Amazon recently announced a new commercial publishing platform that will allow any writer to create fan fiction based on original stories and characters. Amateur writers will have access to characters inspired by a number of successful books via an agreement with Warner Bros. Television Group's Allow Entertainment division.

Would-be authors can write stories based on characters from Gossip Girl, by Cecily von Ziegesar; Pretty Little Liars, by Sara Shepard; and Vampire Diaries, by L.J. Smith. The company plans to announce more licenses soon, we're told.

The service will enable amateur writers to earn royalties for their work. For stories with 10,000 words or more, authors can expect to receive 35 percent of net revenue which is based off of sales price.

Amazon is also launching an experimental new program for those interested in publishing short stories between 5,000 and 10,000 words. For these stories - which typically sell for less than a dollar - the e-retailer will pay royalties to the rights holder in addition to paying the author a digital royalty of 20 percent.

Amazon Publishing will set the price of Kindle Worlds stories. Most will be priced from $0.99 through $3.99 with royalties being paid out on a monthly basis.

Naturally there are a few guidelines that potential authors must follow. Amazon doesn't accept pornography, offensive content, illegal or infringing content and stories deemed to have a poor customer experience. What's more, the program won't accept the excessive use of brand names or the inclusion of brand names for advertising or promotion and your work cannot contain elements of any copyright-protected book, movie or other property outside of the elements of the World.