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If you’re ready to publish wide, or if you want to increase your sales on Kobo, then today's interview with Camille Mofidi from Kobo Writing Life will give you lots of ideas.
In the intro, I mention the discussion of subscription models at Frankfurt Book Fair, The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly, Anglo Saxon Kingdoms exhibition and print books at the British Library, and What if the internet was 100X faster? [Guardian]
Plus, my launch process for Valley of Dry Bones (out now!), why I'm excited about hardback editions (available now!) and Killing it on Kobo by Mark Lefebvre.
Today's show is sponsored by Reedsy, the curated marketplace for publishing professionals including professional editors, book cover designers, marketing professionals, as well as ghostwriters and website builders. Plus, the free manuscript formatting tool, Reedsy Book Editor and free courses, including Kobo Hacks for Optimizing Sales. Just go to: www.TheCreativePenn.com/reedsy to find out more.
Camille Mofidi is the European manager for Kobo Writing Life, based in Paris, France.
You can listen above or on iTunes or Stitcher or watch the video here, read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and full transcript below.
- On the boundary-less frontier of ebooks and why Kobo focused on that right from the beginning
- Tips for how to sell more books on Kobo
- The importance of pricing geographically
- Using box sets and bundling for brand awareness
- The maturing market of English books being translated into other languages
- Looking at the history of ebook growth in the mature markets to position yourself for upcoming markets
- On direct audiobook distribution with Kobo
You can find Camille Mofidi at KoboWritingLife.com and on Twitter @KoboWritingLife
Transcript of Interview with Camille Mofidi
Joanna: Hi everyone. I'm Joanna Penn from TheCreativePenn.com, and today I'm here with Camille Mofidi. Hi Camille.
Camille: Hi, Joanna. Thanks for having me with you today.
Joanna: Oh, I'm so happy to have you on the show. Just a little introduction.
Camille is the European manager for Kobo Writing Life, based in Paris, France. And that's why you're gonna hear this gorgeous accent here today.
Camille: I know you love my accent.
Joanna: I do. I always do.
Camille, start by telling us a little bit about you and your background, and how you got into helping authors.
Camille: I have a master's degree in publishing and my first job was an editorial assistant and then editorial within various imprints of the Hachette Book Group in France. I mainly work in nonfiction, with nonfiction authors, and I really love that relationship with the authors, with the writing, and working on the text.
And then after a few years, I got recruited by the French Publishers Association and I was a council for digital publishing. And it was 2008.
Back then the eBook revolution was just starting in France. It was a great moment to be working on those issues and working with publishers so that they could turn digital by that time.
After a few years, I wanted to go back to the work with authors, the relationship with them, with their texts and publishing, but I still wanted to keep that digital field. And then I met Mark Lefebvre at Paris Book Fair and that's how I got recruited. And I started with Kobo, taking in charge of the development of the platform in Europe.
Joanna: I love that you've been involved in publishing so long in the different sides as well, which is so important and we're going to come back to it.
But I want to start with this: most people know that originally Kobo came out of Canada but of course it's owned by a Japanese company, Rakuten, and you're in Europe.
Can you talk a little bit about how widespread is Kobo in the global market in terms of where you are and the strategic partnerships?
Camille: The thing that is interesting with Kobo, and the smart idea the Kobo founders had from the beginning was that they decided to launch internationally.
Right from the start, they were wise enough to think that if you want to be successful with eBooks you need to reach readers everywhere because with eBooks you don't have any boundaries any frontiers anymore.
They launched initially in multiple countries and by partnering in each geo with the biggest book retailer in that country. Which was very smart because they were really enhancing the complementarity between both formats, print, and eBook, rather than opposing them as sometimes we still hear that.
And so that's how we've been working with Indigo in Canada, with Fnac in France, but also in Spain and Portugal, with bol.com, which is the main book retailer in the Netherlands, and with Mondadori and La Feltrinelli in Italy. And of course, in the UK, we work with WHSmith.
These partnerships have been very strategic for us not just because we were able to sell our devices there, but also because we have the whole Kobo eBook catalog on those websites. And for example, Fnac is…of course, it's a very big chain of booksellers in France, but fnac.com is also a big part of the Fnac book revenue today.
