Moving On From Kindle Vella

Not permanently, just switching focus to other platforms.

Moving On From Kindle Vella
Photo by Konstantin Planinski / Unsplash

I think this has been a long time coming, as I have struggled to gain some traction on the platform. I was here since launch, though I did gradually stop posting that first year, when I failed to find any readers for my first series. This was before I got on Facebook to promote my work. After finding success with Fluid Bonding, I started Last Train Home and other series. Some performed better than others, but those wrapped up while only one continued receiving regular updates.

Part of my motivation to switch gears are my current work and school obligations, which cut down on my time to write (more so due to my limited social battery). The other part is burnout from all the Facebook promotions (commonly referred to as games by the Vella community). The rules and games are always changing, and I don't have enough content to keep up with the full-timers.

I also just...want actual readers.

Oh, and of course the diminishing Vella bonuses have kind of killed the groove for many people. I haven't been particularly hit hard or anything. I had some truly great bonuses last year, achieving my highest numbers ever, but that gradually decreased by the end of the year. That was around the time I started my current job, which eats up so much of my time. So I can't be disappointed by my bonuses, as I didn't put in the usual work to maintain or bolster those numbers.

Many of the full-timers, however, got hit really hard, despite giving it their all and having some of their greatest number ever. I saw several of those authors throw in the towel and have to pick up part-time jobs to keep food on the table. I think we're a lot closer to that Vella crash now than ever before.

This is why I always suggest having a contingency plan. For many people, that's Patreon, Royal Road, or Substack. For me, that's been Laterpress, Neovel, and most recently, Ream. I'm going to focus more on my Ream page than Vella, and have gradually stopped doing the games. The bonus money is nice, but the platform is so fickle that I wouldn't trust Amazon with my WIPs. I'm wary of editing anything from existing Vellas, for fear of being hit with the "duplicate content" claim.

I'll still post episodes of Last Train Home on Vella, but I no longer feel that pressure to write and schedule episodes within their limited schedule. I want to maintain quality, and thus will schedule on Ream first (where I maintain actual control), before posting directly on Vella.

Plus, while the bonuses and royalties may grow smaller and smaller, I'm still being paid for my work on Vella. It's not a big loss.

Also, Amazon has decided to give Prime Students free reads of Kindle Vella series for the next six or so months. Many authors are displeased with this because we won't be compensated, outside of the unknown metric of the bonuses. And we only get bonuses for stories that earned royalties, which free tokens do not grant. It's...not great, but Vella is still lesser known that I don't see it as a real problem.

For myself, anyway.

But again, this is why I'm gradually moving from the system. I may abandon Vella altogether by summer and lean fully into Ream and maybe return to Neovel. At that point, I expect to pull Last Train Home entirely and start posting longer chapters, switching from the episodic format to a more traditional novel format. This may or may not affect my current posting schedule, from once a week to biweekly.

More on that later.