Updated: Sep 30
For those who are new here, I'm sure your first question is, "Why should we listen to YOU about how to write on Kindle Vella?"
Well, the briefest explanation is, I've been part of Kindle Vella since it first launched in July 2021. With a few short breaks here and there, I've been posting weekly episodes (sometimes multiple weekly episodes) for the majority of the 2+ years (and counting) since Kindle Vella first became a thing. I've got 2 completed serials on Vella (one of which was in the Top Faved list for most of the final months it was running), and one ongoing serial I'm currently posting.
I've learned a LOT about writing on Vella (and I also wrote on another serial platform before Vella, but that's another day's story).
In short, I've learned some things about serial writing, and I want to share them with you in case they're helpful.
Great! Let's go!
This blog post is a written version of a video I made and posted on YouTube today (for those who prefer reading their info instead of watching/listening). I say pretty much the same things here as in the video, just in slightly different words.
But if you want to watch the video, too, it's only about 5 minutes long, and I'll link it below.
Now, to the tips!
3 Tips for Writing on Kindle Vella:
Tip #1: Choose an idea that will work well AS A SERIAL.
The truth is, not every story idea is a good serial story idea. Serial readers tend to expect certain things, and one of the biggest expectations is a fast-paced (or at least quickly grabbing) plotline, something that immediately hooks their attention.
On Kindle Vella, the first three episodes are free, which means you have a few VITAL opportunities to hook your reader before they just bounce and find something new to read:
Right away. (Like, from the first line/first paragraph they see in the preview window before they even open Episode 1---this would include the episode title and story title, because they see those first!)
End of Episode 1 hook to push them into reading Episode 2
Episode 2 starting hook (they can choose to quit here, if you don't catch their interest!)
Episode 2 ending hook to push them into reading Episode 3
Episode 3 starting hook (again, they can choose to stop anytime! You want them to keep going!)
And a big one: End of Episode 3 hook... A BIG HOOK to drag them over that paywall-resistance threshold so they'll move from the free episodes into the paid ones (which start at Ep. 4).
Start of Episode 4 hook... so that the episode title/whatever they see in the preview window makes them want to smash that "Buy Tokens/Unlock Episode" button to keep going.
You also want to make the episodes themselves interesting as whole entities, of course, and make each episode feel as though it's building toward a story the readers want to dive further into. (This goes back to pacing, as I mentioned briefly above. If the story drags, you may lose them.)
Readers need to care about your characters and what's happening in your story. They need to want to keep reading. There are a lot of mechanics that go into this, but the driving principle is this: You want the readers to be EAGERLY CURIOUS, impatient to know what happens next.
The more hooks you can build into those first 4 episodes, the better the chance that your reader will get drawn in and keep going. If you can continue that in the rest of your episodes, you'll have a loyal reader.
Tip #2: Plan AHEAD.
Not everyone is a plotter/planner, and that's okay, but if you don't PLAN ahead, then at least WRITE ahead, because ideally you've built an audience who's eager for each new installment of your story, and taking forever to post a new episode because you got stuck or life happened or you just haven't written it is a really good (bad) way to lose readers.
Which brings me to Tip #3...
Tip #3: Create reader anticipation with a consistent POSTING SCHEDULE.
Serial audiences love to ANTICIPATE. If you can create a steady, consistent rhythm of posting, and announce that to your readers, it not only becomes part of your weekly rhythm, it becomes part of theirs, too.
There's nothing more awesome than having a bunch of readers who check back EVERY TUESDAY (or Friday, or Monday/Saturday, or whatever days you're posting) because they're so excited to read the latest episode. Some of them will save up episodes and binge to catch up later, but it still helps for them to know there will be content to binge.
If you're posting sporadically, with no apparent schedule, readers may get frustrated waiting for new episodes, without knowing when (or even IF) they're going to come next.
Frustrated readers are part of the package with serial writing (they ARE having to wait for the story in pieces, after all), but you want them to be GOOD frustrated. Not BAD frustrated.
If you've ever had to wait between seasons of your favorite TV show (but knowing when the next season will release), you know exactly what I mean.
Waiting to find out if it's been cancelled and you'll just be left on the cliffhanger, though? Wondering if you should just move on and find a new show because it's been longer than usual between episodes and there's still nothing new posted?
Not so fun.
That's the feeling you don't want to give your readers.
A consistent posting schedule helps make sure you're torturing them in a good way.
...I think you know what I mean.
So, that's it! My top 3 simple tips for writing on Kindle Vella!
I could say a lot more, but these are the very basics, if you're just getting started out.
If you prefer to watch the video instead (or too), here it is:
Also, here are the links to my Vella serials shown in the thumbnail, in case you want to check them out:
Macchiatos, Faerie Princes, and Other Things That Happen at Midnight (Leyward Stones, Season 1): https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/story/B0995RNGSR
Ghost Trouble: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/story/B0B7LGQGGC
Fate Rising (Leyward Stones, Season 2): https://www.amazon.com/kindle-vella/story/B0CFZTKV7G
Got any questions or something you'd like to know more about regarding writing as an indie author on Kindle Vella?
Drop your questions in the comments and I'll do my best to answer!