Laterpress Vs Kindle Vella For Monetizing Serial Fiction

Learn the pros and cons of serializing fiction on Kindle Vella and Laterpress.

T L Murchison
T L Murchison
Person about to start running

Serialized fiction has been around for centuries, but with the advent of digital publishing and online platforms, it has become easier for indie authors to write and self-publish their work in bite-size installments to massive audiences. 

For this entry in our platform comparisons series, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of  distributing serialized fiction on Kindle Vella vs. Laterpress, as well as the earning potential for authors.

Laterpress vs. Kindle Vella at a glance

Kindle Vella

Serial stories to read one short episode at a time

Amazon entered the serialized fiction scene with the launch of Kindle Vella in July of 2021. It provides authors with an easy way to write and distribute their stories to readers, and readers with a convenient way to read them.

Stories are read in an episode-by-episode format, with readers unlocking episodes using tokens, a platform-exclusive currency. Anyone playing mobile or free-to-play games is probably familiar with this microtransaction model. 

Tagging (marking books as young adult, enemies-to-lovers, containing time travel, etc.), genre categorization, and a leaderboard help readers find new stories.

Why it might be right for you

Easy to publish

Kindle Vella is easy to use, with a simple publishing process requiring no sign ups beyond creating an Amazon KDP account. All that is required to publish a story is a title, cover image, author name (yours, or a pseudonym), and a short description of the story. Authors can publish their work with little effort and have the potential to reach Amazon’s US audience. (That last detail is important. Readers and writers outside the United States are unable to publish on Kindle Vella, or read Vella stories.)

Built-in audience

It’s an undisputed fact that Amazon has a massive customer base for Kindle books, and Kindle Vella is integrated into the Kindle store and mobile apps. This means that authors have access to a built-in audience of millions of Kindle users who are already familiar with purchasing and reading books through Amazon.

Revenue potential

Authors can earn money from Kindle Vella through the sale of tokens. Each episode of a serialized story is between 600 and 5,000 words long and the number of tokens needed to unlock and read new episodes is based on the length of the episode, with every 100 words equalling 1 token. Thus, a 3000 word chapter would cost 30 tokens.

The author receives 50% of the revenue generated from the sale of tokens. Depending on the amount of words per chapter and the reading habits of their readers, this means that the earning potential for authors is high if their story becomes popular. The math on token royalties can get complicated, so review KDP Support’s help article for more details. For the sake of easy math, if you assume 1 token = 1 penny, then a 30 token episode costs 30 cents, with the author making 15 cents for every reader that unlocks and reads it. You’d need 100 readers to make $15 revenue from a single chapter. 

Amazon also offers a bonus pool, which is where authors are currently making the bulk of their money. Amazon sets aside a pot of money every month, and divides it out to each story based on criteria like how many episodes were unlocked, likes, amount of content uploaded, and other metrics. How the balance is calculated is not public information, making it impossible to predict how much money this might be. As more authors join Vella, the average payout per author has shrunk as that pool of money gets divided across more and more titles, making it unwise to rely on the bonus pool as a long-term source of significant income.

Feedback from readers

As part of the reading experience, readers can vote for their favorite story once a week, awarding it a “fave”. These “faves” are used to calculate a serial’s position on a leaderboard, known as the “top faved” stories, with a special crown icon designating the top 250 Kindle Vella stories. In addition, readers can show their appreciation for individual chapters by giving them a “thumbs up”, which is tracked in reports on the site.

Kindle Vella allows authors to interact with their readers through the comments section. This means that authors can receive feedback on their work and use it to improve their writing. Readers can also leave reviews the same way they can on other Amazon products, which can help other readers decide whether to give a particular story a read or not.

Time Management

With the ability to upload, format and schedule episodes up to a year in advance, Kindle Vella gives writers the flexibility to give readers a weekly or even daily update without having to manage the story on a day-to-day basis. 


Backed by the thumbs up and voting for your favorite story each week, Kindle Vella offers a leaderboard experience where the most popular stories are ranked for readers. The leaderboard can be broken down into genres and subgenres. Vella also highlights trending stories, though the criteria for appearing in that section is unclear.

Why it might not be right for you

Restricted Fanbase

Since its inception, Kindle Vella has been limited to US based authors and readers only. Customers without an account are unable to access the site, either as a reader or an author.

