Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
As I am diving into everything related to self-publishing, I stumbled across something called, “Kindle Vella.” It’s a way to publish serial stories while earning a bit of money. But is it something that may prove worthwhile in the long run?
I suppose that depends on what kind of writer you are.
Now, this isn’t a review of Kindle Vella. I only review products and services that I actually use. This is more of a first look at whether it’ll be something that would interest me in the near future for writing serial stories.
And from what I’ve seen, Kindle Vella has definitely piqued my interest. But there is a bit of a caveat, and I’ll explain in a moment.
What Are Serial Stories?
Serial literature are stories that are published individually as installments to deliver an episodic flow. Think of episodes of your favorite show that are available on specific days. Technically, that would be considered serialized content.
Instead of reading an entire book, a serial story could be short chapters people can buy in order to continue reading the tale.
Back in the day, magazines often published serial stories as a way to garner the reader’s interest. He or she would have to buy the next publishing to continue following the storyline.
If you think about it, publishers have been using the fear of missing out for more than a century. Miss one publication and you could become lost in the story.
Today, online platforms like Kindle Vella offer readers a way to buy “tokens” which they can use to unlock the next episode.
Why Does Kindle Vella Sound Good for Serial Stories?
Not everyone is going to be interested in Kindle Vella, nor writing serial fiction. However, it’s definitely something I’ll be interested in moving forward.
I Already Write Serial Stories on YouTube
At the moment, I publish an ongoing story on YouTube called, “Despair.” The idea was to recapture a bit of the ambiance of early 1900s radio shows. In fact, I even add sound effects as I read the story aloud.
Every week, I already write, edit, and publish videos based on the idea of serial storytelling. So, something like Kindle Vella is right up my alley.
If I only have to write the tale without recording audio, all the better.
Short Stories Are Quite Marketable Today
We live in a fast-paced, quick-content world. Just look at the success of sites like TikTok. Small, bite-sized content is very marketable in the video space. And some experts believe the same can be said about writing.
Instead of coming up with the money for an entire book, readers can buy episodes at their leisure. And often for considerably lower than buying a full book.
Not to mention how short stories are great for traveling, waiting in line at the doctor’s office, and other mobile-friendly circumstances.
Easier to Write and Edit
For me, serial stories are much easier to write and edit. That’s because I write them on a weekly basis at around 1500 words per episode. It usually takes me about an hour to an hour and a half per recording of Despair to write.
Recording and editing the video portion of the audiobook takes way longer, though.
Still, short clips of a story are something I’m sure I can easily manage. Well, theoretically, anyway. I would still have to find time in the week to write them. After all, I am usually quite busy.
Potential to Make a Few Bucks Here and There
Kindle Vella doesn’t have the most grandiose payout. At its base rate, it’s about a penny per token. And then readers are charged a token per 100 words.
This means that readers could spend 15 tokens to read a 1500 word episode, which may be as much as $0.15. Then, you share that token income with Amazon at a 50/50 split.
From one reader, you could make about $0.07 per episode. That doesn’t sound like an awful lot, in the grand scheme of things. You could make that just by having a few people visit your blog with AdSense.
However, there are a lot of people who constantly read from Kindle Vella. You could snag several thousand dedicated readers, which could bring in a decent amount of money.
Providing you write a story people want to read and market it well.
Speaking of marketing, perhaps the biggest reason why I am considering writing some serial stories on Kindle Vella is to promote myself as an author. The more places I see my name, the happier I am.
It’s all about getting yourself out there and recognizable to your target audience.
Now, you can’t expect to reach Stephen King’s level of recognition right off the bat. It takes time, diligence, and writing books catering to your reader. But every bit of marketing helps for the long term.
Not Everyone Likes the Kindle Vella Delivery Method
After taking a look at reviews of some serial stories on Kindle Vella, it seems like there is a common denominator: some people don’t like the delivery method.
Not everyone is keen on spending tokens on a story that may or may not be finished. Some people state they would rather buy the book in its entirety instead of using tokens.
However, it seems that most of these types of comments are coming from readers of serials that are not complete.
There are two types of serials you can start reading: those that are finished and those that are still being written. These stories are easily marked in Amazon so you can tell them apart.
This is a similar issue on Wattpad. A lot of people won’t read Wattpad stories unless they’re marked complete.
That’s because a lot of readers don’t want to get invested in a story only for the author to either give up or take an immense amount of time to finish.
I often get the same critique for Despair, especially since I haven’t been able to consistently upload new episodes as I’d like.
I’m still going to give Kindle Vella a go once the dust settles a bit here at the house. But I might come up with a viable strategy that is both good for my time and for the readers.
Would You Write Serial Fiction?
I like the idea behind serial storytelling, but I’m not sure how well it’ll work in today’s world. Instant gratification is more rampant today than it was 40 years ago.
Serials in something like Reader’s Digest worked in print format in the 1980s. Unfortunately, everyone wants something immediately nowadays.
But as I said before, this isn’t a review. I haven’t tried it myself, so, who knows how well it’ll work for my purposes? I’m still interested in writing a few serial stories, just not convinced they’ll pan out as well as Amazon says they will.
If you could make a trickle of income from serial fiction stories, would you?
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