Tag Archives: Dragon Touched

Announcing my first Kindle Vella, Dragon Touched

You’ve probably heard about Amazon’s new serial fiction offering, Kindle Vella. “Vellas” are stories told in episodes between 600 and 5000 words long. The first three episodes of a Vella are always free to read, but if you want to read on, you have to purchase tokens. Amazon does give its customers 200 tokens to try out the service. The number of tokens needed to read an episode are based on the length — an author has no say in the price charged. Packages of tokens range in price from $1.99 for 200 tokens to $14.99 for 1700 tokens. Episodes cost 1 token per 100 words (rounded down), which means that for $14.99, you would get at least 170,000 words of fiction. That sounds pretty good at first, but if you are big fan of humongous epic fantasy novels, it won’t won’t go very far. Take my novel Yseult, for example: since it comes in at over 190,000 words, if it were a Vella, the largest package of tokens wouldn’t even get you to the end. Right now, Vella has only been rolled out for the US, probably as a testing ground.

It’s a testing ground for me as well. I have no idea if this will go anywhere, either for Amazon or myself, but one of the novels I finished during my “year of completion” (more commonly known as the Year of Corona), was Dragon Touched. It’s an experiment to start with, an urban fantasy with steamy romance elements and dragons, coming in at under 50,000 words — a much better length for Vella-style fiction. Another reason that I decided to try the system out with Dragon Touched is that it’s a bit of a departure from my usual historical fantasy and science fiction. I don’t know if that will go anywhere either, but it was worth a try. The description:

Kyla Drake has long been plagued by visions of fantasy creatures. What she doesn’t know is that the creatures are real, a war is about to break out between them — and she is at the center of the conflict …

This is the way it appears on Amazon as of this writing:

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Touched-Book-Blood/dp/B099HX59WQ/

If you’re so inclined, check out my first attempt at urban fantasy — three episodes free, remember! And if you want to help me out a bit, a thumbs up would be nice. 🙂

Some notes on my experience for other writers who are also interested in testing the Vella waters:

The description. Amazon officially allows 500 characters for the book description of a Vella, but this is way too much. I started out with about 350 – 400 characters, but when I saw Dragon Touched on the Amazon page after I published the first couple of episodes, the description was cut off before the genre elements were even mentioned. It’s better to aim for something about the length of a tweet. As you can see from the above screenshot, even what I have now is a bit too much.

Formatting. Vella doesn’t allow any fancy formatting, only bold, italics, and underlining. It doesn’t even do tabs or centering. And if you cut and paste from your word processor into the text box, you will lose whatever formatting you have. I didn’t notice that right away, and I had to go back and put the italics back in for the first half-a-dozen episodes I published. It’s also possible to upload a doc or docx file, and I assume that would keep the italics. But who creates individual documents for every chapter of a book they’re working on? I write in Scrivener anyway, and I figured it was easier for me to compare the text box and my file on screen and reinsert the italics rather than exporting individual files for every single chapter.

Publishing. It is rather time consuming to publish chapter by chapter (or episode by episode). But on the other hand, for a Vella there is no need to worry about ebook generation and formatting. I create my ebooks with Vellum, and it typically takes me a couple of hours per book. So all told, publishing with Vellum is probably easier.

Free episodes. I thought at first that I would be able to set the number of episodes that would be free myself, and had planned to make it the first five. As a result, I created what I hoped would be a good cliffhanger at the end of chapter 5. When I started uploading my episodes, however, I saw that with episode 4, I had no option for making it free. As a result, I may end up compressing the first five episodes into three, which I assume means uploading everything again. So for now I’ll leave it as is. I want to get the last book in the Glassmakers Trilogy published first.

So, yet another new publishing adventure in my old age. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments, either about Kindle Vella, or Dragon Time, or urban fantasy, or even old age. 🙂

Very belated update, and Ygerna seeking a healer for #WIPpet Wednesday

A lot has been going on here in Central Europe, and I just haven’t been able to take the time for blogging while still moving forward on my writing. My sister came to visit — for the first time in over 25 years. Then we took a short trip to France, where we met her daughter and spent some time drinking champagne in Champagne. I still intend to write a blog post about that with pictures, but when we got back, I had better things to do: I FINISHED A COMPLETE DRAFT OF DRAGON TOUCHED TODAY! The rough draft was done end of February, but it was full of holes. That’s the way I work: first drafts are like a jumble of notes to myself and scenes that are completely written out. During revisions, I added another 20,000 words and deleted around 10,000. 🙂

This evening, I dived right back into Ygerna, inspired by the new cover by Lou Harper:


Do let me know what you think! It’s not finalized yet, and any feedback you have will be sent on to the cover artist. You can see the wraparound cover as well in my last post here on my blog.

