We're lucky to have more than one option to distribute and sell our books globally as self-published authors, and today I'm focusing on Kobo.
- How Kobo differentiates itself by being a collaborative partner with leading booksellers around the world. Kobo Writing Life was the first to offer payment in the author's currency, which Amazon KDP then picked up. It's great to have a comparison service, a challenger to keep everyone honest!
- We also discuss the scheduling of promotions which you can do on Kobo, and can help you get visibility, as well as making sure the promotions start on time. It's not dependent on being exclusive, and you can be free on Kobo at any time. [I use free on Kobo to get Amazon to price-match for permafree]. The Kobo Writing Life team mine the scheduled promos for gems and great deals for customers.
What do the Kobo merchandising team look for?
- Obviously you need the best book you can write, plus a book cover that is aimed at your target audience. It's
also important to think of the perspective of the booksellers' curation process. Kobo is a bookseller and will make more money on higher priced products, or on pleasing customers with deep discounts. Mark also mentions the networking potential of being a ‘real person,' so definitely say hi to the Kobo Writing Life team at conferences.
- We talk about pricing options e.g. high prices for full length + a free book to pull in readers. Mark talks about his own experience as an author with Bumps in the Night, a ‘digital chap book.‘ Plus, how Kobo analyze data with open rates from free, as well as finish rates. I ask Mark for an ebook similar to Mark Coker's Ebook publishing success for Kobo specifically based on the data they have found.
- Kobo Next is a list of new authors and new books for people to discover. The authors and books that make it there are handpicked, and are proposed to merchandising teams.
Kobo News: Sony, new CEO & global expansion
- Sony have recently left the ebook market, handing their customers over the Kobo. We talk about what that means for readers, as well as for authors. We talk about our frustration with NookPress in that it is STILL not open to non-US authors.
- I also ask Mark about the change of CEO from Canadian, Mike Serbinis, to Japanese, Takahito Aiki. Kobo is owned by Rakuten, a Japanese ecommerce company, and has some huge global plans. [I'm very excited about this as Kobo does well in territories that Amazon isn't focused on yet. The East will be very interesting!]
- We talk about the potential for global growth in 2014-2015, as well as translation deals, for example, what Kobo are doing with Bella Andre/Lucy Kevin. Plus, pricing by different territories, critical to seeing update in other economies.
On balancing two author brands
- Mark balances two roles – at Kobo Writing Life, but also as a fiction author. I shared my own views on this recently.
If you're not on Kobo yet, check out KoboWritingLife.com , which also has a blog and podcast for authors. [I'm on the next episode!]