A Brief Guide to Publishing Your Book

Lots of interesting questions are being asked on our “Ask Us Anything” post that can be found here: https://writerssupportingwriters.com/2022/01/01/ask-us-anything/

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I’ll attempt to tackle the question about how to get your ebook published on Amazon’s Kindle – very briefly.

Step one: write your book.

Step two: edit and then proofread your book. And then either hire a professional proofreader, or get as many readers as possible to proofread your book. I have five or six people reading my book, and everyone finds different errors and typos, so that the more eyes on the page, the cleaner the copy will be.

Step three: prepare your manuscript for conversion into an ebook. What you are doing in this step is setting up your text so that when it is converted into an ebook it flows smoothly without blank pages or oddities in the text, that may cause Amazon or other ebook publishers to bounce it back to you with error messages.

There are software apps that you buy that will do this for you. One is an Apple computer only program called Vellum. It costs $265. Some authors teach themselves how to program in HTML and then use the free program Calibre to make their own epub. You can also let Calibre convert your word processor program into any of the ebook formats, but unless you know what you are doing and what all the terms mean, you are probably best to leave this process to Amazon, or Smashwords. For Google Play Store you do have to create your own epub, and I do so with Calibre’s default settings, except that I use version 2 instead of version 1, the default setting, since version 1 returns an error for me.

All that said, I would recommend just letting Amazon or Smashwords create their ebook document from your word document. They know best what they want. However, to create the best looking ebook, and avoid errors, you do need to set up your word document correctly. For example, you may have your word processing document set up to include page numbers. You don’t want page numbers in a document that will be converted to an ebook, since the number of pages changes depending on size of text that the reader of an ebook selects. In addition, there are a number of other things that should be set up for ebooks as well. All of which can be found in the free ebook by Mark Coker; the Smashwords Style Guide which you can download here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52 While this was written for people planning to upload and publish their books on Smashwords, I have used its procedures without any problem with Amazon Kindle as well.

Mark Coker takes you in a numbered, step by step process through creating a document that will make certain that your book is acceptable to the Smashword’s process of turning it into an ebook. It is not a daunting process. If you are only producing a non-illustrated work of fiction, half of the book will not apply in your case, so don’t let the page count scare you. I use this process for all my books.

They style book sets out guidelines for things like how many blank lines you should have between chapters, the size and style of your text and chapter heading, how to format the pages of your manuscript, and how to eliminate invisible characters that may affect how the text appears once it is converted into an ebook. It tells you how to set up a table of contents, however, this is optional and I just let the publisher’s process create one for me automatically.

The book is written for people using MS Word. I write my books in LibreOffice, but I have found that while the terms and options may look a little different, the programs have basically the same functions and it’s easy translate the directions. Coker also suggests that you might want to make sure your text doesn’t have any unnecessary invisible characters that word processors use in the text to indicate things like a paragraph break, and such. It is possible that some of these unseen characters (unless you toggle them to be visible) might’ve crept in during the writing process and might affect the results of the conversion. This involves copy and pasting your story into a simple text editing app, and then back to your word processing app, the details of which are in the book.

Once I’m done with all this, I use the option in LibreOffice to save the manuscript as a Word 97 document, and then upload it to both Amazon and Smashwords, changing only the “edition name” to match the ebook store I’m uploading to. If you work in MS Word, you’re set to upload your book.

On Amazon that there are several options for what you can upload and publish. I believe that they even have a dedicated ebook maker that you can upload your document into and tinker with online. But, of course, you can just upload the manuscript in the current version of MS Word as well. I use the old version of Word, the “.doc” version, since it works, and why fix something that works?

Step four: uploading your nice clean ebook ready manuscript to Amazon and/or Smashwords. Besides your manuscript, you’ll need a separate JPEG image of your cover in the suggested size. Both places will ask for the manuscript and cover to be uploaded separately. You will also need a blurb, and you’ll have to decide what categories that you want your book to appear in, plus come up with some keywords that will lead people searching those keywords to your book. On both platforms the process is pretty straight forward. With Amazon you’ll have a choice to publish only with Amazon, which gives you some special deals, and automatically lists your book in their Kindle Unlimited program where readers can borrow your book with Amazon paying you for the pages readers read. If you want to release your book on other platforms, this option is not open to you, so be sure to read the instructions carefully.

Step five: select your price and push the publishing button.

