Kindle Vella Royalties, Content Guidelines and Publishing Process

From KDP Publishing’s Kindle Vella section:

(Note: PG has removed all the embedded links in the excerpts below. A link to the particular Kindle Vella section is included at the bottom of that section.)

Kindle Vella Royalties

Use Tokens to unlock episodes

Read episodes

To give readers a chance to check out a story, they can read the first three episodes of every story without redeeming Tokens.

Use Tokens to unlock episodes

Readers can purchase and redeem Tokens to unlock later episodes. The number of Tokens needed to unlock an episode is determined by the episode’s word count at the rate of one token per 100 words. For example, it takes six Tokens to unlock a 638-word episode. You can view the number of Tokens needed to unlock an episode on the episode setup page.

We plan to have several bundle options available for readers to purchase Tokens on the web and in the Kindle for iOS app. Token pricing may change before Kindle Vella stories are made available to readers, but here is an example of the Token purchase experience on the web:

Royalties

You’ll earn 50% of what readers spend on the Tokens that are used to unlock your story’s episodes. You’ll also be eligible for a launch bonus based on customer activity and engagement. To make it easy for readers to find stories they love, the first few episodes of every story are free. The number of Tokens needed to unlock an episode is determined by the episode’s word count at the rate of one token per 100 words. You can view the number of Tokens needed to unlock an episode on the episode setup page.

We plan to make Tokens available through mobile channels that charge a fee. In this case, the fee will be deducted from the revenue that is shared.

Here’s how earnings per episode will be calculated:

  • (Number of Tokens to unlock episode) * (Tokens bundle price/# Tokens in bundle – taxes and fees) * (50% rev share) = Earnings per episode

For example, here’s how we calculate earnings for a 3,025 word episode (30 Tokens) when the Tokens are purchased on the web in a 200 Tokens bundle versus an 1,100 Tokens bundle. In this example, we are assuming no taxes or fees.

  • Episode purchased with 200 Tokens bundle: 30 Tokens * ($1.99/200 Tokens – 0) * 50% = $0.1493
  • Episode purchased with 1,100 Tokens bundle: 30 Tokens * ($9.99/1100 Tokens – 0) * 50% = $0.1362

Link to the rest at Kindle Vella Reader Experience

Kindle Vella FAQ

Frequently asked questions

1. When will my story be available to readers?

Readers will be able to enjoy your stories when we make the Kindle Vella store available in the next few months. Learn more about the reader experience.

2. What happens if I publish an episode before the Kindle Vella store is available to readers?

With Kindle Vella, you can choose to publish your episode immediately or schedule publication on a future date. If you publish a story before Kindle Vella is available to readers, all stories in compliance with our content guidelines with a Live status will be ready and waiting when Kindle Vella stories become available. We recommend publishing at least 5-10 episodes before stories become available so readers can dig in right away.

If you’re not ready to publish or don’t want all your episodes to go live at once, we recommend leaving episodes in a Draft status, then publishing or scheduling publication after the Kindle Vella store is live for readers. Learn more about episode release dates.

3. What kind of content should I publish?

To provide the best experience for readers, Kindle Vella stories should be written specifically to be released in a serial format, one 600–5,000 word episode at a time. If you have a story in this format that is available elsewhere, you can also publish it with Kindle Vella. To ensure a good customer experience, Kindle Vella does not accept content that’s freely available. Learn more about our content guidelines.

4. How will I earn royalties through Kindle Vella?

You’ll earn 50% of what readers spend on the Tokens that are used to unlock your story’s episodes. You’ll also be eligible for a launch bonus based on customer activity and engagement. To make it easy for readers to find stories they love, the first few episodes of every story are free. The number of Tokens needed to unlock an episode is determined by the episode’s word count at the rate of one token per 100 words. 

Link to the rest at Kindle Vella

Kindle Vella – Content Guidelines

Existing content and metadata guidelines for eBooks apply for Kindle Vella content. In addition to our existing guidelines, we’ve listed new content guidelines related to Kindle Vella below.

