Are you a master of the hook and know how to write a good cliffhanger? If you know how to write a serial that will keep them coming back, Kindle has a new platform that may allow you to earn some extra income from your writing and help you connect with your audience. Let’s explore Kindle’s latest addition, Vella.
What is Kindle Vella?
For those familiar with the Kindle Publishing platform, you might be interested in their new story platform for indie authors. Vella allows you to start a story and add to it one episode at a time. The first episode is free, but then readers can buy tokens and spend them to unlock the next episode. It also gives readers a way to like and interact directly with the author. This new platform is only available on smartphones.
Vella offers a unique experience for both readers and authors. It is different from the model where you write a book, put it out to the public, and hope that it takes hold. Once you understand how to publish on Kindle Vella, you can develop a real relationship with your readers. Beyond the first question, “what is Kindle Vella,” here are a few frequently asked questions.
How long is an episode?
The idea is to give readers small, digestible bites. The average episodes range from 500 to 6,000 words. Each story costs a different number of tokens, depending on its length. The average story can range from super-short stories of around 20,000 words to over 120,000 for full-length novels.
How do you gain readers?
The Vella model works similar to a social media platform, and the key to getting readers is through positive Kindle Vella reviews. Sometimes, readers will write a full comment, but most of the time, these reviews will come in the way of likes. To become a featured author, likes are important to attract readers but to get your story shown to readers, you have to entice readers to spend tokens on your story.
How do you publish a story on Vella?
If you are already established in the world of self-publishing, you are probably familiar with Kindle Unlimited. The process for uploading a book is similar on Vella, only you can upload the book in short segments.
Is Vella right for me?
The first thing you have to ask yourself is whether your work is a good match for this new genre and market. If your story is deep and requires long explanations, extensive character building, and world-building, it might not be a good match. Patience is not the greatest virtue of this new market, but it is a good place to see if you have the ability to keep the reader’s attention and hone this skill. It also might not be the best place for a corporate work or nonfiction book.
Can you publish your Vella story elsewhere?
Several platforms are available for marketing a self-published book, such as Smashwords and Draft2Digital. Before choosing a publishing platform, be sure to read the copyright rules because some, like KDP, will not allow you to publish on other platforms. Radish is another platform that is similar to Vella, and Vella is the newcomer in this genre. There is no doubt that it will continue to grow once Kindle has entered the marketplace.
Do you get paid for Vella?
The pay structure for Vella is different from standard Amazon KDP royalties. With Kindle Direct Publishing, you can choose from two different royalty levels. With Vella, you are paid by the number of episodes the reader unlocks by spending tokens. Vella has a straightforward pay structure where you get 50% of what readers spend to read your story. You can also earn launch bonuses for customer activity and engagement.
One thing to keep in mind is that Vella offers the ability to purchase tokens in bulk. This will affect how much you get paid as an author. Pricing may change on tokens in the future.
For instance, if the reader purchases 200 tokens for $1.99 and spends 30 on your episode, you will earn (30*1.99/200)*.5 = $0.15 per episode. If you have 20 episodes, you would earn $3. There are fees involved depending on the payment system used, which can reduce your earnings to around 35%.
From the readers’ perspective, this breaks out into a pricing structure that is about $1.99 for 20,000 words up to $14.99 for 170,000 words. This is similar to what they would pay for a comparable novel or Kindle story. From an author’s standpoint, this breaks down to actual receipts of about 35% in royalties, but the catch is that the reader does not have to buy the whole story at once. You have to give them a reason to stay.
How do you get featured on Kindle Vella?
As you can see, the way to be successful on Vella is to build up a consistent readership. The way to do this is to get seen by your readers. Vella features authors who readers spent the most tokens on during that week, and of course, this is where you want to be. So how do you do this?
The first step is to read the content guidelines carefully and make sure you follow them. The second is to understand that this format represents a new market that KDP was not able to reach in the past. Serialized fiction is a different genre than traditional publishing.
So far, this genre has captured the attention of mostly teens, and they have different reading habits than adults. Many of them do not own a Kindle device, but they read directly on their phones. They tend to binge on short installments but have relatively short attention spans, which is why you need to master the concept of story pacing.
Where do you read Vella books?
You can read Vella stories on either iOS or Android devices. It is hoped that this platform will grow and will entice a younger readership to read on their devices instead of watching videos or playing games. Readers can enjoy stories by downloading the Kindle Vella app.
Now you can answer “what is Kindle Vella?” but is it right for you? For authors who know how to hook the reader, Vella offers some interesting new opportunities for growing a fan base. The first thing to do is to consider whether your style of writing is a good fit for this genre. If you feel that you are a good match, then it might give you an excellent place to hone your skills in keeping them coming back. Trying new things is an excellent way to break out of a writing rut.