Good morning! Last week, author Stephanie Daniels talked about the Kindle Vella Library. I’m excited about this new platform because it’s another way to share Christian fiction. Want to know more and how you can access new stories? Let’s get started.
Despite its name, you can’t actually read Kindle Vella stories on your Kindle. Bummer, I know. On Apple devices, you can read it on the Kindle app or through your web browser. On any other device, you need to access Vella through your web browser (though I think I’ve been told it can be found on the Kindle app on some Android devices).
1) The first three episodes of every Vella story are free to read. But you do need an Amazon account, and Vella will ask you to sign in before you can read stories.
2) Follow stories you enjoy. This does two things: it helps the author’s story to be more visible on the site, and it notifies (on some devices) readers when a new episode releases.
3) There is a thumbs-up button at the end of each episode. Click it, so it turns blue (if you liked it) and it will tell the author you enjoyed what you read. There will be a thumbs-up button at the end of EVERY episode. Clicking that each time (if you enjoyed it) can really help the author.
4) First-time readers on Vella will be able to redeem 200 free tokens. The key in the corner is where you can redeem them. Those will unlock additional episodes for the stories you enjoy. For my story, in addition to the first free episodes, you can use the free tokens to unlock the next ten. That means you can read thirteen episodes without spending any money.
5) Tokens: The number of tokens needed per episode is based on 1/100 of the word count. Most of my episodes cost between 20-27 tokens because my episodes are usually between 2000 to 2700 words long. Amazon always gives you a greater value the more you spend. Depending on how much you plan to read on Vella, purchasing more tokens at the outset is often the best way to get the most for your money.
I will be releasing at least 52 episodes (possibly a few more, and not likely more than 60). So 30-40 episodes in addition to the 20 already posted. If readers purchase the 1100 tokens for $9.99 and use those exclusively on my story, then that will purchase (using a 30 token average) about 36 episodes in addition to the 13 free episodes. But that’s a high average which also means readers will likely have leftover tokens to check out other stories if they so choose. If this were in book form, that would be a 350+ page book. And the bonus with Vella is getting to read all my behind-the-scenes author notes.
6) Crowns/Faves: This feature will not work while redeeming free tokens. After you’ve purchased tokens, Vella will ask you each week which story is your favorite. You must be following a story to pick it as a fave/favorite. Stories that have the most votes as a favorite are awarded a crown. Vella ranks the top 250 stories so readers can see which stories are the most popular. Fave votes expire on Saturday, so if you don’t choose a favorite story before then, it expires, and you must wait to vote again when the next week starts. There are thousands of stories on the platform right now, and the search feature is still unreliable, so every bit of notice a Christian story can get by being voted a favorite and receiving a crown from Amazon helps others to find it.
7) Reviews: Just like for books, you can leave a review for a story—even before the story is completed if you so choose.
8) Share: As with anything online these days, Vella allows you to share the story link to Facebook, Twitter, or in an email. You can also copy and paste the link to other places.
Thank you for that reader information, Stephanie. Now, would you explain to the authors about posting and payment?
When to Post
There are two options for authors. Completed stories and ongoing. This means an author can post all their episodes at once or post them one episode at a time. Technically, my story is complete, but I’ve opted to post an episode at a time to incorporate feedback from my critique partners as I go along.
Authors decide how often to release an episode. Some release episodes daily, weekly, or less often. Amazon reviews each episode for up to 72 hours before allowing the episode to go live. They may or may not always take the full 72 hours.
There is a scheduling function that allows you to schedule your episodes ahead. You decide which day of the week you’d prefer to release. I post earlier in the week because readers have until Saturday to vote for a favorite, giving them several days to read before deciding on a story to vote for. Others strategize that later in the week is a better time to post because the story is fresh in their minds.
Caution: You can’t put a previously published work on Vella. Even if it’s a story you’ve been putting on your blog. If it’s been released for public access, Amazon may not catch on right away, but they’ll discover it eventually and block it.
How to Post
First, I would advise that if you plan to traditionally publish, that you think carefully about publishing on Kindle Vella. It is a paid platform, so it could reduce your chances to get a publishing contract elsewhere.
Otherwise, this link at KDP Publishing gives great step-by-step instructions on how you can start a story there. And I am always happy to answer any questions any readers or writers might have. I don’t consider myself a tech wizard, but I didn’t have a great deal of problems getting started.
Another thing that will take getting used to is that Kindle Vella stories are not formatted like regular books. They don’t indent paragraphs and only allow regular, bold, or italic font. No pretty scene breaks here. The standard *** or — will have to suffice, although I have seen a few stories that used special characters that they were able to import. Make a change in your story along the way? You can edit any episode that has gone live or is in draft. But any changes will have to be reviewed. The episode in its current state will still be able to be read as is until the changes are accepted.
This is the difficult part to break down and is also explained better in the link above. Some of this is time-sensitive because, at the time of this post, Amazon is paying Kindle Vella authors for any free tokens redeemed on their stories. But they’ve said only until this December. Whether that means the free tokens will only be available for that long, or that Amazon will only pay authors for the free tokens until then, I can’t say.
Royalties are based on about half of what an episode costs in tokens. But there are other variables that factor in. Amazon also awards bonuses that seem to be based on the number of story followers, liked episodes, the featured banner, featured on tags, and being on the faves. The higher the visibility it seems, the bigger the bonuses.
Reports for earnings have released on the 15th of the month, and payment at the end of the month, but 60 days from your posting month. So if you start a story in October, it will be December before you’re paid. I believe it is on the same schedule as their other KDP payments. I want to again say, I’m happy to answer any questions about this new platform. I’ll be checking the comments for any questions.
Thank you, Stephanie, for all your hard work!
So, what do you think about the new Vella? Yay or nay? Let us know in the comments.
About the Author
Stephanie Daniels is a Christian homeschool mom and author who writes faith-filled historical fiction for young adults and the young at heart. She lives in southwest Missouri with her husband and three sons. Her first published work, The Uncertainty of Fire, is available exclusively on Amazon’s Kindle Vella.