Since Amazon announced the new Kindle Vella story platform, author questions have multiplied as enthusiasm flows and ebbs. Questions on serial fiction promotion are foremost on the minds of writers. Any author already on the KDP program are accustomed to having their work available in different formats. However, Kindle Vella stresses and requires exclusivity. How can authors have their works on both Kindle Vella and KDP at the same time?
A Welcome Change With a Catch
KDP announced changes to Kindle Vella content guidelines that enabled authors to simultaneously publish on Kindle Vella and other formats. This was greeted with cheers and left more than one author (including this one) scratching their heads.
The quandary was a byproduct of new specific content conditions. Before the story can be used in another format, the Vella story must have had its last episode published on Vella for at least 30 days. Secondly, any concurrent format must contain a minimum of 10 episodes. This are reasonable limitations. The problem lay in the nature of serialized stories on the web.
- Serial stories could surpass fifty chapters or episodes.
- Episode publication varied from all episodes at once to a specific schedule (daily, biweekly, weekly, monthly).
- Storylines could extend over weeks and months of episodes.
To take advantage of this new flexibility, authors have had to rethink the structure of their works on Vella. One possible strategy is breaking up episodes in to seasons similar to that of television shows. This line of thought has some advantages:
- It’s easy to meet the 10 episode condition.
- It increases revenue potential.
- It allows readers outside of the Vella platform to read content.
- Audiences are familiar with TV seasons so it’s not barrier to readers.
Ideas for Season-Like Structures
A seasonal structure offer advantages to authors and readers. Using Season 1 then Season 2 is the generic approach. If you’re mulling a season-like approach, below are some creative suggestions.
The first thought that comes to mind when using the term season is time-based. TV shows uses seasons to group their episodes. Most serial web fiction follows this convention.
- Dates : From one specific date to another
- Seasons : Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer
- Calendar : There are many types from Gregorian to Mayan.
Hemispheric or Climatological
It may be unusual to use meteorological periods to describe seasons but it’s not impossible. If one were writing a maritime serial, this sort of structure could work. These term lend themselves to metaphorical use, too. For example, a rainy season could imply a “rain of abundance” period. The orbital periods could be used in a science fiction series.
- Equinox : Spring and Fall Equinox
- Rain : Dry or Rainy Season
- Winds : Based on real conditions like El Niño or La Niña.
- Solar Orbit : Perihelion or Aphelion
Using themes for individual episodes isn’t a new idea. Could it be used to describe a collection of episodes? Yes but it could get repetitive. It may be best to use themes in the metaphorical sense.
- Coming of Age
- End of Life
- The Stages of Grief
- The Stages of an Illness
- The Stages of a Relationship
Character, Status & Relationships
Some authors represent a specific character’s point of view within one episode. Using or referencing a character for an entire season could be a stretch. It could be used in an anthology or a real crime series. Credit for this idea goes to Reddit user kellygnyc.
- Specific Character : If a detective is tracking a missing person, for example. You can use the missing person as the seasonal description. The next season could be about the suspect.
- Specific Family
- Specific Relationships : This could be used like “Sisters”, “In-Laws” or “Cousins.”
- Specific Status : This could be used in the sense of “The Rich” and “The Ambitious Ones” and the “The Victims.”
Location – Actual, Virtual & Geopolitical
Location is one of the staples in an author’s toolbox. If using as a seasonal construct, it may be best to use a large geographic area or a famous city. You can get creative by using virtual, geopolitical or other non-physical category.
- Large Region with Multiple Countries : Geopolitical or countries grouped together by culture, economics or other criteria
- Distinct Region Real or Historical : Provence, The West, The Far East, The Iron Curtain, rural or urban
- Cities : Take your pick Paris, London, Tokyo, New York City or any large city.
- Virtual : If you were writing a gamelit novella, you could reference In Game vs Real World.
This could be historical events, personal event or even holidays. An author can use events in their own stories, too. For seasons with few episodes, an event structure could work well. Note: The absolute minimum episode count that Vella allows for alternate publishing is 10 episodes in one format at one time.
- Recognized Holiday
- In Book Event
- Life Changing Event
- Social Event : Comic book convention, anyone?
Just Some Ideas
Hopefully these Kindle Vella season ideas will inspire some thought or at least some chuckles. Have other ideas? Write ’em down in the comments.