Come Try a New Novel… for free!

So, I’m going to run an experiment in serialized publishing, via the Amazon Kindle Vella platform. The basic schtick is straightforward: I publish the book as I write it, with each chapter forming an “episode” in the story.

You need a Kindle (or be willing to read in your web browser, or use a Kindle mobile app) in order to participate.

You’ll get the first three chapters (“episodes”) for free; that’s an Amazon standard. After that, you pay for “tokens” to read subsequent chapters. Through the end of August, they’re offering 500 starter tokens for free when you sign up, which they say should get you about 20 “episodes.”

Tokens cost anywhere from $2 for 200 to $15 for 1700 (bulk discount, yay!), so it’s similarly priced as a normal ebook of the same length. Mostly. Basically, a chapter’s cost (in tokens) is determined by the word count of the chapter. So not every chapter will require the same number of tokens, and Amazon calculates the token cost in 100-word increments. One token = 100 words (rounded down, as near as I can tell, so 683 words is 6 tokens).

The author gets half of what you spent on the tokens, less taxes, which ain’t bad these days.

And AS A BONUS, you as a reader get a “fave” (favorite) that you can assign to a book, which helps increase its visibility on Amazon. You get one “fave” a week, which means you have to really think about which book you’ll give it to. That keeps readers from just arbitrarily “thumb-up-ing” everything in sight.

Anywho. I’m giving it a shot, and I hope you’ll join me. The free 500 credits should be good for, what, 50,000 words? I’ve planning 26 chapters of roughly 2,000 words each, so worst case you’ll have to pony up maybe 20 or so extra tokens, which is only $2 (for a pack of 200).

As an aside, I totally get the vibes of in-app micro transactions. $2 for a bucket of tokens! $5 for a pile of tokens! $10 for a dumpster of tokens! Notably, you have to buy the tokens in a web browser; Amazon doesn’t enable their phone/tablet apps to make digital purchases, and we all know why.

But, COOL PART, I can leave Author Notes with each chapter (which I will), and YOU can send me feedback, right from your Kindle device or app. And I’d love to see that feedback!

So here’s the pitch for Sentinels:

Inspired by anime series, manga, and live-action movies like The Guyver, Sentinels imagines a world where we’re protected by a corps of dedicated individuals who can summon futuristic battle armor, capable of letting them operate in the seas, the skies, and on land for the good of all humanity. But this is no cartoon: the Sentinels live in a real, gritty world that’s a possible near-future version of our own.

Audra Washington had just one goal in life: become an officer in the Tidewater State Police, following in the footsteps of both her birth and her adoptive parents. But a series of missteps and poor decisions see her hustled out of the Academy just days before graduation, leaving her future uncertain. Until, that is, she runs across a recruiting office for the Sentinels Corps. It sounds promising: powered-up by futuristic high-tech armor, she’ll finally be able to make a difference… to protect, and to serve. But the induction process raises a few red flags… what exactly is the Corps’ armor? And why is it that once she agrees to join… there’s no backing out?

Planned for over two dozen episodes, Sentinels will delight fans of anime and pop science fiction, sending you into a fully realized, highly imperfect world featuring all-too-human characters.

Suitable for ages 16+ (some occasional mild language). Note that the story includes mentions of potentially sensitive subjects such as modern-day slavery, inferences of officially condoned police violence, racial tensions, and sexual orientation.

If this sounds interesting, you can find the first chapter already published in Amazon Kindle Vella! Just head to Amazon and check it out.