If you want to write full-time or plan to write professionally in your day job, then take measures to improve your writing and elevate your craft. As professional writers, it is prudent to know how to write well across a variety of mediums and styles, plus the time spent developing your writing skill will pay off in other beneficial ways. For example, going through multiple revisions of your content will instill an ethos of hard work and ingrain an understanding that financial rewards correlate to consistent output. Also, if you have a passion for writing and dream of doing it full-time, then spend time aligning your words and actions.
But the hours we spend perfecting our craft shouldn’t go unrewarded. Instead, I encourage all writers across all fields to find ways of feeding into human psychology’s reward-seeking behavior when they write. Whether it’s a successful query letter, an accepted short story, or making a few bucks doing something we enjoy—finding small rewards can be enough to sustain ourselves for long periods. Also, don’t be discouraged by rejections. Instead, use them to fuel you to improve your craft.
One way to align writing with rewards is to optimize time and talent carefully. Specifically, to make more money blogging or writing, authors should take original manuscripts collecting dust on their hard drives or a series of posts and upload them to Kindle Vella. For those unaware, Kindle Vella is Amazon’s newest serialized writing platform attempting to disrupt other writing platforms like Royal Road and Wattpad. While Wattpad and Royal Road offer greater discoverability, the benefit of uploading content to Kindle Vella is that you can get paid during their bonus incentive program. It is still ongoing as of writing this post in January 2022.
But this idea of repurposing content to Kindle Vella isn’t for everyone, especially if you hope to go down the route of becoming a traditionally-published novelist for that manuscript or series of posts that you’re working on already. So instead, the idea is helpful for anyone who plans to hone their craft, build their readership, receive payment for preexisting work, or go the self-published route.
Who Benefits from Repurposing Content?
The writer is the primary beneficiary of repurposing content from their hard drives or a series of posts on their blog before uploading the work onto Kindle Vella. As I mentioned before, the rationale behind repurposing content or placing the content on multiple platforms, such as a blog and Kindle Vella, is to lean into reward-seeking behavior inherent to all humans.
Basically, making more money blogging or writing can help encourage writers, especially new writers, to continue with their craft. Plus, how many writers can say that they’ve been paid for their fiction or creative non-fiction? My guess is not many. Also, because the Kindle Vella program is ongoing, the few dollars here and there can mitigate the start-up costs for blog hosting or ads to redirect traffic to your website. But the idea, I believe, gets better.
However, at the end of many repurposed blog posts or manuscript snippets posted onto Kindle Vella, you’ll also have a finished product. While you can always go back to the project and improve it or edit it further, finishing projects adds to your credibility as a writer and instills positive feelings that will addictively add to your experience as a writer! But as I alluded to earlier, the idea is not for everyone…
Who Should NOT Repurpose Content?
If you’re interested in using your manuscript to secure a traditionally-published contract, then I do not recommend repurposing that on Kindle Vella. In general, literary agents and publishing houses state explicitly on their websites that they are not interested in any previously self-published content.
However, if you’re either a new writer or are interested in becoming a hybrid author, then I would say consider Kindle Vella for a few non-financial reasons. First, remember that if you hope to secure a traditionally-published contract and become a full-time novelist, then your manuscript submission must be so excellent that it convinces literal professionals they must have that book. The manuscript must have tight prose, good pacing, engaging and multi-dimensional characters, and have that “it” factor. Also, if you view writing as a muscle that requires exercise and strengthening, it may be worth devoting your efforts to completing ‘lighter weight’ works. If you do this, I bet you can also get real-world feedback from Kindle Vella or elsewhere to increase your writing skill over the long term. This last point about feedback is especially important as your friends and family (if they are nice) won’t tell you that you suck.
So, while I believe in you, my dear reader, that you can be traditionally published, I only hope to express a helpful tip on how to increase your chances for eventual literary representation. Personally, I plan to put the brakes on grandiose ideas and focus on completing more minor works and building up a track record in the meanwhile while honing my craft. But whatever approach you go, be sure to send me an email at rjah611 [at] gmail [dot] com and let me know what you decide to do!
P.S. Lastly, don’t forget that the process of becoming a traditional writer is “ten years and a gamble.” So, if you have works that evidence your “saleability” (not a word, I know, I know) of a built-in readership, then I would imagine that your chance of obtaining a literary agent and selling a manuscript increases.
“Ten Years and a Gamble”—Wise Words from Brandon Sanderson on ‘Trad Pubbing’
There was a time in America and global society—somewhere between the development of the Guttenberg Press and before the computer word processor and the internet—when publishing houses controlled what content was distributed. They alone determined what the public could read, and the exclusivity inherent in this publishing process was desirable. Today, we refer to these formerly monolithic entities as ‘traditional publishers’ or, informally, as ‘trad pubbing’.
