Kindle Vella, Part 2: Can It Make Money?


 Last month, I introduced you to the new Amazon Kindle Vella platform for authors and readers. This month, I want to discuss the most common question I get asked when I say I write in the Vella universe: Do you make any money?  A valid query, because we all want to be compensated for our work. The answer is, yes. Yes, I do.
Payment, or royalties, from Vella stories, comes through two avenues: Microtransactions and Bonuses.  
The microtransaction part of the payment model from Amazon to the author is a 50% royalty on each sale. Unlike KDP direct-to-Amazon publishing, where the author chooses either a 35% or a 70% royalty split, Vella is 50% down the board for each and every 'sale'. A 'sale' is an individual episode that is unlocked and downloaded.
What does that mean? How is the royalty earned?
Readers who want to utilize the platform purchase tokens in bundles from Amazon. Remember last month, I said each episode on Vella is between 600 and 5000 words? Each token purchased pays for 100 words. So, if an episode is 600 words, the reader will pay 6 tokens.
Each token is assigned a value by Amazon based on the amount purchased in a bundle, and bundles are packaged from 200-1100 tokens and more, ranging in cost to the reader, starting at $1.99 and going higher. The more tokens in a bundle, the higher the purchase price to the reader.  
One nice gift from the Vella powers-that-be is that a new-to-the-platform reader’s first 200 tokens are a gift from Amazon. No purchase is required, and they can be used to unlock any chapters of any story. Once they are gone, though, future tokens must be purchased.
Now, one exceptionally good part of this royalty breakdown for the reader is that the first three episodes of any Vella story are always free to read, whether they are 600 words or 5000. In three episodes, the author must engage the reader in the story enough that he/she wants to start paying to read subsequent chapters.
As authors, it is drilled into us to hook the reader from page one, line one. Using the Vella platform cements this concept, because in order to make money, you need the readers to unlock your future episodes. The author must make episodes 1-3 "Must Reads" and entice the reader to pay tokens in order to read more of your tale. You don’t earn royalties on your first three episodes because they are free to read.
But, you do garner bonuses, which is the second part of the payment model, and a separate way for authors make money through the platform.

Read the entire article in the July/August 2022 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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