But let’s be honest, Kurt Vonnegut’s estate is just as much to blame. The late, lamented Kurt-man must be totally entangled in his latest cat’s cradle from turning over and over in his grave.
Dig it (um, that’s a grave joke, see?):
KINDLE WORLDS TAKES ON KURT VONNEGUT’S OEUVRE, FANS STILL DISLIKE THE CONSUMERIST FIC PLATFORM
by Brooke Jaffe
The collective fandom groan that is Kindle Worlds (Amazon’s project to sell fanfiction) has picked up another author’s oeuvre– literary legend Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Let’s lampshade the irony of Kilgore Trout (perennially penniless sci-fi author who can only get his work published in porn magazines, recurring Vonnegut character, noted communist) being used to sell an open-exchange fandom’s work back to them for a profit.
Kindle Worlds works like this: Amazon approaches a series/franchise/TV show/et cetera, and makes a deal with them. Kindle Worlds will sell fanfiction submitted by fanfic authors and cut them in on a piece of the profit. The fanfic has to get the stamp of approval from the source material (so no E-rated smut here, folks), but once it does it will be marketed back to fans of the show, who pay a fee to read it.
The Vonnegut Trust made the deal with Amazon, meaning that they will be joining the likes of other Kindle Worlds-secured licenses such as The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, andGossip Girl. Not exactly the hardcore fandoms that produce epic works like The Shoebox Project and Redemption Road.
Somehow, I don’t think Amazon realizes just how off the mark their conception of the fanfic world really is. Based on how they are going about making Kindle Worlds, it seems like their conception of fandom is a product of 50 Shades of Grey‘s success and the dollar signs that came with it. Understanding the fanfic world using E.L. James‘ example is like trying to understand American culture by watching Jersey Shore. The way they are approaching the subculture betrays their ignorance, and is only serving to push the fans (who would be their clients) further and further away.