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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been thinking about this the last few weeks because I have a lot of unpublished work stacked up, novels I never thought would see the light of day because who wants indie lit-fic? Now, I'm not so sure. Most of what I've written over the years is mumblecore-like YA/NA/coming of age fiction. It might be the right place and the right time to publish it.

The barrier for entry has never been lower. The cover designer is unnecessary because the cover has been demoted to a simple image with no text. We can certainly pick out a picture that captures the mood and license it for a few bucks, right? The editor is unnecessary presumably because readers will understand everything is a WIP and we have tools like Grammarly to make sure it's not a complete mess. From my POV, the biggest investment now is my time, and I already got it in.

Assuming it doesn't flop like Kindle Worlds, is Vella a boon for indies struggling to reach a younger market?
 

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I see a lot of people assume Vella's audience will be younger readers.

Is the user base for Radish, Wattpad, FanFic.net younger than other similar sites? (What's an equivalent site?) Or is that a big assumption?

I haven't used any of those sites, but I participated in plenty of free prose sites in my youth. I forget their names now... Story Write? Absolute Poetry? A bunch of online journals--those were huge when I was in high school. Xanga, Diaryland, DiaryX, LiveJournal. I think only Wordpress is still around, really.

And Deviant Art, still around and still popular, as far as I know.

I did age out of these. And the trends changed. And I wanted to make money not just share my work.

The big difference I see between Vella and all these other sites, minus Radish, is the pay. Vella episodes will cost money. The quality needs to be better than free, not worse. I don't think it's lowering standards at all. I think that assumption is coming from assumptions people have about high-input readers... and younger people, especially young women.

Since YA became a thing, people have insulted YA books in all sorts of ways that boiled down to "content for teenage girls must suck."

But... let's assume you're right about the editing. Plenty of readers don't care about editing now (at least, not unless it's bad enough it's noticeable). That's a small fee, sure. Same for the cover. But you still need a cropped image. So it's not that much easier than downloading a premade Canva cover (or BookBrush or some other alternative). (Seriously, some of the Canva covers would look pretty nice on Amazon. Just swap the default image and, boom, unique cover).

What I'm saying is: the difference is in your head. The format is different, but there's no reason to believe the bar is lower for storytelling. In an eBook, you need to convince people to turn the page to the next chapter. With Vella, you need to convince them to buy the next chapter! That's either harder or equally difficult.
 

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I see a lot of people assume Vella's audience will be younger readers.

Is the user base for Radish, Wattpad, FanFic.net younger than other similar sites? (What's an equivalent site?) Or is that a big assumption?

I haven't used any of those sites, but I participated in plenty of free prose sites in my youth. I forget their names now... Story Write? Absolute Poetry? A bunch of online journals--those were huge when I was in high school. Xanga, Diaryland, DiaryX, LiveJournal. I think only Wordpress is still around, really.

And Deviant Art, still around and still popular, as far as I know.

I did age out of these. And the trends changed. And I wanted to make money not just share my work.

The big difference I see between Vella and all these other sites, minus Radish, is the pay. Vella episodes will cost money. The quality needs to be better than free, not worse. I don't think it's lowering standards at all. I think that assumption is coming from assumptions people have about high-input readers... and younger people, especially young women.

Since YA became a thing, people have insulted YA books in all sorts of ways that boiled down to "content for teenage girls must suck."

But... let's assume you're right about the editing. Plenty of readers don't care about editing now (at least, not unless it's bad enough it's noticeable). That's a small fee, sure. Same for the cover. But you still need a cropped image. So it's not that much easier than downloading a premade Canva cover (or BookBrush or some other alternative). (Seriously, some of the Canva covers would look pretty nice on Amazon. Just swap the default image and, boom, unique cover).

What I'm saying is: the difference is in your head. The format is different, but there's no reason to believe the bar is lower for storytelling. In an eBook, you need to convince people to turn the page to the next chapter. With Vella, you need to convince them to buy the next chapter! That's either harder or equally difficult.
I agree that people are making assumptions regarding a younger audience The bar won't be lower for success. If authors start uploading stuff similar to the standard of much of the work on Wattpad that I've experienced and available free, the sample will betray the poor quality and stop them in their tracks from reading further to get to the paid content..

No one is going to pay to read something of a standard they can read for free on Wattpad, so the bar will have to be higher.. Any author putting stuff on there without paying attention to quality will be doing themselves a disservice. I also think the rush to YA will be a mistake for those who don't write in that age group. and maybe even for those that do.

I've said it before, but likely readers on this Vella platform will probably have left school and their education behind them to join the workforce to be able to pay to read. Only my opinion, but they will have left the teen stuff behind, and will be looking to move on to more adult content. The big problem I see it is going for a market that none of us know what will work and what will not. All I know is that I don't write YA, and should I eventually post something on Vella, it will be exactly the same as I put out on KDP as regards target age groups. If that fails on Vella, I can take it down to publish through KDP, to add to my catalogue in a similar genre and style that won't alienate my readers on there or dilute my brand.

