My Kindle Vella Journey, Part 1

If you’re a writer or a reader, you may have heard a bit about Kindle Vella. There are plenty of articles all over the web with specific analytics to help writers decide if they want to use Kindle Vella or not. This is not that kind of post. I won’t be using graphs or charts or telling you to absolutely use it or not. I’m going to share my experience with it.

When I started using Kindle Vella, it was in the Beta phase. Not many authors were using it, no readers who weren’t authors were reading it. I didn’t know what I was doing. I debated trying it out with something new, and instead, decided to throw some episodes onto the platform from a project I had in a binder on my shelf.

I have many unused projects on binders on my shelf, so I chose one, then another. One I wrote on Kindle Vella under my own name, and one under a pen name. The one under my name, Dark Blade: Forged, is a prequel for Champion in the Darkness, several years before that book begins, and focused on Dantor when he is young Lord Dan Torren, a noble who is attempting to escape his father’s machinations at court. (Right choice.)

The other project I chose wasn’t finished and I wasn’t in love with it, but it had the benefit of being “romance” which I told myself sells well and I thought I could use the KV platform to push myself onward to finishing it, but I wrote it under a pen name. (The Mistake: Thinking a new platform was a good place to attempt to finish something that I didn’t love. This whole idea crashed and burned around my ears. So… I won’t be doing that again.)

While I decided to change the entire back half of the Dark Blade: Forged book, had some life shenanigans go on, and lost my schedule cycle for episodes due to both of those, Dark Blade: Forged had a tiny bit of success.

When I say, tiny, I mean tiny. However, despite not earning a great deal on “readership” per episode for the time it took me to write it, I earned some nice bonus money on every single episode.

The bonus money on Kindle Vella makes it worthwhile even for authors who make mistakes but who continue to upload content on to the system.

So, what did I learn:

  1. It’s nice to earn money regularly for my work, episode per episode. It’s really nice, actually, even if the bulk of it has been bonus money.
  2. Readers want regular updates on Kindle Vella – once a week, or twice a week, three times a week, or even five days a week. Dark Blade: Forged was finished in fits and starts, and ended up with about nine regular readers with more readers hopping on board when the serialization was complete. It’s still gaining readers now.

Once I had the rest of the episodes prepped for Dark Blade: Forged and I had them on a semi-decent publishing schedule, I decided on pulling out another binder book from my shelf and started uploading it under a different pen name. (I will come back to the pen name thing in another post.) That particular book is going fairly well. I did have a few slow moments with it, and a few episodes that I thought went live, which didn’t, and well, some system hiccups added to some issues for me, but the series is still going and continues to have readers.

So, is that the end of my Kindle Vella story? Nope. I’ll be sharing more of the specifics of what I’ve learned in the next post on this, next Wednesday the 15th of February.

Over the next month or so, I will be sharing a bit about why I decided to use a pen name for some of my writing, and why I have a shelf full of finished and half-finished book projects in binders.

By the way, if you are curious about Kindle Vella, check out the first three free episodes of any Kindle Vella book. Here’s a few of mine:

Dark Blade: Forged – I’ve learned a few things since the first twenty chapters, but you can get a sense of what the platform looks like here.

Captain’s Dilemma – This is that pen name story, so obviously not a super-secret pen name, but this story is a bit different.

Here’s one from another author:

Dust Freaks and Demi-Gods by Milo James Fowler – an author who has done really well on KV. He has many KV and regular book titles, but this was the first KV title.

This post is sponsored by:

Dark Blade: Forged

Dan Torren enters the Watch Guard for training, hoping to break away from his father’s expectations. Instead of freedom from politics, he gets saddled with Prince Alex who blames Dan for his “punishment.” With recruits from all over Aramatir, the Watch Guard has its own troubles, especially after Dan is claimed by the Dark Blade, an artifact and sword of power unlike any other in the history of Aramatir. Readers may recognize Dan as Dantor from The Champion Trilogy.

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