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Amazon shut down its fan-fiction service Kindle Worlds in 2018 after five years, and some authors told Business Insider they lost thousands of dollars in monthly income.
The service licensed book series like "Gossip Girl" and "The Vampire Diaries" for authors to write fan-fiction stories for.
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Former Kindle Worlds authors described how they bounced back after the shutdown, and their stories show how dominant Amazon is in the publishing world.
A Harvard Law professor who studies the space thinks Kindle Worlds was doomed from the start, because Amazon's approach was "antithetical" to the core of fan fiction, she said.
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Desiree Holt, affectionately known as the oldest author of erotic romance at 83 years old, climbed out of a financial plight in 2013 thanks to Amazon.
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At the time, Holt was writing romance novels for the the publishing company Ellora's Cave, which was collapsing and ultimately shut down in 2016. Holt felt her income was in jeopardy. But in 2013, Amazon launched a fan-fiction service called Kindle Worlds, a digital publishing platform that let authors publish fan fiction within certain licensed "worlds," which at first included properties from Warner Bros.' Alloy Entertainment, like "Gossip Girl," "Pretty Little Liars," and "The Vampire Diaries."
Holt embraced the new platform and said she was making between $3,000 and $5,000 a month on Kindle Worlds, a "huge part" of her income.
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But in 2018, Holt suddenly found herself back to the drawing board when Amazon shut down Kindle Worlds. And she's not the only one. Business Insider spoke to several romance authors about losing out on thousands of dollars in monthly income when the platform closed.
"When Kindle Worlds shut down, it hit me financially," Holt said. "That's a big hole in your pocket. It took me a while to build back up to that level...
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