Kindle Worlds: The Economics of Crowdsourcing Media Tie-In Novels

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“How does this compare with the current state of licensed novels? In an interview at The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers website, writer Matt Forbeck says that a $4-$6K advance against 4%-6% of cover price royalty is normal for new authors adapting video game properties. Keith R.A. DeCandidio reports a 1-3% royalty for a TV series tie-in. Opinions vary on whether to expect additional royalties.

Whether Kindle Worlds is a better or worse deal depends entirely on the sales of a given eBook. To cover a $5K advance, an author would need to sell 5115 copies of a $3.99 priced novel on the Kindle if standard Kindle Digital Publishing platform fees apply. There are no print editions mentioned and by the terms, it is possible the author would not be paid for future print editions. This is also strictly on the Kindle platform. No Nook, no iBooks, no Kobo.

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Still, the bottom line is that without advances, all work is speculative on the part of the authors and the rights holders are able to curate additional intellectual property for backend payments only. Ultimately, what will make or break this model is how fans react to paying for something that Amazon has referred to as “fan fiction” in their own announcement. “Fan fiction” is usually free. Media tie-in novels are not.”