More Kindle Vella Musings

Updates on the depleting bonuses and other trends.

More Kindle Vella Musings
Photo by Pepi Stojanovski / Unsplash

Well, I think I have the data I need to argue whether or not Vella is still profitable (for me, anyway). Bonuses for July dropped on Tuesday, and the results were...not great. For me and for many other Vella authors, including those who continue to double their reads and overall engagement. They got a few hundred dollars less, some dropping from four digits to three.

My own bonus dropped by almost $200, keeping me in the triple digits (and a very nice even number), but disappointing, despite my stats for June and July being near identical. I can’t say I was too surprised, being that I wrapped up three series over spring and summer (less content, less bonus).

Still, I was hoping to receive a similar bonus to June, which was still very good compared to last year. Indeed, July’s bonus was what I received on average last year. I was just hoping this year would be different, and so far it has.

Until recently.

Now, I do admit to promoting less last month. I valued strategy over brute force, which meant being picky with my promos, especially if they allowed for free reads. Some people don’t realize that free reads are no longer being credited, which was when most authors noticed a hit to their bonuses. And now Amazon has admitted it, in this latest announcement:

“To ensure we are rewarding stories that are the most popular with readers, we are requiring that stories have paid activity in order to be eligible to receive a bonus.”

That came to no surprise to some like myself, but it’s nice to see it confirmed by the main source. So where do we go from here?

I saw more authors admit defeat on Facebook. For those who invest heavily in the Facebook games or ads, the steep drop in bonuses is cutting into those funds. And for those who heavily relied on Vella income, they’re considering getting a part-time job or just bowing out entirely. But I’m not quite ready to throw the towel in yet. 

For one, I love the publishing format (just not Amazon), and am happy to continue posting on Vella, until the money runs dry. I still have hope of attracting my readers, which may come when (or if) Vella eventually goes wide. As stated in a previous update, I’ll continue posting updates for Last Train Home and Diary of A Stray Cat, currently my most popular series. But I will wrap up The Threads That Weave as planned, and possibly sooner rather than later.

The series will end either late September or early October, which can be accelerated if I so desire. In fact, I’m tempted to move adjust one of its categories to horror, a genre that is finally available on the platform (after what, two years after launch?), to give it a small boost. But the other two series have been planned and written as true serials, so I don’t see a need to leave just yet.

Of course, I’ll focus more on advertising my Ream page as well, since that’s a platform I have more wiggle room on. Any new serials I start will be launched on Ream and rely more on the early access model, where readers can unlock new chapters before they go free.

As far as future bonuses go, I fully expect mine to trend downwards. My obligations will shift more as I take on a new job and go back to school. And for me, that won’t be too much of a loss, as I’ll do what I can to maintain my bonuses. But I no longer see Vella as a huge financial maker. My books require more focus.

This will be the last I say of the matter, unless I come across some bigger (and hopefully better) news. Til then!