Updated Content Guidelines For Kindle Vella

You can now publish 10 episodes as a book after 30 days.

Hey there, Igniter!

I’m late on getting my planned post up today (it’ll go out tomorrow instead), but it turned out to be serendipitous because after months of little to no new news on Kindle Vella, we’re finally getting some additional information.

First, I’m sure by now that everyone who cares has heard that Kindle Vella will be launching officially in mid-to-late July. Are you ready? I’m steadily getting my content up and have written up a 3000+ word post on my Kindle Vella strategy just for fun; I believe it sends on Wednesday to paid subscribers (you can become one by following instructions here: https://aggressivelywide.substack.com/about)

Additionally, there’s a new update to content guidelines here: https://www.kdpcommunity.com/s/question/0D52T00005RQ79xSAD/kindle-vella-content-guidelines-update?language=en_US

It’s kind of a big deal.

There’s no point in me rehashing the details laid out in this post, so please read it first. I wanted to instead comment on the big news and how it’s a HUGE boon to your serialized marketing strategy–as well as a lesson in going with the flow during a big experimental launch like this.

You can now bundle 10 or more of your serial episodes into a book and publish it after all ten episodes have been available for 30 days on Vella.

This is a big deal, and it means that on Day 31 post Kindle Vella launch, the people who had ten episodes posted from the beginning will be able to bundle their initial episodes as a book. The race is on.

One caveat: each Kindle Vella episode can only be published in one book or other long-form format. What exactly does this mean, though?

My guess would be that Amazon wants to prevent you from bundling ten episodes at a time, then bundling into something longer like 30 episodes. I also wonder if Amazon wants to protect serial pricing, so people aren’t bundling huge numbers of episodes together and selling them for $2.99. Finally, I can imagine that Amazon doesn’t want episodes to be tacked on to the ends of regular ebooks, as in putting the first 10 episodes at the end of books 1, 2, and 3 of a related series. Amazon still doesn’t want you to sample the serial content. This move is only to allow you to publish your work in book format after it’s been exclusive to them for 30+ days.

The changes around allowing bundling to a book are going to be tricky for authors, as many writers were planning to make their episodes ~1500 words. Ten episodes of that is only 15,000 words–not a particularly long book and not easy to sell at traditional ebook retailers.

Authors have a choice. They could:

  • Sell their serial in 10-episode bundles even though word count will probably be low.

  • Increase word count per episode even though getting into the 3000-5000 word range is a longer reading time. The average reading speed is 250 words per minute, and most successful serial authors agree that you want to stay closer to the 1500 word episode. A 1500 word episode is six minutes, while a 5000 word episode is twenty minutes.

  • Bundle more episodes together even though it takes longer in the short-term. Assume that the bigger bundles will perform well in the marketplace in the long term.

To me, these choices are game changers and will completely change how authors structure their serials and what emerging writing and marketing strategies will prevail on the platform.

Personally, I’m still not sure what I will do, but I will probably decide and update my Kindle Vella strategy post for Wednesday with the details.

The update to republishing your content as a book without having to take down your serial story is a huge one, but it’s not the only big news in this update. I encourage you to check out the full update for more info on how you might want to shift your Kindle Vella strategy in the final weeks before launch.

I’m signing off tonight and will be back with more Kindle Vella content tomorrow at the usual time.