A few things I picked up on Writing Vellas

When I started my first Vella in late December of 2021, doing it then to have it out just before the New Year, I had no idea what I was doing. Only one person in the writer’s groups I was part of had done anything with it and he didn’t know that much about it. But I decided to have chapters of my then current WIP professionally edited and published there.

It bombed.

I couldn’t even get friends and family members to read it. A few people in a few writer’s groups would, on occasion, read the three free episodes of that first story, but no further. The bonus money wasn’t even paying me back to have my episodes edited, and I was getting no royalties. This went on for a year. Then, I made some changes. I had a Dark Fantasy novella, part of a series I had rough drafts for, that I had been trying to raise money to have edited. In December of 2022, I went through that first book again, doing major edits, and started publishing the chapters on Kindle Vella without professional editing in January of 2023 as part of my New Year’s new start.

I also added a third Vella, also without professional editing, for a nitch market giving a more realistic picture of what living in an early Mars Colony is likely to be like without all the super science and catastrophic events people tend to toss into such things.

I didn’t do much better.

Then some things changed. The first was I found out how to by tokens using a VPN. Being out of the United States for the past two years, I was automatically blocked by their system that limited it to the US only. The second was, having tokens, I could now get actively involved in the Vella social media promotions.

My February reads were greater than my lifetime reads. My royalties alone paid for the tokens I bought that month. And I found out reading Vellas for those social media promotions that the audience I needed to target preferred shorter episodes than what I was putting out. Vella readers are far more likely to read the next episode if it is 6 to 10 tokens verses 20 to 35 which had been what my chapters had been for the most part.

  Reading those also showed me mistakes I needed to avoid. Vella readers stop reading and go do other things easily. If you info dump, they tend not to come back to your story. With few exceptions, jumping points of view will also put off a Vella reader and have them drop your story. My first one uses dual points of views though the second one isn’t introduced until chapter 5. Filler word, and stuff that doesn’t keep the pace moving along quickly also put off the Vella reader and they stop reading what you have and don’t come back. To keep them coming back after going to take care of the other things they have going on, your episodes need to keep the action moving at a good pace, show, not tell, use active, not passive voice, and be short and to the point. You need to do weekly updates if you want to say relevant to them.

In March I more than doubled February’s reads, once again getting more reads than my previous lifetime’s total. The royalties alone cover what I spent on tokens. This time, the bonus should cover all other writing expenses plus a bit, maybe cover more professional editing.

I am by no means an expert and have undoubtedly missed much about it and might have gotten some of it wrong. I am still learning, and my fourth Vella starts in April incorporating much of what I have learned. Time will tell if I learned the right lesson in this past year. I hope you found this informative and helpful.

7 thoughts on “A few things I picked up on Writing Vellas

    1. on factor in keeping it to the point is keep scene setting to the minimum. Vella readers are reading in short spurt. If no action or sense of suspense develops during that short spurt, they have little reason to come back to your story.

  1. I’m not sure why but this site is loading incredibly slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a issue on my end? I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

  2. Thanks for posting this. Thing that I’m not clear on what you mean by you were able to get actively involved in Vella’s social media promos after buyin tokens. Could you elaborate for me a bit?

    1. There are many facebook groups for promoting your Vella. Most are nunber minipulaion. ones that comes close but isn’t quite is the ones that are spend x amout of tokesn to post here or read x amouth of episiods. These are more targetet market advertising, IMO. these will expose many people to your work but if they don’t like it they can spend the token esleswhere. I hope this helps

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