The Writer’s Desk: Get paid for your writing while having fun

Many of you may be preparing for the annual November nanowrimo challenge of writing a novel in 30 days, aka National Novel Writing Month. It’s a great way to block out the dark, dreary, rainy days and sink inside a story of your own. The rough draft of my 2016 debut novel began as a 2012 Nano novel. After many drafts, the final product little resembled the first draft, but the main characters and story scaffold were there.

This year I’ll be adding to a story I recently started writing using Kindle Vella. Fellow author Penelope Wright introduced this to me. “It’s like getting paid to write a rough draft.”

Penelope begins each day by posting the minimum daily 600 words (max allowed per post is 5,000) while her kids are getting ready for school or in between dropping them off and going to her job. “There’s no minimum to how frequently you post, but the more often you post, the more money you can earn. Also, frequent posts help build a following of readers.”

Currently, I’m reading Wright’s The Queen Trials where protagonist Clio is forced to work in the Mines and takes advantage of the one way out: to compete with other gorgeous women to gain favor with the King Ergondy. Her and her brother’s survival depend on the king’s approval.

Wright had a basic idea where she wanted this story to go, but for the most part, the novel was crafted by her daily installments. One advantage or authors is after posting, you can later go back and fix typos, misspellings, or a plot hole.

After the story is up for a year, authors have the option to make it into a book. Wright has turned her Queen Trials into a three-book series that readers can read now on Kindle, in paperback, or hear on Audible. “There’s no down side to publishing on Vella,” Wright said.

For readers, Vella works on a token system, where customers new to Vella are issued 200 free tokens. The first three episodes of all stories are free to readers, but beginning with episode 4 it costs six or more tokens to keep reading depending upon the length of each entry.

Vella stories are a perfect length for a lunch hour or a commute on a phone or PC. After the initial free tokens are used up there are several options to purchase more. The larger chunks of tokens you buy the more bang for your buck.

Drafting a novel is the fun part of the process, whether you write by the seat of your pants (like me) or have a plan. Many of my novel writing friends prepare during the months preceding nanowrimo by plotting out their story lines so on Day One (Nov. 1,) they have a character list, settings, and a story line. Vella can offer a perfect way to keep you on task and you may make a little money at the same time.

Here’s the link to my own Vella story if you’d like to give it a read.

Good luck with your nanowrimo novels.

— By Laura Moe

Laura Moe is the president of EPIC Group Writers and the author of three novels and, along with composing daily on Vella. She is currently adapting Breakfast With Neruda into a streaming series.

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