Kindle Vella: Yet Another Writer-Driven Market Disaster

More disappointment for writers.

The Helltorch

I’m sending my dark heroine, the Helltorch, to punish Amazon.

Amazon’s new storytelling system, Vella, adds a new dimension to KDP, allowing authors to post stories and interact with readers. The application’s basic formatting, editing, and easy upload features make Vella appealing, especially to writers looking to publish short fiction in a mobile format.

The Library for Vella

Mobile reading is nicely designed.
Mobile reading is nicely designed.

As of July 15, 2021, some functions remain unavailable such as reader commenting and sales reporting. Perhaps Vella is in a soft launch, but Amazon’s lack of communication concerning Vella makes this status a guess. While more features are likely to implement soon, Vella already devolves into a writer-driven marketplace with little chance of correcting. The hope Vella held quickly dissipated into disappointment, realizing Amazon started another writer-focused marketplace similar to Wattpad.

Vella’s marketing scheme targets writers denoted by lack of email marketing (except to authors) and the, oh so subtle, requirement for writers to purchase tokens to earn the favorite (fave) crown.

To earn a little Fave crown by your story you must buy tokens.

To earn a little Fave crown by your story you must buy tokens. Something not done with any other product on Amazon.

This is what the Fave looks like on my story “The Helltorch” on the left. Now I feel special.

This is what the Fave looks like on my story “The Helltorch” on the left. Now I feel special.

Why Amazon chose this marketing approach, I don’t know, but considering the company caters to a tremendous book market, marketing to readers makes more sense than creating a community of quid pro quo false reviewers. More than confused, I am disappointed after spending considerable time preparing for this launch only to find authors posted upwards of sixty episodes on the first day, begging the question of how they accomplished this feat. With a little digging, you easily find these stories reposted from other sites, which is expressly forbidden. Beyond breaking the rules, these are the same authors inhabiting many other writing websites and Facebook groups — not readers. Make no mistake, Amazon purposely designed Vella for serial genre-fiction with only one tag for nonfiction and nothing for literary fiction: a clear welcome sign for this writing community void of real readers.

I refuse to believe literature’s only market founds on writers, yet this cottage industry now rises to new heights under Amazon, which saddens me tremendously. Unlike many writers, I like Amazon because the company opened publishing opportunities for everyone, disrupting arrogant publishers and agents. Amazon’s choice to go this route with Vella feels like a betrayal when they had the power to market to real readers and not capitalize on a self-serving community of writers.