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Kindle Vella


Myth Weaver
Okay, so I'm browsing through my Kindle Fire this past month or so (yes, it's that old) when notice a few interesting looking stories are marked as 'currently unavailable.' I pass them by, figuring it's a 'glitch in the matrix' type deal. But, yesterday, on impulse, I click on one of them - and learn two things:

First, these tales are published on something called 'Kindle Vella.'

Second, my old Kindle doesn't support Kindle Vella.

Curious, I ran a search or two on the web - episodic stories? Freebies? People are putting WIP's on Amazon? Is this some sort of promotional thing or something else?


As far as I know, it's just another way to self publish on Kindle Direct Publishing. People can go in and pay for your stories by episode- or chapter- but the first 3 chapters are always free. And from there, the price is dictated by how long your episode is. So like, if the episode is 1700 words, it costs 17 keys for people to unlock. You can buy 200 keys for about 2 dollars.

I guess one snag to be aware of is that the royalties you earn are very low. The value of each episode is a handful of pennies, and the royalties are like 10% of that.


Myth Weaver
It's in its infant stage. I tossed a prequel up, first 5-6 chapters and wasn't impressed, so I haven't spent much time adding chapters/episodes, but I still keep getting little "bonuses" from Amazon for having anything there at all. My impression is that Amazon has the clout to make it work and pay well enough (after all, you can turn the episodes into a book at some point) but they haven't made the move to heavy promotion, I don't think. People who churn out books are the likely writers to take advantage of the system.


It's basically Amazon's attempt at serial fiction. It's becoming a more popular thing in the western world. However, more popular in Asian countries. Web series generally are posted for free unless you get a large enough audience to help support you. They mostly attract writers such as me who write stories that wouldn't be picked up by a publisher. There are some specific niches in web serials. There aren't a lot of...trusted plataforms that offer monitization. So Amazon getting into it was interesting. Though I'm uncertain they are doing it the best method. Usually, when money can be made, these platforms tend to curate the stories that are monetized. Amazon is doing it the Radish way of things.

Problem is Amazon did a very poor job of advertising it. All the publishing media made an article about it for one week last year and no one talked about it except those in the web fiction sphere. Some fearing it would change the landscape and be the death of many other establish platforms. I wasn't being all doom and gloom about it because it's Amazon.

Not everything Amazon has done was successful and they tend to jump into thing with the barest amount of research possible and go in with as little research as possible. I don't think they've done a good job on this. Not enough to pull serial writers to them in troves.

I don't believe it is a part of KU. You can decide to publish on KU if you wish to after your serial runs. However, they do ask for exclusivity on Vella. Most in the web fiction sphere don't care for exclusivity. It's like only selling your book in a single bookstore. Not everyone goes to it or knows it's there. It is very helpful is being able to publish on multiple platform. And if you are successful enough, then you can use patreon if you wish. You can't do that with Vella. So if you were a writer interested in mirroring onto Vella, well you couldn't. The only way any writers like myself could use it was to write a new story exclusively for Vella. And hope there is an audience there. Just because you have an audience doesn't mean they are willing to follow you.

Also, it doesn't help that Amazon has really put as little effort into Vella as they could. You can use it on PC via the browser on Amazon's website. They didn't think that maybe it deserved its own site. As far as I know, it only has an IOS app. There is no Android app the last I checked. There is no way to communicate with your audience which a lot of web serial writers don't care for.

Many writers who aren't familiar with web serial/serial writing are going to be confused. Web serial writing is a long-term game. The longer stories you write, the more you benefit from it. It's not something you can post a few chapters sporadically and think you'll get something from it. It's also an entirely different audience and an entirely different way of publishing. I don't think Amazon understands that. I don't know if there are kindle users willing to read serials. As far as I can tell, they are two different audiences. Instead of attracting writers and readers who know nothing about the serial sphere, they should've put more effort into attracting those who are willing to read them.