Amazon finally launched the much anticipated Kindle Vella in July of 2021, but a lot of people are yet to catch on. By learning about and using the platform, you’ll have an edge in modern-day publishing.
Kindle Vella is a service that allows you to read stories in series. Serialized stories, if you were wondering, are works of fiction that are released episodically like TV shows and are exclusive to certain platforms.
In the same vein, KDP serialized stories are exclusive to the Kindle Vella platform. This is a major leap for Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) as they try to gain an even larger share of the fiction reader market.
Now, let's get into the details of this novel storytelling platform.
What is Kindle Vella?
Kindle Vella is the latest platform built to host KDP serialized stories. The platform allows authors to publish their stories in little episodes and readers can then have access to these stories by accessing the platform online.
Kindle Vella, like some earlier serialization platforms including Wattpad and Radish, is interactive for authors and readers. As a bonus, writers can monetize this platform, creating another viable source of passive income.
Kindle Vella: How It Works
Since it operates on a new KDP format, the Kindle Vella interactive reading tool is different from the already existing Kindle E-reader app.
The stories on the platform are available on the Kindle Vella website for desktop or the Kindle Vella app for iOS or Android. Storytellers can post stories containing 500 to 6,000 words per episode, and the platform gives readers free access to the first three episodes of any story after which tokens will be needed to continue reading. Interaction between readers and authors is expressed by dropping a "thumbs up" on the stories or adding them to their “faves”.
Different amounts of tokens are needed to unlock episodes based on the length, and authors receive money from their stories based on how many tokens the reader chooses to unlock them with.
Kindle Vella Pricing
When releasing this new KDP format, Amazon indicated that the price structure was subject to change. Meanwhile, here's a guide to how much it costs to read KDP serialized stories on the new platform.
The length of a story determines how many tokens will be needed to read the full story after the free preview. A reader may spend 50 tokens to read a 5000-word story and 20 tokens for a 2000-word story.
The authors get 50% of royalties from their stories. This means when a reader purchases 200 tokens for $1.99 and reads a story with 50 tokens, the author gets $0.25. This is $.0005 per 100 words.
However, the pricing is not as straightforward as it seems. If a reader buys a large number of tokens up front, they get more value. This is the calculation format for the royalties.
(number of tokens to unlock episode) * [(tokens bundle price / number tokens in the bundle) – taxes and fees] * (50% revenue share) = Earnings per episode
This chart helps you understand the amount earned in royalties using the formula above. This price does not include taxes or fees.
Price for Reader
Royalties Per 100 Words
Based on this, you can earn $0.25 from a 5000-word story if the reader paid for their token from a 200-token tier. You can also earn $0.22 from the same story if the reader pays from the 1700-token tier.
Terms of Usage for Kindle Vella Authors
Several rules govern publishing on Kindle Vella. Learning them will ensure that your experience with the platform is hassle-free. Although the rules may be updated in the future, these are the current guidelines for using Kindle Vella.
- Platform authors are not allowed to publish any unoriginal work—that is, work that already exists anywhere else.
- Authors cannot post content that is public domain or available on the internet for free.
- The serialized stories shared on the Kindle Vella platform must not be repackaged in another form (book or collection) outside the platform.
- Any previously published work cannot be republished even if translated in a different language.
- Authors can resell their serialized stories as a book if they take it off Vella. This means the story is no longer exclusive or available as a serialized format on Kindle Vella ever again.
- Authors can publish their original stories on other serialization platforms as long as it is not free content on the internet and exists within a paywall.
How Readers Access Vella Stories
There are different ways that readers can find stories on the platform.
- The Leaderboard: This is a section for stories with the most “faves”. More information will be available on this as the platform progresses.
- Tags: They act like keywords for the stories. Every story can have up to seven tags. They are shown on the story detail pages and help the stories get discovered by readers.
- Ads: Amazon ads are disabled on Kindle Vella.
- Author Page: Kindle Vella does not display the stories published on the author's public page on Amazon.
Publishing With Kindle Vella
To publish a story on Kindle Vella these are the steps to follow:
Start New Kindle Vella Story
Click "Start a story" on the Kindle Vella Library. It's also available on your KDP dashboard.
Indicate Title, Author Name, and Description
“Starting a story” leads you to another page where you add the story title, author name (Real name only), and story description. This information is not episode-specific but covers the entire story. This new KDP format provides a 100-character limit for the title and a 500-character limit for the description.
Add a Story Image
Add a 1600x1600 pixel image. Based on Amazon’s recommendations, use images without text.
Choose Image Categories
Choose two categories that best fit your image.
Add Your Tags
Add tags to your post. They help Amazon identify where your posts should show up. You can see what other authors used as their tags to guide you in choosing yours, and it’s a good idea to research ahead of time which tags might be the most profitable for your book based on the genre.
Click "Publish and start Episode 1" after addressing the other parameters above. The story becomes available when you publish your first episode.
- “Fill In Your Episode Content and Details”. There are many fields on this page. Select the option for the episode title you're publishing. “Episode text” is where you upload your content. You can either type directly into the textbox or upload a .DOC/.DOCX file.
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- The “Author Notes” option is a space for the author to share information about the story which the reader can access after reading it. HTML, links, etc are not allowed.
- “Preview Episode”, as the name implies, lets you preview the post appearance on mobile.
- “Tokens Needed to Unlock Episode” shows you how many Tokens your readers need to access the post.
- “Release Date” lets you release at once or at a scheduled time.
- Select “Publish” after setting up all parameters.
Some Kindle Vella Features
- Tagging: This is an option for readers to look through particular topics and genres while searching for stories.
- Following: Following a story keeps the reader updated on new episode releases as Kindle Vella sends a notification.
- Thumbs up: If a reader likes an episode, they can indicate this with the "thumbs up" option. This feature helps authors understand the audience's preference. For instance, if there are many likes on a certain episode of your story, it will be a cool idea to figure out why and how to improve on subsequent episodes.
- Faves: This weekly option allows readers who have bought tokens to get a "fave" which they give to their favorite story for the week. All stories with the most faves will feature on Amazon's Kindle Vella store.
- Author notes: Author notes allow storytellers to communicate with their readers. This is a great idea for authors to build a genuine relationship with their audience. External formatting and links are not allowed which indicates that Author Notes should not be used for advertising. The best chance at boosting your audience base is by using this option to provide more focus on the content.
- Sharing: This feature allows readers to share Kindle Vella stories from their phones to social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, or email and text.
Kindle Vella, the newest platform for KDP serialized stories, is creating a new pathway from the normal ebook format. If you want to be a successful author on this new platform, here's a tip for you: hook the audience's attention in a way that most books fail to achieve.
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