How to Upload a Kindle Vella Story
Author's Guide

This "How to upload a Kindle Vella story" is an author's guide and is a great place to learn all about the Amazon platform called Kindle Vella. It began in April 2021, making it almost three years old as of this page's posting (March 2024).

The stories listed in the Kindle Vella library are essentially eBooks.

First of all, many people haven't heard of Amazon's Kindle Vella platform, so what the heck is it? It's a serialized reading platform featuring "episodic" stories that contain short episodes for a quick read on the go or where available reading time is limited.

These stories can be viewed in different ways such as via the Kindle reader mobile app on phones and desktop computers. You're not forced to use a Kindle reader, like a Paperwhite for example. Just pick up your phone and read when and where you want.

How Does Kindle Vella Work?

Kindle Vella works the same way as buying an eBook for download to your Kindle does. Instead, you read short stories one episode at a time on your phone (or desktop computer).

One of the best things, to me, is that readers use "tokens" to purchase episodes in order to unlock the next episode, rather than spending a set amount for a whole book.

This helps Kindle Vella readers decide if they want to continue reading your story. They actually have seven days (after using tokens) to "return a Kindle Vella Episode" for a refund of their tokens; no cash-back.

Bear in mind the first three episodes of any Kindle Vella story are always free to read. When readers first join Kindle Vella, they might receive free tokens to get them going and it's a great way to get their attention!

A Dream Platform and an Author's Best Friend

When learning how to upload a Kindle Vella story, you'll see that this is a dream platform for Kindle Vella writers... for self-published authors - or brand new authors alike. How so? Because it gives writers a way to test-market their books. They can discover new readers' preferences and with Vella's ability to let readers leave comments (which is a new feature), you'll find it's an invaluable way to gain important feedback on episodes of any story.

Those reader comments are posted to the app at the end of each episode and can be accessed (and responded to) by the author inside the main Kindle Vella area. 

There is also a poll feature. Once used, you can elect to delete it after to poll's 'close date.' It's a one-shot deal. You cannot add a new poll after deleting an old poll. The only time you can add a poll is prior to publishing the episode. 

Use the polling to ask your readers a question. There is a minimum of two choices (answers) per question (otherwise it wouldn't be a choice, right?) and yes, you can add more answers/choices to that question. You type in the answers (in the appropriate fields) to the questions (which become their choices). In return, your readers provide their answers by selecting the corresponding radio button.

Now I know why the phrase, "A picture is worth a thousand words" came into being.Here's "the picture"...

Kindle Vella Polling Questions and Choices areaKindle Vella Polling Questions and Choices area

At the end of each episode's content, there's an area for an author’s note. You are allowed a max of 200 words and they are separate from the overall episode word count.

This is where I personally encourage readers to give the story a "thumbs up" and to "follow" the story.

In Amazon's words: "It's a tool to build engagement on your story..." So really, it's better to use it as a teaser for what's coming up next. Use that area to pose questions relating to the next episode, like, "Will Jason Dump Pamela Again?" so it makes readers want to continue reading, right?

I think people skip past "follow" and "thumbs up" as call-to-actions, nowadays. It's not intriguing at all, is it? But posing teasers about the upcoming episode is enticing and 'unskippable!'

Kindle Vella Author Notes areaKindle Vella Author Notes area

How to Get Started on Kindle Vella

If you want to know how to upload a Kindle Vella story and publish it on the Kindle Vella platform, here's what you need to do:

  1. Create an Amazon account (if you don't already have one). 
  2. Visit the Kindle Vella Storyteller Portal and click on "Create a Story." 
  3. Enter your story title, description, and genre. 
  4. Add an image to represent your story (1600x1600 and *do not add text to that image - see my Vella listings in the images below). 
  5. Upload your story's chapters (DOCX preferred) or copy/paste text from your preferred writing aid. 
  6. Note: there is no pricing to set. (**The longer your overall story, the more you'll earn). 
  7. Submit your story for review (it usually takes up to 2 days for Amazon to review and approve your story). 
  8. Once approved, your story will become available on the Kindle Vella platform.

* Do not add text on your images - see the image coming up. You can see Amazon adds your title and author name beneath the circular image.

** A Kindle Vella story needs a minimum of 10 Episodes; the max is open-ended. Like a TV soap opera!

If you decide to post-date your Episode and begin a new Episode, the new Episode cannot be released until the post-dated episode has passed and has been published. That makes sense, right?

This is how your Vella story will look to searchers (note that clicking on them will take you to my actual Vella listing):

Adventures of Winston & Big-Bo
Don't Worry - Be Happy Instead
Bad Boss, Good Girl...Model's Revenge
You Can Quit Drinking... if you want to
Betrayed - by Sara Branmore
May Your Journey Always Lead You Home
Finally! Keto - a Diet that Worked

Take note of the big letter "V" in the backgrounds of the above images. The color of "V" (for "Vella") is taken from one of the colors used in your images and is done automatically.

