Hello there my lovelies! If you haven’t noticed… I'm brimming with ideas in 2023 and since I'm crazy enough to try to take them all on, I figured maybe some of you are too. So today, I'll share some of the research I've done and give you My Two Cents on Kindle Vella.
Let me preface this by saying, I plan to release my first Kindle Vella series (Somebody's Always Watching) on February 25. It will be a mystery/thriller and you can read more about it at the bottom of this post.
So, if you haven't heard of it (and I'm quickly learning not everyone has) let me give you a crash course on what Kindle Vella (KV) actually is. The website defines it as “serial stories to read one short episode at a time.”
It’s a fascinating way to read/write, so let me break it down.
What types of stories are available?
Just like on Kindle Unlimited (KU) there is basically every genre of stories available. I’m told the most popular were fantasy and romance historically, but that has become less true recently. The top 5 ranked stories (as I write this blog) fall into these categories but you also see “Young Adult,” “Erotica,” and “Action/Adventure.” Basically, there are a lot of different types of stories available. Dystopian, Mystery, Thriller, Historical Fiction, the list goes on.
Why read/write this way instead of Kindle Unlimited/another reading app?
There are a few ways to answer this question. BUT I think the original idea behind creating this type of reading experience vs a full-length novel is twofold.
Firstly, sometimes people don’t have time to read a full novel, and doing so can seem daunting. But breaking it up into smaller bites can often make it more digestible. Stories on KV generally range from 800-1500 words per episode which makes each one a 5-10 minute read. So you don’t have to commit to a full book at one time, but by the end of the entire season, you’ve usually consumed a traditional novel/novella length of words. That makes them great waiting room reads, filler for a few minutes of uncomfortable silence, or basically good for any time you can't commit to a full book. And most episodes end in a good place to stop (even though they do usually leave you hanging) so you feel more comfortable walking away and going on with your life.
Secondly, I think the idea first started as a way for readers to be collaborative with the authors. KV allows authors to post open-ended questions or polls about where the story should go next and readers can be involved in the overall process. I’m not sure how many authors actually use this feature (it hasn’t been used in any of the stories I’ve read) but it’s a cool feature and I'm sure makes for a fun experience for the readers and writers. Plus, authors don’t HAVE to have a full-length novel already written before publication. Authors can choose to write it as they go along, and it's a way to still get their work seen even if it's not quite finished. The only problem I’ve seen with that is some authors hit a wall and end up leaving you hanging waiting for the next episode. That's an unfortunate drawback and why I decided not to publish until the story is complete. (I know myself and I don't want to do that to my readers 😂)
PLUS as an author, you get the opportunity to turn your series into a book at the end if you want! You have to create a KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) account in order to publish on Vella, so it's easy to turn the series into a book at the end, and you're able to have both long-form book and serial episodes available to readers so they can choose the way that works for them.
How much does it cost?
So this is where it gets a teensy bit complicated.
Episodes are purchased using “tokens” sold only for use on Kindle Vella. The token cost of episodes is automatically calculated by the number of words. 100 words=1 token, so most episodes end up costing 7-15 tokens.
But, just for signing up you get 200 FREE tokens, and if you're a KU/Audible user, you have the opportunity to earn more free tokens all the time. I've read several full series and never HAD to purchase tokens. I have purchased some (because buying them earns you rewards, and I got them on sale), but I haven't had to. And when you do purchase, the cost is really nominal; $1.99=200 tokens (so about $0.01/token) and the more you buy the cheaper they are. The first three episodes of EVERY series are ALWAYS free to the reader (so you can decide if you like it before you commit to purchasing it). And in my experience, most authors post the first three episodes at the same time (but they don't have to).
Ultimately, every series is different. And the word count of each episode, and the overall length of the series is controlled by the author, but the cost to be a reader is pretty inexpensive.
How much do authors make?
Okay, so again, the compensation is a little tricky.
You make 50% of the token sales (so if someone bought $1.99 in tokens, and spent them all on your series you'd make $1). So if an episode costs 10 tokens, you're making about $0.05. Obviously, that's not where the majority money comes from. Especially since KV gives away free tokens all the time (it's my understanding that you don't earn money on free tokens). BUT you also make bonuses based on engagement with your stories. Likes, shares, comments, reviews, faves (favorites) and crowns (people choosing your story as their favorite on the site) all earn you bonuses. Different levels, different amounts, and as of now, I'm not sure how that adds up but I understand it can be sizable if you really work to gain readers and reviews.
I have a friend who published several series and she has earned enough on KV to pay for the cost to publish her debut novel. So while you are probably not going to get rich (unless you're really hustling the marketing) you may earn enough to pay for your other writing endeavors. Don't get me wrong, people are DEFINITELY making money on KV, but I just want to keep your expectations low, so hopefully, you won't be disappointed. If you hope to make decent money, you'll have to work at it!
What does it boil down to?
I personally don't plan to make it rich by publishing on Kindle Vella. I hope what happens is I gain an audience who will be built-in readers when I finally publish my romance series. I also hope that publishing is going to give me more writing and editing experience, and make all my future work better!
As a reader I enjoy KV. I find I tend to look for stories that are marked “complete” just because I don't like to wait, but I do enjoy having it broken into smaller chunks.
My Kindle Vella story
So as promised, here's the blurb from my upcoming story Somebody's Always Watching, set to debut February 25th:
Jenny's day started with expectations for a perfect beach picnic on a warm summer day, with her five-year-old son and husband. But when hours pass, and she can't remember where they went, Jenny embarks on a terrifying quest to not only find out what happened to her son and husband but also why she's covered in blood and can't remember an entire day. Will she be able to find them, and who in the world is the strange dark figure who appears out of nowhere to 'help' her?
Thanks for reading my lovelies! That's My Two Cents on Kindle Vella, it's going to be an interesting new adventure and I hope you come along with me!!!
-Rose Rayne Rivers
Comment below and tell me if you know about Kindle Vella? Do you think you'll try it?
Also, let me know if you have any topics you want me to cover in the upcoming weeks!
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