Kindle Vella Has Authors and Readers Buzzing

Readers and writers are excited about the new service

Key Takeaways

  • Many avid serialized fiction readers are very excited to support and interact more directly with authors.
  • New authors are looking forward to putting their work out there and getting feedback from their audience.
  • Already established Kindle Direct Publishing authors might have difficulty moving their work over to the new platform.
Someone sitting in a chair at home reading on a tablet.

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Amazon’s Kindle Vella, a serialized fiction platform that lets authors publish their stories one episode at a time, has both readers and writers excited about the possibilities.

The allure of Kindle Vella is in its focus on the interaction between authors and readers. The former can directly address their audience using the author’s notes at the end of each episode/chapter, while the latter can encourage writers with Faves and thumbs-ups on their stories.

Readers also can use in-app currency, called Tokens, to purchase additional story chapters as they become available—with 50% of the revenue going directly to the author.

"This platform would mean the world to fan fiction authors," said Darina Markova, SEO and content manager for TechACake, in an email interview with Lifewire, "They publish their fanfics episodically (so Kindle Vella would be the perfect place for them), and I'd love to get in touch with them on the new platform."

For Readers

With more direct interaction encouraged between authors and their audience, it’s no surprise that this is what has many readers excited about Kindle Vella. They can give a thumbs-up to let an author know they like their work, easily share their favorite stories on various social media platforms, and use Faves to help a story get featured.

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"One of the features that we're most excited about is that the first chapter of each story published on the platform would be free-to-read," said Markova, "This has the potential to inspire people to try stories outside of their comfort zone and feel free to make a mistake. And people would definitely invest their tokens in their favorite stories."

Having to wait for each new chapter might sound like an ordeal, but there’s excitement for this aspect as well. As Patrick Kelly, head of content for Vuibo, said in an email interview, "The notion of unlocking new episodic stories harkens one back to traditional television. There was pleasure and anxiety in the 'wait.'"

Markova also states, "The fact that it's a mobile-first platform in addition to the format is amazing—I would have to wait for the next episode for some time and like many other readers all over the world, I love the anticipation."

For Writers

Kindle Vella provides its writers with a 50% revenue share of purchased chapters, and a way to interact with their readers directly. Whether or not that revenue share can compete with more traditional publishing contracts depends on how well (or poorly) Kindle Vella performs in the future. Individual success may also come down to how well they game the social media-like system.

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"This sounds exceptional, but my hunch is it doesn’t move the needle much as compared to traditional publishing revenue models," said Kelly, "The thumbs-up and Faves could drive readers to secondary platforms that might benefit the author, however, and savvy authors will certainly seek to monetize these actions."

"I can see a connection from this to other social media sites when it comes to influencer culture, but I don't think that is going to take over this platform," said Julia Alty, newly published author of Near Mortal, in an email interview, "While it is designed to encourage the 'Faves' and rankings, I don't think people will be able to become famous on a whim like they can with video platforms."

Not everyone is enthusiastic about Kindle Vella as Kindle seems to have disregarded Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) authors. Noah Douglas, published author, explained in an email interview, "Already published authors will be at a massive disadvantage with Kindle Vella because they will be unable to take part in the revenue it produces with their older works."

"Kindle repeatedly declined the work that I put into Kindle Vella, even after changing the work to fit their standards better. I would have to essentially start over with a completely different story if I wanted to use the new platform."

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