As the serialised platform Kindle Vella goes live in the US, analysis and speculation about how it will work go into overdrive.
Aiming at the space occupied by Wattpad and Radish, Amazon Vella wants to carve out a market for serialised content paid for by micro-payments and subscription.
It’s the resurgence of serialised creative content: fiction, poetry and more. Charles Dickens launched his career with serialised stories. Vella requires new content never published or presented in another form in 600 to 5,000 word chapters.
Serialized stories are huge in the Asian market. Amazon aims to carve out the market in the US and elsewhere. A serial platform could be a good way for new writers to find audiences. It will be smaller pool than regular book publishing. It also looks like a barrier-free market, much like KDP for books. A social element also looks likely to open up direct feedback from readers. Authors may take the opportunity to change the direction of serialised works in progress.
Vella is available in beta in only one launch market of the US right now. It’s the mechanics of Vella that are attracting interest.
Readers buy tokens on a sliding scale that includes a discount for buying in bulk. Readers then spend tokens on instalments of content. A portion of that spend goes to the content creator as royalties.
While this could be an opportunity for authors to make good money, the exchange rate or royalty rate for tokens isn’t entirely clear.
Royalties have been seen at 50% of the value of the variable ‘token’ price of an instalment. With ‘bonuses’ for volume traffic, the precise royalty rate isn’t yet fixed. Some have suggested 1 to 25 cents per reader per episode. The wide variation is down to the length of the work determining how many tokens it costs a reader.
It’s likely authors will have to bank five or more episodes to launch a serial. Those can be on scheduled release.
At launch, currently slated for June, Vella will be available as a service through the website and the iOS Kindle app. Expect it to go to more channels as it gains traction.