As for covers, that is the only aspect I see as a low entry bar as it will negate the need for a cover designer for the print and ebook. . Sorry, Vella only accepts docx and docs, without images, bullet points, drop caps and the like. They only allow bold, italics, and underlines, so I guess that also lowers the bar in formatting if you use HTLML. or use epubs or whatever else. You can even write directly on the platform as a draft on the platform and edit before publishing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
@Crystal_ I see them too. The difference may be in my head, or in a number of our heads. I'm going off of assumptions, many of which aren't even my own, because that's all we have at this point beyond what Amazon has told us: not much.

It depends on what people are paying for. As another member put it in the Hugh Howie thread, engagement might be a significant draw. Engagement and story might be the only things that matter. It doesn't make achieving a career in writing easier, and getting readers to read your work will always be the biggest battle, but it does remove some of the upfront costs: ads, editing, covers.

Those are the reasons I don't publish. I don't expect I'd recoup my losses. My work may appeal to YA readers, but YA is a hard market to target as an indie. Traditional publishing is winning, and playing the game their way is annoying and involves too much compromise for something I consider a passion.

If my OP gave the impression I think YA is trash, that wasn't my intention. It's the majority of what I write. With Vella, I may not make anything, but I might be able to reach YA readers with little to no cost.
 

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It sounds like Vella might be right for you. I'm not convinced it won't be Quibi the sequel, but if all you want is a low-cost way to test YA stories and passion projects on readers... why not? I don't know the indie YA struggle, but I see the logic behind your thinking. To be honest, I think we all wonder if we'll earn back our investment, though.
 

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Not you specifically, C'est. It's just a common theme on the net. Well, everywhere. In our field, we see it in the layperson's attitudes towards YA.

It's all speculation at this point. I don't see engagement being a draw over other platforms because they have engagement. What Amazon has is a customer base and data. Oh the data... If only we had access to that same data on our books.

Amazon knows how to target and recommend to make them the most money. I'm not sure what that means for Vella but I imagine they have a target user.

I would imagine users are higher earners. Tokens are not a cheap way to read, especially compared to KU. But many adults read YA as well (I do though I'm not a whale by any means). That is a harder market for indies but I see people making it work.

I'm looking forward to trying something more YA or young NA. It will still be romance, so it will fit my brand, but the lack of steam in a proper YA book might be a hard sell for my readers. (If I can even write it...)

I wouldn't be surprised if what is popular on Vella is what's popular on Radish or Wattpad but I don't think editing standard will drop all that much. Tbh they're not that high in the indie market as it is. Most people will still not notice typos and those who do notice them will still notice them.
 

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I'm looking forward to discovering what does work on vella. As Crystal said, we haven't a clue at this point, and don't even know how well Amazon does (better than us, for sure, or at least data-backed guesses). Like Decon, as I don't know what will work, I've started a long (who knows how long) serial that is pretty much in line with in terms of tone with my other stuff. It is actually darker, and, because of the format, more complex. It's a grand experiment. If I'm dead wrong about the audience (and well might be) I will repackage it as a trilogy leading into a series and no harm no foul. But doing episodes, seeing if people start it but fall off, will tell me a lot about how well I've done (or not) in keeping the fish on the line.
It will be a great chance to learn and has me excited.
 

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I've never needed editors and I almost don't get readers complaining about there being too many grammatical errors. They are overrated and overpriced most of the time, IMO.
 

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I've never needed editors and I almost don't get readers complaining about there being too many grammatical errors. They are overrated and overpriced most of the time, IMO.
That is a dangerous attitude on so many levels. You might become a much better writer, faster working with a good editor. But they come in a variety of qualities and price ranges.
 

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I hired a professional editor and commissioned original artwork on one of mine (I'd do it for all my Vellas if I had the money). I have placeholder image up now and hopefully, knocks on wood, the artist will be done before the public can ever see what might have been. I've also been gifted a rare opportunity to be in a platform during it's inception. I personally don't want to squander this moment. I think treating it as anything less than an opportunity will be a disservice to my writing career. Because the worst that happens is I got another book to publish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Not you specifically, C'est. It's just a common theme on the net. Well, everywhere. In our field, we see it in the layperson's attitudes towards YA.

It's all speculation at this point. I don't see engagement being a draw over other platforms because they have engagement. What Amazon has is a customer base and data. Oh the data... If only we had access to that same data on our books.

Amazon knows how to target and recommend to make them the most money. I'm not sure what that means for Vella but I imagine they have a target user.

I would imagine users are higher earners. Tokens are not a cheap way to read, especially compared to KU. But many adults read YA as well (I do though I'm not a whale by any means). That is a harder market for indies but I see people making it work.

I'm looking forward to trying something more YA or young NA. It will still be romance, so it will fit my brand, but the lack of steam in a proper YA book might be a hard sell for my readers. (If I can even write it...)

