If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I tried this new thing that Amazon rolled out called Kindle Vella. Basically, I was scrolling through my Insta feed a couple of weeks ago and saw someone post about Vella. I looked into it and thought in my stupid head, “Hey, that may be a great way to get my name out there.”
Because I’m a fucking moron.
The rules say that the first three episodes of a story are free on Vella. Readers will then buy tokens to unlock more episodes of that story. Amazon even has this nice little package system that allows them to purchase tokens in the package they’ll need at reasonable prices.I’d been kicking around the idea of an erotica novella for a little while, but got sidetracked writing “Arson.” But alas, I see where I can get into the episode serial writing craze (like Wattpad and Radish) by jumping on Amazon’s product pre-launch.
I think, “Sounds good. I should get in on this before launch day so I can be on the ground floor.”
Do you know what goes through a writer’s head when they write a 35k word novella in thirteen days including running it through editing software and corrections? (For the non-authors out there, it’s about half of a full length book in less than two weeks.)
My first thought was, “I can do this.”
Followed by me getting a couple of episodes done and thinking:
I had days that I couldn’t write due to scheduling, and other days were 6k word days. To put that into perspective, a certain mega horror writer writes around 6k a day. I’m not him by a long shot, but I have a distinct advantage. He creates worlds and major plots. I write about people fucking. Once I get going, it’s pretty easy to keep going.
Then, this happened around episode 6. By the way, it’s hard to sneak actual character development into an erotica novel.
I also felt a little like…
Somewhere around episode 9, I even thought about sitting down to write more episodes and felt like…
Ya’ll, those 3k to 6k word days get harder and harder the more you do them. Finally, I published the last episode earlier this week and felt like…
Now the million-dollar question. What did I get for my work?
How many of you out there started reading this post and thought, “What the fuck is Vella?”
Amazon did a VERY soft launch on this.
#1- It’s only available on Apple products on the Kindle app OR you can go to the website and read from there. It’s not on Kindles yet. Do you have any idea how many times I’ve had to explain that to my friends that have Kindles? I can almost hear them thinking, “So let me get this straight. Amazon rolled out a reading platform that isn’t available on their own devices?”
Yes. That’s correct.
#2-Searchability-If you go to the website, there’s nothing that indicates Vella exists. There’s no menu or icon for it. You have to know what/who you’re looking for. That means, as Vella authors, we have to do the marketing and get the info out for Amazon that their platform for serials exists. There’s no searchability at all. When you DO manage to go through the wardrobe and find the magical kingdom of Narnia/Vella, there’s no author search or tag search. I got to pick seven tags to describe my work. There are no keyword search bars. Sure, they give you a list of popular tags to choose from, but there’s no way to search for “threesomes” and “ffm.” And come on, people search for those. All. The. Time.
#3- It gets better for authors, and I say that with full sarcasm. The first episodes are free. We knew that going in. However, Amazon decided to offer readers 200 free tokens for free as part of the launch. (This was not in the original terms, but was added a couple of days before launch.) Guess how many tokens it takes to read my Vella?
Remember folks, Amazon has done very little marketing and uses the authors on the platform to drive people to Vella. So…we drive people to our Vella stories, and those readers use their free tokens for OUR stories, and then they get the fuck out of Vella. If someone comes out to look at my story, specifically, I only get 33 tokens worth of royalties if they’ve never used their free tokens before and finish the entire story.
That works out to about seventeen cents.
Oh, yes. There’s still more.
#4- People have gone out and found me. They’ve liked my work. I have 11 episodes out. Every reader gets a favorite crown that they get to give out to the story they liked most that week. I even got a crown. IT DIDN’T MOVE ME UP IN THE RANKINGS. My story is still buried 5 pages back in the erotica section, and people with 2 episodes, zero likes and no favorite crown are on the front page. How???? What is the algorithm? Is there one?
Where am I going with all of this?
I finished the story. Per Amazon, I have to wait for the story to be finished for thirty days, then I can put it on KU. I realize that things could turn around on Vella, and Amazon could fix the issues. However, I’m not willing to wait around for 6 months for that to happen when I can be making actual royalties elsewhere.
Look for “The Caretaker” on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited coming in late August. Because there’s nothing like releasing two books within about thirty days of each other.
Further proof that I’m out of my damn mind.