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At first, you’ll want to say no. However, it is possible to make money writing fanfiction. Here’s how you can do it.
You see, the initial thought is that fanfiction is a poor way to start writing. You’re using someone else’s intellectual property, so surely you can’t make money, right?
Kindle Worlds shut down
It used to be possible to make money writing fanfiction through Amazon’s Kindle Worlds. Only a specific set of titles were available, but writers could make up their own stories with characters they’d come to know and love.
Both the author of the original content and the author of the fanfiction would receive royalties. And there were plenty of people who made a tidy bit of profit from their works.
Sadly, Amazon shut the project down in 2018. Nothing has opened up like it since.
WattPad Futures can help you make money writing fanfiction
One option available is to use WattPad Futures. You’ve likely already heard of WattPad as a fanfiction author. This is one of the most popular places to put the content online. It can even get you spotted by some publishers.
WattPad Futures makes it possible to earn revenue share through the site. Ads are placed between chapters of your fanfiction, so readers could end up clicking those ads. It’s the way revenue share works for the most part. You get a set amount based on the ads.
There are questions about the legalities of some of this. After all, you’re making money from base content that isn’t yours.
WattPad has a way around this. You don’t write fanfiction about characters from other stories. You write about the real actors from the TV shows and movies.
Turn your fanfiction into original work
Still looking for a way to write your fanfiction and get paid? It all comes down to legalities. You can’t write fanfiction, put it into a novel, and self-publish it. You will get into a lot of legal trouble. You’re profiting off work that isn’t fully your own.
So, you need to find a different way to make money writing fanfiction. The best option is to do what E.L. James did with 50 Shades of Grey ($).
The erotic fiction started out as Twilight fanfiction. When James decided she wanted to publish the work, she transformed it into something unique.
I mean, sure, you can see where the original characters would fit. You can easily tell who is Bella, who is Edward, and who is Jacob, but they became new characters, in a new place (sort of), with a new storyline. The idea of a love triangle could never be copyrighted.
There are plenty of other cases where something like this has happened.
Use work that’s in the public domain
Not all work is copyrighted anymore. Some of it has landed in the public domain. And this can be useful for you if you want to make money writing fanfiction.
You can choose to write based on the characters in novels that are already in the public domain. There are a fair few out there.
Make sure you consult legal representation before doing this. The last thing you want to do is assume something is in the public domain only to find out that isn’t the case.
There are a lot of people already doing something similar. You’ll see gender swaps, original characters added to the mix, and even new universes developed around the characters.
So, in simple terms, you can make money writing fanfiction. It’s not as easy as it was a few years ago, but it is still possible.