For us, it really made sense to be partnering globally with all these famous names famous for book readers. And also because we were really targeting from the beginning the book readers.
Joanna: That's why I love Kobo, and I've been with you guys since you launched. And why I got so annoyed with NOOK, because I knew that when they pulled out of the world and just went back to the U.S., I was just like, ‘Whoa, what's happening you guys?'
I love the fact that Kobo's out there in 190 countries.
My sales even in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Asia, are through Kobo, because you guys are there regardless.
Camille: Thanks for stressing the huge number of countries where we are. For example, if I'm a French writer, and I'm writing in French, I can reach, of course, the readers based in France and in the French islands from the Caribbean.
But think of all the people in Canada who speak and read French, in Belgium, in Switzerland, in all those African countries.
And as you said, when authors are publishing with us, they just love that Kobo Writing Life map, when they can see all the places and sometimes some very, very small island lost in an ocean that they wouldn't even imagine they could find a reader there.
Camille: That's also the magic of eBooks and of our platform.
Joanna: I agree. Now, one of the recent partnerships that has just happened is the partnership with Walmart in the U.S. and also the purchase of OverDrive by Rakuten. It's a sister company, but they have library penetration in the U.S. as well.
This is a big deal. Things are changing in the U.S. and, I mean, this is a big change because Kobo has been kind of secondary or third probably behind iBooks, and of course, Amazon in the U.S. It's very new as we talk.
How is this Walmart integration working and what's happening with Kobo and Walmart?
Camille: I think this is our most exciting news recently. It was launched, well, very end of the summer. And, yeah, you're right.
In the U.S., this was one of the challenging markets for us, because some listeners would probably remember that our partner there was named Borders, and they went bankrupt. So, that was unfortunate.
After that, we've been working with the indie booksellers there. But obviously, in front of Amazon, we really needed to push the game. And so, that's how this deal with Walmart is really strategic for us because obviously, you cannot aim at growing your U.S. readership without being on Kobo U.S. today. Otherwise, you will just miss the tens of millions of shoppers that Walmart has today.
Of course, we have the Kobo devices, we have the digital gift cards, and book cards where we also feature our top indie authors when we can because we really want to leverage that physical presence.
And then, you have the Walmart-Kobo co-branded site where you have all the eBooks catalog and also the application.
So basically, being on Kobo today and publishing your eBooks on Kobo Writing Life, just let them go through to the Walmart shopper in the end and that's a whole new market that you want to reach through us.
This is the early beginning but we are already working very hard to put together some promotions dedicated to Walmart shoppers. And those are accessible to the Kobo authors who publish on Kobo Writing Life. So, keep ready to see more of this coming up very soon.
Joanna: I'm excited about that. I had some books in the first month's promotion through the Kobo promotions.
Now, this does bring up the biggest question that people ask because many authors feel that it is difficult to gain traction when publishing wide. So, it's not just Kobo, it's also iBooks, it's also NOOK, it's also all the other potential retailers.
What are some tips that you can give people for selling more books on Kobo?
Camille: I will start with the beginning. I think it's always good to remember people where your books can be found.
So, if you're publishing on Kobo, just tell your readers that your books are available on Kobo, put the links to your Kobo books on your website, on your author's page, on social media, announce it also through your newsletter.
Joanna: You're exactly right. I was talking to quite a big name author who's been just on Amazon. And he was like, ‘So, if I go wide, how do I sell books on Kobo?' I'm like, ‘You do email marketing, send an email out to people and give them a link and also the books to read,' which, you know, books2read.com.
You can put multiple links on there. So, you can do it just with one link. But it's so funny you say that, and I hear people going, ‘Yeah, yeah,' but actually, so many people don't even do that.
Camille: I know, sometimes we just forget about the most obvious thing. That's why I like to just start with the basics. So that's the first step.
Then there is a number of things you can leverage on Kobo. For example, free, we have free pages in all of our geos. So, that's really something that you want to keep in mind because we have been working heavily on conversion from free to paid.
If you're writing series and you have a first free in series, that's really something you can leverage by reaching out to us in order to be listed on those pages or by applying to a free, first free in series promotion on the promotions tab. We'll probably get to that later on in more detail.
