Amazon launches Kindle Vella, offering users serialized stories in a mobile-first interactive reading experience.
Since the release was announced, people have been excited about the new Kindle Vella, Amazon’s latest update to the Kindle family from the Amazon Kindle Oasis.
Serialized Kindle Vella story format, designed to be read using the Kindle iOS app. The content offered there is different from what is made for the regular Kindle platform and will be made available separately. Vella allows writers to publish their work one volume at a time so authors don’t need to complete the entire story before release. You can tell if the story is complete when you start publishing or writing.
Readers can start any story they want to read for free. After three episodes, readers will have to pay with tokens to unlock reading the next episodes. Each volume is 600-5,000 words long. Authors will receive 50% of the reader fees paid. There are three basic restrictions regarding what authors are allowed to publish on Vella. You cannot take anything uploaded to Vella and publish it elsewhere before removing it from Vella for the first time.
Authors also can’t publish anything on Vella that’s in the public domain, so if there’s something on the blog that people can read for free, it can’t be published on Kindle Vella either. The platform also does not accept previously published works. One of the features that Kindle is focusing the most on for Vella is interacting with the reader.
So in this article, we will discuss how to publish to Kindle Vella
What is Kindle Vella?
Kindle is a place where anyone can read ebooks and is one of the most popular self-publishing sites for authors.
Kindle and Kindle Vella have some differences not only in terms of what is published there but also in terms of rules, earnings, features and previews.
Vella is a new way Amazon offers writers and authors to present their stories in the Kindle mobile app. It’s still in beta and is currently only available to writers in the US.
Serialized Kindle Vella story format, designed to be read using the Kindle iOS app. The content offered there is different from what is made for the regular Kindle platform and will be made available separately.
Vella allows writers to publish their work one volume at a time so authors don’t have to complete the entire story before release. You can tell if the story is complete when you start publishing or writing.
Readers can start any story they want to read for free. After three episodes, readers will have to pay with tokens to unlock reading the next episodes. Each volume is 600-5,000 words long. Authors will receive 50% of the reader fees paid.
There are three basic restrictions regarding what authors are allowed to publish on Vella. You cannot take anything uploaded to Vella and publish it elsewhere before removing it from Vella for the first time.
Authors also can’t publish anything on Vella that’s in the public domain, so if there’s something on the blog that people can read for free, it can’t be published on Kindle Vella either. The platform also does not accept previously published works.
One of the features that Kindle is focusing the most on for Vella is interacting with the reader. This app has ways for readers to interact with the story and provide feedback to the author and other potential readers.
You can find the number of Tokens needed to unlock a volume on the Kindle Vella Library’s Volumes setup page.
Amazon says that thousands of stories are already available on Vella, including works by best-selling authors like Hugh Howey and Audrey Carlan.
The service also offers the following features:
- Tagging: Readers can use tags to browse specific topics and genres to find stories.
- Next up: When a reader follows a Kindle Vella story, they’ll be notified every time a new episode is released.
- Likes: Readers can leave Thumbs Up on each episode they like.
- Favorites: Once a week, readers who purchased Tokens will receive their Favorite Story Award for that week. Amazon will feature the most loved stories in the Kindle Vella store to help other readers discover popular stories.
- Author’s Note: Authors can speak directly to their readers at the end of episodes to share story insights and behind-the-scenes content.
- Share: Readers share the Kindle Vella stories they love right from their phones via Twitter, Facebook and other social channels, or via email and text with friends.
Vella’s features for readers aren’t particularly innovative, but they do provide ways to interact with writers that can enhance their profiles. The Author Notes looks like a particularly useful tool for building the latter.
However, there are strict terms for authors on the platform. Notably, writers cannot break up previously published books or lengthy content into volumes and republish them on Kindle Vella – even if the original content is no longer available or is written in another language.
On the plus side, the platform doesn’t claim exclusivity. Vella’s stories may be published otherwise as long as they are not “freely accessible”. An author can also compile Vella volumes into a book, but it must contain at least 10 volumes, all of which must be on Vella for at least 30 days.
How to Publish to Kindle Vella? (step-by-step)
There are seven steps to publishing a kindle Vella:
Step 1: Create New Kindle Vella story
Visit your Kindle Vella Library and click Start a story. Your Kindle Vella Library can likewise be found by means of your KDP dashboard.
Step 2: Enter the Title, Author Name, Description
On the next page you will be prompted to enter your story’s title, your author name (they do accept pen names), additional authors, and a description of your story.
Note that this is information for your story as a whole, not for the individual episodes.
Amazon gives you a 100 character limit for the title, and a 500 character limit for the description, which is shorter than for a normal book published through KDP.
