Saturday, July 24, 2021

Vella Could Change Everything

From July 17, 2021:

Well, not everything, of course. But it may change the self-publishing landscape significantly.

Hi, packmates. Time for my middle-of-the-month blog update.

After months and months of hype, this week Amazon finally launched Kindle Vella, a platform where readers can read episodes of serialized stories without having to purchase or borrow an entire book.

It might change the way authors write, especially indie writers like myself. In fact, I’ve already revised my writing schedule and goals for 2021 and 2022.

I wanted to be a published author most of my life. One of the stumbling blocks I could never overcome was the specter of endless submissions to (and rejections from) publishers that most writers go through for years before any of their work gets in front of actual readers.

When digital platforms like Amazon KDP surfaced in the first decade of this century, that specter was gone. It was relatively simple to get what you had written formatted, even printed, and published. Hundreds of thousands of closeted writers, including myself, jumped on the bandwagon.

I ran across a statistic back around 2010 that claimed more books had been published in the last five years than were previously - since the beginning of time!

So, it’s easy to publish something now. But you still have to write a book, and that’s a long-range project (for me, at least a year from conception to first draft). During that time, an author agonizes over whether the result will be marketable, whether they should be working on a more interesting or lucrative project, etc. If you publish and the thing flops, it’s like, you’ve wasted all that time. But…

If you could publish episodes as they are written, you could work on several different projects, at the same time, and see what works.

And it’s a pretty cool thing for the reader, too. Which may be even more important. We don’t have to wait a year or more for the next book. We can read the chapters as they are written.

Or we can binge-read an entire story, kind of like I watch stuff on Netflix.

I’ve already pulled two projects from my bucket list and started on them in an episodic format. One, The Litter, is a story about the next generation of werewolves after my Red Wolf Saga. The other is a spinoff series featuring Abby Fly as a dragon shifter, starting with the first book, Magic Man.

Even one of our own packmates has jumped on the Vella bandwagon. Check out Tom and Adam Jackson’s apocalyptic survival tale, Brannon’s Mountain.  Read the first three episodes for free and give him a “like.”

Of course, while you’re at it, I have two stories published on the Vella platform that I’d love y’all to take a look at:

Song of Sing is my epic fantasy based on The Alchemist’s Ledger short story.

Half Human is an episodic version of my novel of the same name to be published in book form later this year.

Feedback Question:

Any of you guys have a writing project in the works you’d like to publish? Why not consider putting some episodes out on Vella? Let me know in a comment below. I’d be happy to help in any way I can.

Monthly Giveaway:

Remember, I’m giving away a $25 Amazon gift card this month. It’s not too late to enter. Click here to <enter the giveaway>.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Newsletter Volume 4: Kindle Vella Project Reveal

From July 2, 2021

Hi, packmates. It’s that time again. Time for the monthly Red Wolf newsletter!

First of all, let me wish everyone a happy 4th of July.

Next, congratulations to the winner of our June giveaway, Debi Z. Debi will soon be receiving a complete boxed set of Richelle Mead’s Georgina Kincaid series. Debi, I hope you enjoy Georgina half as much as I have.

Finally, the big news for July:

On June 15, Amazon announced that its Kindle Vella program is set to launch in mid-to-late July. That’s this month!

If you haven’t heard, Kindle Vella allows people to read episodic stories on the Kindle iOS app and without having to purchase or “borrow” an entire book. Readers can get the first three episodes of a story for free, then use pre-paid ‘tokens’ to buy more episodes if they like what they’ve read. Episodes are 600 - 5,000 words in length and are priced based on word count.

Authors can leave notes about each episode and readers can leave comments about what they’ve read. As an author, I’m pretty excited about that aspect. I love reader feedback.

And I’m hoping to get some, because when Kindle Vella launches, so does Song of Sing!

A mercenary with a forgotten birthright. A witch who walks in dreams. If they survive, empires will fall.

They call him Sing, for the sound of his sword in battle. He earns a living by anything that can be done with a blade...and alone.

Erin is a green-eyed witch from the winter lands. She works in a brothel, hiding her powers from those that would use them for their own gain.

Their destinies are entwined.

Some of you will recognize the story, since I expanded the Alchemist’s Ledger short story to get the first four episodes. (Some of you downloaded it when you signed up for the newsletter.) I’ve published a fifth episode already, and episode six should be available by the time Vella launches. I’m digging writing in this sword and sorcery genre. The tale that’s developing is epic in scope. I hope y’all like it.

This Month’s Feedback Question:

We started talking about genres in last month’s newsletter. Do any of you guys read sword and sorcery? If so, give me a recommendation in a comment below!

News for the Pack:

Someone asked me the other day how the audiobook for The Cargo was coming along. I’m afraid the project is on hold until I finish the first draft of its sequel, Half Human. I only have a chapter-and-a-half to go, after which I’ll jump right back into recording on the audiobook project.

Monthly Giveaway:

This month I’m giving away another Amazon Gift Card. And, please, don’t be shy. Honestly, there are only a handful of folks that are entering each month, right now. So, until my email list gets a lot bigger, the chances of winning are darn good. Click here to <enter the giveaway>.

If you'd like to subscribe to my email list to get these newsletters by email, click the following link. All new subscribers receive a free short story and chances to win free stuff in the months and years ahead. Just click <Subscribe>

Until next time, Happy Reading!