Vella is Amazon’s new way for authors to bring their books to readers. It quietly rolled out on July 15. But what exactly is Vella? And how can authors use it?
Vella is a story subscription service that lets authors bring their stories to readers in a serialized form, written specifically for the platform. Think of it as a television series—a cross between a traditional network show that releases weekly, and a Netflix series that “drops” all at once. Or, for the more literary-minded, it is harking back to older days of literature, when authors such as Jane Austin or Jules Verne released their books a chapter at a time in newspapers and magazine.
So is Vella right for you as an author? Here are a few things about Vella that we know right now.
How Vella works.
- Vella currently is only available in the U.S., and as an app, it is only available for iPhones, not Androids. Android users can access Vella through the Amazon website.
- It can be accessed on a Kindle, although I have found it a bit difficult to find stories or authors who I know have already released a book on Vella. It is much easier to find books by Vella’s featured authors.
- Vella currently isn’t available on Amazon’s own Kindle ereaders, although it can be read on a Kindle iPhone app. There’s no official reasoning why, possible because Kindles are not designed to connect constantly with the internet, while Vella needs pretty much constant updates to check for new chapters and stories.
- Vella requires you to purchase tokens to buy chapters. The price for tokens is roughly $2 for every 20,000 words. The price for tokens varies with the amount you buy, and you can claim 200 free tokens when you first begin to use Vella.
- The first three chapters must be free, a “loss leader” if you will, designed to give readers a taste of the story, and see if they like it enough to pay for the rest of the story.
Now for the Good News.
- Royalties are good—50 percent. But at $2 per 20,000 words you’ll have to write a lot to really make money with Vella.
- There aren’t a lot of authors on this platform yet, so breaking through as an unknown author should be easier.
- is easy for readers to give a quick “thumbs up” to authors and stories they like—a lot easier than placing a review on Amazon. This means that you shouldn’t have to nag your readers quite so much for reviews—although reminding your readers at the end of a chapter to give you a thumbs up is still a good thing. Writers can also leave notes at the end of chapter giving a teaser for what is coming next.
How to Write for Vella.
- Think in chapters, or episodes, as Amazon calls them. Chapters must be from 600 to 5,000 words long, Chapters should have short, catchy titles that encourage the reader to find out what happens next. You can’t just use chapter numbers; they just won’t work with this format.
- If you are a writer who has already mastered the knack of ending each chapter on a page-turner, you are one step ahead. This style will work better than just chopping a book into pieces and placing it on Vella.
- That said, if you already have a book that is almost complete, Vella might be a good place for it.
- Chapters won’t be available all at once, but on a daily or weekly basis. That said, it is best to have a good number of chapters ready before you upload, just to give yourself a buffer. Readers don’t want to get right to the climax, then have to wait three months for the next chapter to drop.
- Covers are different on Vella. They are only a small circular illustration, with the other information above and below it. This doesn’t mean that you should ignore your cover, however. You need one great image to really grab the reader’s attention and make them want to find out more.
Is Vella Right for You?
Vella could be a great place for you if you:
- Have a new book that you want to showcase. Don’t put a later book in a series on Vella if the first book is already published as a paper book and/or an ebook.
- You have a “companion book” that can draw new readers to your main books already published traditionally. Think prequels, stories that expand on minor characters, etc.
- Vella is particularly good for genre fiction such as mysteries, scifi/fantasy. Maybe even romance.
- You are prepared to only have this work on Vella? Right now, books on Vella can not be published anywhere else. You cannot first publish a book on Vella, and then when it is finished, turn it into a traditional paperback or ebook.
To learn more about writing for Vella, go to your KDP account, or just click here. Or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org