Content

Kindle Vella is a serial reading experience. To protect readers from purchasing Kindle Vella content they have already read in a different format, you cannot:

  • Incorporate your Kindle Vella content into other long-form content (e.g., a book) in any language. If you wish to incorporate an episode or story into other content, you must unpublish all episodes of that story from Kindle Vella.
  • Publish in Kindle Vella content that is in the public domain or freely available on the web.
  • Break down your previously published book or long-form content into Episodes and republish in Kindle Vella, even if that book or long-form content is no longer available or is written in another language. If your Episode or Story is derived from another work you have authored (e.g., it continues the story from a book), you may include up to 5,000 words of content from the other work in the first Episode to bridge the story, provided you control the rights to do so.

Tags

You can add up to seven tags for each story. To ensure tags help readers get a feel for your story and make good purchasing decisions, please avoid:

  • Information covered elsewhere in your Story’s metadata (title, contributors, etc.)
  • Subjective claims about quality (e.g., “best”)
  • Time-sensitive statements (e.g., “new”)
  • Information common to most items in the category (“story”)
  • Spelling errors
  • Anything misrepresentative, like the name of an author who’s not associated with your Story. This kind of information can create a confusing customer experience. Kindle Vella has a zero tolerance policy for metadata that is meant to advertise, promote, or mislead
  • Amazon program names like “Kindle Vella”
  • Language promoting violence or intolerance
  • Sexually explicit language

Note all eBook keyword guidelines also apply to tags.


Author notes

This is a tool to build engagement on your story, so avoid including any links or prompting readers to leave the reading experience.

Link to the rest at Kindle Vella Content Guidelines

Kindle Vella – Publish an Episode

Share your story by publishing one short episode at a time.

. . . .

Publish an episode

After you create a story, you can publish episodes.

To publish an episode:

  1. Go to your Kindle Vella Library.
  2. Select the story to which you want to add an episode.
  3. Click Create episode or Continue episode draft.
  4. Type or import your episode text.
  5. Choose your release date.
  6. Click Publish.

Update an episode

You can edit a published episode at any time.

To edit an episode:

  1. Go to your Kindle Vella Library.
  2. Click Manage your story.
  3. Select the episode you want to edit.
  4. Click Edit Episode.
  5. Enter your changes.
  6. Click Publish.

Delete an episode

You can delete a Draft episode to remove it from your Kindle Vella Library. You can’t delete episodes that have been Live. After you delete or unpublish a story, that action can’t be undone.

To delete an episode:

  1. Go to your Kindle Vella Library.
  2. Click Manage your story.
  3. Go to episode you want to delete.
  4. Click Delete draft.
  5. Click Yes to confirm you want to delete the episode.

Tell us about your episode

Episode detailsDescription
Episode title (optional)Enter a name for your episode. An episode title isn’t required. If you don’t include a title, episodes will be titled by number. For example, Episode 1.

Note: We add episode numbers automatically, based on the order they’re created.
Episode contentImport your episode from a Microsoft Word document (DOC/DOCX) or type it directly in the online editor.

Episodes must be in English and between 600-5,000 words. At this time, Kindle Vella supports basic formatting, such as bold, italics, and underlines.

The following formatting is not currently supported:Indented paragraphsImagesChartsTablesSpecial charactersEmojis
Author Notes (optional)Add Author Notes to share additional details or behind-the-scenes thinking with your readers. This is your opportunity to communicate directly with readers in your own voice.

You can use Author Notes to:Give insight to readers on your writing processShare details on a character’s developmentShare teasers to get readers excited for the next episodeThis is a tool to build engagement with your story, so avoid including any links or prompting readers to leave the reading experience.

Author Notes appear after the episode and can’t exceed 200 words. These notes are not included in your episode word count.

HTML is not supported.

Author Notes must comply with our content guidelines.

Preview episode

View your episode as it will appear to readers. To create a consistent reading experience across all Kindle Vella episodes, we’ll remove paragraph indentations and add a line space between paragraphs during publishing.

If you want to make changes after previewing your episode, make them directly in the online editor or in your original Microsoft Word document and import the new file.


Tokens

Readers can unlock episodes by purchasing and redeeming Tokens. Readers can read the first three episodes in your story without redeeming Tokens. For later episodes, the number of Tokens required to unlock an episode is set automatically based on word count. You can see the number of Tokens a reader needs to unlock an episode on the Episode setup page.


Release date

To keep the story reading experience sequential, we can only release an episode after you’ve released all previous episodes. You can publish your episode immediately or schedule publication on a future date. After your episode goes Live or is Scheduled, we’ll send you an email.

