Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Something New: Exploring Kindle Vella

A New Year is like hitting the reset key. Full of hope and new possibilities. ~ Deb Komiter

This is how every new year should begin, though I’ll be honest with you - the last two have been difficult with all the world’s pandemic challenges. 

I almost gave up writing, even skipping out on NaNoWriMo 2021, which has been a writing habit and creative springboard for the past 14 years. I’m not the only writer with this issue. Several authors I know gave up on NaNoWriMo, too. They also mentioned trying something called Kindle Vella, which caught my attention. 

What is Kindle Vella you might wonder? I did a quick Google search, and found some information, though the platform is still in the early days. This was the best overview and is worth a read.  There is also limited information on Amazon’s site, and I like that they address the platform from both writer and reader perspectives. You can read more here

Still, it all seems a bit vague to me.

First, let me admit I don’t usually like serialization of novels, and that’s the foundation of the Kindle Vella platform. I hate waiting to read the next portion of a story, being one of those readers who can stay up all night to finish a good book. 

The Vella buy-in method also seems a little convoluted. What are these tokens one purchases to pay for books to read online, and who actually makes money? It’s a bit confusing at first glance. But...

... sampling some books is easy enough since the first three chapters of every book are always free to read. Plus a bonus offer of 200 tokens available for a short time makes it theoretically possible to read and experience one entire novel. I had nothing to lose giving it a try, right?

At precisely this juncture in my exploration, a Facebook pal, Brynette L. Turner, with whom I have common garden and cooking interests, shared her early publishing experiences on Kindle Vella. Because she writes in a genre I read, I gave her new Vella book a try. The entire experience was much easier than I anticipated.  

Read Duty to Love

As an editor, I can see immediately the kind of writing style required for a good KV book - something akin to a TV program episode as opposed to a long movie. Each chapter has to be tightly written with an ending that hooks the reader for the next episode. 

Brynette has that tactic figured out. I also notice she does a great job of promoting her new chapter releases, with clever graphics and social media promotions like this:


Then she mentioned getting paid. What, already? No waiting for a year for royalties? This really caught my attention. I admit that much of the reason I have never been focused on publishing is because the payment for the efforts seemed so iffy. I can think of better ways to make money. Like edit books for other people.

But long story short, I am now so intrigued with the concept that I asked Brynette to join the Blood-Red Pencil blog to share her ongoing experiences as she develops her Kindle Vella skills and book collection. I plan to tag along and learn as much as possible from her and everyone else jumping on the Vella bandwagon early! Welcome to the blog, Brynette!

My imagination is starting to flow again, and I think of all my manuscripts that might be revised to fit this tighter reading format. I can absolutely envision young readers enjoying age-appropriate chapters on their cell phones and other gadgets. How many young-reader stories do I have languishing in boxes, waiting to be sent out to publishers? More than a dozen. When I read a few with fresh eyes, I realize some of these stories have definite potential for Vella.

I can do this, can't I, if the actual formatting learning curve isn’t too difficult? As I poke around my KDP account, I see I am already geared up to go with Vella, and I just need to revise some unpublished manuscripts and upload individual chapters from a completed novel. This is looking more hopeful by the minute.

No matter what the motivation, it feels good to be writing again. My goal is to have a Kindle Vella children’s book available for readers by the end of January. Poor Princess Willy Be has been in the time-out corner for five years because pitching her to a publisher just seemed too tiresome. Now the very idea of Kindle Vella has changed all that. I really do feel like I’ve hit the reset key. 

What writing possibilities do you see in 2022, fellow writers? Do you plan to give Kindle Vella a try, either as a reader or as a writer? Please join us in our next blog post when Brynette Turner shares her thoughts and experiences with Kindle Vella so far. You can connect with Brynette on Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter

Do leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts!

Dani Greer is founding member of the Blood-Red Pencil. She spends her days drinking coffee, writing, and herding trolls. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
 

8 comments :

  1. Welcome to the blog, Brynette!

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  2. Fascinating! I love new technology... I'm going to check this out and read some samples.
    I wonder why amazon went the "tokens" route rather than just having people just plunk down their pennies for offerings?
    Looking forward to reading the Vella posts at BRP!

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    Replies
    1. The more tokens you buy, the lower the unit price. Readers are getting a deal but authors are earning less money on the larger token bundles. Amazon wins either way.

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  3. That's a good question, Ann. Maybe because it doesn't feel like spending real money?

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  4. Great info, Dani. I've already started checking it out.

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  5. I look forward to learning more as this experiment by KDP continues.

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  6. I love the title of your book, Poor Princess Willy Be. Look forward to reading it. I'm still on the fence about using Vella as an author, but I might check it out as a reader.

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