by Gillian Nicol

In just under one month since launching, Kindle Worlds has published over 100 stories and counting,130523104141-amazon-kindle-worlds-620xa opening new doors for writers seeking to be published. Amazon describes Kindle Worlds as “a new place where you can write licensed fan fiction in worlds like Gossip Girl, Silo Sage by Hugh Howey.” Did we mention you could earn up to a 35% royalty?

Authors are showcased throughout the Kindle Worlds Storefront, author spotlights and the Kindle Worlds blog. And it doesn’t stop with just TV shows or books; writers are also creating fan fiction inspired by movies, comics, music, and games and more “worlds” will be licensed soon.

At this point you might be wondering how it all works. Kindle Worlds is a publication submission platform where you choose a licensed World, read the Content Guidelines for that World, write your story, upload that story, create a cover using free images or your own image, and accept a publishing contract with Amazon Publishing. Every Kindle Worlds story will be featured on and Kindle devices and apps. And it really is that easy.

Authors have been extremely receptive to the new platform:

“This was downright fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, take-chances, go-places-you’ve-never-been fun. It reminded me of being a kid: reading comics and just living in a completely different reality for a while. Archer & Armstrong are great characters, worlds away from what I usually write. I felt I could take chances, do things differently, and simply have a good time going where the story took me.” —Carolyn Nash, writing in Archer & Armstrong

“I love challenges that can take my writing in new directions, and it was blast to write a story set in the Valiant universe, with themes and characters that don’t normally appear in my writing. I also enjoyed writing from the point of view of a teen and preteen character.” —Jason Starr, writing in Harbinger

As an advocate for self-publishing, and an aspiring writer, I see the benefits of Kindle Worlds. However, it also makes me question the direction Amazon is taking in the self-publishing world. Are they willing to accept any piece of writing regardless of the quality in order to make a profit? I think authors should be encouraged to have their work professionally edited, putting their best foot forward into the publishing arena. How many of these contributors are doing that? I don’t know.

I also am unsure as to how I feel about Amazon charging for the purchase of these stories without knowing the quality ahead of time. Although, it is at the discretion of the reader whether to purchase the Kindle story and they may or may not reconsider after downloading the preview.

On the flip side, novice writers aren’t the only ones taking part. For instance, Delilah S. Dawson is the author of the paranormal romance series Blud. Her first YA novel is forthcoming in 2014 from Simon Pulse, and her debut novella in Kindle Worlds, Shadowman: Follow Me Boy, is available now. I don’t know why, but my preconceived notions were that unpublished authors would be diving in to Kindle Worlds, but I have been proven wrong. It does seem like it could be a great supplement to an author’s already established body of work, especially if they have a loyal readership.

Amazon has continually opened the door to self-publishing in new ways…but how much is too much? Share your thoughts on Amazon’s Kindle Worlds.

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