Amazon has a new service that allows authors and readers to enjoy serialised stories. But is it worth the hype? Find out here.
2021 was an interesting year for publishers and authors. Why? Because that’s when Amazon KDP released its brand new service called the Kindle Vella.
With the introduction of Kindle Vella, authors can now publish their serialised stories one short story at a time. And since these serialized stories are specifically created for the platform, readers can directly interact with authors through the service.
But here’s the thing…
Not all new things are good— especially for Amazon Kindle publishers.
That’s why, in this article, I want to discuss Amazon’s newest service in detail to help you decide if it’s worth it to jump in.
Kindle Vella: An Introduction
The complete domination of sites like Wattpad and Radish Fiction proves that there is a huge market for short serialised stories online. And Amazon aims to capture that market with its introduction of Kindle Vella just last year.
This new service is just like Wattpad and Radish Fiction. After all, Kindle Vella allows authors to publish mini-stories on a regular schedule. This gives them the opportunity to grow an audience, make more money, and build their reputation for future releases.
To use Kindle Vella, an author or publisher must first have an Amazon KDP account. Then you only need to go to your Kindle Vella library and start a story. Amazon will then ask for a few pieces of information before you can publish. And that’s basically it.
Authors and publishers can also edit an episode at any time by managing the story and publishing the episode once again. Publishers, in particular, also have the option to set a preferred release date for each episode.
Earning Royalties Through Tokens
A token is the main currency used to purchase episodes in the Kindle Vella.
To entice readers, the first three episodes of a serialised story are free. However, the price of each succeeding episode varies depending on its length. Amazon charges one token for every 100 words. That means it would only charge 6 tokens for a 658-word episode, for example.
Keep in mind that tokens exclusively work on Kindle Vella. And Amazon offers a variety of token bundles for its readers to purchase.
But what’s in it for you?
Well, an author or publisher is entitled to receive 50% of the royalties earned on Kindle Vella. However, you would also earn more if a reader opts for a lower token bundle for purchasing episodes.
Here’s how you can calculate your earnings:
Earnings per Episode =
(Number of Tokens to unlock episode) x
(Tokens bundle price ÷ Number of Tokens in the bundle – taxes and fees) x
(50% revenue share)
Aside from earnings through royalties, all Kindle Vella authors are eligible for a bonus based on customer activity. Near the 15th of each month, Amazon will post the bonus amount on your Kindle Vella dashboard. And the bonus will be paid to your account about 60 days after the month it was posted.
This means the more interaction you make with your readers, the higher the bonus you get from Amazon!
5 Benefits of Kindle Vella
Can create a stronger connection with an audience
One of the best features of Kindle Vella is its ability to create stronger ties between the author and their audience. In fact, Amazon even encourages such community-building by incentivising it on the part of the author.
Good for authors of a certain writing style
Authors who excel at writing episodic stories have an obvious advantage with the Kindle Vella. This can both be a pro and a con— depending on the situation or the kind of writer you are.
You can recycle stories
Amazon allows you to publish your previous serialised stories on Kindle Vella. But there’s a caveat: The stories must never have been published for free on any platform.
The rating system is a good way to gain audience insight
Thanks to the awesome community building in Kindle Vella, its rating system is more effective in knowing what the audience wants.
Therefore, the legitimate feedback an author gets can be pretty helpful in making sure that the readers are hooked. And that they will read the next stories that will be released on the platform.
You can repackage serialised works after taking them off Kindle Vella
Once you’re done with Vella, all your serialised works can still be repackaged and published in another format, like a series of novels.
Limitations of the Kindle Vella
It’s a relatively new system
For now, if you will compare Kindle Vella to other episodic story platforms like Wattpad and Radish Fiction… you might really be disappointed.
Kindle Vella just officially launched a year ago after all. And the platform still needs a lot of optimising to do. But Amazon, being one of the biggest companies in the world, could easily improve the new service in another year or so.
The episodic writing style is not for everyone
As earlier mentioned, the episodic writing style that is required for Kindle Vella is both a pro and a con. It’s a disadvantage for writers who are not really great at writing per episode.
For example, this format hinges on the writer’s ability to weave cliffhangers seamlessly in between episodes. That way, readers would be enticed to unlock the next episode as soon as it comes out!
Currently only available for US-based authors, publishers, and readers
No matter how great the Kindle Vella is, it has one big disadvantage:
If you’re not from the U.S., you won’t be able to use the service yet.
Kindle Vella is only available on iOS devices
Aside from the geographical limitation of the service, Kindle Vella is also only available through the Apple app. This means that even if you’re living in the US, you can’t really access episodic stories on your Kindle Paperwhite.
Good Things Come to Those Who Wait
Availing the Kindle Vella service has both advantages and disadvantages. And if you can take the current limitations, then by all means feel free to do so. Kindle Vella has a strong potential to rival Wattpad and Radish Fiction.
But that being said, Amazon still has a lot of work to do to expand the capacity of Vella and serve more authors and readers around the globe.
Wait it out. Test the waters first and check the profitability of Kindle Vella’s token system.
And in the meantime, if you want to maximise your earning potential through Kindle Publishing, simply join my upcoming webinar. Let me help you grow your Kindle Publishing business.