Step six: start counting your money. You’re going to need a lot of it to promote your book, but that’s another story.

Table Stakes

I read somewhere that every story needs a conflict, with consequences riding on the outcome. Now, I’m not sure that’s true for all stories. Literary writers can get away with almost anything in their fiction, and more power to them. However, expectations are different in genre fiction. Genre fiction has its formulas, be it romance, mysteries, thrillers, westerns, horror, fantasy/science, paranormal fiction, or what have you. Genre readers expect stories to include their favorite tropes. These tropes almost always involve both conflict and danger. So yes, I suppose that most genre stories need conflict and dire consequences to work. The issue I have with this premise is that the table stakes for these conflicts and consequences have escalated to the point where they’ve become so grand that they’re rather silly, even absurd. Plus, they’re often violent, gory, and ultimately so common as to be trite.

Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes was content to solve mysteries that did not involve murder. Today, every mystery, no matter how cozy, must involve at least one murder. A dead man, woman, or child is the starting table stake for today’s mysteries. Often the ante is upped with a second murder. And a third. And even a fourth. And when every little village has a murder every couple of months like clockwork, these stakes get silly. I’ve lived in a small town for 30 some years and the only murders that regularly occur are self-murders; suicides and overdoses; the people who die “unexpectedly” in obits.

It possible to write a mystery that doesn’t involve murder. Doyle did. Heck, I did as well. I’m sure today’s mystery writers could do it too. But there is no tried and true formula for that type of mystery, making them harder to write. There may be thousands of such manuscripts in drawers, unpublished, because agents, editors, or publishers didn’t buy them because they believe that they wouldn’t sell. Maybe they’re right. Maybe the table stakes are too low, without death in a story. But I doubt it.

And take paranormal, fantasy, and science fiction; these stories are often dark and grim these days – or rather, “grimdark.” Moreover, it is very hard to find a fantasy or science fiction story that does not involve war. A century ago Lord Dunsany wrote a fantasy story about several servants conversing in the basement of a London club about the members of the club – the members being old and forgotten gods who gathered at the club to reminisce. Tolkien, however, brought the Great War into fantasy, and so these days those old and forgotten gods no longer sit around reminiscing; they’ve returned to wage war and makeover the world in their evil image. They’re only deterred from doing so by a band of misfits and their supernatural magical powers. At least until the publisher pulls the plug on the series. And if the heroes are not misfits, they’re princes or princesses, future or deposed, who must save the throne and kingdom, or recapture it from evil usurpers.

And in almost all these stories, a war is either looming, on going, or just ended, with graphic descriptions. Bloody battles are fought in great detail. War, gore, death and destruction are the table stakes for so many fantasies – echoing the trenches of the Great War.

It’s no different in science fiction. All too often the fate of the human race, a galactic empire, or indeed, all creation teeters on the brink of destruction, to be saved, against all odds, by that band of plucky misfits again. Destroying entire planets is the starting ante for many of these stories and it goes up from there. Now, this is nothing new in science fiction, E E Smith was throwing whole galaxies around 90 years ago. However, the amount of blood, gore, casual killing, rape, and sadistic cruelty chronicled in both science fiction and fantasy today seems to have escalated expediently over the years. I’ve been reading the short reviews of books entered into the Self Published Science Fiction Contest, and many of the reviewers mention how much violence they encountered while reading just the first 10% of the books they were sampling.

Now I have nothing against using war, gore, death and destruction – or old ladies to solve murders – in books on any moral grounds. Obviously they sell, and so they must have their fans. I’m just not one of them – a simple a matter of personal taste. What I don’t like about these tropes, these formulas, is that they strike me as being cheap tricks. Lazy writing. The table stakes have been upped to make the events of the story, and thus, the story itself seem all the more important – larger than life. Their heroes are princes and princesses, not ordinary people. And if not royalty, they’re still some sort of superhero. Conflict and consequences are then ramped up the max. “Ignore the little man behind the curtain,” seems to be the name of the game. But it was the little man behind the curtain who was, in fact, interesting, not the terrifying, but ultimately hollow, Wise and Benevolent Oz.