  • Release now. Publish your episode immediately. After we open the Kindle Vella store to readers, we’ll make all content in compliance with our content guidelines with a Live status available.
  • Schedule release. After we open the Kindle Vella store to readers, we’ll make all scheduled episodes available on the scheduled release day. Scheduled episodes go live at midnight Eastern Standard Time on the selected release date.

Episode status

Your episode status appears in your Kindle Vella Library. After we open the Kindle Vella store to readers, we’ll make all content in compliance with our content guidelines with a Live status available and publish Scheduled episodes on the scheduled release day.

StatusDescription
DraftYour episode is created, but not published.
In ReviewYour episode is under review to ensure it meets our content guidelines.
Failed PublishingYour episode failed publishing due to a possible technical issue. Please try republishing.
Action RequiredYour episode requires changes before it can move to Live status. Check your email for instructions.
PublishingYour episode passed review and will move to Live status shortly.
ScheduledYour episode will be available in the Kindle Vella store after we open the Kindle Vella store to readers on the release date you scheduled.
LiveYour episode is ready and will be there for readers when Kindle Vella stories become available to them.
Live with Unpublished ChangesYour episode is ready and waiting for readers, but you have made changes that haven’t been published yet. Publish your updates to make them available to readers after the Kindle Vella store becomes available.
BlockedYour episode is unavailable for further editing due to a violation with our content guidelines. Check the email you use to access your KDP account for details.
UnpublishedYour episode (and story) will no longer become available in the Kindle Vella store at reader launch.

Link to the rest at Kindle Vella Publish an Episode

Perhaps PG missed it in the various links and sub-links, but he didn’t see anything that looked like a typical Amazon Terms & Conditions section that looked like it had been written by Amazon’s legal department.

PG has had prior dealings with Amazon’s in-house attorneys and they have impressed him as being very competent. What passes for terms and conditions in the various Kindle Vella sections is more than a little scattered and vague. He suspects that either Kindle Vella was put together without any legal assistance or Amazon’s legal department had just returned from an offsite meeting that involved a few hallucinogens during the breaks.

If any visitors to TPV locate something that looks like the T’s&C’s for Kindle Vella, PG would appreciate a link either in the comments or via the Contact PG link in the top menu bar.

11 thoughts on “Kindle Vella Royalties, Content Guidelines and Publishing Process”

  1. I haven’t seen the T&Cs, but then I haven’t published anything on Vella or gone too deep. But I have created a placeholder draft story with little content just to see how the process works.

    Am asking KDP Community about the T&Cs…

  2. Just found it (part of KDP T&C):
    […]
    Terms and Conditions for Kindle Vella
    If you reside in the US, you may make your work available to Amazon customers in installments, each such installment, an “Episode” and a set of multiple Episodes, a “Story.”
    1. Content. Kindle Vella is a serial reading experience. To protect readers from purchasing Kindle Vella content they have already read in a different format, you cannot:
    a. Incorporate your Kindle Vella content into other long-form content (e.g., a book) in any language. If you wish to incorporate an Episode or Story into other long-form content, you must unpublish all Episodes of that Story from Kindle Vella.
    b. Publish in Kindle Vella content that is in the public domain or freely available on the web.
    c. Break down your previously published book or long-form content into Episodes and republish in Kindle Vella, even if that book or long-form content is no longer available or is written in another language. If your Episode or Story is derived from another work you have authored (e.g., it continues the story from a book), you may include up to 5,000 words from the other work in the first Episode to bridge the story, provided you control the rights to do so.
    2. Tokens. In order to unlock your Episodes, Amazon customers will redeem Tokens purchased from Amazon. Amazon has sole and complete discretion to set the retail customer price at which Tokens are sold, and a purchase of Tokens is non-refundable except where required by law. We are solely responsible for processing payments, payment collection and related customer service with respect to Tokens.
    3. Episode Word Count and Token Pricing. Each Episode must consist of a minimum of 600 words and a maximum of 5,000 words. The number of Tokens required to unlock each Episode will be set by Amazon, in its sole and complete discretion.
    4. Royalties. If you are not in breach of your obligations under this Agreement, for each Token a customer redeems for your Episode, we will pay you the following Royalty: 50% of the amount the customer paid for that Token, net of refunds, bad debt, and any fees, VAT, sales or other taxes charged to a customer or applied with respect to sales or redemption of Tokens. You will not receive any Royalty for Episodes you or we make available for free. We will pay Royalties due approximately 60 days following the end of the calendar month during which your Episodes were unlocked. We will make available to you an online report detailing unlocked Episodes and corresponding Royalties.
    5. Inapplicable Terms. Except to the extent modified above, all terms in this Agreement remain in full force as if references to “Digital Books” or “Books” were references to “Episodes” and Kindle Vella was expressly included in the definition of “Program.” However, the following sections do not apply to Kindle Vella: 5.2.3 Lending Kindle Books, 5.3.1 Providing Your List Price, 5.3.2 Currency Conversion, 5.3.3 Multiple List Prices, 5.4.1 Royalties, 5.4.2. When We Pay You, 5.4.3 Payment Currencies, 5.4.4 Payment Terms for Brazilian Publishers, Terms and Conditions for KDP Select Program, Terms and Conditions for KDP Pre-Orders, the Digital Pricing Page and the Print Pricing Page.

