Introducing a new storytelling option: Kindle Vella. With Kindle Vella, U.S. based authors can publish serialized stories, one short episode at a time. In the next few months, readers will be able to access Kindle Vella stories in the Kindle iOS app and on Amazon.com.—the KDP Publishing website
—the KDP Publishing website
What We Know:
Whether you’re an author or a reader, you have probably heard the buzz about Amazon’s latest storytelling option, Kindle Vella. The word, “Vella,” comes from “novella,” which is defined as a short novel or long short story. The Kindle Vella format is aimed at people who may not want to commit to a full-length book but would enjoy reading short fiction on their mobile phones and devices. Unlike short stories, however, these tales will be serialized and can go on and on, one episode at a time. Think soap opera or television story arc.
Episodes will be between 600 and 5,000 words, though I’m guessing most will lie at the lower, shorter end. Like any good addiction, the first three episodes will be free. After that, readers purchase tokens at a minimal cost to unlock future segments of stories that catch their interest. Readers can highlight their favorites, and the most popular faves will be featured on the site.
The look of the page is sleek and pleasant. There is a single piece of cover art, shaped in a circle. The text formatting is simple and easy to read with no weird fonts, special characters, or dingbats. At the end of each episode, there is the “A Note from the Author” feature. This is a fun place for the author to engage the reader, giving added details, presenting thoughts or acknowledgements, or teasing the next instalment.
Kindle Vella is promoting its new product everywhere. There are other serialized reading platforms such as Wattpad, Goodnovel, and Radish, but Amazon is doing it’s best to launch Kindle Vella from the front of the line. Many authors, including myself, plan to have chapters ready to go on day one. Some will put their whole story up at once, where others will present a new chapter at short intervals. All content will be brand new because of Kindle Vella’s exclusivity clause: if it’s on Vella, it can’t be anywhere else.
What We Don’t Know:
There are gaps in the information Amazon has released about Kindle Vella. Top on the list is the launch date. Their initial April statement was, “in the next few months.” Rumors have it going live in June, but there is no basis I can find for that besides wishful thinking.
We don’t know how much authors will make from their hard work. One blogger’s guess compared a twenty-chapter story to one ebook. That’s if someone reads it of course.
We don’t know if Amazon intends to take this platform beyond Kindle iOS. It would be nice to think we could read it anywhere, not just on an iPhone.
We don’t know if people will read our stories. First they have to find them using tag words. But what if your story doesn’t fit into an easy tag? Like everything Amazon, the author will be doing the heavy lifting publicity-wise.
Stay tuned for more things we don’t know about what’s going on in the writing community! And watch for Kindle Vella, coming (sometime) soon!
Here’s my story and a short excerpt from the first episode:
An elderly woman travels through time to significant points in her life, but things are not the same as she remembers them. Joined by a handsome young stranger and her childhood cat, the fate of both past and future lie in her hands.
“You’ll never guess where I am! That’s because I can’t believe it either. I’m sitting at my little desk in my bedroom, except it’s the room I had as a child. It must be a dream. It makes no sense otherwise. But it’s a nice dream, and I hope it lasts a long time.”
Those were the words Sylvan Dale wrote in her diary, the red volume given to her by her father when she was eight after he returned from one of his many trips. She sighed, recalling the pain of that constant separation, but the memory was strange, as if it had come from far away.
“This whole thing is strange,” she reminded herself. “A dream, though a particularly vivid one. I’m really somewhere else, some-when else, but for the life of me I can’t remember…”
The place that had slipped Sylvan’s mind was the narrow bed in the nursing home that had been her residence since the stroke a year ago. The staff at St. Vincent’s were kind and solicitous, but there was only so much they could do…