I believe that a competent writer can tell exciting stories without resorting to Wagnerian heights. Doomsday is indeed coming. It’s the day you die. For all of us, the world ends with our death. And so too does it for the characters you create in your story. Life and death stakes for the characters alone can make for an exciting story. Indeed, you can write an exciting story without life and death stakes. There is no need to have the fate of the world hanging in the balance as well. If you make your characters engaging, and then kill them off, would that be a less devastating ending to the reader then if Evil won in the end? Is not everything beyond the fate of your characters little more than stage settings? The theater shows that you can scale back to the essentials without losing the drama.

I like to keep things simple. I like things that are understated. However, I am fully aware that everyone is different. There are people who want to read, and writers who want to write, stories with a far wider sweep, and grander scale, than I do. Heck, there are people who like opera. Each to his or her own tastes, and I’m fine with that. Still, I wish I could find stories to my tastes, without writing them.

Perhaps the market demands vast stakes. Maybe high stakes, war and gore are what agents, editors, publishers want to buy, and readers want to read. But does that mean they won’t read and enjoy stories that don’t quite follow that formula? As writers and publishers we don’t have to follow the pack. We can chart our own course. I believe that characters – people – are the heart of most good stories. They don’t need to be the center of their fictional universe to be important. Create compelling characters and readers will enveloped in the story, without the need for a grand setting and vast table stakes.

So what’s your take, both as a reader, and as a writer, on the scope of a story? Do you enjoy vast empires teetering in the balance? Do you like to read and write about larger than life characters facing impossible odds? Is grandma solving a murder a month or vast cosmic horrors lurking on the edge of night your thing? Or do you think that characters matter more than the scale of action? The clock is ticking… Comment. You have only minutes to save the world by commenting!!!

Music and Muse

Do you have music on in the background while you write? Are you of of those writers who writes in the local coffee shop for the subtle chatter and sense of companionship that it provides for what is otherwise a solitary pursuit? Or do you need the sounds of silence to bring forth the words?

After choosing to write an essay on this topic, I, uncharacteristically, decided that I should research the question. That’s what the internet is good for, besides cute cat pictures. My far-from-exhaustive research found that many authors write with music in the background. In fact, 80% of them, in a small survey. Scientist, on the other hand, have conducted many tests and have generally found that background music inhibits performance in students and writing. Their theory for this negative effect is that the brain has to process the music, which in turn, narrows the bandwidth available for processing the thoughts you are trying to find words for. This apparently applies to all types of music. They suggest that you use music to put yourself in a good state of mind before you sit down to write, but then write in silence.

I am one of those writers who listen to music while I write – quiet, mostly instrumental music, delivered by Spotify. I have days and days worth of music in various playlists on Spotify. Until recently, that is. Spotify discontinued the tier I’ve had for a decade, and unless I pay twice the rate I had been paying, I’ll have to find some other source of background music or write in silence. So I’ve been writing in silence for the last month or so, just to see how important music really was for me. The results are… inconclusive. I can write, but it’s not quite the same.

For example, I am writing this essay in silence. When I stop to think of what I want to write next, I find that the silence is a little stressful. I feel that something is missing, There’s a hole that needs to be filled. I think that the music in the background carries me through these pauses while I’m thinking. With music I never quite come to a dead stop. And yet, when I am writing with the music on, I hardly ever hear it. The music goes in one ear and out the other unnoticed most of the time. So it’s not some sort of soundtrack or anything like that. It’s just there, to fill holes, as needed. Plus, with music on, I don’t have to hear the ringing in my ears like I am now when writing this in silence. So I think I can say that while background music isn’t essential, I do want my music back. Just as soon as Spotify offers me a deal, that is.

In any event, what about you? Do you need music, or need silence? Are you one of the cool kids who take their laptop to the coffee house to write? And what type of music do you listen to? Do you have playlists for certain moods, certain scenes or books? Share your music.


NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) starts next Monday. Is anyone planning to write a novel this November?

I’ve never tried NaNoWritMo, but I’m planning to give it an unofficial shot this year. Winter in Wisconsin is a perfect time to write a novel. I don’t want to waste all the time I must spend indoors doing nothing. But these days it seems that I need some motivation, so I’m hoping that NaNoWriMo will provide that for me this year.

I don’t think I’ll actually sign up on the website. (https://nanowrimo.org/) I’m a time spent writing rather than word count oriented writer – and I find word count goals tend to be inhibiting rather than motivating for me. However, since I have most of the high points of a short 50-60K word novel in my current series in mind, I think that I could get at least a good start on a first draft done in a month. We’ll see.

