Have you heard the news? Amazon just announced the Kindle Vella system. This is sort of “Wattpad on Amazon,” as a quick recap will show you:
- You publish your book, one chapter (“episode”) at a time. Episodes are between 600-5,000 words long.
- Readers find your story in the Kindle Vella store on Amazon.com and in the Kindle app on iOS. They can start reading using their Tokens.
- Readers can buy Tokens for as little as $1.99 (for 200 Tokens).
- To give readers a chance to check out a story, they can read the first three episodes of every story for free.
- To unlock later episodes, readers must purchase and redeem Tokens. The number of Tokens needed to unlock an episode is determined by the episode’s word count at the rate of one token per 100 words. For example, it takes six Tokens to unlock a 638-word episode.
- Authors earn 50% of what readers spend on the Tokens that are used to unlock their story’s episodes.
- Reader engagement is also rewarded. Readers can Follow stories they enjoy to get notified when the latest episode is released, crown a weekly Fave for the story they enjoyed most, and give episodes they like a Thumbs up.
- As an author, you can engage directly with your readers. At the end of each episode, you’ll have the option to leave an Author’s Note, to share additional thoughts, insights, or let readers know when to expect the next episode.
The new system seems to be geared toward phones rather than computers and will be available to US readers in the “next few months.”
How does Kindle Vella affect you?
As Kindlepreneur explains, this could be an excellent way to diversify income streams and find new readers for your works.
However, you may not republish any existing work that has been published elsewhere on any platform, including Kindle. Vella will have all-fresh and exclusive content. That’s why you may not repackage your serialized story in another format (i.e. book or collection) without unpublishing on Vella first or publish a translation of a story published earlier in a different language.
Knowing Amazon and that this is a direct move to cut off competitors, it wouldn’t surprise me if they really work it to be successful. So, check it out, and see whether or not this fits in your author platform building and is something that fits you and your style.
My advice? If you have an unpublished novella, hold off publishing on Kindle and opt for Vella instead. If that fails, you can always publish it on Kindle afterward; you just need to unpublish it from Vella first. As it is with most new markets, those that get in at the beginning usually stand the most to gain when the new platform takes off. Remember the first group to publish on KDP when it came out? They became today’s big names.
Thank you for offering a bit more insight into Vella, Nicholas. At first, I thought it would be a good platform to post stories that are only one episode long, but that doesn’t seem the case. This format reminds me of the stories and cartoons in newspapers from the time my parents grew up (1960s), where stories were published in installments so readers would keep buying the daily/weekly paper.
Hadn’t thought of that, but that’s so true! That’s probably the inspiration behind Vella 🙂
So interesting. Thanks for the sharing how this works, Nicholas. I got an email from Amazon, but it wasn’t really clear about the mechanics. Sounds like it might be fun to try. 🙂
It’s great if you happen to have a series just waiting to be uploaded. Or if you’re a really fast writer!
Yes, got the email promo from the Zon. It does sound very interesting. One consideration is doing this like the recommendation for writing a series–get at least two or maybe three novels done before releasing the first. Doing an episode or chapter on Vella without having more stored up could be a disaster if you don’t get them done promptly. So the novel series model will likely be a safer bet.
That’s a great point, John! The only thing I’d add to that is that it may pay to get on board fast, as it is the writers whom readers see first on the platform who will benefit the most. So, better start writing 🙂
I tried to sign up to publish my serials, but it is not currently available on the UK site.
Best wishes, Pete.
I’m sorry, Pete; it will only be available in the US for now. I’m sure this will change soon if it’s a success.
How interesting. So, for example, is it possible to publish book 2 in a series using installments on Vella even though book 1 is already on Kindle and in print through Amazon?
Yes. You get 5K words to link to the previous book in the series.
Thank you for the information, and the great advice. Will spread the word. Seems all from the US will become a prepaid thing. I recently noticed that ebay is now handling the payment for the seller. All you have to do is send. 😉 Of course the fees have risen from originally 10% to over 20%. Hopefully Amazon doesn’t want to do the same. Best wishes, Michael
I’m sure that Amazon wouldn’t dream of making more money out of its authors 😉