Unfamiliar Audience

While Kindle has a massive audience, those readers are used to downloading a whole book to their e-reader and taking it with them. Amazon’s Kindle Vella doesn’t offer a download option for Kindle devices; the Kindle Vella library can only accessed through the site, or Kindle app on Apple’s iOS, or on Android, which may be a turn-off for those looking for a conventional ebook experience.

Many readers are unfamiliar with the serialized format of Vella content, and having to wait for the next episode. Many authors have taken to using their author’s note at the end of each episode to educate readers on the Vella system and how everything works, since Amazon has done a poor job of explaining to readers themselves.

Revenue potential is uncertain

Although the earning potential for authors on Kindle Vella is high, the revenue generated can be unpredictable. Authors must rely on readers to purchase tokens to unlock episodes of their story. Stories with shorter chapters, typical of the romance genre, may seem more “affordable” with their 2000 word episode word count versus sci-fi or fantasy at a 3000-5000 word count, meaning more tokens are needed to purchase an episode. If their story does not gain traction or is perceived as expensive, their earnings will be limited.

Further complicating matters, Amazon gives away free tokens from time to time for promotional efforts, and have recently stopped compensating authors for those tokens, meaning authors may find themselves giving away a lot more of their writing for free than they had anticipated. The lack of compensation for these tokens disincentivizes Vella authors from spending money on book marketing efforts intended to bring new readers to the publishing platform, as it’s harder to guarantee a return on ad spending. 

Approval Process

For writers who like to create in the moment, Kindle Vella’s episodic review process can be a hindrance. Typically, a 2-3 day review timeframe is expected, yet there is no guarantee and if the service is overwhelmed, this process can take much longer. Many authors have missed deadlines with hungry-for-more readers complaining about inconsistency due to a lag in review time. 


Kindle Vella’s terms and conditions require that your story be exclusive to Kindle Vella unless it is behind a paywall. There is a limit of 5,000 words on how much of the story can be used for promotion, which often means just the first episode or two. This limits promoting your stories and expanding your readership on other sites like Wattpad, Royal Road, YouTube, Substack, etc. 

Should you want to remove a story from Kindle Vella so you can explore other options for how to release the story without being beholden to Vella's terms, you'll have to submit a request and then wait sixty days. Amazon explains this time is "to provide active readers the chance to finish reading all available episodes of a story they may have started."  

Amazon has rules on how Kindle Vella episodes can be published through Kindle Direct Publishing. Ebooks must contain a minimum of 10 episodes of Vella content, and cannot be published until 30+ days after the last episode of content hit Vella. Furthermore, content can only be put in ONE book, which eliminates the policy of content being on Vella, then collected as a novel, and then that novel later being collected into a box set.

Limited word count per episode

Kindle Vella requires that each episode of a serialized story is between 600 and 5,000 words long. This means that authors must work within the constraints of a limited word count, which can be challenging for some writers. 

Limited exposure

Although Kindle Vella is integrated into the Kindle store, serialized fiction is something new to most Amazon readers. Authors are not only responsible for promoting their own work and driving traffic to their stories, but educating potential readers on how Amazon’s new platform works. For example, the “fave” voting option has powerful consequences as it places stories on a leaderboard, but only if users understand the process and actually vote. 

The competition is fierce

Kindle Vella has a large number of serialized stories available on the platform, which means that authors face stiff competition. The platform is saturated with stories of all genres, although romance and fantasy seem to dominate the leader board. Categorization is limited to two options based on Amazon’s genre selections, meaning if your book doesn’t fit one, you have to place it something that might not be quite right. Tagging is also limited to 5 choices.


The new way to publish books.

Established in 2022, Laterpress gives authors the freedom to publish ebooks and serialized fiction in minutes, then start selling directly to their readers. Books are web-native and can be read from anything with a browser, be it a PC, iphone, tablet, even a game console’s browser. No app to download, invitation required, or contracts to sign. This platform caters to every genre.

Laterpress offers a new and unique way to get your stories in front of readers with a string of advantages, all built with authors in mind. The process is streamlined to ensure you get to focus on what you do best - writing. 

Why it might be right for you

International Audience

Unlike Kindle Vella, Laterpress allows for access to a global market. They use Stripe for payment processing, which allows authors in 46 countries to create and account and start receiving payments. With global access to stories for readers and authors, every story has the opportunity to be seen, read and enjoyed. 