I also never got around to a new goal post for this quarter, since that was up at the time my sister arrived, and shortly before we took off for France. I’m just going to carry over the goals from the last round. 🙂

I haven’t posted for WIPpet Wednesday for a while either. I’m sticking with Ygerna, but jumping forward to a scene I was just revising. Our protagonist has realized that she might be pregnant, and she goes in search of a healer who can help her do something about it. Thirteen short paragraphs for the 13th day of the month:

Ygerna reined in her horse on the outskirts of the small village and examined the roundhouses of daub and wattle. There was no help for it, she would have to ask someone which house was that of the village healer. She could only hope no one would recognize her; she wanted as few people knowing her secret as possible. That was why she hadn’t gone to the healer in the town across the land bridge from Dyn Tagell.
It wouldn’t do to be asking about herbs that would start her menses again there, where everyone knew the daughters of Erbin, the King of Dumnonia.
So she’d wrapped her distinctive red hair in a shawl, put on an old gown she usually only wore when she needed to help with chores, and set off for the next nearest village with a healer.
She dismounted and approached a woman throwing slops to the pigs. “Excuse me, can you tell me where the healer in this village lives?”
The woman set down the bucket and pointed. “The third house over there, Lady.”
Oh dear, the old mare and the old clothes had not been enough to disguise her class. Well, at least she knew no one here and no one knew her. They might call her “Lady,” but they didn’t know her name.
Ygerna lead the mare by the reins to the house indicated. A young woman perhaps a little older than Elen was tending a small garden of herbs and vegetables next to the house. A basket beside her contained some radishes, spring onions, and a couple of parsnips.
“Hello,” Ygerna said. “Are you the healer in these parts?”
“That I am.” The young woman rose, smiling, and wiped her hands on her apron. “How can I help you?”
Ygerna glanced around, unable to repress her nervousness. “May we go inside?”
The healer led the way into her modest dwelling, a roundhouse in the old style, and now Ygerna noticed that she too was pregnant. The belt of her gown was tied a little higher to allow for the gently rounding belly.
The healer closed the door behind them. “Let me guess, you need herbs that will abort an unwanted child.”

Emily Witt is our host for the snippet sharing session, in which we post an excerpt from a WIP on our blog, something that relates to the date in some way. If you want to play too, add your link to the Linky.

New ads for Yseult, and a late #WIPpet for Thursday

I was analyzing the Facebook ads I have running today, and I noticed that I’m getting very few clicks from women on my ads for Yseult. That strikes me as a bit unfortunate, since it’s a retelling of Arthurian legend giving some of the female characters much more prominence and more pov action. So I’ve decided to experiment with a new ad in addition to the old targeting a female audience. I will write new copy emphasizing the female perspective, and I’ve been putting together some alternative images today to test with it:



Do please tell me what you think! Anything is fair game, I don’t bruise easily. 🙂

Given the ad analysis and graphics work I’ve been up to, I’ve haven’t gotten any words written yet today, but generally the writing is going well. I think I may have written the last sentence of Dragon Touched yesterday. I was envisioning it ending in a different place, but then I realized that would end up being a bit much wind down. The first draft is still not completely done, since I have to backfill important elements that only occurred to me during the writing, and add more detail as well as the sex (something I tend to put off, much like battle scenes). But I think the complete shape is there now, and I’m coming up with more and more ways to continue this thing if there’s a demand. Pretty amazing to me how quickly I was able to knock off a first draft on this one! Hopefully I can learn something from the experience for my other projects.

Even though it’s Thursday already, I’m still going to throw a WIPpet snippet at you in parting. 🙂 Once more from Ygerna, which I will be returning to more seriously in the next few days. 14 sentences, for 11 + 2 (today’s date), and one to finish the scene. This comes right on the heels of the excerpt I gave you last week:

Gurles laid his own spoon down, without even having tried his custard. “Ygerna,” he murmured. “Uthyr has a reputation with women. I think you should stay away from him.”
She was grateful for the ambient noise of the wedding banquet, which she hoped had made his softly spoken admonishment impossible for all but her to hear. It would be much too embarrassing otherwise. In private, she might have excused his patronizing words, but in public she found herself fuming.
At a far corner of the long table, someone was raising their glass in a toast to someone else. Ygerna ignored it as if she had not heard, breathing deeply.
Eventually she trusted herself to speak again without lashing out.
“Thank you for your advice.”
She pushed her custard away and rose. “I find I have lost my appetite,” she said to the table at large. “Please excuse me.”

Emily Witt is our host for the snippet sharing session, in which we post an excerpt from a WIP on our blog, something that relates to the date in some way. If you want to play too, add your link to the Linky.