Step 3: Upload the Story Image
The image should be square, with a recommended dimension of 1600×1600, though it will be displayed in a circle. Amazon also recommends the image not have any text, though this is not a rule.
What this means is that authors may need to take a slightly different approach than with a traditional book cover. While this image should still match the genre, its dimensions and type (or lack thereof), will be different.
This is an opportunity for experimentation on what kind of image attracts the right kind of readers.
And while text in the image may still be appropriate for certain genres (some branches of YA for example), try doing without.
Nevertheless, a quality image will probably be just as valuable as a quality book cover.
Step 4: Select Your Categories
After the image, you will be prompted two select up to two categories.
These are not the same BISAC categories you enter when uploading a book to KDP. They are also rather broad, but go ahead and pick the two that fit best.
Step 5: Enter Your Tags
Tags are a new feature with Kindle Vella, but they are similar to the keyword options you have when uploading a book to KDP.
Just like Kindle keywords, tags help you to tell Amazon when and where your Vella story should show up. So, when someone types something into Amazon to look for his or her next reading fix, your Vella will hopefully show up.
But here’s where things really get interesting!
Unlike Keywords, for the first time ever, you can see exactly what other people selected for their tags.
What this means is that if you have a story that is very similar to another one that is incredibly popular, you can add the same tags that that story has, and readers may be able to find it on that tag’s landing page.
However, sometimes this can lead people down the wrong path, because what if the author who selected those tags doesn’t even know if that tag/keyword gets searched?
Well, that’s where Publisher Rocket can really help. Using Publisher Rocket, you can either put other people’s tags into it to see if people really do make searches for that term, and also use it to tell you which tags are best.
Using Rocket, you could search for keywords that are high in search volume, but relatively low in competition, making it more likely that you will show up first in search results.
Then, once you have this, you can start to see how some keywords or tags would help, while others would not.
As you can see in the example above, just the phrase you use to describe a magic using male has dramatic information. Some are well searched for, while others are not.
Step 6: Hit Publish
Once all of the above information and image are populated, you can select “Publish and start Episode 1”.
Step 7: Fill in Your Episode Content and Details
On the next page, you will see a number of fields:
Episode title is where you’ll enter the optional title of the episode. By default, it will be named “Episode 1”, “Episode 2”, etc.
Episode text gives you two options to upload the meat of your episode. You can either upload a .DOC/.DOCX file with your text, or you can input it directly. DOC/DOCX files are the only file you can upload, and you can only upload one chapter at a time, meaning you will need a separate DOCX file for each chapter. We’ll talk more about what to do with all those DOCX files if you want to combine them into a book later.
Polls are an optional feature that allow you to survey your audience at the end of each episode. This is a great way to get feedback, or to even set up a “choose your own adventure” type series, where readers can pick what happens next.
You can input your questions and answer choices in this part of the process.
Author notes is an optional space that gives you the opportunity to say a few words about your episode after the reader has read it. You can input your note in this field.
However, this space does not allow for links, HTML, or anything other than plain text.
Preview episode allows you to get a good look at what your post will look like on a mobile phone.
Tokens needed to unlock episodes will tell you how many Tokens your post will cost a reader. This is based on word count, so for example, if your episode is 1634 words long, it will cost 13 Tokens. Your first three episodes will have a Token count of 0 because they are free.
Release date gives you the option to release immediately or at a scheduled time
Once you are done filling out all the fields, it’s time to hit “Publish”!
Tips and Strategies
Kindle Vella is barely available in the US: it’s a new platform that’s completely open to new experiments and authors. So figuring out how to market your Kindle Vella books now is crucial to building a smooth future success.
But, marketing the Kindle Vella is like an onion – it has many layers. Compared to traditional self-publishing, this platform caters to a different audience, narrative format, and writing approach, and you need to take that into account.
So let’s take a look at some of the most effective Kindle Vella marketing ideas to work out the intricacies of the platform.
Kindle Vella’s Marketing Strategies
First, we need to distinguish between two Kindle Vella marketing vectors:
- External marketing outside of Vella.
- Internal marketing on Vella . itself
The mission of the first marketing vector is to direct users from elsewhere to read your Vella stories, leave reviews and ratings.
The second marketing vector’s job is to get more Kindle Vella visitors to read your story as well as appease the Vella algorithm to push your story higher.
Ideally, you need to do both to see some tangible results. However, your marketing focus will vary depending on your circumstances.
So we wish you to quickly understand it. Kindle Vella can be a daunting task, but if you put all your heart into it, you will see the results of your efforts. Good luck and happy!