    Recent Changes to the Agreement

    On the date listed at the top of this Agreement, we updated the Agreement with the Terms and Conditions for Kindle Vella. We also updated Sections 5.1.2, 5.3.4, 5.5 and 6. Please carefully review the revised Agreement in its entirety.

    • … and here specifically is the Grant of Rights section referred to above:

      5.5 Grant of Rights. You grant to each Amazon party, throughout the term of this Agreement, a nonexclusive, irrevocable, right and license to print (on-demand and in anticipation of customer demand) and distribute Books, directly and through third-party distributors, in all formats you choose to make available through KDP by all distribution means available. This right includes, without limitation, the right to: (a) reproduce, index and store Books on one or more computer facilities, and reformat, convert and encode Books; (b) display, market, transmit, distribute, sell, license and otherwise make available all or any portion of Books through Amazon Properties (as defined below), for customers and prospective customers to download, access, copy and paste, print, annotate and/or view online and offline, including on portable devices; (c) permit customers to “store” Digital Books that they have purchased from us on servers (“Virtual Storage”) and to access and re-download such Digital Books from Virtual Storage from time to time both during and after the term of this Agreement; (d) display and distribute (i) your trademarks and logos in the form you provide them to us or within Books (with such modifications as are necessary to optimize their viewing), and (ii) portions of Books, in each case solely for the purposes of marketing, soliciting and selling Books and related Amazon offerings; (e) use, reproduce, adapt, modify, and distribute, as we determine appropriate, in our sole discretion, any metadata and product description, information or images that you make available in connection with Books; and (f) transmit, reproduce and otherwise use (or cause the reformatting, transmission, reproduction, and/or other use of) Books as mere technological incidents to and for the limited purpose of technically enabling the foregoing (e.g., caching to enable display). In addition, you agree that we may permit our affiliates and independent contractors, and our affiliates’ independent contractors, to exercise the rights that you grant to us in this Agreement. “Amazon Properties” means any web site, application or online point of presence, on any platform, that is owned or operated by or under license by Amazon or co-branded with Amazon, and any web site, application, device or online point of presence through which any Amazon Properties or products available for sale on them are syndicated, offered, merchandised, advertised or described. You grant us the rights set forth in this Section 5.5 on a worldwide basis; however, if we make available to you a procedure for indicating that you do not have worldwide distribution rights to a Digital Book, then the territory for the sale of that Digital Book will be those territories for which you indicate, through the procedure we provide to you, that you have distribution rights, except as otherwise provided in the Program Policies.

      • … plus this next section…

        6 Ownership and Control of Amazon Properties and Customer Data/ Feedback. Subject to the authorizations you grant to us under this Agreement, as between us and you, you retain all ownership rights in and to the copyrights and all other rights and interest in and to your Books. We retain all ownership rights in and to the copyrights and all other rights and interests in and to the Program, the Amazon Properties, and any materials we use or provide to you for use relating to your Book (such as a generic cover image used for your Book if you do not provide one). We retain sole ownership and control of all data obtained from customers and prospective customers in connection with the Program. We are solely responsible for, and will have full discretion with respect to the terms, features, and operation of the Program and the Amazon Properties and related marketing, but our use of the Books will be subject to the terms of this Agreement. In the event that you elect to provide suggestions, ideas, or other feedback to Amazon or any of its affiliates in connection with the Amazon Properties or the Program (“Feedback”), Amazon and its affiliates will be free to use and exploit the same in any manner without restriction and without any need to compensate you. This Agreement does not grant you any license or other rights to any intellectual property or technology owned or operated by us or any of our affiliates, including, without limitation, any trademarks or trade names. Nothing in this Agreement restricts any rights we may have under applicable law or a separate permission.

