Radish Fiction – A New Income Source for Writers? Plus, Changes to Amazon Kindle Worlds

Jordan Dane
@JordanDane

I heard some disappointing news from Amazon Kindle Worlds (KW) yesterday. They are changing the program and not offering a bonus to help defray production cost. The money wasn’t much. It was $500 and went down to $250, but that money took care of the cover design and formatting. It wasn’t considered an “advance.’

Amazon is keep the program the same (including promised bonuses) for any approved launches already set up for the rest of 2018. They are working with the host authors on who is signed up as a writer, etc.

The host authors who have kindle worlds are continuing with their host duties, but in 2019, Amazon will not be involved in scheduling the releases (the host authors would do that). Nothing much will change for the host authors. They will have the same revenue sharing and agreements in place. It’s too soon to tell whether the lack of bonus money will lessen the enthusiasm for authors to sign up. Initial discussions are mixed, but I would imagine Amazon’s gamble will pay off, that many authors will still see a benefit in a group launch and the host authors organizing things. They will probably like getting their work exposed to a larger reader base shared by the other authors and the host writer.

Amazon never did much promo for the launches, but the fact that they have and maintain the platform is a benefit that would be hard to replicate. Amazon is banking on authors not caring if they get the bonus and hope they get to retain the same enthusiasm for writing stories but pay nothing for the copyright retention.

But Amazon KW does nothing with those copyrights. The fact that KW doesn’t take advantage of subrights like audio, film, or foreign rights makes me have second thoughts about continuing with them. For many of the worlds, authors retain rights to their original characters (but not all worlds do this, so read the fine print). If the author has a unique setting that hasn’t already been established in another series from that author (before it’s crossed over with the host author’s world), then Amazon could get copyrights to that setting. Another drawback at present is that Amazon Kindle World does not have a worldwide distribution. It’s something they want to achieve, but KW is only a division of Amazon and does not share the same distribution channels.

RADISH FICTION

But after reading about the changes to Amazon Kindle Worlds, authors were talking about another new start up company that has found a niche in serialized fiction. Have you heard of RadishFiction.com ? Radish is a new app for serialized fiction, geared for the mobile generation to bring novels to smart phones. It’s open to a global market (really big in eastern Asia (Korea and China) where the enthusiasm started) and Radish can be used as a different source of income or to create buzz for an upcoming book that hasn’t gotten published yet.

Could this replace Netgalley? The expense to place an ARC on Netgalley is pricey, even if an author joins a group or service to help defray the cost. Radish wouldn’t specifically earn an author early reviews, but the writer would score money for fiction sold. Netgalley doesn’t do that.

Plus there apparently isn’t any copyrights sold. Although I haven’t seen a confirmation of this, I believe the author retains copyright and is only making their content available for sale.

Here’s what Publishers Weekly had to write about Radish – Click HERE

Radish is recruiting authors who have written for Canada’s WattPad and Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing or other similar type opportunities.The idea is to write serialized shorter fiction with cliffhangers to hook a readership. Generally this is 2,000 word chapters of original short genre fiction with cliffhangers that hook the reader to keep reading and keep buying.

So with the changes to Amazon Kindle Worlds, writing that is similar to fanfiction.net, Radish could be a good opportunity to find a different income source with fewer hassles. Authors are paid in “micropayments” with authors receiving a range of $3,000-13,000/month, similar to how game platforms work.

Radish has an impressive list of investors and plans to hire editors, developers, and designers. They have about 700 writers creating serialized fiction for 300,000 readers.

The initial genre that has been big with Radish is YA romance, science fiction and fantasy. It’s geared for a younger audience that is comfortable reading off smartphones, but I would imagine there is room for growth into other genres. Radish is also looking for traditionally published authors who want to bring original content to them.

Authors must submit to write for Radish and there is a review team to screen applicants. HERE is the link to get started and fill out the application. Read the various press releases on their site. You’ll get more insight into what they are doing.

So what Amazon Kindle World takes away, Radish delivers something new that could be very exciting.

Discussion:

1.) What other out of the box outlets have you seen for authors to bring original content?

2.) Are you a smart phone reader? Do you see potential in what Radish is offering?

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27 thoughts on “Radish Fiction – A New Income Source for Writers? Plus, Changes to Amazon Kindle Worlds

  1. Various serialized sites have come and gone, mainly gone, so it remains to be seen whether this will survive.

    The copyright comment worries me. Read the contract very carefully, and under no circumstances sign away your copyright.