So what about you guys? Has anyone ever participated in the program? What was your experience?

The Google Play Book Store

You’ve made your choice – to go wide or go all in on Amazon. If you’re all in on Amazon, move along, nothing to see here. But if you’ve gone wide, do you have your books in the Google Play Book Store? And if you do, how’s it working for you? I ask this because Google Play has recently become my best “selling” venue.

Please note that I give away my books, which is several orders of magnitude easier than selling books for money. Free, however, does generate enough “sales” numbers that they can be used to compare markets.

I started publishing books in April of 2015 via Smashwords and Amazon. In October of 2018 I got my books into the Google Play Store. I gave away 11 books that first month on Google. The following year Google accounted for about 9% of my sales, rising to 15% in 2020. This year Google started with 137 sales in January, and has continued to grow almost every month since then. Indeed, to date Google sales account for 33.4% of this year’s sales thru September, with Amazon at 42% and Smashwords at 24.5%. For some unknown reason I did really well on Google in September with total sales clocking in at almost three times that of Smashwords and Amazon combined. All in all, Google now accounts for a little more than 10% of my all times sales, though it’s only been part of the mix for half of the time I’ve been selling books.

Of course your books, the number of your titles, and readership will be different from mine, but I think it’s safe to say that if you haven’t listed your books on Google, you may be missing sales.

It used to be that you had to ask Google for an invitation to list your books, but when I googled the procedure for this article, the search took me here; https://play.google.com/books/publish/ where it seems all you have to do is sign up. But seeing that I was already signed into Google, “getting started” just took me to my Google page, so I can’t say for certain what you can expect.

Unlike Smashwords and Amazon, with Google you have to upload your own epub version of your book. If you already format your files as epubs they should be good to go. But if – like me – you don’t, then you’ll need to do it yourself. I use Calibre, a free program, to convert my LibreOffice files to epubs.

I’m no expert in Calibre so I keep it simple. I upload my LibreOffice file to Calibre, and then convert it to a version 3 epub using the default settings with Heuristic processing checked. Be sure to select version 3 when the time comes, as I get error messages when uploading version 2 epubs to Google. Once converted, the epub file ends up in the Calibre folder. From there I upload the epub file to Google. I include the cover when creating the epub in Calibre, even though you’ll still need to upload the cover to Google as a jpeg separately, just like the other stores. And like the other stores you’ll have to fill out all the metadata on the book, author bio if you like, and set the price and territories. Google reports daily sales with a day or two lag. I don’t know how payment works, but I assume that it is similar to the other services as well. Google pay 70% royalties.

It is rare that I can pinpoint a reason for any unanticipated jump in sales, and I can’t explain why Google is doing so well for me this year. I can’t find anything on the Google Play Books store to explain it. All I can say is that people are getting their ebooks from the Google store, and if you don’t have your books there, you may be missing out.

Amateur Writing

No, not that kind. You’re thinking of the second meaning of the word “amateur,” which is a person who is incompetent or inept at a particular activity. I’m referring to the first meaning of amateur; a person who engages in a pursuit for pleasure rather than for financial benefit. I want to discuss writing for the love of writing rather than for the love of money.

Charles Chu wrote a fine article in the defense of amateurs that you can read here: https://qz.com/990130/in-defense-of-amateurs/ It is well worth reading. I’ve cribbed some quotes from his article.

The first point he makes is that the word amateur comes from the Latin “amare” to love, and “amator” lover. It evolved in Italian to amatore and in the 18th century it became amateur. Its original meaning was to love something. A good thing, I think.

The writer and novelist, K G Chesterson was famous for his defense of the amateur. He wrote this in his biography of Robert Browning:

The word amateur has come by the thousand oddities of language to convey an idea of tepidity; whereas the word itself has the meaning of passion. Nor is this peculiarity confined to the mere form of the word; the actual characteristic of these nameless dilettanti is a genuine fire and reality. A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well. Such a man must love the toils of the work more than any other man can love the rewards of it.”

Or, as he put it more succinctly; “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.”

However, you don’t have to do it badly to do it as an amateur. You just don’t let the fear of doing it badly prevent you from doing it.