Then, something that a lot of people tend to forget, we are reaching readers in many countries and many currencies. So, please remember to price your eBook in several currencies at least the main ones: USD, Canadian dollars, GBP, Euro, and Swiss franc also, if you're in Europe that's also something and aiming to French readers but the main ones.
Don't just put your price either in GBP or USD and let the other prices get converted, because you never know. You may have some reader, let's say, I'm an American living in Switzerland and I like to read your books if you're an American writer. So, if your book is priced in USD, it's fine, but to me the price will be a very weird price in Swiss franc.
We know today that there are some online buying practices that are very strong and it's not just for eBooks, it's for any good that you will buy online. We are all now used to the price that ends by something that's 99.
Joanna: You mentioned free, you mentioned multi-currency pricing, again, I absolutely, and many people who are Amazon only think free is now not worth doing.
But I always say the point is doing free on Kobo, doing free on iBooks is really valuable. So, I still do Permafree.
Can I just also mention box sets? I found the box set, like there's Permafree and box sets are two really powerful things. I think most of my income on Kobo…oh, it's something like 40%, maybe not most, but a big chunk of money that I get from Kobo is from box sets.
Do you see that across the board?
Camille: It's also because we don't have that superior cap. You can price your eBook higher than $9.99. USD, you will still get the 70% royalties. So, that's one thing important on the income side.
And also the Box Set, we've seen some authors doing some super-size Box Set priced very high and then because their readers were avid readers in romance, and they had like a huge number of books by that author that they really wanted to get.
So, those authors have been very successful with those super-sized Box Sets. And then those authors also do translate them in other languages, and they get traction from those Box Sets too.
Plus, something to remember, is that all local merchandisers they all have their own schedule and key points, but some of them in Europe are fond of Box Sets promotions.
So, if you have a Box Set and if it's priced high, that you also get the ability to do a nice price drop in a promotion. And so, the big cut that you can do in a promotion will also be a good leverage to the readers.
Joanna: So, someone might have a 10 book Box Set that they price at $50 or €50, and then they'll cut the price to €25 and it's still a great bargain for the reader. And they get 70% of that and it doesn't have to be on Amazon. So, there is no price match issue.
It's just a brilliant strategy, I think.
What else have we got on the list?
Camille: Of course, I told about the pricing and optimizing your pricing. If you're doing a discount, remember to fix the converted price again in those main currencies.
Now, I'd like to get more specific on promotions. We have two systems. One is for English language books. So, for this we have that promotion tab that we were referring earlier.
It was in a pilot beta mode. It hasn't been open wide. But, if you are an author writing in English and you would like to be able to do promotions very easily on Kobo, you can just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and then we will activate that promotion tab in your author dashboard.
There you'll be able to see from one month to the other, each promotion that is going to happen in the English language territories. We try to make them as wide as possible.
Let's say we are doing a romance promotion end of October, we are going to work on synergy in the U.S., in Canada, in the UK, and in Australia, New Zealand.
You will have the days of the promotion, the genre of the books, sometimes there is a price requirement if we don't want books higher than this price or, well, if the price needs to be discounted at least 30% off or 50% off. So, you have all the requirements.
And then you can pick the books that are in your dashboard that you think fits the requirements. And then you can just apply them to the promos, and then our merchandiser goes through them and selects the books that fits best that promotion.
Because we are running those all the time, they can be by genre, it can be on the category page, it can be for the daily deals, which are very powerful.
So, you provide one discount to one eBook and it's featured in a banner on the homepage, it can be on the first free in series page that we were mentioning earlier. You can just test all these various promotions and try to apply.
At the beginning, you probably don't know exactly which ones fit your readerships, but so just try a few ones. And then little by little, you'll be more familiar to the way it works and then you'll be able to fine-tune also your strategy of discounting on Kobo to the English language readers.
Joanna: I'll just say on that, you have to be publishing direct on Kobo Writing Life to get that promotions tab. So, that's just a little key for people that if they go direct, they will then get that tab if they ask for it to be applied.
My experience with it is, apply for all the things that might fit your books. And then, of course, you won't get accepted for everything, but there's a sort of a hit rate after a time and you just have to keep applying.
I have a reminder in my calendar, which is log onto Kobo Writing Life, apply for like three or four promotions, and then hopefully get one, just to keep things ticking over.