Unlimited Revenue

Every story published through Laterpress has the potential to earn revenue. You control the pricing on your story. It can be made available for free, or sold via a one-time purchase, chapter bundles, or as part of an annual subscription. Books are browser based, and so can be read from any device that can open up an internet browser, no special app or software needed. Authors also have the option to enable epub downloads so readers can send the book to their e-reader of choice. Laterpress takes 0% on direct payments, meaning more money is in your pocket. 

Publish where you want

Publish your books and serials to your own branded sub-domain (like With your branding front and center, you can build a direct relationship with readers and they don’t even have to know Laterpress exists.

Publish what you want

No approval process is required for your stories on Laterpress. Books of all genres, fiction and nonfiction alike, are welcome. Science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, romance, memoirs, erotica, paranormal thrillers, and any other genre or genre mash-up can be published through Laterpress.

No Exclusivity Clauses 

Goodbye exclusivity restrictions. Hello to publishing your story on your terms. Unlike Kindle Vella, Laterpress places no restrictions on authors about how they distribute their content. Authors are free to use Laterpress to sell direct, while also publishing on other serial platforms, or distributing complete books on Amazon or via aggregators like Draft2Digital.

Reader Engagement

The system makes it easy to send an automated email directly to readers when new chapters or stories go live, and authors can collect emails and consent to add them as newsletter subscribers along the way. With story recommendations, reviews and ratings, your book can be front and center. 

Reporting and Customer Data

Authors can download their customer data to see who is reading and / or buying their stories, and how many chapters those readers have read. YOU own your customer data, making it easy to migrate to another platform if you ever decide to leave Laterpress. Kindle Vella reporting shows how many episodes have been unlocked, but does not provide any data on who is purchasing your content.

Ease of Use

There's no need to worry about complicated formatting or coding. Write online or upload instantly. With an ePub conversion tool, your story can be online and earning income through on Laterpress in no time. 

The clear and clean interface makes reading easy with screen options built for binge readers, including dark mode.

Why it might not be right for you

Direct Sales

Laterpress is built as a way to start directly selling to your audience. Because the proceeds of any sales go directly to the author, authors are responsible for handling any taxes that may be owed on such sales. Look here for more information on each state’s laws about when tax is owed. For most states, the bar is a minimum of 200 sales in that state over a 12-month period before registration and tax payment is required. When in doubt, talk to an accountant for the best advice for your situation. Big retailers like Amazon handle sales tax themselves, but they’re also taking 30% or more of your sales. Is that convenience worth the size of their cut vs. handling things yourself?

You are responsible for your traffic

The appeal in Kindle Vella is the large user base of Amazon customers. Authors publish there in hopes of being found by that existing user base. As Laterpress is designed as a conduit for direct sales, you should expect anyone finding your story on Laterpress is a reader YOU brought there, either via a newsletter, social media, or other direct interaction. That’s a big part of why Laterpress takes 0% of direct sales revenue. You worked to make that sale, you should keep the money! While not currently an ideal location for growing an audience, Laterpress helps you earn better revenue from the fans you have.

Community Features are currently limited

Author community features are how Laterpress intends to make the bulk of their revenue, and these only kick in when these features help readers find new authors. Thus, you can count on Laterpress adding to and improving upon these over time, as it’s in their financial best interest to do so.

Readers can find recommendations through their bookshelf, as shown in this reader experience overview. Readers and authors can also generate affiliate links. However, anyone looking for an Wattpad / Royal Road like experience where a reader visits a site and immediately sees a lot of stories is going to be disappointed.

So, should I publish on Kindle Vella, or Laterpress?

It’s not a binary decision. As long as authors abide by Amazon’s Vella rules allowing only 5,000 words of free content and paywall the rest, authors can use both platforms simultaneously. Many Kindle Vella authors use Laterpress as a way to reach an international audience that isn’t able to access Vella content. Vella has been live for over two years and has not announced any plans for international expansion at the time of this article’s publication, so who knows if the potential market there will ever grow? The Vella bonus fund can be lucrative to authors with large fan bases. Laterpress allows authors to set their own prices, making income per sale much more predictable.

Wherever you decide to publish your work, serializing fiction can be a great way to stay motivated to keep writing, build up a fanbase, and make some money on your book or series while you're writing it. Have fun, and enjoy the process!

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