Still, it is undeniable that these days the term amateur usually refers to a person who is less than adept or an object that is crudely made. The fact that it doesn’t have to mean that is neither here nor there. If you are going to practice the art of writing as an amateur you may well have to endure being looked down on by self-defined “professional writers” as a “hobbyist.” But amateur or professional is mostly a mindset in self-publishing. The amateur mindset liberates your creative potential by taking the often inhibiting question of “But will it sell?” off the table. As an amateur you’re not writing to sell. You are writing to write.

As an amateur you need not be concerned with creating a product. You need not even be concerned with an external audience. You can craft a story to your heart’s desire without making concessions to what experts say, or readers expect. You can make it as conventional or as unconventional as you wish. The choice is entirely yours. If your stories are worth writing, they are worth being written without compromises. Every story will find readers.

Another advantage of writing as an amateur is that you are free to do it as a pastime. You don’t need to feel like you must hammer out 5,000 words a day to be productive. You can write at your own pace. You don’t need to meet deadlines. If it is a passion, you will find the time. And even if it takes a little self-discipline to get started, once you start writing, your passion will carry you along. And if that passion fades, you need not turn it into a dreary job. You find a new passion.

As an amateur you don’t have to conform to all the expensive requirements that professional writers are expected to spend their money on these days. You can pick and choose what, if anything, you care to spend money on. Editors? Proofreaders? Covers? Formatters? Advertising? Your choice – some, none, or all. If you are planning to share rather than sell your book, you can sleep well at night knowing that even though there may be people who look gift horses in the mouth, you’re not obliged to please them.

As a pure amateur, the joy of creating a story is its own reward. Entertaining readers is a bonus. As an amateur you don’t write it for money, so sharing your work for free is the natural end of the process – if you even want to share your story.

Now up to this last point that I realize that many authors would say that what I’ve been describing is pretty much what they do already. However, giving away all your work for free seems a bridge too far for many. There are no doubt good reasons for this attitude. For example, “My sales are doing quite well, thank you.” And I am certain that there are others as well. Please share your reasons in the comments below, or submit an essay on the subject. In the meanwhile, I’ll just explain why I choose to share rather than try to sell my books.

I enjoy writing. No one has to pay me to do it. On the other hand, you couldn’t pay me enough to do all the self-promoting that selling books requires. Selling my books for free does that work for me.

I don’t have to play the game. I don’t have to do all the things we’re told to do, things like hire editors, cover artists, designers, and advertisers. As a result, publishing my books has been both inexpensive and stress free. Oh, I’ve had to learn how to do a lot of things – sometimes the hard way – but the whole experience of self-publishing has been very rewarding.

I’ve used the tagline, “No good deed goes unpunished” in my books. But sometimes they are rewarded. Over the years some of my readers have very kindly volunteered to help me make my books significantly better by beta and proofreading them before I publish them. Sharing invites sharing.

And finally, it works, at least for me, for my goals. In the past six and a half years I’ve given away more than 44,000 copies of my books by doing little more than writing them. Judging from my odd Amazon sales and foreign sales even at $.99, I might have sold several hundred copies, at most, in the same period. I want to be read and remembered. Being an amateur author who shares rather than sells his books, has allowed me to make a far greater mark on the world, however insignificant it is, than selling them ever will.

I can’t guarantee that adopting the mindset of an amateur author will work for you as it has for me. Every author has different books, different readers, different sales goals and different dynamics. Indeed, even after 6 plus years of giving away my books and creating a modest readership, I have found it harder to reach readers by giving away books these days. The market has matured in the last six years. These days, if you’re writing out of the mainstreams, you’re all but invisible. So maybe giving away books these days will not broaden your readership. Still, you might want to ask yourself “What do I have to lose by becoming an amateur?” Or better yet, “What do I have to gain by becoming an amateur?”

What do you think? What are your goals in writing? What are your yardsticks of success? Let’s talk.

A Month in Vella

Since I didn’t want to miss Amazon’s Vella bus, I dusted off a 40 year old SF novella (my first), to use as a setting, and adopted the new plot from the comic book version of that story that I had penciled a decade later. Out of those sources I produce a 26,000 word SF novella in 20 episodes for the new serial story platform. Vella and my story have been live for a month. What sort of business has resulted?

In one month, my story has one thumbs-up “fave,” with a grand total of 13 episodes read, including 8 of the locked episodes. I’ve not made a cent so far. Presumably the 8 paid episodes were paid with free promotional tokens.