    However, if you are writing fan fiction of some sort, you can’t sell it at a site like this. Without the copyright owner’s permission like you receive at AKW, you can’t sell fanfiction, period.

    At a site like AKW, you should still retain the copyright of your work because it is your work although you are using someone else’s world.

    I’m not a lawyer, but copyright is one of my interests so I’ll be happy to answer any questions here or at my blog.

    • Good morning, Marilynn.

      You have a few misconceptions in your comment. I’ll clarify. Trust me, I do understand about copyrights and contracts. I’ve been traditionally published, self-published, and have contracted with Amazon Kindle Worlds. I have contracts vetted through a specialized literary attorney before I sign, but I also have a lot of former career experience with contract language.

      As far as Amazon Kindle World and copy rights, the author sells their rights to Amazon for certain aspects, like a unique setting or element to the work because it’s blended into the host world. The copyright to any original character is retained by the author. The waters get muddy by the fact the host author’s world is being used as a basis for any new books in the series. So when I merge original characters with the host author’s world, those rights aren’t mine for that new work, as is. It’s the copyright property of Amazon because the host author has signed a separate agreement to become a host.

      Amazon keeps those rights, as well as sub-rights (which is my biggest issue). In the contract that the host author signs with Amazon KW, there are terms they agree to that are mirrored in the contract that an author would sign to write in KW. Each world is different. I’m mainly referring to sub-rights for audio, film, foreign sales, etc. Some host authors might negotiate with Amazon to retain film rights, for example.

      If I want to introduce a series prior to crossing over into the host author’s Kindle World, I can do that by writing books or novellas and publishing them prior to creating a Kindle World. That establishes the copyright of my world settings and elements, along with giving birth to my characters, to set up my own world with copyrights. Those copyrights I would keep.

      Since fan-fiction is a forum where fans write original work but using established characters (ie. Twilight Vampires from fiction or characters and story lines from a popular TV series, for example), the fan-fic author has no rights to their work. They are knowingly using the original characters of someone else. But that didn’t stop E L James from changing the names and situations to create Fifty Shades of Grey from her sexy version of the Twilight vampire books. My point in saying this is that an author can still utilize their fan-fiction efforts if they are inventive. With the proper changes, so there are no copyright violations, a fan-fiction author CAN sell anywhere they want.

      Thanks for participating in our discussion, Marilynn.

      • Thanks for clarifying their horrifying clauses. If that is the case, I can’t see why a writer would put anything on this site. It simply isn’t worth the money. Or the risks that Amazon could come after the author for other works.

        • Amazon is clear on copyright and wouldn’t “come after” an author for their original characters (and setting/elements on an established series that’s merged in a crossover). Plus I’ve made really good money writing for KW & the host authors do very well. I also have many, many new readers because I elected to do this. Absolutely no regrets.

          Every author must make up their own mind on how they sell.

  2. Another outlet is Hooked and the story is told in texts and it’s geared to the younger market. I think Hooked buys all rights, but they pay well. Thanks for this information!

    • Thanks for the HOOKED reference. Here is the link for that. It appears to be geared toward horror, but I haven’t drilled into the site yet. Thanks, Patricia.

      http://www.hooked.co/press/

      When you mentioned serialized fiction in texts, it reminded about an author friend of mine who wanted to explore “text fiction” and create an odd story line based on each,of us writing the POV of the “amnesia brothers.” We played with it on Twitter but it went nowhere for us.

  3. I’m so disappointed with the KW changes. After my scheduled books release that may be it for me. Their refusal to pay a dime for the stories show they don’t care about the authors who write in these worlds. We’ll see what happens, but it’s discouraging.

    Radish sounds promising, though. Now’s the time to jump in while they’re hungry for authors. Thanks for the excellent information, Jordan!

    To answer your question, I can barely see my phone never mind read on it. Lotus Circle is out? Yay!!!!!

      • Yes, I’m not interested in giving away my books or having a company carve into my copyrights or subrights. There are choices that will compete with KW. It will be interesting to see how this change goes for Amazon KW.

    • Ha! Yes, it’s book birthday for me so I’m promoting on social media.

      I need to decide if my June commitment to Elle James’s Brotherhood Protectors is something I want to do. It would still qualify for a bonus, but if I get approved for Radish (after submitting an application, it can take up to 4 wks to hear back if they want you), I may still turn down the slot so I’ll have time to write. Its nice to have options. Thanks, Sue.