Camille: Thanks for stressing that. You need to be direct because that's among the perks that you get when you are direct with us. And the more you apply, the more you'll get a chance to get accepted.
We also want to show the big variety of the catalog. So of course, there is some rotation on the books and titles. It's not because you haven't been accepted yet that this will not happen. So, just keep applying.
Joanna: And didn't your CEO at Digital Book World, say some amazing percentage.
Was it like 20% or 30% of eBooks sold are indies? Was it something like that?
Camille: Yes, 20%, Today Kobo Writing Life, is the first publisher of the Kobo catalog, in terms of books that we provide but also in terms of units sold.
Joanna: Wow, that's so cool.
Anything else on the list about marketing?
Camille: Let's go to the non-English language books you would like to promote. For this, the system is completely different. You just reach out.
Of course, you need to be direct on Kobo Writing Life and then you just need to drop us a line at our email email@example.com and tell us about your books. Which languages are they available, how many do you have, if you are in the middle of translating a whole series, let us know also about the release schedule.
And then that email is directed to the European team. So, it's me and my colleague Sala, who is also based in Paris, and with a very strong focus on Italy where we have a number of writing competitions and other nice projects going on.
The two of us are based in France, but we are covering the whole Europe. So, we are working with German writers, Italian writers, French of course, UK ones, Spanish ones, Dutch ones.
If you have a book that you would like to promote in any of those languages, just contact us through our email and tell us about your books and f you are planning to do some promotion, let us know in advance.
The more information we get on you, on your books, on the languages that you are in, or you're planning to be available very soon, and the more in advance this is, the better we can work.
The way we work is, we have a local merchandiser in each of these countries. France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, UK, and we work with them. We have a very tight relationship with them, and we really try to see what they have, what promotions they have upcoming on their side and what we have on our side from our catalog that can fit best to their promotion. That's one thing.
Then we also try to run Kobo Writing Life specific promotions regularly or daily deals. So, we try to leverage all the things that the Kobo Store enables in order to showcase the indie authors to our readers.
Joanna: It's so good to hear about all the stuff that's going on in the international markets. I know there's probably more on the list. Is there more on the list for marketing?
Camille: The last things will be, of course, to look at all our resources online. We have blogs in English, in French, and in Italian. So, we may want to look at this because we also give a lot of tips and advices and insights on the local market.
And of course, follow us on our social media because we also broadcast what we are doing and our latest updates there.
Joanna: There's a Kobo Writing Life Podcast. People can get tips from that.
I was going to talk about paid ads for marketing. BookBub ads, for example, you can target Kobo readers using BookBub ads. People often forget that you can use the pay per click BookBub ads to target. And you can actually target many different countries now on BookBub for Kobo. So, I've just been doing that for a launch.
There are these other paid methods that you can do promotions too.
Camille: Have you done any Facebook ads specific?
Joanna: I did a few for trying to target Kobo, but I was trying to just use Canada. But I've kind of given up using Facebook because BookBub has these pay per click bit where you can target specifically people who have opted in for Kobo rather than Facebook which doesn't have so much granularity around that.
And also, it just means BookBub readers are readers. So, that would be my tip. And that's quite new. I mean, the BookBub pay per click stuff.
I'm not talking about the featured deals which are the really super expensive ones. For example, I got good traction with targeting Steve Berry, who's a thriller writer but with a historical religious side a bit like my books.
I got better traction with Kobo ads in Canada than I got with Amazon ads. So, that's really interesting to me. That I fit in that demographic within Kobo, but not within Amazon.
Camille: That's an interesting insight. Because I remember where it was before that recent feature on BookBub but I've seen some writers doing very targeted Facebook ads when they were launching their translation in France or in Italy or in Germany. And then their books were pretty successful and hitting our top 50 in those geos.
Joanna: I think probably in those markets, the advertising is less mature than the English language.
Let's talk about translations because you and I have known each other a while, I tried translations early on, like probably too early. And for example the German market was just getting going, it's when we met at the Frankfurt Book Fair that year. Must be like four years ago now, maybe.
Certainly France just hadn't really even started going. Again, I'm always early on this but what do you think, where is the digital space? The eBook reader market within Europe and the rest of the world?
