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Writing Books/Fiction based on already existent material?


Hi there!

I was reading some books by Scott Ciencin, u know, the guy who writes non-cannon spin offs of Jurassic Park, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, etc. I was wondering, how did he get the permission to write basing his stories on already existing characters and sagas? How do you get the permission to basically publish fan fiction?

(Im a writer myself, not a rabid fan, so my question is actually serious)

I confess, I have no idea who Scott Ciencin is, and don't read such spinoff works.  But generally speaking, it mostly has to do with who owns the rights to the characters.  You'll notice that all the books of a certain franchise are published by the same company.  Because that's who has purchased the rights to publish them.  No other company is permitted to.

So in order to publish say, a Star Trek novel, you'd have to contact the publisher and get their guidelines and submit to them.  You would not, for example, be able to self-publish a Star Trek novel, because you would not have the rights to do so.

Hope that's helpful.

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Vincent M. Wales


I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.


For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

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