Monday musings: Amazon cancels the Kindle World program

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Kindle Worlds cancelled Many readers have heard that Amazon has canceled the Kindle Worlds program. Since May, Amazon has not been accepting new Kindle World titles, and all the books in all Kindle Worlds will no longer be available for sale after July 15. And then, all rights revert back to the authors of the books—except for some.

Wait—what’s a Kindle World again?

Kindle Worlds are—or were—managed, policed fan fiction. Amazon selected successful series where readers wanted more titles than the author could write in a timely way. The program allowed other authors to write short works based on the situations, settings and characters of those bestselling series. For instance, I wrote four books based on the characters and setting of Toby Neal’s Lei Crime series.

This program benefitted everyone involved. Readers got more stories in the series they loved. The original authors of those series got more connections to their audiences, and a shared of the sales of the new books. And the authors who wrote in other writers’ series got exposure to new audiences, as well as established audiences for the books they wrote in the Kindle Worlds.

It was a win-win-win-win situation. The fourth win is for Amazon, which got 15% of every sale.

Goodbye, new audiences

Half Moon Girls: A Lei Crime Kindle World novellaThis affects a number of BestSelling Reads authors. Both Toby Neal and former member Emily Kimelman have prominent Kindle Worlds based on their bestselling series, Lei Crime and Sydney Rye respectively. And several members have published Kindle Worlds titles:

  • Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman themselves both published books in each other’s Kindle World. Toby published Rough Road, bringing her Lei Texeira into Emily’s Sydney Rye world, and Emily published Warrior Dog about Toby’s Keiki the Rottweiler. Toby also wrote a book in Russell Blake’s JET Kindle World.
  • DelSheree Gladden wrote The Catalyst, bringing her Eliza Carlisle from The Instigator into the Sydney Rye Kindle World
  • J.L. Oakley has published four books in the Lei Crime Kindle World: Saddle Road, Coconut Island, Volcano House and Hilina Pali.
  • Corinne O’Flynn wrote a trilogy in the Lei Crime Kindle World: Half Moon Girls, Tell the Truth and Pay the Price.
  • Caleb Pirtle III puVolcano House: A Lei Crime Kindle World novellablished Lovely Night to Die in the Special Forces: Operation Alpha Kindle World.
  • Scott Bury published in three Kindle World he was invited to: Jet: Stealth in Russell Blake’s JET Kindle World; The Wife Line and The Three-Way in the Sydney Rye Kindle World; and four books in the Lei Crime Kindle World: Torn Roots, Palm Trees & Snowflakes, Dead Man Lying and Echoes.

But wait! There’s more!

With the cancellation of the Kindle Worlds program, the rights for all the content of the books revert back to the authors of the individual titles. But there’s a complication. The works in the Kindle Worlds were based on the books published by bestselling authors. Which means the rights to their characters, situations, stories, and other elements revert to them.Lovely Night to Die: : A Special Forces: Operation Alpha Kindle World novella

This causes some issues between the original authors and those who wrote Kindle World novellas. While the authors of the individual Kindle World books now have the rights to what they created, the original authors of the series at the core of the Kindle Worlds retain the rights to their characters and other elements.

Which raises a conflict: where exactly is the line between the respective authors’ rights in a (former) Kindle Word novella?

Why they dunnit

The concept of Kindle Worlds appeared to be a sure thing. Take existing, successful series and release new books for proven audiences. Minimal risk, more sales.

So apparently the sales were not good enough to sustain the program. The complications around copyright were probably also discouraging. Maybe that’s why Amazon never let Kindle World books be purchased beyond its U.S.-based .com site. And never allowed any formats other than .mobi-format for Kindles.

Dead Man Lying: A Lei Crime Kindle World novellaThat’s right: no paperbacks, no audiobooks. Readers in Canada, the U.K. or anywhere outside the U.S.—or, more precisely, anyone who had an Amazon account that did not end in .com—could not buy any of my Kindle World books.

The literary world evolves

With the cancellation of the Kindle Worlds, some authors actually have new opportunities. Those who republish their books, meeting the requirements of copyright, can bring these words to global audiences in any format they wish. For many, it’s an opportunity to open up new worlds to new audiences.

What it means overall is that the world of the written word continues to evolve. And for readers, that’s all good.

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Monday Musings: Authors who work together are better for readers

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by Scott Bury

I was struck recently with the realization that I collaborate and cooperate with a lot of other authors in a lot of different ways. BestSelling Reads is just one example, where I feel privileged to work with very fine authors in cross-promotional efforts.

I also participate in another group called Independent Authors International, which is about supporting each other in producing books professionally.

And I am also struck by the number of BestSelling Reads members who collaborate in another way: through Kindle Worlds.

NightbirdKindle Worlds is an Amazon initiative where authors write new works based on the characters and settings of bestselling authors. Toby Neal, for example, has a Lei Crime Kindle World. I have written two short works  in this world, as has Eden Baylee, and Emily Kimelman has written one. New member Julie Gilbert has written four! Toby Neal, for her part, has written a novella, Nightbird, in (non-BestSelling Reads member) Russell Blake’s Jet Kindle World. And Emily’s Sydney Rye Kindle World will launch in mid-March—and I will contribute a new book to it, The Wife Line.

What’s in it for you?

Kindle Worlds are designed to benefit both authors and readers. The originators of the Kindle Worlds, authors like Toby Neal, Russell wdemilykimelmanBlake and Emily Kimelman, get a portion of the royalties from the sales of the books by other writers in their “worlds.” The authors of the contributed works get some of the proceeds from the sales, as well as exposure to the wider audiences, the fans of the characters and situations created by the Neals, Blakes and Kimelmans.

And readers get more of the characters they love, the characters and stories they clamour for.

Authors’ cooperative groups like BestSelling Reads have similar benefits for readers. If you’ve followed one of your favourite authors to this blog, someone like Sydney Landon or Samreen Ahsan, Frederick Lee Brooke or Raine Thomas, Gae-Lynn Woods or Kathleen Valentine, here you have an opportunity to find others in the same genre.

Or you can explore other kinds of writing, from romance to spy thrillers, mystery to paranormal fictA Snake in Paradise_edenbayleeion, high fantasy to contemporary literature.

While the member authors of BestSelling Reads are a diverse bunch, there are two things they have in common: professionalism and dedication to their readers.

Because we all value our relationship with our readers, we hold each other to a high standard. All members of BSR are recommended by other members as writers who are or have been bestsellers, but more importantly, uphold that standard of professionalism. We use professional editors and proofreaders and cover designers.

In other words, the writers who are members of BestSelling Reads, whether independently published or represented by the biggest publishing companies in the world, are dedicated to bringing the best possible reading to our readers: interesting, engaging, well-written, polished and professionally packaged.

These are the elements that can make or break a reader’s experience with a book. That’s why BestSelling Reads member take them so seriously.

What should readers do?

Readers are great at recommending their favourite authors to other readers. So this is what I would like all readers of this blog to do: share it.JetWBottomImage

Tell other readers about BestSelling Reads, who your favourite member author is, what books you like, and the other great reads you’ve discovered here.

Authors working together produce better books for readers. And readers working together help readers find better books.

 

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