Amazon has launched a new publishing service, Kindle Vella, for serial fiction. Authors write serials, KDP publishes them; readers pay for serial episodes via “tokens.”
As Amazon reports in the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Help files, currently Kindle Vella is only available to US-based authors. If you’re outside the US, I wouldn’t worry; Amazon launches in the US first, then elsewhere.
From the KDP Help files on Kindle Vella:
What kind of content should I publish?
To provide the best experience for readers, Kindle Vella stories should be written specifically to be released in a serial format, one 600–5,000 word episode at a time.
Kindle Vella: does this new service offer benefits for authors?
(Important… Please be aware that my opinion is based solely on what I’ve read about the new service and my experiences with short and serial fiction; I haven’t used Kindle Vella.)
Will this new service succeed?
Amazon launches services (such as Kindle Worlds for fan fiction) and then shutters them if they don’t make enough money. So this new venture means that Amazon knows that serials sell; it’s attempting to profit from them.
Amazon shuttered Kindle Worlds after five years, so everything depends on whether readers use Kindle Vella in sufficient numbers for Amazon to see good profits.
Readers to one side. Does Kindle Vella offer benefits for authors?
The big benefits:
- It’s Amazon, and Amazon gets traffic, so if nothing else, Kindle Vella could be a way to build your readership and fan base.
- It seems to be easy. I coach writers, so I know that anything that cuts down on author stress is worthwhile. However, there may be pitfalls. Read all the legalese.
Beware. Remember: keep your copyright in your writing
Major pitfall: be wary if Amazon assumes any of the copyright in your serials—you should retain the copyright in all your writing. Always, with one exception.
The only time you hand over your copyright is if you write something under a “for hire” agreement; then the copyright devolves to your client when you’re paid in full.
It will be fascinating to see what results Amazon achieves with Kindle Vella. If nothing else, it will make more readers aware of short fiction. 🙂
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.