If you've got a knack for fan fiction, the folks at Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) have great news for you.
In a press release Thursday, Amazon Publishing officially took the wraps off Kindle Worlds, "the first commercial publishing platform that will enable any writer to create fan fiction based on a range of original stories and characters and earn royalties for doing so."
More specifically, if you write a fan-fiction story of at least 10,000 words, you stand to earn a royalty rate of 35% of net revenue for your efforts. The remainder, of course, will be split between Amazon and the licensed property owners. Still, that's plenty generous considering Amazon has taken much of the difficult publishing and licensing work out of the equation for fan-fiction writers.
What's more, Amazon is also piloting an experimental new program for shorter works between 5,000 and 10,000 words, for which authors can earn a royalty rate of 20%.
Hold your horses...
But before you go digging up that awesome Batman storyline you wrote years ago, don't get too excited just yet.
So far Amazon has only secured licenses from Warner Brothers Television Group's Alloy Entertainment division for its three best-selling book series Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and Vampire Diaries.
Then again, that's not entirely disappointing: Those properties alone still open the floodgates for literally millions upon millions of fans to enjoy both writing and reading new original works of fan fiction.
Of course, for years Amazon has allowed authors to publish original works and to receive up to 70% royalties through its Kindle Direct Publishing segment (formerly known as the "Kindle Digital Text Platform"), which provides an easy way for anyone to self-publish... well... anything they want and at the price they choose:
More to come
Going back to the Kindle Worlds announcement, Amazon's press release Thursday also vaguely stated that the company has "plans to announce more licenses soon."
So what would the holy grail of fan-fiction licenses entail? I'm sure I'm not alone in hoping Amazon will wrangle a deal enabling enthusiasts to write about any number of comic book properties from either DC comics or Disney's (NYSE:DIS) Marvel Entertainment. While they're at it, a deal with Disney's Lucasfilm to write about Star Wars and Indiana Jones would also produce an incredible amount of fanboy material, since there are more than 26,000 characters in the Star Wars and Marvel universes combined.
Heck, we already know Disney doesn't mind licensing its newest properties after the House of Mouse put together a multiyear deal with Electronic Arts allowing the video game giant to develop and publish games based on Star Wars characters and storylines. A Marvel/Lucasfilm license with Kindle Worlds, then, would be a great way for Disney to milk even more from its recently acquired properties.
In addition, with so much material to cover, Disney could also potentially use the platform to identify its next big franchise from the minds of any particularly talented fan-fiction writers.
The bottom line, however, is that the potential of Kindle Worlds is mind-bogglingly huge. Personally, I can't wait to see where it goes from here.
What do you think? Are there any other Kindle Worlds licenses you'd love to see?
Fool contributor Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.