Kindle Vella is living proof the streaming wars aren’t the only battles online. While video entertainment takes up Wall Street’s attention, episodic fiction got a boost with Amazon’s new venture. Kindle Vella lets writers post stories in installments.
As such, it’s a pretty direct answer to the Canadian-based site Wattpad. It’s not surprising the world’s largest retailer saw a site with ninety million users and decided it wanted a piece. The move is an opportunity for writers, of course.
The question remains, however, is it really worth it? Amazon is famous for making bold moves with apps and devices under the Kindle brand, then backing off when they prove to be unprofitable. That’s certainly good business sense, but it leaves readers and writers a little wary.
The good news is Amazon seems to be taking its time with this launch. They’ve got writers contributing to this exclusive library, though they have yet to launch the application to the public. Amazon seems to want to build a strong content database, to make sure the app has generous offerings when it’s available. That sounds like a win-win for authors and readers. The proof, of course, comes when the program is up and running.
What Is Kindle Vella?
Kindle Vella is both a reading service and a writer’s market.
Though it has some similarities to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), this new platform is standalone and not a part of KDP.
Authors write and publish content directly to Kindle Vella.
Stories can be found through the Kindle app or at the Amazon store but are only accessed by way of the app. Kindle Vella is only available in the United States for now.
As mentioned earlier, all the stories are episodic and ongoing.
Readers can access the first few stories for free but must pay for further installments using tokens purchased from Amazon.
How Do Writers Publish Their Stories?
Writers can upload stories onto Kindle Vella with lengths of 600 to 5000 words.
Only .doc and .docx documents are accepted. As mentioned before all stories must be episodic.
No entry can be standalone but must be part of an ongoing tale. Amazon insists that each tale be new and not be published elsewhere.
Your story must remain exclusive to Kindle Vella.
If you want to publish that same story in another venue, you must remove it entirely from Kindle Vella.
There are some contradictory guidelines where Amazon says you can publish portions of a story seen elsewhere, as long as it continues from that point solely on Kindle Vella.
The strict terms of that arrangement are vague, however, so it’s best to believe the rule of exclusivity will hold.
In terms of book covers, you can upload a 1600×1600 jpeg or tiff file.
You don’t have to include text on the image, including the title or author’s name.
Is There Anything You Can’t Do?
The app is mostly concerned with publishing straight text. It offers only basic word processing formatting and functions, including bold, italics, and underlines.
Here is a list of what it won’t accept:
- Indented Paragraphs
- Special Characters
As you can see, this list is pretty restrictive if you’re a non-fiction writer. Kindle Vella in fact has only a single non-fiction category, which is titled appropriately “Non-Fiction”.
Is Kindle Vella Worth It?
If we’re talking about money, Kindle Vella is an open question.
As we said, readers pay for continuing stories on Kindle Vella with tokens purchased directly from Amazon. Writers split the revenue with Amazon straight down the line, keeping a fifty percent share of the sales.
While that seems generous, the truth is it takes hundreds of tokens to even equal a couple of dollars.
The only way to make real money with Kindle Vella would appear to be with volume.
When customers use their tokens, they are not paying by the installment, but by the word.
A long, sustained body of work appears to be the best way to make Kindle Vella turn a profit for you.
Your Art May Be Its Own Reward
Like its competitors, Kindle Vella is easy to approach if you’re a writer.
The publishing interface is intuitive.
There’s no cost to upload your stories and offering them for sale.
If you write a lot, and you think your stories are interesting, this may be the platform for you.
Final Words on Kindle Vella
What do you think about the new program?
Is it a good opportunity? Or, just another shiny object for Amazon to eventually lose interest in?
Also, do you feel the compensation is adequate?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Watch this video where I break down the Kindle Vella program.