So how does my offering compare to other stories? Well, the top faved story, “Wolf,” is a paranormal, “wolf shifter” romance. It has over 9,000 faves and 44 star reviews. The next most popular is “The Marriage Auction,” a steamy, arranged marriage romance adventure, with almost 2,700 faves and 14 stared reviews. A close third is a witches, werewolves, & vampire fantasy SF story, “Demon Accords Beginnings,” also having nearly 2,700 faves and 15 starred reviews. The authors are not unknown authors. They brought their fans with them to Vella.

Closer to home, my story, as a space opera, is one of 125 stories in that category. As an adventure story, it’s one of 900 stories. The highest faved story in space opera, “Forgotten Planets,” is a sexy enemies to lovers space fleet story with just under 500 faves, and no star rating. The highest faved adventure stories ranged from 2,600 to 1,300. The one with the most star reviews, had 21. In both categories, once you start scrolling down the list, you quickly reach stories with double to single digit faves, and many with none at all. The vast majority have no reviews.

I have found a recent thread on K-Boards where Vella authors recounted their experiences on the platform. All of them tell similar stories. Little engagement, no money, and, so far, a waste of time and effort. It seems that unless you brought your readers over to Vella, you’re not likely to find many readers. In part this is due to Amazon. As far as I know they have not widely promoted the service. Vella is almost impossible to find on the Amazon homepage on the web, and I gather it’s just about as hard to find on the Kindle app in iOS. Apparently they are launching the service very tentatively – basically a beta version, likely to work out the bugs before going big.

Of course it is too simple just to blame Amazon. Clearly I hadn’t written a story for the type of readers Vella has attracted to date. If I had to take a guess I’d say that most likely the readership skews towards young, predominantly female romance and paranormal readers. Not my readers.

So how have I responded?

First, I’ve not abandoned hope. It is still early in the game. I did change the name of my story and rework the blurb to be a little less, shall we say, staid. Second, I’ve taken the option to publish a completed Vella story as a book on Amazon after 30 days. I slightly revised, reformatted, created a cover, and published the novella in the KDP program. Though I have released all my books wide, going all in on Amazon has been an idea I’ve toyed with off and on for some time. Now, since this story is already tied in with Amazon, it was the perfect vehicle to experiment with that option. In its first four days I’ve sold two copies at $.99 (half of the price a reader would pay on Vella), but have no page reads yet. I’m not holding my breath.

Am I disappointed? Not really. I had no great expectations. I just didn’t want to end up kicking myself for passing up the chance to be on the ground floor of a big new thing. My primary goal was, and still is, to use the Vella story as free advertising for my other novels. Plus, I got a novella written out of the project, so all in all, I think that I’m on the positive side of the ledger. Just.

To sum it all up, I have to say that if you don’t have a story on Vella, you haven’t missed anything. And I would be in no hurry to get one in. Maybe once it gets on its feet. If it does. And if you write the right type of story.

I’m not sure how much of my Vella experience, or Mark’s recent one with self-publishing his literary fiction novel The Dime are working to support writers, which is the title of this blog. I can’t say that we’ve offered very many hot tips to success. What we are doing is showing things we’ve tried. Things which you might consider either trying, or avoiding, in your own publishing endeavors, while keeping the bar of success pretty darn low. Which I hope is some comfort to all.

An Update 16 August 2021

Amazon posted some information about the Vella program that may change the calculations a bit. First they said that there are over 9,000 stories on Vella. That’s a lot, and not a lot, depending on where your story falls. It certainly gives creators a lot more room than publishing a story on KDP.

Secondly they said that they will pay creators royalties on all paid episodes, even if those episodes are paid with free promotional tokens, at least through the end of the year.

Thirdly, they announced the creation of a $200,000 bonus pool for the month of July to be paid out to creators based on episodes read, number of followers, and faves. Apparently this will be a monthly feature, much like what they pay out in the Kindle Unlimited Program. I was paid $12.82 out of this fund for July based on my rather modest performance. This all but guarantees that I will be able to order out a pizza with my 2021 Amazon royalties.

The most significant takeaway, I think, is that it does indicate that Amazon is serious about Vella, willing to make changes to make it work better, and that they are in it for a long haul. The payment of bonuses will no doubt motivate creators to do what they can to get their readers engaged in the program and grow the platform. Perhaps this is enough to make Vella an option for you, especially if you think you could create content that might appeal to its potential readership.

It seems that I’m now on the bus. We’ll have to see where it goes.