What is Vella? A Look at Amazon’s New Serial Publishing Platform

In the middle of April, Amazon announced it’s new serial publishing platform to be connected and managed through KDP by authors. Curious that this may be a fit for one of my novel projects, I checked out the options and decided to go with publishing through this new format. Since this is a new venture and still only in beta, I’ll go over some of the basics that authors need to know before launch. 

Vella is basically structured like many online journal and writing websites like Wattpad and Radish. I am familiar with Wattpad and have already written an online novel there. So, I was very curious to see how Amazon has set their format up. It is connected to your KDP dashboard through your Bookshelf. It is listed as your “Kindle Vella Library”. That link takes you to the Vella platform, which pretty much looks to me like Wattpad, except with some differences. 

1) You upload your serial sections or chapters by “episode”. Each episode has to be 600 to 5,000 words. 

2) You only need a stock photo that will be posted with your serial title and author name. No cover, like for an ebook, is needed. 

3) Amazon hasn’t released an official launch date, but has opened the platform up for authors to start loading their episodes. It is in beta, so nothing is live to see yet. But there is the ability to upload and schedule episodes to release at later dates if you want to try it out. 

4) There are clear guidelines in the Vella Library of what you can upload or not. You cannot take stories that have already been published on the web or as a book. You can take up to 5,000 words from a previously published work to attach to the beginning of your serial to write sequels, side stories, or other connecting stories. 

5) You can leave a short author note at the end of each episode. Readers can’t leave you comments, though I have seen authors asking for this in the community forums. It could be added later. Right now, readers will be able to favorite a story once a week and give a thumbs up if they liked an episode. Likely, this is the way Amazon will be able to track the popular stories similar to other online formats.

6) The big deal about Vella is YOU WILL GET PAID for any episodes after the first three chapters. The platform is set up for readers to buy coin bundles and they are used to unlock chapters after the first three. Right now, the pay scale is similar to when Kindle Unlimited started, but the difference is you are getting paid by the word. So, people will be encouraged to write long and connected stories. 

7) Vella is targeting the teen and young adult crowd that reads on their phones. It will be available to read on the Kindle OS app and Amazon.com. I am launching my kpop romance on the platform which is more of a sweet romance for the teen and young adult reader. So, I’m feeling like this is a perfect fit for my project.

So, that is about it for now. The guesstimation for launch is likely in July, though Amazon hasn’t made that official. The Zon has just opened it up to authors to start loading and writing their serial stories with a suggestion of having five episodes ready by launch. I am planning to have my five chapters up and ready, and will add to them AFTER Amazon has launched the platform to the public. 

So, that is it for now. I will do an update article on how Vella is working for me after the launch of the platform in a few months. Meanwhile, get ready for a whole new reading experience from yours truly as she finally launches the kpop romance project I’ve been working on for three years. Until then, wish me luck and happy reading!

-Marilyn Vix

Update Aug. 10, 2021:

Amazon launched Vella in mid-July. My K-pop romance story is now available with the first 8 episodes ready to be read. I have since hired an editor that specializes in serial writing to help me prepare and polish each episode to perfection. So far, I’ve been getting into a rhythm of writing and have been getting an episode up a week starting at the beginning of August. I’m really excited to finally have this story up and running, and I hope you can join me in the exciting process, one episode at a time.

To access “Love Over Kpop” on Vella, hit the direct link below.

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