New Amazon serialized fiction platform launched on iOS Kindle app, ahead of Kindle devices

A new Amazon serialized fiction platform is coming first to the iOS Kindle app, ahead of availability on the company’s own hardware Kindle devices …

TNW reports.

The format helped built the careers of the likes of Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle, before declining after magazines shifted their focus away from fiction in the mid-20th century. The rise of digital publishing mediums has set the stage for a revival.

Kindle Vella is Amazon’s latest attempt to cash-in on the resurgence […] Stories on the platform are published one short episode at a time, each ranging from 600 to 5,000 words […]

Despite the name, Kindle Vella is not available on Kindle devices, or Android, for that matter. Users currently have to access the platform on Amazon.com or the Kindle iOS app. It’s also initially only available in the US.

The site notes that pricing is a bit opaque. You have to buy packages of Vella tokens, each one of which is worth 100 words. The more tokens you buy at a time, the less you pay per token.

That model also makes things complicated for authors. They get a generous 50% of the revenue, but because the value of a token varies according to the bundle, that means the rate they get also varies.

For example, a 3,025 word episode purchased in a 200 tokens bundle would give an author $0.1493. But if that episode was bought in a 1,110 tokens bundle, the writer would net $0.1362.

Authors can’t cash in on existing work – but can do it the other way around, by starting as a serialized work and then later turning it into a book.

Writers can’t break down previously published books or long-form content into episodes and republish them in Kindle Vella — even if the original content is no longer available or written in another language […]

Authors can also compile Vella episodes into a book, but it must contain at least 10 episodes, all of which need to have been on Vella for at least 30 days.

As with podcasts, once you follow a serialized story, you’ll get a notification when a new episode is available. There are also additional features, including the ability for authors to share “behind the scenes” content at the end of episodes.

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