A New Venue – Amazon’s KDP Vella

BY CLAUDETTE YOUNG

Recently, KDP announced a new story platform, named Vella, for writers to reach mobile readers. The concept couples simplicity with ease of vetted publishing. It also allows the writer to experiment in unknown territories, gather in new audiences, and release some of those forgotten writing projects left for so long on a back burner.

Rules of Vella’s Platform

To take advantage of this interesting new opportunity, it’s easiest to read the rules. There aren’t that many.

  1.  All stories are episodic. Short bursts of story, published on a regular schedule until the story ends.
  2.  All episodes must range from no less than 600 to no more than 5000 words.
  3.  Fiction genres are all-inclusive. Non-fiction and creative non-fiction are also allowed.
  4.  It’s recommended that the writer have four to five episodes ready to go before uploading the first one. (I read this to mean that by doing so, the writer isn’t scrambling to have an episode ready on the next scheduled upload day.)
  5.  The writer chooses the publishing schedule that suits her//him. For instance, for my present story, “Devil’s in the Details”, I chose to upload an episode every other day. On my calendar, it means every odd-numbered day of the month.

I chose this knowing each episode would be short (600-1500 words on average). I didn’t want to give any reader too much time between episodes to find something different to read and forget mine.

  •  The number of episodes or length of story is at the writer’s discretion. Only the writer knows when a story is finished.
  •  A description of the story is required. One must choose keywords from the story and choose categories of genre for placement of story.
  •  An image possessing some relation to the story is highly-recommended in the development of the story’s platform profile. The writer will be asked to upload that image. Think of it as a visual bookmark, both for you when looking in your Vella library of stories, and for the mobile reader when she/he’s looking for your next episode on a mobile device.
  •  There is no rule that states a writer can only run one story at a time. If you want to run two or more stories simultaneously, I’ve found no rule that prohibits it. If one chooses to do that, know that your writing time must be rigorously monitored and scheduled for uploading. Otherwise, you’ll exhaust yourself unduly. (This is my advice—not stated in rules.)
  •  At the end of each episode is a space for author’s note. This is where you can talk directly to the reader. Share tid-bits about the story’s origin, a character’s backstory or provide a teaser about an upcoming episode. Ask for feedback and comments. What did the reader like/dislike? Did something confuse them? Whatever. Share a bit about yourself. It’s up to the author. You have only so much space to use, but it’s valuable acreage.
  • Also, if down the line you choose to edit an episode, you can do that. Feel free.
  • Not in rules but my own take on things. Use this opportunity to enlarge your existing audience and to engage a new one. Experiment. Have fun. While you will earn a bit of money with each episode downloaded, you gain much more in exposure and freedom of expression. Enjoy it. Tip: for all those memoirists out there. Here’s a platform for all those funny stories from your childhood that still crack you up. Surely you have at least ten or more of those. Plant one out there in Vella’s garden a couple times a week and see what grows.  Just a thought.

Payment and Reward

Payment is best described as interesting. Like all writing it depends on readership and downloads. Readers buy bundles of tokens. Each episode (after the compulsory first free three) is given a token price by Vella. All such values are based solely on word count. Token values and word count go through an algorithm which computes the royalty shared with the writer. The process is explained fully by the Learn More button.

Afterthoughts and Conclusions

Will you get rich? Well, that depends on things such as how many readers you can attract with your writing and how often you upload episodes.

I didn’t do this for money. I did it to rid myself of all those haunting stories lying fallow in the recesses of my hard drive. Now, I can share them, enjoy the process of getting them out, and make a few dollars from things left unread for too long.

That will satisfy me.

I hope everyone will at least look at the venue and gauge whether it will benefit them in some way. Advertising is advised. Me? I’m going to post to my website, my blog, my media outlets and all the write’s groups in which I’m a member.

For those who wish to discover more, here’s a link to the KDP Vella main page.

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/GR2L4AHPMQ44HNQ7

And if you’d like to check out my first episode, it’s free.   https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/product/B098XGD7VX

Happy writing, everyone.

One thought on “A New Venue – Amazon’s KDP Vella

  1. Thanks for sharing the basics of publishing on Kindle Vella, Claudette! I’ve begun publishing there too, for myself (non-fiction, so far a “fresh start workshop in a book” called “Ready Set Next”) and for my husband Glenn (I’m his editor; he has 2 Kindle Vella’s up so far = a collection of short stories called “Vanishing Points” and a collection of Native American themed creative non-fiction “teachings” called “Relationship With Fire”).

    Re: “Devil’s in the Details,” I read the first 3 chapters, and plan to read more once I buy more tokens. I love your witty writing style and the story’s noir flavor.

    I also appreciate how you encourage us writers to “experiment” in your blog post. Kindle Vella is certainly a good place for that. You’ve condensed Amazon’s “rules” into a concise list which makes it seem easy for writers, which it generally is. But Amazon’s still working out some Kindle Vella story category and search options details, and still in “soft launch” phase it seems. For me, it feels like “e-book publishing meets podcasting.” The serial-story platform seems best oriented for genre books (romance, thrillers, mysteries, fantasy, paranormal) or short story collections, and it currently lumps all non-fiction writing into one overall category. Once more MT Women Writers add their stories to Kindle Vella, maybe we can include links to them in “The Words” section on the MWW site? That would be great!

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