Meet some of the authors finding success and inspiration on Kindle Vella, a new reading experience for serialized stories from Amazon.
Kindle Vella, Amazon's mobile-first reading experience for serialized stories, lets readers follow stories they love. In the short time since Kindle Vella launched, thousands of authors have published thousands of stories, totaling tens of thousands of episodes across dozens of genres and microgenres.
Readers have a long history of loving serialized stories. Authors like Charles Dickens, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Alexandre Dumas, and Leo Tolstoy are among the many who wrote famous serialized stories. They offer short reading experiences that also provide connection to a larger, layered story or to an author for a long period of time.
Continuing in this classic tradition, authors are publishing serialized stories on Kindle Vella for mobile reading during short breaks in busy modern life. We talked to five authors of breakout Kindle Vella hit stories and discovered how they are finding success, reaching readers, and stretching themselves creatively with Kindle Vella.
"The key to success on Kindle Vella is writing the best story you can, with each short episode complete, engaging, and satisfying for a reader in line at the grocery store or school pickup," said Callie Chase, who was looking for the right opportunity to publish her dystopian paranormal story Bug when she discovered Kindle Vella.
Chase had finished writing Bug, but Kindle Vella's episodic storytelling format enabled her to introduce a cohesive cast of characters, tell the story from varying the points of view, and play with the story's timeline, all while each episode could stand on its own. "Even if it's been a week since they last read, readers can easily pick up where they left off," she said.
Bug is one of the most popular stories on Kindle Vella, which launched for readers in summer 2021, and readers have consistently rated it a top story. Kindle Vella readers show their support by giving episodes a "Thumbs Up" and voting once a week for their favorite story.
Bug has received over 2,000 Thumbs Up and is currently No. 15 on the Top Faved leaderboard. To keep up this momentum, Chase has stuck to a strict publishing schedule, releasing episodes three times a week, always on the same day, so her readers know when to expect them. She includes this schedule in the story description to help catch the attention of new readers looking for something regular to read. She pre-schedules the publication of all her episodes to ensure she doesn't miss a release.
The Galatian Exchange
Using social media and a newsletter to promote new episodes of The Galatian Exchange is crucial for science fiction author Pepper Pace, whose Kindle Vella story has reached No. 4 on the Top Faved leaderboard. The Galatian Exchange has also earned over 2,000 Thumbs Up from readers.
This type of interaction with readers is natural for Pace, who got started writing in online writing groups and enjoys online multiplayer role-playing games. "Being able to see the instant response to each episode of my series in the form of Thumbs Up and ranking makes the storytelling experience fun and exciting for me and my readers," Pace said. "I enjoy being able to track my stories' progress on the Kindle Vella Dashboard, which updates continuously as the day goes on. I can also see, with the number of unlocked reads, the number of new readers that I get."
Demon Accords Beginnings
John Conroe, author of the 17-book fantasy series The Demon Accords, was excited about the opportunity to expand the fictional universe by publishing a serial prequel on Kindle Vella called Demon Accords Beginnings. He releases episodes weekly, and the story has reached No. 2 on the Top Faved leaderboard-with over 5,000 Thumbs Up from Kindle Vella readers.
"Demon Accords Beginnings lets me tell a principal character's childhood story, helping readers to understand how he responds to certain events near the end of The Demon Accords series," said Conroe. "And it lets me tell it from another side character's perspective, which gives us automatic insight into how that person thinks."
Conroe was able to tap into the world that The Demon Accords fans already know and love, meaning the success of his previous books helped him build an audience on Kindle Vella. And by releasing stories on Kindle Vella, he has been able to introduce his work and fantasy world to a whole new set of readers.
"The interesting thing that is happening is that I am writing two books at once: one Vella episode each week, along with the regular novel I'm working on. Jumping back and forth between projects keeps me excited and energizes both story lines," Conroe said.
The Dream Heist
Christina Farley, author of the young adult thriller The Dream Heist, takes her readers behind the scenes thanks to Author Notes, an innovative Kindle Vella feature that enables authors to speak directly to readers at the end of each episode. The Dream Heist has received over 1,500 Thumbs Up from readers and is currently holding the No. 11 spot on the Top Faved leaderboard.
"I did a lot of research, and it was exciting to share the dream therapy science behind the story, and the real heist that the book was based on," Farley said. "I also added in my own personal travel experiences when describing each of the countries in the book. I was able to include all of this as the reader was experiencing the story, which is a unique aspect of Kindle Vella."
Granite Windstarr and Eden Eternal
"I've been writing a five-book fantasy series for the past 20-plus years," said E.A. Blackwell, author of Granite Windstarr and Eden Eternal on Kindle Vella. "Between being a high school teacher, then going to medical school to become a physician, and being a mom in a wheelchair on top of it all, I never had enough free time to sit down and bang out the story all at once. But when I finally finished my series, I didn't really know what to do with it. Enter Kindle Vella, which would become my first publishing experience."
Blackwell started on Kindle Vella with her dark dystopian thriller Granite Windstarr, which hit No. 1 in Kindle Vella's Top Faved and stayed in the Top 5 for close to two months. "It worked much better than I could have ever dreamed," she said. Once she finished her first Kindle Vella story, she started publishing episodes of Eden Eternal, a dark fantasy gothic romance told from the point of view of the antagonist in Granite Windstarr.
As a newly published author, E.A. Blackwell stresses the importance of supporting fellow authors: "One of the best strategies for finding success on Vella, and in any form of publishing, is to make friends with others in the field. The camaraderie and willingness of Vella authors to help one another has made this a very pleasant experience."
She is also enjoying connecting with and binge-reading stories from fellow Kindle Vella authors. "For those readers on the fence about trying Kindle Vella and serialized fiction as a whole, I'd urge them to give it a shot. I can't get enough."
The positive experience of both authors and readers is also exactly what the Amazon team behind Kindle Vella was hoping for.
"It's been wonderful to see the passion and innovation authors are bringing to their Kindle Vella stories. It's also been great to see how much readers are enjoying the wide variety and growing number of stories that are now available every day," said Virginia Milner, Kindle Vella's principal product manager. "We are just getting started, and we can't wait to see what's next."
Kindle Vellais available in the U.S. in the Kindle iOS app and online. Learn more about how to publish Kindle Vella stories in the U.S. using Kindle Direct Publishing.