The images below are what they look like (as listings) inside my account:

My Kindle Vella Stories
My Kindle Vella Stories

You can publish your story’s episodes using your regular name, or your pen name (and more than one pen name, by the way).

The First Three Episodes are Free to Read

The first three episodes of any Kindle Vella story are always free to read, which is great in my opinion. Readers won't think twice about spending "tokens" if they like what they've read in the first three episodes.

Think about it: This also means zero returns, dollar-wise of our books (versus being released 'the regular Kindle Direct Publishing-way.')

As writers, then, it's our job to make sure readers love each new episode, right? Especially the first three! They must be entranced by the story, otherwise, you've wasted precious time: yours and theirs.

Purchasing Tokens

The number of tokens it takes to read Kindle Vella stories depends upon the length of the episode. It takes one token per 100 words, in my experience.

So a 700-word episode requires 7 tokens to unlock the next installment. You can purchase tokens via Amazon's website and right now 200 tokens only cost $1.99 for an average read of 8 episodes. 

Amazon sells tokens in these quantities:

  • 525 tokens ($4.99) for an average of 21 episodes;
  • 1100 tokens ($9.99) for an average of 44 episodes;
  • 1700 tokens ($14.99) for an average of 68 episodes.

Those prices listed in parentheses are "sale" prices. Otherwise, 

  • 200 tokens are regularly $2.00.
  • 525 tokens are regularly $5.25; 
  • 1100 tokens are regularly $11;
  • 1700 tokens are regularly $17.

Readers can find your stories via the Kindle Vella Store on and they can be read via the Kindle app on Apple phones, Androids, and on Kindle Fire devices.

How Long Should an Episode Be?

A single Kindle Vella episode must be longer than 600 words with a cap of 5000 words. I like to keep an Episode between 800 and 1500 words though a sweet spot tends to be from 1200 to 2000 words.

This makes it a good length for a quick read for folks who enjoy taking a break during a busy day.

You can use:

  • bold
  • italics
  • strikethrough
  • bulleted/unordered lists
  • alignment
  • block quotes
  • emojis

You cannot use indented paragraphs or headings.

Also not allowed:

  • images
  • charts
  • tables
  • special characters

Adding Story Tags

Each Kindle Vella story can have as many as seven tags. These tags will function as search keywords for your story, but not all of the tags will show on your story's detail page. Amazon reserves the right to update this so they can provide "the best customer experience."

I'm sure there will be "an app for that" somewhere to detect what tag words the most popular stories are using.

Is Kindle Vella Suitable for Kids?

Authors are creating Kindle Vella books for kids (myself included). One of my Kindle Vella stories is called "The Adventures of Winston + Big-Bo" which is comprised of 34 episodes.

Kindle Vella Categories

The Kindle Vella categories are:

  • Action & Adventure
  • Children's Stories
  • Dystopian
  • Erotica
  • Fantasy
  • Historical Fiction
  • Humor
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Fiction

  • Mystery
  • Non-Fiction
  • Paranormal
  • Romance
  • Science Fiction
  • Teen & Young Adult
  • Thriller

How to Upload a Kindle Vella Story to
Make it into an eBook or Paperback

As of the time of writing this page (March 2024), I believe you have to wait a minimum of 30 days beyond the latest Episode's "published date" meaning that the Vella version has been available to read for at least 30 days on Amazon’s Kindle Vella platform.

You must make a declaration in your book's description that the (Vella) story was previously released on Kindle Vella. For example: Previously published as [Story Title] [Episodes 1-10] on Kindle Vella. 

This is a good way to let regular Kindle readers (eBook and paperback buyers) know about its previous release on the Kindle Vella website, just in case they have already used tokens to purchase it on the Kindle Vella platform!

Hey, it's hard to remember the titles of everything you've read, right? So I defend using that 'declaration' in your soon-to-be-published eBook or paperback on Kindle Direct Publishing product description. Be sure to follow the rules, too, of other self-publishing platforms.

How to Upload a Kindle Vella Story to KDP Platform

I take a published Vella story and prepare it for release on the KDP platform (using the awesome app called Vellum) which creates eBooks and paperbacks with ease.

There are similar book-hosting-creating platforms such as Draft 2 Digital (D2D) and Kobo (now owned by Rakuten). But there's a whole slew of rules between Amazon and those other platforms. Just make sure you're not breaking the rules. Make sure to un-enroll your books from KDP Select, for one.

Visit Amazon's KDP for up-to-date rules.

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Susan Gast created this website to showcase her puzzle books and other fiction and non-fiction books she's written and produced since 2012. Read Susan's story here.

Since 1980, Susan's involvement in publishing - in one form or another - led her to create "reviews" of products related to the publishing industry. She realized it was time to explain how she created all those books and got them to market.

Since 2010, Susan has also owned and operated Easy Food Dehydrating where she is featured on the Mother Earth News blog, and on Solo Build It (SBI). Read her first SBI interview and her second SBI interview.

The sites mentioned are hosted by the amazing team at Solo Build It!

Do you want to send Susan a quick message? Visit her contact page here.

She'd love to hear from you!

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