A new option to publishing short stories: Amazon’s Kindle Vella (How-to!)

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

Publishing short stories can happen in a number of places: Blogs, LinkedIn articles and Medium, for example. Now, Amazon is rolling out Kindle Vella that allows you to publish short stories between 600 and 5,000 words. I gave it a try, of course.

Here’s how Amazon described the new service:

Kindle Direct Publishing is introducing a new storytelling option: Kindle Vella. With Kindle Vella, you can self-publish serialized stories, one short episode at a time. Episodes can range from 600–5,000 words. In the next few months, readers will be able to access all Kindle Vella stories in the Kindle iOS app and on Amazon.com.

If you don’t have a Kindle Direct Publishing account, you’ll have to sign up for that. This is where I’ve published all of my books, including my latest on “Going Live.”

Vellas are ongoing so think of them as episodes to an overarching topic. Of course, the topic can be pretty high level like storytelling or livestreaming, which is the topic I picked for mine. One thing to keep in mind is that you cannot repurpose your blog posts here. So the Create Once, Publish Everywhere Model isn’t in play.

Amazon said:

To ensure Kindle Vella content is unique and to protect readers from purchasing content they have already read in a different format, you cannot publish content in Kindle Vella that is freely available on the web.

To start your Vella story start here:

Think of this as the introduction to your topic. For mine I did this:

The first time I did this I thought this was the first episode! But this is actually the overview of what the following episodes will be about. Pick a category. For business writers, it’s pretty limited and you’ll probably just pick non-fiction.

Once that’s setup you click publish and start episode 1 – which is basically your first 600-5,000 word article. Story = Topic. Episode = chapters.

Creating Amazon Vella episodes

To create your first content, keep clicking along and file it here:

There’s very little formatting that you can do and images or other multimedia is not allowed. So it’s truly uninterrupted reading so to speak for your audience.

Submit your content, it goes in review and if approved should publish within 72 hours – basically the standard Kindle Direct Publishing approval window. Usually my books when they got this notice were approved much faster.

How do authors make money on Amazon Kindle Vella?

Amazon puts it this way:

You’ll earn 50% of what readers spend on Tokens that are used to unlock your story’s episodes. You’ll also be eligible for a launch bonus based on customer activity and engagement. To make it easy for readers to find stories they love, the first few episodes of every story are free.

If you already have a book or podcast on Amazon and have content worth sharing, especially episodic content, Amazon Kindle Vella is totally worth trying in my opinion. I’m trying it already and depending on the feedback Amazon provides I may evolve my strategy on what stories to publish.

It will be interesting to see if it takes off and if people will read this type of content on Amazon. It certainly can be a way to get people to come back over and over – in addition to constant Amazon shopping sprees.

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