Word is percolating through several different parts of the indie author community tonight that Amazon is going shut down Kindle Worlds, its fan fiction publishing unit, just before KW's fifth anniversary
Several of my sources are comments left on KBoards, where author Jim Johnson wrote earlier today:
Heard in a couple places that Kindle Worlds is closing down. If true, it's too bad, but not surprising. I've had an eye on it for a while but it never seemed to be well-managed. And the lack of metrics available to authors seemed problematic.
Apparently Amazon has told the authors who own their respective Kindle Worlds, but has not yet told KW contributors or the public that the program will close completely in July.
Another of my sources found me privately through FB, and cannot be named. That source told me that the official notice will go out tomorrow, which is apparently not true because Lindsay Buroker got the word a few hours ago:
Ack, just got an email that Amazon is closing Kindle Worlds.
— Lindsay Buroker (@GoblinWriter) May 16, 2018
Launched in May 2013, Kindle Worlds was the part of Amazon's publishing unit that focused on publishing tie-in stories for existing properties like GIJoe, and various TV shows such as Veronica Mars and Vampire Diaries. Each property was set up as its own little Kindle World, and writers were invited to submit stories. The original creators of the IP could accept or decline the stories, and if a story also passed Amazon's content standards then it was published in the Kindle Store, with the author, owner, and Amazon splitting the sale price.
Kindle Worlds later expanded to include Kindle Worlds based on the works of indie authors such as Barry Eisler, Blake Crouch, and JK Konrath. It gradually slid off the radar by 2015, but continued to publish new stories. In fact, one source on FB said they had KW stories set to be published in October.
It's not clear what will happen to existing stories, but I am told that rights will revert to authors of each story. They will have the option of either working out a deal with the original creator in whose world the story is set, or removing any identifying details and then republishing a former KW story as a new work.
Update: Here's the letter Amazon sent to the KW owners:
As a valued member of the Kindle Worlds licensor community, we wanted to let you know that the Kindle Worlds program is closing. We will be notifying fan authors tomorrow, May 16th.
As of May 17th, Kindle Worlds will no longer be accepting new submissions. Previously published Kindle Worlds stories will no longer be available for sale on Amazon.com on or around July 16th. The Kindle Worlds website will be closed on August 29th; we ask that all Kindle Worlds participants update and validate their banking information, mailing address, and contact information by July 31, 2018 in order to facilitate a timely final royalty payment.
Your final royalty statement will include a proactive final payment for all remaining Kindle Unlimited borrows, including borrows that have not yet met the qualified borrow threshold. We plan to remove Kindle Worlds stories from Kindle Unlimited on May 16th.
Effective as of the date we remove each fan author’s work, we will revert the rights granted to us by that fan author. Our reversion letter to each applicable fan author will provide that such reversion is subject to the rights we granted to you in the Kindle Worlds License Agreement between you and us.
For five years, Kindle Worlds has been thriving, engaging writers and readers who enjoy writing in one another’s worlds, and we’re proud of the work we’ve done together. While we are closing Kindle Worlds, Amazon is constantly innovating on behalf of our authors and readers, and we look forward to continuing to do so.We hope that 2018 and beyond bring wonderful things for you and your stories, and we appreciate your support over the years.Warm wishes,
The Kindle Worlds team
Have you written a Kindle World story? What do you plan to do with it now that KW is closing?