Becoming a Working Author

Top 5 Reasons to Publish on Kindle Vella

If you’ve been trapped in a cave for 25 years, you may have never heard of the Amazon Kindle reader that revolutionized online and downloaded reading sources. And you might not know that authors can upload their books and sell them via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) as paperbacks and digital e-Books. Yikes, the technology.

Self-publishing has become a worldwide phenomenon for authors that once groveled at the feet of mass-market publishing to get them to look at their work – much less publish it. Now with KDP, authors can cut out the middleman and grovel directly at the readers’ feet. Bummer.

Amazon’s Kindle Vella is slightly different than KDP in that authors can upload snippets – episodes or chapters – of their books and try to hook readers with the first part of their writing when the final product is nowhere near finished!

Kindle Vella recently celebrated its first anniversary. Compared to KDP and the millions of books available, Vella is a much smaller group. Serialized stories do sell.

Top Reason #1 to Publish on Kindle Vella – Less Competition

There are only 10,000 authors contributing their work. It’s a much smaller market of writers to compete with. So far, Amazon has awarded more than $8 million to those authors.  

Top Reason #2 – Get Immediate Feedback on Your Work

With Vella’s system, you don’t have to write a whole novel before you see how readers will react. The first few episodes of each story are free, so you’ve got a chance to hook readers with your best work. And those same readers can comment on each episode. Instant feedback means you can adjust a story to their liking (if you wish) and even introduce new characters or ideas you might not have considered!

Top Reason #3 – Get Paid as You Go

An author’s time invested in a book is a huge commitment. Many writers find the work of researching and then finishing a book – plus editing, proofreading, and launching – is something they can barely manage. And spending six months to six years taking the concept of a book to the ultimate release is exhausting and challenging to finance.

With Kindle Vella, you can create a few chapters and upload them before continuing, get feedback, and earn a little cash.

I’ve only got a single book on Vella, and it’s nonfiction, which is not a very popular subsection for the platform, but my work, Vegas and the Chicago Outfit gets some interest. I’ve been able to upload chapters over the past year when I had time while earning at least a little cash. About $30 is a good month, but I wouldn’t have earned a dime and might not be as close to finishing if it weren’t for the Vella Program.

Top Reason #4 – Turn Your Vella into a KDP Paperback and Kindle Book

Once you’ve finished all episodes of a project on Vella, you can decide whether you want to keep it on the app or move to Kindle and KDP paperback. There are incentives for both:

  • If it’s earning on Vella, you’ve got free marketing there because readers get a free “Fave” each week they spend on the platform and can upgrade your work for more exposure.
  • Your work on Vella is done if a project sells, although you can market it to sell more.
  • If you have more projects to offer as episodes, leaving the earlier books on Vella gives you an excellent track record for readers to consider.
  • Thirty days after your last episode hits Vella, you can discontinue it by sending it to Kindle, where you can take advantage of Kindle Unlimited (where readers get unlimited reading each month for a fee) and sell it as a standard Kindle book too.
  • If you leave Kindle Vella, your book can be a KDP paperback, which extends your sales beyond Amazon customers to foreign shores and bookstores everywhere. Many authors find that their paperback sales can exceed Kindle sales – especially in nonfiction.

Top Reason #5 – There’s no Timeframe to Finish or Episode Limit

If you’ve uploaded a few episodes and gotten immediate traction, you’ll undoubtedly want to get more stories written to boost your earnings. However, if you have other commitments and can’t get back to a new episode and that’s alright.

And finally, why stop if you have a popular series that’s earning well? You don’t have to start a new book or project. Just keep cranking out episodes and keep the money flowing!

What do Readers Get?

There’s no charge to join Vella, and readers can read several episodes of any (and all) series they want for free. To unlock subsequent episodes, they’ll need to purchase tokens. Generally, a token buys about 100 words, so a 2500-word episode runs about 25 tokens. Buyers get notified when new episodes are released, so you’ve hooked them!

According to Amazon, 200 tokens cost $1.99 and unlock about eight episodes, so it’s a cheap way to check out new episodes beyond the freebies. If you want a better deal, 525 tokens cost $4.99, 1100 tokens run $9.99, and for $14.99, you’ll get 1700.


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