Who knew that people loved cliffhangers and having to wait for the next part of a story? Serialization has clearly made a huge comeback and seems to have gained a massive following.
In the past couple of years, authors have become very interested in posting their works in chunks rather than in their entirety.
Of course, since it is a big trend, online ebook retailers are taking advantage of the interest and have come out with several platforms that help authors post their serialized works.
Sequential publishing platforms like Wattpad and Radish became the go-to sites for readers. In 2021, Amazon came out with its answer to the apps - Kindle Vella.
This article will answer all the common questions about this publishing platform. You will learn what it is about, how it works, and how much you can earn by posting your work on Kindle Vella in getting your serialized works out.
Most importantly, it aims to help you decide whether Kindle Vella is worth using for authors.
What is a serial novel and why are they so popular?
Serialization is not a new concept. It has been around since the 1800s. Many believe that it was Charles Dickens who began the serial publishing craze when he published The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. This was back in 1837. The work has over 19 issues.
Serialization is when a work of fiction is published in sequential parts. A serial novel comes in installments that are published weekly or monthly depending on their authors. Serial novels uses to be published in periodicals like newspapers and literary magazines. Now, they are posted on platforms like Wattpad, Radish, and Kindle Vella.
What is Kindle Vella?
Kindle Vella is Amazon’s answer to Radish and Wattpad. It is a story service that was initially offered for iOS devices but now also works for Android gadgets. It is a platform that offers story subscription services. This means readers can access serialized fiction that authors made specifically for the online platform.
As mentioned, the main difference that Kindle Vella has over other ebook retailers is that the materials posted here are created in episodic style. The authors post their works one episode at a time. Readers can preview the story’s first few episodes. If they like it, they can buy the story per episode using tokens.
How does Kindle Vella work?
Kindle Vella works just like any other story subscription platform. The author writes a story that is broken up into episodes of 600 to 5000 words and then posts those parts individually. Note that the divisions are usually strategic to keep the reader waiting for the next installment.
Authors are encouraged to write the stories in a serial format specifically to leave the readers wanting to read the next chapter.
This is preferred over actually writing a standard novel and just cutting the long work into arbitrary segments.
The first three episodes of the serial novel are always offered for free. These are trial pieces that the readers can enjoy to check if they want to read more. If the reader wants to find out what happens in the story, then he or she has to pay to receive the next entry.
Now here’s the catch. The chapters cannot be bought all at the same time. The buyer must wait for the next installment which the author posts either daily, weekly, monthly, or even sporadically. The reader can opt to receive notifications as soon as a favorite author posts new entries.
To encourage the author to keep writing, readers can give their works Thumbs Up. Readers can also Fave a story that they really enjoyed.
This feedback serves as recommendations to other readers on Kindle Vella, indicating that the story is worth the read.
Authors can leave notes to engage with their readers. The author’s notes can be found at the end of the entries.
While most are just posted to thank the fans for continuing to enjoy the series, some authors also take this as an opportunity to answer fan questions, give more insights, and provide more details that cannot go into the novel.
Is Kindle Vella the right platform for you?
Kindle Vella provides authors with a decent rate for every episode bought. The fifty percent royalties may be enough to convince most authors to switch to writing for this platform.
However, there are other factors that you should consider before actually moving from other self-publishing platforms to this Amazon-based service provider.
The first thing you need to consider is how comfortable you are with writing serialized episodes. Remember that writing a regular novel is slightly different from writing a serial novel. With Kindle Vella, authors are encouraged to come up with more episodes so that the readers will spend more tokens on their work.
You also have to think of how fast you can make each episode. If you are the type of writer who likes to take the time in writing a chapter, your readers may end up waiting too long and losing interest.
So, consider how fast you can work and how often you can finish an episode. If posting one chapter a week is too stressful for you, then this might not be the right platform for you.
You want to be able to continuously and regularly supply your readers with good content to be able to keep the momentum going.
It is also important to note that you cannot post episodes that you take out from previously published works. You need to make new content for your Kindle Vella account. And the content has to be available exclusively for that platform. You cannot post it for free anywhere else.
The next factor to consider is whether you plan on publishing your work into an actual book or long-form content. Because when you sign up with Kindle Vella, your work has to stay in it for at least one year before you can do anything else. On top of that, you can’t use your episodes to publish multiple long-form content.
How much can you earn from Kindle Vella?
How one earns from Kindle Vella is straightforward. You, the author, will receive 50% of what the readers pay for the episodes posted on the platform.
There is also the launch bonus that is based on customer engagement and activity, but your primary income will come from the amount that your readers spend to read your stories.
As mentioned above, only the first three episodes of your book can be accessed for free. The rest must be bought using tokens. Here is where the computation gets a little complex. The tokens can be bought at varying prices. And this purchase price will affect how much you can earn.
Let’s look at an example. If a reader pays $1.99 for 200 tokens and spends 30 of those to unlock one episode of your work, you are looking at an earning of $0.15. The formula is simple. It’s based on fifty percent of the price of each token multiplied by the number of tokens used.
So, in the example above, that's $1.99 divided by 200 tokens. That puts each token at 0.00995 per token. If your reader uses 30 tokens to read one episode, the total cost will be $0.2985. Since you only get half of that, you will be receiving $0.14925. If you have 10 same-length episodes for this title. You will receive a total of about $1.50.
If, however, your reader buys the 1700 token that Kindle Vella sells for $14.99, your total earnings for the same title will be approximately $1.32. Obviously, the higher the price of the token, the higher your earnings will be.
Actual Kindle Vella Earnings
According to one author, he has been able to earn roughly $600 per month from publishing his works on Kindle Vella. The author had a total of 5 stories published with a combined episode count of 39. According to the posted statistics, the episodes have been read 941 times.
As you can see, $600 a month of virtually passive income is nothing to scoff at. However, it is not really passive just because the stories are already posted. The authors still have to do their part in promoting their episodes.
Plus, you have to do your due diligence by researching which genres the readers favor at a given time. Note that there are thousands of other works available for purchase so you really need to make your work stand out.
Is Kindle Vella Worth for Authors?
It is worth it for authors who are highly motivated to hunt down unexplored and unique themes.
The potential to earn is huge if you are good at writing serial novels and are willing and able to produce new episodes at least once a week. This means you have to be dedicated to committing to a tight writing schedule.
Several authors have already come out and posted their earnings as proof that you can really earn if you post your work on Kindle Vella.
It is up to you to capture your readers’ interest in the first three chapters of your work and keep them entertained so that they would keep coming back for more.