While there are perhaps millions of authors who wrote and sold books to these publishing houses, I want to focus on one particular author, Brandon Sanderson. For those unaware, Brandon Sanderson is a Science Fiction author and arguably one of the most famous modern-day writers alive. He’s also an English professor at Brigham Young University and has a series of widely-watched YouTube videos on his craft and style there.
Above is one of his videos if you’re interested in his lecture series!
In one of the videos, Brandon Sanderson discusses the odds of becoming a full-time writer. He said plainly that “if you want to be a full-time writer, it’s ten years and a gamble.” During those ten years, you’ll have to write at least one book a year of seventy-to-eighty thousand words. Although your first few novels will suck, the odds of selling a book only get better after those ten years. You’re not a novice at that point, especially if you are constantly learning and seeking out advice and help.
Sanderson went on to say that back when he attended Brigham Young for a Master’s program; he had twenty-five classmates. Out of that group, four or five became professional writers, and another became a professional editor. So, somewhere between five or six out of twenty-five already talented writers achieved their lifelong dream. This figure is approximately twenty to twenty-four percent. Essentially, his message was that you could accomplish what you want—but you must know that success isn’t immediate and requires extraordinary patience and commitment.
Now, let’s revisit the idea of repurposing content on Kindle Vella!
Why Are You Repurposing Content on Kindle Vella (and how)?
The primary purpose I am interested in adapting my work to Kindle Vella is to capitalize on the bonus program, to complete projects and experiment with Amazon's serialized platform, and to get more repetitions in writing. The last point about repetitions is related to work that Adam Grant, a Wharton professor, has analyzed, showing how prolificity can often lead to greatness. So, my thinking is if I want to be an excellent writer and enjoy the process, why not make a few bucks and complete some projects? Plus, I can always take down and revise projects as I get better, too.
Further, in three previous posts, I mentioned in How Much You Could Make on Amazon's Kindle Vella, All You Ever Wanted: My First Kindle Vella Story, and How Much I've Made Writing on UpWork, the relationships between different writing styles and making money. I intend to experiment and learn what could be significant and worthwhile projects for investing time, effort, and other resources.
Currently, I plan to combine my blog posts and post them on Kindle Vella. But, because duplicative content cannot exist elsewhere (next section), I plan to edit that content for my blog. Ultimately, the idea is to have a better draft available on my blog and have a 'good enough' copy on my Kindle Vella for now. But the hope and goal are to make both slightly different but still great reads (eventually). Further, since I'm only starting on my writing career, I suppose that getting reps in now can't hurt either way.
What Limitations Exist When Repurposing Content for Kindle Vella?
As I alluded to in the section prior, there are some limitations on how content can be repurposed for Kindle Vella. While I will discuss one specific and likely the most important restriction, I recommend that you not only take my word for it but research it yourself on Amazon’s Kindle Vella website.
As a long-time Reddit user, I regularly check out subforums relevant to my interests (duh like everyone else) and subscribe to them. Interestingly, even though Kindle Vella is relatively new, there is a r/KindleVella forum that I’ll check in with from time to time.
I’ve highlighted one comment from Reddit user Capital_Mode_6214 that elaborates on the specific rule I wish to highlight. That is, content cannot be made freely available on another site. However, you can put your content behind a paywall if you want.
If the text isn’t loading on your screen, it says, “Actually, you can republish anywhere so long as it has a paywall. You cannot offer it for free anywhere (except perhaps the first three episodes, but I would double-check that). So, you can only put it on your website if people have to pay to download it. [Also,] [y]ou can remove it from Vella and put it wherever you want for whatever price you want.”
How Does The ‘Repurposing’ Idea Impact Kindle Vella Readers?
Writers should always submit the best quality work that they can. But in theory, I suppose that the reader may not receive the best quality book/novella/work because they may be uploading Minimally Viable Products (MVPs) instead of craft-quality words.
While MVPs serve a purpose, uploading substandard work generally reflects poorly on the writer. Of course, suppose you’re like me and only recently got into creative non-fiction or fiction writing. In that case, your best may not be that significant vis-à-vis when compared to other writers (simply due to not having majored in it in college or elsewhere). But over time and especially as your brand as a writer grows, you and, indeed I, will edit, revise, and upload higher quality works as time goes on.
Also, it is essential to remember that the first three episodes of any Kindle Vella story are entirely free. They are essentially a ‘teaser’ of the body of work. So, if the writing is substandard, I speculate that most readers will drop off before they get to the locked/paid chapters.
Please drop me an email if you liked what you saw at rjah611 [at] gmail [dot] com! Thanks, and have a good day!