Kindle Vella as Writing Exercise...

 I read something about a new Amazon project about a year ago; I found it intriguing.

Kindle Vella offers readers serial fiction, with new installments becoming available on a regular basis. The first three installments are free to read, with subsequent installments "paid" for with tokens (Amazon gives you 200 to begin with, which should pay for 10-15 installments beyond the introductory ones). Amazon translates the tokens into cash through some formula that passeth understanding, but that's not necessarily the most important part (although money is nice).

I was attracted to the idea because I like serial fiction, and thought the pressure of writing and editing work for a weekly deadline would be enervating... it has been.

I'm working on three Vellas, the first, "The Demon Diaries", is set to drop the ninth installment this weekend. I've just started one that's being released under a pen name, and I'll probably get around to publishing the third one in a month or so, once I get used to juggling the two active ones.

I've been writing the chapters on one day, waiting a few days, and then editing them for publication the following week... the pressure of both sides of this process makes for a great writing exercise, and since they run between 600-2000 words per installment, it's not a massive commitment in time or effort to get the chapters out each week.

I've had pretty good read rates to date, but really I did the Vellas because I like to tell stories and this is a neat way to practice the crafts of writing and editing, with a deadline built-in for good measure.

The surprising thing, which I don't mind in the least, is the bonuses... I'm used to Amazon paying me when people read my stuff, either in physical books, bought or borrowed in Kindle format, or more recently click through the Vella installments... what I wasn't ready for was getting a bonus.

I got a tiny one for April, "meal at McDonald's" sized, which seemed generous because I'd only published the first installment of the Demon Diaries in that month, and hardly anyone had read it. I was more surprised by the May bonus, which was "fancy dinner out for two" sized, because although I'd had some reads, more came along in June, and I started the second Vella series in June as well. My hope is that the June bonus is even bigger than May's, but that's not why I'll keep Vella-ing.

I like the practice. I like the feeling of telling stories in a new way. I like exploring different characters and settings than I normally use, and visit, in my short stories and novels. I also like getting paid to tell stories; I like bonuses too.

I'd suggest that anyone interested in the idea do some reading and then throw your hat in the ring with a Vella of your own... I'll read it!


No comments: