Is Kindle Vella Going the Way of KU?

Several authors have already jumped ship, discouraged by low bonuses.

Is Kindle Vella Going the Way of KU?
Photo by Evan Dennis / Unsplash

If you've read my previous post, you'd know I was deeply invested in the state of Vella bonuses. Those have helped me pay my share of rent in the past, on top of funding writing expenses, such as book covers, apps, etc.

I tried to keep it cool and not get too fixated on when bonuses were going to drop this month. Most speculated it would either come Friday or next week, but it came last Friday, on the 21st.

And the results were...not so great for many people, myself included.

I didn't exceed or meet the numbers I had for February, but I came pretty damn close! My hope was for a similar big bonus, the kind that pushed me into four figures for the first time in my Vella / writing career. Instead I got...37% less. Somewhat higher than January's, but almost less than half of February's.

At the same time, that bonus almost double last year's average, so...not too bad? I count myself among the fortunate, as some authors too drastic cuts. One author in particular stated they made 2k on average, but their bonus for March was less than $100. Yikes!

Others made a little less than usual, but are still very much content. I'm in that boat, and have no intention of jumping ship just yet. I still rely on this income at the moment, and it's nice to be paid for my writing at all.

Though I might not put as much into marketing if my own bonus takes such a deep cut...if I'm spending more than I earn, the aggressive approach I'm currently taking won't be worth the effort.

But diminishing returns for others could spell good news for the rest of us, in that there's more money to share. Ideally, anyway. Who knows with Amazon? We're still waiting on the program to go worldwide and hit those fans of serial fiction!

That's partly why I'm sticking around, anyway. The royalties have been pretty good, too. I think I'd only leave if bonuses are doled out like KU, where only the top are credited, while the rest of us scramble for crumbs. I had one book in KU and never really made traction. I think I made $30 or so from it altogether; the real profit came from book sales.

But I wouldn't cut my losses right away. I'd first wrap up most of my Vellas and focus on my main series, just so my fans receive closure. I feel like I've been running myself ragged trying to juggle several stories at once, when I could be devoting some of that energy to my books instead.

Several of my series are ending by August: Early Adopter, The Threads That Weave, and a new story that will run through May. I'm not sure about Jello on the Wall at the moment, but I'd like to be done with it by the end of the year. It started as a means to cope with an old job, but my interest is waning. I want to give it a proper ending, at the very least.

That's all I have to say at the moment, but I'll be keeping an eye out and report back if there's a shift on my end.