Today marks the debut of my new novella as a result of a large-scale project, courtesy of Amazon. (Don’t you just love the cover? 🙂 )
This is my first time ever working directly with one of Amazon’s exclusive publishing platforms, other than KDP, and I must say, it has been an amazing experience so far. I wanted to blog about this in hopes that it may help other authors.
The name of the Amazon platform is Kindle Worlds. What is it, you ask? Well, to put it quite simply, it’s a platform that allows you to write and legally sell licensed fan fiction. I’ve written lots of fanfic back in the 90s, and never thought I’d ever see this opportunity when authors can now potentially earn a living writing stories in the worlds that they love.
There are some stipulations, of course. You must choose one of the Worlds on this list, and your writing must reflect some element of the world in some way. There are tons of Worlds to choose from, and Amazon continues to add more. Some of the Worlds include popular TV shows like G.I. Joe, Gossip Girl and Veronica Mars, as well as popular books like Hugh Howey’s Wool series and Barbara Freethy’s Calloway series. The story possibilities are endless, especially if you enjoy writing fan fiction.
What about getting paid? Well, the price depends on how long the book is. Unfortunately, you cannot set the price. Amazon does. From what I’ve seen, if your book is between approximately 10,000 – 20,000, it will be priced around $0.99 USD. If it’s approximately 20,000 – 35,000, it will be priced around $1.99 USD. Anything above that will get priced around $2.99 USD and $3.99 USD respectively. I’ve not seen any Kindle Worlds books priced above $3.99.
As for royalties, as long as your book is over 10,000 words, you will get 35% of each sale. The other percentages go to the Kindle Worlds creator (in my case, Sariah), and I believe a small portion of percentages goes to Amazon, but I’m not entirely sure.
The process to get my story uploaded was pretty simple. And the Amazon reps were very helpful to email me with detailed instructions on how to do it, too. But being as I was already experienced with using KDP, using the Kindle Worlds dashboard was very similar. All I did was upload my .mobi manuscript (you can also upload .doc/.docx, epub, and a few others as well), as well as upload my cover file, and submit it for review. Once it was approved, Amazon did the rest.
I had the opportunity of a lifetime to join a handful of other “seed authors” to participate in this project back in July 2015, when Amazon bestselling author, Sariah Wilson, put out a call for authors who were interested in writing fan fiction stories based in her Royals of Monterra world. I was pretty knowledgeable about Kindle Worlds, but I’d never written anything for any of the available Worlds. I thought this might’ve been a great opportunity for me to get my feet wet, and perhaps gain new readers. I responded to Sariah, and she allowed me to check out her canon book, Royal Date. I was absolutely immersed with the story! (Check out my review here) I was already coming up with the perfect story of my own.
Doing the Work
Shortly after finishing reading Sariah’s book, I was contacted by an Amazon representative, who sent more information about the Kindle Worlds project. Amazon would be debuting this new Kindle World set in Sariah’s Royals of Monterra universe on Jan. 21, 2016, and I had free reign to write whatever story I wanted. I had about 5 months to get something written. Thankfully, the novella-length story came pretty fast for me. I’d gone back and forth a few times with Sariah to make sure that I wasn’t intruding (such as using certain character names) or messing up anything in her world. After getting the story professionally edited and proofread, and getting an amazing cover done, I was all set to publish well before the deadline.
I was added to a email loop with the other seed authors, and had the opportunity to chat with all of them. Sariah eventually started a secret Facebook group for us, which was much easier for all of us to communicate. We were planning a Facebook Launch party to celebrate the launch of the new Kindle World, as well as all of the seed authors’ books. We did a lot of promoting via social media.
…And here we are today, debuting all of our books!
Impressions so far
The World has only been out for a day, so it’s too early to tell. But everything leading up to this day has been very smooth and organized. The Amazon rep was always helpful and available to answer any of my questions. The only drawback I see with writing for Kindle Worlds, is that your story is exclusive to Amazon (pretty much like the terms for Kindle Unlimited), so you can’t distribute and/or sell your work to other platforms like iBooks, Kobo, Nook, etc. But that is something I’m willing to sacrifice in order to take advantage of all of the amazing things Amazon does for their authors.
So far, I have only seen my book published on the Amazon US platform. It is currently not listed on any of their international platforms. I’ve not seen any other Kindle Worlds books listed on Amazon’s international platforms, so this could be another potential drawback with publishing via Kindle Worlds if you are looking to build an international audience.
Hopes and Dreams
I am optimistic that Secret Notte, as well as the other seed authors’ books will see a lot of exposure and promotion backed by Amazon. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Amazon-backed promotions from many of my author friends who publish through their platforms and imprints. Secret Notte already reached #1 in Amazon categories, and it was under the New and Popular section of the Kindle Worlds page.
I’m hoping that by participating in this project, I will acquire some new readers who may be interested in reading my other books. I think that’s what many of the authors ultimately, want, too. But it’s always fun to cross-promote!
Only time will tell if my hopes and dreams of Secret Notte will actually come true.
- If you are an author just starting out, writing for Kindle Worlds can be an awesome opportunity to get your feet wet in the publishing industry. If you enjoy writing fan fiction, but have never been published, then Kindle Worlds is perfect for you. Just pick a world and start writing. You can write as many books as you want for the world, and they can be as long as you want.
- One thing to keep in mind is that writing for Kindle Worlds is NOT quite the same as writing for a big New York publisher. For one, you need to provide your own editing and cover art. Amazon does not provide these services for authors, and they encourage all authors who are considering submitting stories to a Kindle World, that their manuscripts and covers images are polished. Remember, you are introducing yourself to potential new readers, so you want to make it the very best it can be. You are essentially self-publishing your work, and making it exclusively for the Amazon platform.
- If you’re an established author, Kindle Worlds can be a great platform to diversify your work. If you have other books published on other platforms, then the Amazon exclusivity requirement may not be that much of a problem for you. You can use Kindle Worlds to introduce new readers to your other work, which they can purchase everywhere.