Kindle Vella authors are scratching their heads pondering what to do with the author notes section. Appearing at the end of every episode, this is the one area where an author can speak to the reader. It’s not required but it’s there so why not use it.
A Range of Examples
Here are some ideas with examples. The examples range from the straightforward to the fanciful. The characters mentioned below are completely fictional. They are used for illustrative purposes only. Let us know if you find this list helpful.
Keep the Mood
If your work is particularly stylish, consider keeping the tone and style going in your author’s note. It could prove difficult over the long haul but it would extend the reader experience and prove your chops as a writer.
Lords and Ladies, I, a humble cook, beg audience with thee. For I have witnessed much and wish to reveal all to you. I labored over a feast and received naught but strife and broken crockery. Twas the countess who bade us create a masterpiece. The poisoned pie was not our doing. Thou must believe me. Return two days hence I beg for answers may be forthcoming then.
Ask a Question to Set Up the Next Episode
This seems an obvious use of the author’s note. The trick is in how the note is written. It has to create some excitement or curiousity for the rest of the story to come.
Next, can new parents Pete and Cheryl turn down a life-changing offer? It’s something they’ve dreamed about since their wedding seven years ago. Their life together hasn’t turned out the way they envisioned it would. With their marriage at a crossroads, is the time coming to dream again? The answer is in the next episode “Decision Time.”
Ask a Question to Draw Attention to a Character
If there is a point about a character that you want to hammer home, repeating it in the author’s note is a good idea. Of course, you could also use it to slightly mislead the reader.
Is Cheryl being too paranoid about Mr. Dominick’s motives. With his Gucci wardrobe, Rolex and Bentley, he oozes confidence and sophistication. Is he too good to be true? What does he want?
Give a Sneak Peek of the Next Episode
Watch some old TV episodic shows and pay attention to what’s said during the closing voiceover. Most of the time, the voiceover copies the tone of the show but it’s not necessary.
Next, Pete has an encounter of the bizarre kind at the Bourne River Marina and Yacht Club. Cheryl sees another side of Dominick. She begins to understand him.
Let Your Readers in on Your Social Life Via Author Notes
Kindle Vella allows for the presence of a social account nickname or handle. It does not permit links. So, name are all right but no URLs pasted in.
Hey, let’s catch up! Tweet me @yourname. If you catch me in the right mood, I may give out some juicy spoilers.
This is my first Kindle Vella story. But I’m an old hand at sci-fi serials. My tumblr blog has all my updates and links to my completed stories. See ya there!
Give a Fan or Collab Shoutout
Do you have a super fan? Why not mention them or their contribution in your author notes? You can also mention key collaborators or team members like editors and beta readers.
Play Catch a Clue in Author Notes
This would fit a mystery for sure but it can also work for other genres. It can be part of a marketing campaign across Vella, your social media accounts, KDP, and your website. If your Vella story is part of a previous series, you can tie it to an already published work through occasional mention in your author notes.
All right, peeps. Here’s clue #1 Dominick knew one of them in the “old days” but neither Cheryl or Pete recognize Dominick. Which one did he know – Pete or Cheryl? Next clue will be in Episode 8 The River Bends.
The Casting Couch
This could be a good tie-in with your author site. You could have a survey of casting choices or have readers comment on their favorites.
When I was writing Pete, I had the cool attitude and look of Wyatt in Easy Rider. Who do you picture when you read the story?
I’m “casting” the role of Dominick. Who do you think captures his air of mystery and devil may care charm? Tweet me at @yourname or get busy on my Facebook.
Remember the old TV guide listings in newspapers or in digest form at the checkout line? Vella does not provide a preview of future scheduled episodes. So, it’s up to you to show your readers the lay of the episodes. Author notes are a convenient vehicle for this.
It’s three episodes next week! Tuesday Ep 12 Tomorrow Again is all about Dominick. Thursday Ep 13 Shameless in LA features Cheryl. Friday Ep 14 Like Meets Like centers around Pete and Cheryl’s first date.
Give the Narrator a True Voice
The author’s note can be its own “character.” Much like a highly stylized note, a character note can be challenging but a lot of fun for the readers. Your narrator can be like Lady Whistledown or anything that fits your story. Below, Lina is a minor character in the story but comes into her own in the author notes.
Hey there story fan, your friendly neighbor Lina here. I keep my eyes and ears open all the time. Some call me a gossip but I disagree. I can’t help it if I was born more observant than the average person. I’m an observer and that’s all. Am I the only one on our block that notices how often that silver Bentley is in Pete and Cheryl’s driveway? Is the limo driver subletting a room? He might as well be living there.
Let Readers See the Long View
To take advantage of having the same story accessible on multiple Amazon channels, some authors may employ a seasonal strategy. They should use the author notes area to inform the readers when a season will be available on ebook, print, audiobook or even on Patreon or other pay wall site.
Great news today! Season 1 of this series will be available on Kindle Unlimited on September 1. It’s never too early to start holiday shopping for that special someone.
As You Can See
A little creativity can go a long way when it comes to author notes. You can choose one approach and stick with it. Or do a mix and max strategy to keep your readers on their toes. Here’s a framework for author notes that I found useful in brainstorming ideas.
Do you have other ideas or questions? That’s what the comment section is for.