Update: My Kindle Vella Project Saga

For those who might be unaware, I, like many authors, tried out Amazon’s new reading platform Kindle Vella. It’s episodic micro-content delivered on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Whatever the author desires. Kind of like Netflix, but for stories. You get the first few episodes for free, but then if you want to keep reading, you have to buy tokens and use your tokens to unlock more content.

This provides readers with three opportunities to see if they enjoy a story and gives the author incentive to make sure their content is compelling. The trick, of course, is reader buy-in, which I’m not sure Amazon has done all that well with because many readers I have talked to have no clue what Kindle Vella is, let alone how to use it. That’s a problem. Especially for the creators of the content. If there are no readers, there is no income being generated.

The story I put into Kindle Vella was a novella I was planning to release next year. It was mostly done, so I thought, why not? Let’s give this new platform a try. If it doesn’t do well, I’ll pull it and still release it in ebook and paperback form next year as originally planned.

My story if you are one of the few on Vella

For the first month, my story sat. I think I had maybe two readers, and I know who you are. Thank you.

The next month, a few more readers, but still no recorded royalties. Well, aside from a $38 bonus Amazon gave to content creators from some shared pot of money. Not great, but better than nothing.

In September, I decided I was going to finish the series out and pull it from the platform. After a 30 day mandatory wait from the platform, I could then put it up wide in ebook and paperback. I booked a cover designer and an editor and made plans to have the book release in early December.


Then, I got ANOTHER bonus (significantly bigger) from the platform… for a story that was making me ZERO royalties in episodes read. How is that possible? How am I being compensated for a story no one is reading?

If I had to venture a guess, the bonus came from this larger pot of money they are paying to authors for having content on their platform and many authors bailed after the first month so there were fewer authors to share the pot. Their loss=my gain.

Enter the dilemma. Do I pull the story out of Vella when it’s making me money with zero new reads? Or do I pull it and try to do a December release when people are going to be focusing on holiday gift-giving instead of book buying for themselves and there is a paper shortage so paperbacks might not happen…

I left it in Vella. For now. Once those bonuses go away (and I predict they will in December) then I will pull it and release it as originally planned. But who am I to turn away free money?

Because of this release switch-up, I’m going to be doing a sale on one of my back titles soon, so stay tuned for that!

Until next week, my peeps!

Danielle Bannister, author and bonus collector


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