Self-publishing a written series was always possible, but not very efficient or exciting. Amazon is changing that with Kindle Vella, its new platform for authors to share and earn royalties from their serialized works.
Get to know what the service does for readers and writers, but also how it fits in the publishing industry. While only available in the US for now, its success will surely lead to greater access and opportunities.
What Is Kindle Vella?
Amazon announced Kindle Vella in April 2021, and stated that the Kindle iOS app is Vella's primary target. In other words, iOS users will probably get the best experience. However, you'll also be able to access stories on Amazon's website too, which would be far more practical for authors.
In any case, the new self-publishing service taps into the trend of serialized stories. Only it makes it better with various promising features for both sides of the coin.
Much like a social network, people will be able to talk about and reward their favorite reads. Authors will earn a percentage of what users spend, but the actual size of their income will depend on overall activity.
For example, having a good first month after a story goes live is supposed to come with a bonus, so preparing yourself and your publications while staying up to speed with Kindle Vella's launch, which is set sometime in July 2021, is a smart move.
How Does Kindle Vella Work?
Here are the basic features Amazon promises readers and writers. We'll have to wait and see how well they perform once the new platform launches.
Features for Readers
Helpful tags will direct you to stories that might interest you, whether they're of a particular genre or contain elements you like. Each publication will display its description, length, thumbs up, and other important details.
You can read a story's first three episodes for free. Then, you'll need a certain number of tokens to unlock each subsequent episode, with word count affecting what they'll cost you.
Since it's one token per 100 words, pay attention to a story's length and be sure you're happy to go beyond the free taster. On that point, Kindle Vella will have bundles of tokens on offer, starting at $1.99 for 200 tokens.
One unlocked episode per week earns you a crown, which you can then give to a story you love. The Thumbs Up button is also there so you can support individual episodes. Finally, follow your favorite stories to receive alerts when new episodes come out.
Features for Authors
Kindle Vella welcomes any number of episodes as long as they're 600 to 5,000 words each. However, you can't republish a book or anything that's already available elsewhere. Nor can you incorporate your Vella works into a book without first deleting them from the platform.
Even on Kindle Vella, exclusivity is key, so make sure you understand Amazon KDP's content guidelines before trying to self-publish anything. If your story complies with the rules, you can go ahead and set it up for readers to find when the platform launches.
In fact, you're advised to put out at least five episodes to hook your audience fast as one of Vella's first storytellers. You can also schedule your publication for later and enjoy a calmer reception.
Kindle Vella Tip 3: Publishing on a regular schedule increases your chance to attract readers and keep them coming back. Create a schedule ahead of time and stick to it, so readers know when to expect new episodes.https://t.co/Dw4sGwejGM pic.twitter.com/WaAUxSO9ea— Kindle Direct Publishing (@AmazonKDP) May 19, 2021
Either way, you're eligible for a launch bonus if users read and engage with your story enough. That's why it's so important to make the best first impression possible, so choose your tags and words wisely.
Under each episode, for example, you can leave author notes, a great way to let readers in on your thought process or get them to interact with comments, thumbs up, and crowns.
Finally, your royalties amount to 50 percent of what readers spend on tokens that unlock your episodes. Taxes and fees are deducted, such as those from mobile channels Amazon will be using to sell its token bundles.
Combine Kindle Vella and Direct Publishing
Fingers crossed, Kindle Vella will match KDP's success. In the meantime, authors should get to know exactly how to use both self-publishing services to establish themselves. With Vella, readers can also enjoy a lot more stories at their fingertips.
As a writer, work on telling good bite-sized tales, while learning the ins and outs of digital content, from ebook formats to what each publishing platform allows.