  3. Potential problems with this:
    – The TOS is horrible, the deal is very one-sided in Amazons favor and the data needed to know how your books are doing is withheld. It’s based on something they tell you is there but isn’t, much like the KU pot of gold.
    – Exclusivity. Yes, there are outs, but it shouldn’t be there at all.
    – Authors with a large backlist of underperforming books will chop them up and try to get some life out of them here.
    – People using it as a test bed. Putting out three chapters and then abandoning it to publish a full book.
    – The Erotica Authors will own it in less than a few months.
    – It’s geared toward the short-attention span crowd/younger readers, which conflicts with my last point.
    – Authors with large backlist books will chop them up and try to get some life out of them here.
    – Scammers will go nuts with this. Books will be pirated, chopped up, repackaged, and stuffed into this.
    – The “favorite” voting system will be corrupted and gamed immediately.
    – Ghost writers and the authors who can churn out a book in a week will use it as an idea source, cranking out a book with a similar plot before the original author can get their multiple chapters through the system.
    Not saying all or even any of things will come true, but the possibility is certainly there. I’m sure there are a lot more but that’s what I see coming out of this.

    • Thinking out loud off your back 😉 …

      – The TOS is horrible, the deal is very one-sided in Amazons favor and the data needed to know how your books are doing is withheld. It’s based on something they tell you is there but isn’t, much like the KU pot of gold.
      Not sure I agree on the data (or the TOS). There will be a separate Dashboard for this, just like with KDP. There, I can see daily sales, KU reads. Assume it will be the same.

      – Exclusivity. Yes, there are outs, but it shouldn’t be there at all.
      Well, if you’re doing KDP exclusive, which I am, there’s not much difference.

      – Authors with a large backlist of underperforming books will chop them up and try to get some life out of them here.
      And the problem with that is… ?
      […]
      – Ghost writers and the authors who can churn out a book in a week will use it as an idea source, cranking out a book with a similar plot before the original author can get their multiple chapters through the system.
      Well, this is basically how Andy Weir wrote The Martian. And authors steal ideas all the time. Nothing new.

      Bottomline for me: this may be the future of authoring. Or not. Can wait and see, or wait and try. I’m still thinking.

      • “If you have a story in this format that is available elsewhere, you can also publish it with Kindle Vella.”

        This does not seem to imply exclusivity, or am I reading this incorrectly?

        • A KDP rep has clarified that you may publish a serial that is out elsewhere on Vella too, so long as that work is not free. They don’t want anything that is available for free anywhere else. If you have a pay serial on another platform, however, the do not require exclusivity.
          Additionally, you cannot “chop up your backlist titles” because they won’t take anything that has already been published in long form for Vella.

  4. This is really helpful! Question: Do we know anything about the requirements on content quality? I’m a long time Wattpad user with a huge following. I’ve always published my books serial (free) on Wattpad and then eventually edited and published indie, pulling them down from Wattpad or keeping previews up or keeping an unedited version up.

    Generally all my work has gone on Wattpad as edited, but not fully polished versions. I post one chapter per week and post as I write. Based on our predictions and what we know as of now, is this what we can expect on Vella? Or do we expect to see fully publication quality content. In other words, the full book is already written, content edited, line/copy edited. And it’s just going up in pieces. I suspect we will see a mix, perhaps?

    Wattpad is more of a post as you write, especially for the non-paid version, so even with well-written work, you tend to run into plot holes and content errors that get edited out later. Because how much editing can happen before the full book is really written? So, I’m curious to see if this is something that becomes common in Vella.

    Long story short, what kind of quality are we going to see here? Thoughts?

    • Good question which I’d like to know as well. I imagine Amazon prefers polished pieces as “reader experience” is a big deal. There’s a certain amount of leeway readers give for small errors, but major plot holes or story direction that doesn’t make sense (even if you’d clean it up later) would be frustrating to ‘regular’ Amazon book readers. I read somewhere that it’s suggested you finish the book before publishing, but I think this platform gives room for a bit of spontaneity. I think we’ll just have to feel it out. Plus users will let us know what they expect I’m sure!

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