  4. Thanks for the excellent post, Jordan. It looks like Radish is somehow affiliated with Red Sun Magazine. Not sure of the connection, though. Also, Hooked looks interesting. Guess all this is pointing to fiction for the ADHD generation. Sign me up!

  5. Amazon’s one-sided power and ability to change contracts at will scares me. They display the typical mega-corporation’s tendency to deliver amazing service and options initially and then scale back once they’ve got everybody hooked and put the competition out of business.

    (Anyone else notice a Prime membership seems pointless now? They’ve scaled their “overnight” deliveries way back and now seem to be only counting business days — your free 2-day shipping turns into 4 if it’s over a weekend. But I digress. LOL)

    Thanks for this great info Jordan and the intro to Radish. Appreciate the generous way you share your knowledge with the writing community!

    • Thanks, Sheri.

      I have Amazon Prime but don’t use it often enough. It’s an annual fee and I get shipping benefits that might be worth it, but when I re-evaluate my streaming costs this year, I might drop it.

  6. Thank you so much for this! I’m interested in the use of new technological platforms as a means for building readership, and Radish sounds like a great fit for me.

    Now to work on something to submit…

    • Great comment, BJ. A good way to look at this opportunity. I’ve been chatting with Radish authors on Twitter and it looks more boutique than the massive Wattpad with a good community of supportive readers on Radish.

      Authors have 3 levels of participation from free to premium. Chapter minimum word counts should be 2000 words or better to make the offering meaty for readers. On premium side, readers pay for what they read, but author retains copyrights.

      Offerings on Radish are exclusive for an agreed upon period with 90 notice. If reader pays top premium, they retain rights to what they purchased. With the middle premium offering, if an author deleted their offering to move elsewhere, the reader copy can be deleted from their library. Bottom line is that it appears the author holds copyright.

      Like Amazon price match, Radish doesn’t want to see an author offering their book for free on another platform while Radish readers must pay. That’s understandable. I’m sure there are options to move the Radish offering to free or other options.

      So far, I’m interested in Radish to create buzz, find new readers, and earn money while promoting–without selling copyrights. A publisher may not like an author selling to international markets if they intend to buy rights–or the house could see a proven seller & pay more to buy it. It’s been done before.

  7. After I read through some of the press releases on Radish, there are articles from NYT or Publishers Weekly that give other sites similar. Each has different focus or ways to present their offerings, but an author might find a few options that work for them.

    Serial Box https://www.serialbox.com/how-it-works

    Amazon Rapids is geared for children ages 7-12 who have smart phones or tablets. https://rapids.amazon.com/

    According to the NYT article, Radish subscribers can have installments sent to them via email or they can access via an app.

  8. Radish started in 2015 and has raised millions from investors such as Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (affiliated with Penguin/Random House) and author Amy Tan (Author, Joy Luck Club). Larry Kirshbaum, former head of Amazon Publishing and ex-CEO of Time Warner Book Group, is a senior adviser. In addition, Ankur Jain, VP of product at Tinder, is on the board.

    • Wow. Radish is looking better and better. Just got home. Once I share a certain someone’s new release, I’ll check out the links you provided. Thanks again!

      • It does look interesting. It’s all about balance in our portfolios & finding new avenues for creating buzz.

        Ill let you know if anything comes of my application. Production expense looks minimal, no copyright or subrights tie up & money is paid upon pages read after the first 3 chapter sample. I know YOU’D write the hell out of a serialized series.

  9. This sounds pretty interesting, JD. I will check into it for my Incognito series.

    Are you saying that each Radish piece would be 2k words? That’s pretty short.

    Cheers!
    Jim in MT

    • No, Jim. That’s referring to word count minimum for a chapter. I found that reference in a press article but in chatting with a writer for Radish on Twitter, they said that chapters should me meatier for the reader do they get their money’s worth.

      I found a reference to using the first 3 chapters as a free teaser with paid installments afterward. This is no different than Amazon’s LOOK INSIDE feature.

      So it sounds as if there’s a 3 chap intro sample that’s free, then installments come by email or by app in chapter increments that readers pay for. But I would assume that an author would want a novel written and uploaded in enticing increments to pique the interest of the reader & keep them buying. I think there is time between the issuance of the installments, like a week. I guess if you write fast, you can write as you go, but that wouldn’t be ME.

      No copyrights or subrights are sold.

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