Is it just getting started? Or which countries are more mature?
Camille: I think you were too early with…it was, ‘Pentecost' that you translated?
Joanna: Yeah and, ‘Desecration' and so I had German, Italian, Spanish, just did in like Italy, I've sold about €3.
Camille: You were probably too early because on translation really, I'm seeing some new level. It's been one year and now it's really the trend is from English to non-English with great success in romance mainly, romance and then thriller.
Those are the two genre that I've seen some successful translation from English, mostly U.S. to French, and Italian, and German. And they've done great also because the authors, I think they had a plan, they picked the right, well, the right genre, the right book series very often, and they had a whole release plan and they really supported it through paid ads. So, they had a whole plan of going wide and doing one market at a time.
But I think that in terms of European markets, now, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, but the top two non-English would be Germany and France because we really have now an indie scene that is very identified, who has a voice.
And you have that phenomenon that you've seen in the English language markets where publishers come and chase after the most successful indie titles.
German indies started doing that before the French ones, are keeping their digital rights. So, signing up just for the print. And now, we also have this in France and it's happening more and more.
It was not an easy thing to negotiate with the publishers but now it's happening. They are aiming at keeping their digital rights and being their own publisher for their eBooks first in French.
And now our top French author from France decided to publish also in English. So, that's a first. I've seen some French from other European countries trying to break into the English market, U.S. market, North American market.
We know of course that it's very hard. It's very crowded there and it's even more crowded than it was a few years ago. But what is really interesting with Julie de Lestrange had her first two novels – they've been published with us since two years – and they are among I think, our top 10 eBooks.
Her first book was even Kobo's the most read book in 2017 worldwide across all languages. It's been an incredible success and so, she was very smart to keep her digital rights.
And for her next novel that she just published, she decided to keep her rights but also to go wide into English because this is a young adult novel, utopian young adult which fits very much the North American market.
She wanted to go international and she decided to partner with us. She's giving us the exclusivity for her book for a few months and we are supporting her and promoting her for the launch of her book in French, but also in English in North America with a full campaign to support that.
I think that, the French market and the other markets, the German is really as similar as France. It's measuring early a bit now and we see those savvy authors that you used to have in the U.S., in the UK. We now we see those profiles here to too, in France and Germany.
Joanna: That's great to hear. And also I think it's so interesting and you see that kind of rollout across the world.
Maybe right now, France might be where the U.S. was in, say, 2012 for example. And people listen to this show in 200 countries. So, it is just amazing.
Joanna: I know. So, basically, if you're in a country that is not already a mature market like the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, those would be the most mature market.
Look at what the history has been and then look at your market and go, ‘Okay, how can I position myself so that when this movement spreads, will I be in a good position?'
I think like you said about the ads, the paid ads and having a series like any even if you are publishing in English, we all say write a series whether it's fiction or nonfiction, do some paid ads. The same applies but there's less competition.
What I would say to people is don't rush into translations. I don't think that's the message here.
It's more if you're in these other markets, things are quite exciting.
Camille: And if you want or if you are considering translation, just think about your plan in all details before doing anything, because of course, there is a cost to the translation. You want a return on your investment.
You need to pick the country where you want to start where you will have the biggest readership. We know that Germany it's about 80 million inhabitants, France, it's 70 million. Those are really big countries and they turned digital.
We might have a word about the pace of this digital revolution because in the press, in the French press mainly, you see that, ‘Oh, things are very slow and the people they haven't adapted eBook massively.'
I think from a publisher's perspective, that it's really not the digital perspective that we have. What we see is that publishers are still doing a lot on their print business. So, they want to keep that going. And so, they have been developing their eBook business maybe slower.
But some like the ones that were very strong in the genre mainly, the genre that work in digital, so thriller, romance, fantasy, sci-fi. Those ones have put all their efforts in their digital revolution and now they are very successful.
I would say that don't look at just the statistics given by the Publishers Association in all those countries. They are not always representative of the whole market.
Joanna: I think that's a very good point. Again the romance authors are often the first into new ways of doing things, they're the first into marketing stuff, they're the first into new markets.
They have to use the latest technologies because the mainstream publishers often ignore them and kind of say they are second class when actually they're the ones selling the bulk of the books and they're doing amazing things.
