What is this new Kindle Vella, and how is it different from other episodic reading platforms? There has been a lot of talk among authors about Amazon’s new Kindle Vella platform and why it changes how we deliver our stories. A play on the “novella” idea of a story shorter than a novel but longer than a short story, the platform offers books in small chunks delivered to you like episodes in a seasonal television show. This platform might sound familiar to users of Radish, Wattpad, and other serial updated reading platforms. Still, for those used to regular e-books, it can be a bit confusing.
Let’s take a look at what Vella actually is before we discuss how to use it. Think of print and e-books as television shows for a moment. A chapter-divided book is like one whole season of your favorite television show packaged and ready for your binge-watching pleasure. Vella is like that television show’s current season released to you one episode (one chapter) at a time until it is complete.
Why would anyone want to read that way? Well, for the same reason people watch television shows. It’s that fun hit of entertainment once a week, something to look forward to. It’s simply a new way to follow your favorite authors. As Amazon includes new features, it could also become a place where you can interact with those authors, too! Authors decide how often they will update (most are on a weekly schedule, but some bi-weekly, more or less) and you can follow a story to get alerts when the episode uploads.
As an author, I’m excited about this platform. There’s higher pay for independent authors, more interaction with readers, more immediate feedback, and… well… it’s just fun! You can find Vella books in the drop-down search under books and browse the small (but growing) list here.
Now, how does it work? It’s easy. The first three chapters of any book are FREE. Always. This gives you three chapters to decide if the book interests you before spending tokens on chapters. After that, you purchase tokens to unlock episodes. Is it expensive? It depends. Token costs are based on word count. Every 100 words in an episode cost one token, so a 2500-word chapter is 25 tokens. There are four token tiers as listed below:
200 tokens $1.99 (average 8 episodes)
525 tokens s$4.99 (average 21 episodes)
1100 tokens $9.99 (average 44 episodes)
1700 tokens $14.99 (average 68 episodes)
Obviously, the larger the package, the cheaper the cost of the tokens. Several authors have books on Vella that would cost $4.99 or less to read the entire book. I have one that costs less than $1.99. So, about the cost of a regular e-book purchase. Certainly, cheaper than a print copy.
Additionally, if you are new to Vella, you get 200 tokens for FREE! With the first three chapters free AND 200 tokens, there are lots of books you can read for free when you begin Vella. This brings me to another point. Vella is not a membership subscription like Kindle Unlimited, so there are no monthly fees on top of token costs.
At the end of each episode, you can reward the author with a "thumbs up" if you liked the chapterer. The more thumbs up we get, the better pay we receive. It's a great way to support the authors you love and let them know what you think! You also get one "fave" pick of the week. Each week, you can choose one book from your reads list as your favorite. High ranking faves get a special crown and a featured spot on Vella.
So, why hasn’t everyone heard about Vella yet? Amazon has been pretty quiet about this new platform. None of us really know why except that it will be a slow-growing platform geared toward increased profitability for independent authors. As new features roll out, I will be sure to update you. We’re hoping for commenting ability because we authors would LOVE to interact with our readers inside our stories! We adore reactions from our alpha and beta reader groups, so getting them from our target audience readers would be amazing. It would also be nice if they would include an author follow feature rather than just a story follow.
What if I don’t like this new platform? Will you still publish the e-book and physical copies of the books? Yes, I will. I realize this platform isn’t for everyone, and I want to reach as many readers as possible. Each book put in Vella has an exclusivity agreement in place for thirty days after the release of the last episode. Suppose I publish my last episode (aka chapter) today. In that case, I cannot post it anywhere else in electronic form for thirty days. After that, it’s free as a bird. I plan to continue with my usual e-book and print formats after that period ends.
Here’s another fun fact… anything I put in Vella can be shared with my VIP readers. Since you must join my website as a member to access the VIP page, I can post the episodes there for free! Not a member? You can join here. It’s free, and you can read some of my books there before they are released anywhere else (or at the same time where some Vella stories are concerned.) The exclusivity agreement does not count as long as the episodes are not available for free widely.
Hopefully, this has been helpful for those curious about Vella. For more information, you can also follow Crystal Crawford’s videos about Vella here.
Want some great books to get started? Here are three options I think my readers will enjoy. One is mine and two I highly recommend!
JUST HER LUCK
M. J. PADGETT
Amelia's life has just been turned upside down. She bombed a meeting, sprained her wrist, and lost her job all in one week. To make matters worse, now she's stuck in a snowstorm with no car, no hotel, and no help in sight. Just when Amelia thinks her luck can't get any worse, her high school nemesis swoops in to save the day. Kieran's offer to let her stay at his apartment stinks, but it's her only option. Can Amelia survive under the same roof with him, or will she strangle him with tinsel?
A FOREST OF STOLEN MEMORIES
Celebration turns to disaster when a mysterious curse goes awry. A reminder that the Sorcerer's prophecy still plagued the royal family. Roselyn's memory is suddenly erased, leaving her panicked at the altar. Confused, she flees to the place the prince fears most--the enchanted Mistbrooke Forest. Danger lingers closer than she can imagine, forcing her to seek help from a dark stranger who may be the key to recovering her lost memories. Can she break the curse without breaking her heart?
MACCHIATOS, FAERIE PRINCES, AND OTHER THINGS THAT HAPPEN AT MIDNIGHT
Ayla's family has a secret... and it's about to change her life forever. When a mysterious stranger vanishes right in front of her, Ayla begins to question all the strange happenings that pepper her life. When that vanishing stranger turns out to be Fae, Ayla is thrust into a dangerous world of LeyGuards, a curse, and a decades-old war. But as her relationships with her best guy friend and the mysterious Fae prince deepen, Ayla's heart might be what's most at risk.