I wouldn't be surprised if what is popular on Vella is what's popular on Radish or Wattpad but I don't think editing standard will drop all that much. Tbh they're not that high in the indie market as it is. Most people will still not notice typos and those who do notice them will still notice them.
Thank you for taking the time to explain further. I think you have a better understanding of how this will play out and what's likely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm looking forward to discovering what does work on vella. As Crystal said, we haven't a clue at this point, and don't even know how well Amazon does (better than us, for sure, or at least data-backed guesses). Like Decon, as I don't know what will work, I've started a long (who knows how long) serial that is pretty much in line with in terms of tone with my other stuff. It is actually darker, and, because of the format, more complex. It's a grand experiment. If I'm dead wrong about the audience (and well might be) I will repackage it as a trilogy leading into a series and no harm no foul. But doing episodes, seeing if people start it but fall off, will tell me a lot about how well I've done (or not) in keeping the fish on the line.
It will be a great chance to learn and has me excited.
I feel excited as well, which also has me feeling nervous. I try not to let myself develop unrealistic expectations because it only leads to disappointment, but I think I might be poised and ready and the right time for once.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I've never needed editors and I almost don't get readers complaining about there being too many grammatical errors. They are overrated and overpriced most of the time, IMO.
Thank you for posting what I'm sure you knew would be an unpopular opinion. I would love to work with an editor if I had the funds. I don't think of it as overrated, just a luxury.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I hired a professional editor and commissioned original artwork on one of mine (I'd do it for all my Vellas if I had the money). I have placeholder image up now and hopefully, knocks on wood, the artist will be done before the public can ever see what might have been. I've also been gifted a rare opportunity to be in a platform during it's inception. I personally don't want to squander this moment. I think treating it as anything less than an opportunity will be a disservice to my writing career. Because the worst that happens is I got another book to publish.
I think this is true for most of us. Some have built up a big fan base but most haven't. This is an opening even if it doesn't float long term.
 

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That is a dangerous attitude on so many levels. You might become a much better writer, faster working with a good editor. But they come in a variety of qualities and price ranges.
This is one of those things where the exceptions to the rule drop in. Some of us are fine publishing without editors. Some of us are not.

Also, it depends on the type of edit we're talking about. I have been traditionally published and self-published, and in terms of substantive changes the edited trad pub books went almost unchanged. In other words, they would have been fine if I had published them myself instead. In terms of spelling and punctuation, I'm not perfect (nobody is) but I'm better than most.

In short, I can absolutely publish without an editor and not suffer for it, and I absolutely know what to expect--for my work specifically--from one.
 

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Proofreaders are really not expensive. They're not overpriced on average, though there are editors who charge more and editors who charge less. Most people I know spend $200-500 on 80-100k words, depending on the level of proof/copyediting.

If you are a good self editor you can get away without editing. Most readers won't notice typos but some will and some of them will hold it against you with poor reviews or not moving onto book two.

Look at it this way: no one has ever quit a book because it had too few typos but many have quit because of excessive typos.

This is a business. You should put out a high quality product. That it best for longevity. There are very few full time authors who don't, at the very least, use a proofreader. Most of those authors have their ARC teams doing free proofs.
 

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I was one of the first people to sign up for Scout when Amazon introduced it. Several weeks later, from out of the blue, Amazon mailed me a $25 gift card to 'thank' me.

Heh, ya never know....:)
 

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I can count writers who don't need an editor on one hand. Writers who don't think they need one but do? That can't be easily expressed as a number. I doubt I will ever understand someone who has the ambition to one day become a full time writer and believes editing is optional. If you don't possess that ambition and simply don't mind if your work reads like a eighth grade creative writing essay...sorry. I don't get that either. I would be humiliated to release a draft. And that's all "self-editing" is. A draft. Using the word "editing" doesn't mean it is "editing".
Rather than Vella discouraging the editing process, the low cost of copy editing for a less than 5000 word episode should encourage it. Maybe with episodic stories there will be lower expectations for quality. Personally, I'd rather receive a negative review based on a poor opinion of my story than a lack of professionalism. But that's me.
 

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I can count writers who don't need an editor on one hand. Writers who don't think they need one but do? That can't be easily expressed as a number. I doubt I will ever understand someone who has the ambition to one day become a full time writer and believes editing is optional. If you don't possess that ambition and simply don't mind if your work reads like a eighth grade creative writing essay...sorry. I don't get that either. I would be humiliated to release a draft. And that's all "self-editing" is. A draft. Using the word "editing" doesn't mean it is "editing".
Rather than Vella discouraging the editing process, the low cost of copy editing for a less than 5000 word episode should encourage it. Maybe with episodic stories there will be lower expectations for quality. Personally, I'd rather receive a negative review based on a poor opinion of my story than a lack of professionalism. But that's me.
I understand your perspective, but you must appreciate that you're setting up a straw man argument here when equating "self-editing" with "reads like a [sic] eighth grade creative writing essay." Perhaps your default without an edit is eighth grade but that's not true for everyone.
 

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I think this is going to be good for authors that have started a story and put it on the shelf to write something else. I know I have quite a few stories laying around that can be put in Vella. If something takes off then I will write more. Anyone else thinking like this?
 
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