It's really good to hear that because, of course, there was recently in the press, the thing about France was this indie book that was shortlisted for a literary prize, and the booksellers refused to stock it because it was CreateSpace. Now, of course, all of us indies were like, ‘Why didn't you publish with IngramSpark?'
Camille: It's not that the booksellers wouldn't stock it, they were really fears that the book was only through CreateSpace and so they couldn't get it. Or if they could get it and ask Amazon, the conditions will be so hard that they wouldn't really earn any money on that.
And of course, it was Amazon which is, well, the first enemy for traditional book chain. I think it wasn't that they were not aiming at despising the indie community. That has been perceived as this. They were really aiming at Amazon, of course.
Joanna: Exactly. And I guess the point being, if people don't realize you can't get a discount as a bookseller if you order from CreateSpace, which is why if you want to go wide with print, you go through IngramSpark or other printers, where the bookseller can get a discount because that's their business model.
If indies don't offer discounts, then how can a bookstore order their books? It's thinking about other people's business model is really important.
Camille: Exactly. And since you're talking about that, maybe we can mention this difference between France, Germany on one hand, and the UK about that fixed price law.
Because you used to have the Net Book Agreement in the UK, but then it disappeared that says that the books have to be priced equal. We still have that system for print books in France, it dates back to 1981.
That has also been the reason why we still have such an important number of booksellers, physical booksellers in France. We have 3,000 indie booksellers and the number of places where book is the first product that they're selling is 15,000. So, it's really huge.
Joanna: So, just to be clear. The book has to be the same price?
Camille: Yeah, exactly.
Joanna: At every place?
Camille: At every place.
Joanna: So, you can't sell cheaper on Amazon?
Camille: No. You cannot do any discounts. For print, you had a 5% maximum discount and then this law has been adapted to digital.
So, we have the same law, fixed price law on eBooks with no discount at all. An eBook must be priced the same price through all retailers, which is important because when an author is doing a promotion, they should remember to drop the price on Kobo, but also on Amazon, on Google, all the platforms.
Joanna: All the platforms.
I love this though. I love having an international perspective because so often we just forget these different things.
As we're coming towards the end, now, I do want to talk about audiobooks because I'm really excited about audio.
I think maybe we all thought that audio was hitting the big time three years ago, but it feels like now things are really stepping up, and Kobo is now doing audiobooks. You have audiobooks in Walmart and also online with Kobo audio.
Tell us a bit more about what's going on with audio with Kobo Writing Life?
Camille: Audio, it's been the hot topic I feel like last year and really this year through all the Fairs that I've been, not just for English markets but also in Europe.
Kobo launched their audio catalog in English and also in French. We are looking into expanding because we've seen some really good traction from readers so far, it looks like they were waiting for that and from authors too.
We just want to make things easier for our authors. So, we are working on an audio upload on the Kobo Writing Life portal the same way as authors can upload their eBook file. We would like to enable them to upload their audio file so that their audio would be distributed to Kobo very easily.
This is our, I would say our main topic at the moment and we hope to be rolling it out before the end of the year.
In the meantime, if any author has an audio book that they would like to distribute to us, they can just contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be working with them to distribute their book. But very soon we'll have some very good facilities for audiobooks.
Joanna: I'm really excited about this because at Frankfurt, Apple also said they were working on something.
I think what we're going to see is we've gone from a very Amazon dominated audio space with Audible and ACX, to suddenly in 2019, I think we're gonna have wide audio distribution like sorted.
My advice to people is probably just hang on a minute until it's only a couple of months hopefully, until you guys launch and then it's really a case of, ‘Wow, look at what's happening in these markets.'
Of course, there's a backlash against eBooks by the French booksellers and against cultural side of books and blah, blah, blah. But I always feel like audiobooks are not something that those booksellers and things are that concerned with. Like, they're not selling tapes and CDs.
Could we even see the adoption of audiobooks by digital being faster than eBooks?
Camille: Some. We always had those specialized bookstores where you could find those tapes or CDs books but they were very like, very few but in the main bookstore it was very hard to find those.
