Kindle Vella FAQs
1. What is Kindle Vella? It's a platform that Amazon launched in July 2021 that allows authors to write fiction in serial format, meaning in short pieces at a time, over a LONG period of time. Think The Green Mile when it first came out, only in digital form. If you're familiar with Web Comics, Radish, KISS, or Wattpad, these are all mostly done in serial format.
2. What's the advantage / point of writing that way? Well, from what I know of it so far (and it's a new format for me), there are several advantages. With more and more people reading on phones, and how busy people are, there's a lot of demand for stories that can be read in small chunks. At the same time, readers like having a long relationship with stories / characters / authors, and serials allow that as well, with some stories going on for hundreds of episodes and multiple "seasons," so more like a long-running television show than how novels are usually structured. Therefore, while the episodes can be short, it's actually a great way to tell long, complex stories with multiple characters, plots, sub-plots, and complex worlds.
2. Who is on Kindle Vella? Well, I am, for one, lol. But more broadly, right now, only USA authors are allowed to publish on Kindle Vella in this beta stage of the program, and only for serial works in English. I'm hoping they expand this to include all authors very soon!
3. How do you read Kindle Vella stories? You read the stories in "episodes" by purchasing tokens from Amazon (see below for more on this).
4. Do I have to pay before I know if I even like your story? No, you really don't. Amazon was nice enough to give all readers three FREE chapters of every book available, along with 200 FREE tokens when you first try the program, so you get a pretty big sneak peek on most stories before you actually have to start to pay. Even without the free tokens, you still get three full episodes for FREE, and only have to start paying if you want to read on after that.
5. How often will serials be updated on Vella? Every author will design their own schedule for this. For me, I'll be updating both of my serials 2x a week, every Sunday and Thursday, starting Sunday, July 18th, 2021 (I had to skip Thursday, July 15th due to a learning curve for me on the scheduling process).
6. How do you crown (i.e., "fav" or "favorite") a story? You unfortunately cannot crown / favorite a story UNTIL you purchase tokens. I recommend purchasing the $1.99 / 200 token pack to start, along with the 200 free tokens. That should give you some idea if this reading format / some of the individual stories on there are for you. Roughly, those 400 tokens will give you 40,000 words of reading (1 token = about 100 words).
7. How many crowns ("favorites") do you get? You only get ONE (1) crown / "fav" / "favorite" per week! Use it sparingly, because this is how your favorite authors will be paid and show up on the board. The more people who "favorite" a story, the more that story will be seen by other potential readers.
8. How do you get notifications that a new story chapter is live? You need to FOLLOW the stories that you like and want notifications for. There is a way to do this at the bottom of each episode you read. You can also do it on the page for the overall story in Kindle Vella (there's a button to click on the story's main page).
9. What do "Thumb's Up" / "Likes" mean? None of us authors really know PRECISELY what this means yet, lol, but since they are there, clicking the "like" / "thumb's up" button certainly can't hurt, if only in letting other readers know that it might be worth their time to check the story out. In general, that usually helps with discovery, which is always a huge challenge for authors.
10. Can readers from other countries access Vella? Unfortunately, I discovered right after the launch that it's only open to USA readers (in addition to only being open to USA writers) in this preliminary beta stage of the launch. I'm hoping that changes really soon, and I'll definitely keep everyone on here updated as soon as it does! So far, we haven't gotten a lot of advance notice on rollout elements, but I'll pass on everything I find out, if it's at all possible.
11. How do I access the Vella Store? I recommend using your browser to start, especially if you have a link to a particular Vella book / serial. HERE IS A LINK to my serial, Seer Wars: A New Earth, or HERE IS A LINK to my other serial, Demon Thief. Those will get you into the Vella Store and allow you to get a sense of how it's set up for individual stories. If you want to look at the main page for the Vella store, CLICK HERE. These links should work for your phone, laptop, tablet, or anywhere that accesses one of the major browsers. You can also access Kindle Vella through your iOS Kindle Phone App, if you own an iPhone.