, to Toronto for a Police convention where they get mixed up in an assassination attempt on the Toronto Mayor. They work together with my characters Inspector Bill Roberts and his team from the Toronto Police, to try and figure out what’s going on and stop it before it’s too late.
The beauty of this is I all ready have a book out with these characters, and am planning more. There is a chance, and I’m betting on it being a good chance, that some of Joe’s readers will become my readers. Joe’s also betting that some of my fans will become his. Now multiply this by thirty, which is what the expected launch involvement is. Then we have indirect cross-pollination as well. Readers will see others authors who write in a similar genre. On the launch date, Konrath fans will be introduced to thirty new writers, but each of those writer’s fans will also be introduced to the rest as well.
A few other bonuses, when you publish a book on Amazon there are a number of tricks you can use to boost visibility. Best Sellers lists is one way. It is very hard for a new author to get on the Best Sellers Lists but KW have their own smaller lists making it easier to land on one. There is also the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section under your book. This could propel your books, and your name, onto the pages of any of the other participants’ pages as well, and it expands from there…more cross-pollination.
Then there is the pay. Authors submitting to KW do get paid royalties. I’ll direct you to the Amazon information page as it depends on length and a few other conditions.
One of the criticisms of Kindle Worlds has been the restrictions put on by the originator. Here’s a comment by Joe Konrath. “I went into this Kindle World giving writers almost total freedom, with the exception of the guidelines that Amazon imposed (no ads, no porn, no racism). I allow any kind of sexual relationship. I allow writers to kill my characters. I allow writers to bring in their own characters.” Enough said about the writing freedom that allows.
One last point. Up until now, KW has only been available to U.S. residents. Apparently this is a complicated issue for Amazon to work out and not a priority at this time. Joe Konrath has set up a Management agreement with his Agent allowing non-U.S. residents to play along.
You can read more about it on Joe Konrath’s blog here and the terms and conditions here.
Is this something you could see yourself doing? What is your favourite World of the list I provided above? And, what concerns or negatives do you see in this? Please leave a comment.