So, maybe because there is not this reluctance to the format that the audio adoption could be quicker, and that's also one of our ambition. For example, in France, we partnered, we worked, of course, with Fnac, but Kobo and Fnac partnered with Orange, which is the biggest Telco. With 16 million people using an over-subscription for their telephone.
It means that those people have been receiving emails and text messages telling them that they could test the audio experience through us so, and they could get this for free just as a test. We are also trying to convert massively the readers and any people that has a smartphone.
Joanna: That partnership with Telco companies, that's very, very smart. I love the Kobo partnership model. And of course that would be the thing like in India now, Sub-Saharan Africa as well, with mobile first economies, that's how people are doing micropayments. It's all going through the Telco company.
That to me, seems like a really smart way of kind of bypassing the fact that you have to download another app and all of that type of thing. That's exciting.
Camille: We just love to test and experiment new things and new ideas and I think that innovation has really been root in Kobo's development since the beginning and we just keep that going.
Joanna: Anything else that you want to tell the listeners about Kobo Writing Life?
Camille: The last thing I would like to say is that we are a very small team but we are very accessible and very reactive. We go to Fairs. That's how we got to meet each other. You met Christie a few weeks earlier.
We are there in the physical field because we think it's important to meet with our authors face to face and to work with them on their long-term relations.
Feel free to contact us whether on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, through our email. You can subscribe to our newsletters in English, French, and Italian and just let us know about you and your books, and yeah, and your ambition for your publishing career.
Joanna: Fantastic, I love that.
Where can people find Kobo Writing Life and everything they need online?
Camille: So, of course, the portal, it's kobo.com/writinglife. And then we have the English blog, which is kobowritinglife.com. And there you will find the link to the English, to the French, and Italian blogs as well. And then on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, we are under Kobo Writing Life.
Joanna: Fantastic. Thanks so much for your time, Camille. That was great.
Camille: Thank you, Joanna. That was a lovely chat, and I hope your listeners will enjoy it.
[Kobo eReader image courtesy Perfecto Capucine and Unsplash.]
Maria Schneider (BearMountainBooks) says
Great article. Thanks. I recently ran an extravaganza at the blog–the authors all chipped in by sharing the page in their newsletters (email subscriptions). I included kobo books/links where applicable. The promotion went really well. We attracted a lot of readers and plenty of them clicked the kobo links!
Thank you Joanna! I commented on the podcast with Kinga from Publish Drive about my desire to sell into Germany and France as an American author. Glad you had a podcast this subject. Camille gave some great tips and I will be implementing them as soon as you can. Also, it is great to hear about indie publishing on an international scale. Because, this is the next frontier for the indie movement and we need to take advantage of it. Excellent podcast and one I will always re-listen too often. I plan to attend Frankfurt Book Fair in 2019 and I hope to get to meet Camille and the Kobo Writing Life team at that time.
Icy Sedgwick says
Thank you, Joanna and Camille! I’ve long wanted to grow my readership on Kobo because a) I don’t like the idea of being exclusive (eggs and baskets spring to mind) and b) I love Kobo’s brand values. So I’ll be re-evaluating my Kobo strategy and putting in more effort to sell there!
Maria Staal says
Thank you Joann and Camille for a very interesting podcast. I learned a lot and have now applied for two promotions. 🙂
I’m in the Netherlands and so I was very interested to hear you talk about the non-English countries in Europe.
There is a Dutch language indie community (so the Netherlands and the Flemish part of Belgium), but it’s not very big yet. But plans are being made to help the indie revolution get more foot on the ground here.
Like in France the Netherlands has a fixed price law, but luckily it’s only for paper books, not ebooks. This makes things a little easier for us.
But we’ve found a loophole to get around the fixed book price for paper books, as it only applies for books that are published in a set print-run at a printers and not for books that are printed one by one, like with POD. That way we can go around the fixed price and discount our paper books whenever we like.
I also believe that we are way behind here self publishing wise with the US and even the UK. You mention 2012 for France, but here it’s probably more 2009.
That’s disheartening at times, but a small group of us (mostly who publish in English, like myself) are trying to make the indies here aware that if they follow the indie movement and are professional and helpful that they will be on the forefront of things in the near future. The indie movement is gathering speed here and I hope that my fellow countrymen will join it and reap the benefits soon.
asyla ten holt says
Good to know this change/great news. Thanks