Kobo Writing Life Podcast

Episode 58 features an interview with Kobo Merchandisers Liz Hilborn (Manager of Merchandising) and Sarah Smith-Eivemark (Canadian Merchandiser).

In the interview, KWL Director Mark Lefebvre, Liz, and Sarah discuss:

  • What a merchandiser is and what they do at Kobo
  • How merchandisers work with publisher sales reps to determine which books get featured in different lists such as “New and Hot”
  • A look at the daily, weekly, monthly schedule and routine that merchandisers follow
  • How merchandisers in different territories connect, collaborate, and share best practices
  • How the merchandisers work with the Vendor Managers in various countries
  • The benefit the merchandising interns have in of hearing about global publishing trends and activities during the daily merchandising team meetings
  • The preferred timelines that merchandisers need in order to plan out a promotion or feature and how that might be different in various global territories based on how much progress that country has already made in terms of digital publishing
  • The average number of books that a merchandiser might look at on any given day
  • Solid book cover design advice from a merchandiser’s perspective
  • The important role that a proper price (and a flexible price) plays from a merchandiser’s perspective
  • The pricing promotion sweet spot (anywhere between 99 cents and $4.99)
  • How not rounding your pricing up to .99 in a local territory means you’re leaving money on the table
  • Recent publishing trends that Liz and Sarah have recognized and are excited about
  • The WRONG things to do (AKA Merchandiser pet peeves or, the right thing to do if you never want to get a book featured on Kobo)

Mark then talks a bit about the Alliance of Independent Authors “Indie Author Fringe” events and why they are important and then reflects on how the Kobo Writing Life team are internal ‘sales reps’ for KWL authors at Kobo, working collaboratively with the merchandising team and always looking for new opportunities to help authors find new customers at Kobo.

Direct download: EP_058_KoboMerchanderInsights.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:36pm PDT

Christine Munroe interviews Helen Hardt, an author and editor, about her publishing journey in terms of both sides of her career. This month, Helen launched the Steel Brothers Saga series with Waterhouse, an "untraditional" publishing house headed up by indie author all-star, Meredith Wild. Christine and Helen discuss:

  • Helen’s publishing path, starting with small presses, and most recently with Waterhouse Press.
  • She became an editor before she became a published author.
  • Her work editing Meredith Wild, starting with Hardwired.
  • “In this industry, it’s all about making contacts” – Meredith later started Waterhouse Press, and hired Helen as Managing Editor and took her on as an author.
  • Waterhouse describes itself as an “untraditional press.” From Helen’s point of view, they focus on building the author and brand, more so than on each individual book, which she appreciates. They have a virtual office, with a small staff and authors spread out across the US.
  • The Waterhouse team is very accessible to their authors, and open to author feedback on all aspects of the publishing process.
  • Helen’s advice: write the best book possible. Learn, learn, learn about the art and craft of writing. Then hire a professional editor.
  • She wishes she could have known that there’s more to writing fiction than just knowing your grammar. It would have saved her a lot of heartache in the form of rejections and bad critiques from contest entries.
  • Is it harder for Helen, as an editor herself, to find an editor for her work that she can trust?
  • “You can’t have an ego in this business” – there is always so much you don’t know about.
  • The Steel Brothers Saga, which just launched starting with CRAVING and is heating up the bestseller lists. The next book, OBSESSION, comes out July 19th. This is Helen’s first series in which she’ll stretch the story of her characters across multiple books.
  • “All of my heroes are a little bit tortured – this one more tortured than most!”

After the interview, Christine talks about the huge success of small independent publishing houses like Waterhouse in recent years. Another great example is Bookouture, based in the UK. They're bridging the gap between self-publishing and traditional publishing, and maximizing the best opportunities offered by both paths. We will likely see more and more of these presses emerge, and it will be very interesting to watch authors navigate these new opportunities.

Direct download: Helen_Hardt_-_57.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:42am PDT