Kobo Writing Life Podcast

Episode 93 includes a series of short interviews that KWL Director, Mark Lefebvre conducted at the 2017 When Words Collide conference in Calgary, Alberta.

Mark speaks with authors Robert J. Sawyer and C.C. Humphreys as well as marketing consultant Mickey Mikkelson about digital publishing, global eBook pricing, author promotion strategies and successful author readings.


Robert J. Sawyer

Robert J. Sawyer — called "the dean of Canadian science fiction" by The Ottawa Citizen and "just about the best science-fiction writer out there these days" by The Denver Rocky Mountain News — is one of only eight writers in history (and the only Canadian) to win all three of the science-fiction field's top honors (the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award and The John W. Campbell Memorial Award) for best novel of the year.

Rob talks about how he sold the North American rights for his twenty-third novel, Quantum Night, to Penguin Random House, but retained the rest of world rights and took advantage of Kobo Writing Life to publish the international eBook edition of the book. (Link to the book in UK used) He shares the wisdom of lower eBook prices, comparing his own global sales of the title at $4.99 USD version the $18.99 price point that Penguin Random House set.


Mickey Mikkelson (Creative Edge Publicity)

Creative Edge Publicity specializes in arranging events such as book signings, library or school presentations, or any  event related to the arts in general. They represent many book events including When Words Collide and have a strong belief and advocate for the independent and traditional artist.

In his role at Creative Edge supporting authors with their marketing efforts, Mickey shares some of the things his company does helping both traditionally published and self-published authors. Mickey offers advice on what authors should consider before approaching a marketing team for support for their efforts and the fact that there is always a unique approach for each individual author.


C.C. Humphreys

Chris (C.C.) Humphreys has acted all over the world and appeared on stages ranging from London’s West End to Hollywood’s Twentieth Century Fox. He has written ten historical novels, including the most recent Plague and Fire. Tales of religious fundamentalist serial killers set against the wild events of 1665 to 1666, London, Plague won Canada’s Crime Writers’ Association Best Crime Novel Award, the Arthur Ellis in 2015. In the Summer of 2016, both novels spent five weeks in the Globe and Mail Top Ten Bestseller list.

Along with being a bestselling author, Chris is also a stage, film and television actor, who shares some tips for writers on doing public readings of their work. He suggests that an author’s goal in doing a reading should be to really engage with that audience and also to remember that the audience is there to “love” and cheer for the author’s success. He also suggests selecting a passage that is active and character driven as well as modulating the tone of their voice throughout the reading.



Mark then talks about the concept of authors taking full advantage of both traditional publishing and independent publishing opportunities, going into a full breakdown of the revenues earned from a single short story of less than 900 words. "Almost" the story in question, appeared in several self-published collections but also is contained in Bumps in the Night, One Hand Screaming and the Crimes, Capers & Rule-Breakers Bundle. but he also sold non-exclusive reprint rights to the story to McGraw-Hill Ryerson for their iLit program.

Based on the fact that the professional rate for a short fiction rates is typically somewhere in the $0.05 to $0.6 per word range for most writers, Mark calculates what the per word earnings for this story have been, landing somewhere between $0.40 and $1.15 per word depending on the various income streams for that story. Ultimately, a story whose original pro fiction rate sale would have been approximately $44.00 ended up earning more than $1000.

Of course, this is only a single short story, but as part of a larger strategy with plenty of other assets in play, consider how that might add up for authors who take full advantage of exploiting their rights and exploring all options available for earning money on their writing.  (See the original blog details here)


Links of Interest:

Robert J. Sawyer's eBooks on Kobo

Robert J. Sawyer's audiobooks on Kobo (Listen for FREE with Kobo Audiobooks trial)

Robert J. Sawyer's website (SFWriter.com)

C.C. Humphrey's eBooks on Kobo

C.C. Humphrey's website

Creative Edge Publicity website

When Words Collide Website


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Direct download: KWL_Podcast_EP_093_InterviewsfromWWC2017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:02pm PDT

In Episode 92, Mark Lefebvre interviews Charles de Lint, who is the author of more than seventy books. Renowned as one of the trailblazers of the modern fantasy genre, Charles is the recipient of the World Fantasy, Aurora, Sunburst, and White Pine awards, among others. De Lint is a poet, folklorist, artist, songwriter and performer. He has written critical essays, music reviews, opinion columns and entries to encyclopedias, and has been the main book reviewer for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction since 1987.

In the interview, Mark and Charles talk about:

  • The underlying theme for de Lint’s new book, The Wind in His Heart – accepting the past and how community and a connection with others can help us surmount the challenges we face in the present – but only if we can teach ourselves to open up and trust those around us
  • How long de Lint has worked on the book through its various stages
  • The connections this novel has to de Lint’s popular Newford novels and stories
  • The pattern of writing adult novel, young adult novel and then repeating that pattern until it was suggested to de Lint that he focus on the YA market for a while
  • The readership of de Lints work, which spans from 12 to 82 years and how various folks have started with different introductory books to his work and then stuck with his writing no matter which direction he has taken
  • The factors that led to de Lint experimenting with indie publishing; such as the fact that the digital/eBook rights to his books were never sold to a publisher
  • The comparison between independent authors and independent musicians
  • The true hybrid approach for The Wind in His Heart, with de Lint self-publishing the eBook as well as a standard trade paperback POD version of the book, but how PS Publishing, a specialty publisher in the UK is released a limited edition hardcover version of the book and how de Lint’s agent ended up selling the audiobook rights to a major audiobook publisher
  • The great success of an independent musician such as Ani DiFranco - https://www.righteousbabe.com/
  • The hopeful and optimistic viewpoint that de Lint draws when comparing the music industry to the publishing industry
  • Some of the music that de Lint listened to when working on the novel, and how he believes that the southwest style music of Calexico (http://www.casadecalexico.com/) encapsulates the mood of the novel quite well
  • How de Lint got into writing book reviews, interviews with authors and articles about writers and the reasons behind putting all that work into it
  • Places where de Lint hangs out, such as the Facebook group The Mythic Café, with Charles de Lint and Company (https://www.facebook.com/groups/114379772019551/)
  • The launch events for the novel: Ottawa (Sept 19th at The Savoy Brasserie - https://savoybrasserie.com/_ ) Toronto Oct 21st at Bakka Phoenix - http://www.bakkaphoenixbooks.com/)
  • A few of the projects that de Lint is working on now for future release and the liberating joy he has experienced being able to follow his muse and just write the books he would like to write (rather than trying to follow a requirement from a contract)
  • De Lint’s advice for beginning writers


Mark then talks about the “true hybrid” approach that de Lint has taken on his writing and publishing journey – effectively and efficiently dividing up the rights of his works, as well as the optimism not only inherent in de Lint’s new novel, but in his overall approach to the opportunities available through digital publishing, and what writers can learn from embracing that spirit of hope and hard work.


Links of Interest

Direct download: KWL_Podcast_EP_092_CharlesdeLint.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:12am PDT

KWL Episode 90 is a special episode featuring the announcement of the launch of Kobo Audiobooks, narrated by Jim Dale.

Let me tell you a story. Do you remember when you first fell in love with reading? Well you weren't really reading, were you? No, your passion for books began quite another way. It was listening, wasn't it? To a story. Yes; your love of reading got started when you were being read to. Could there be any six words that have more anticipation behind them than: "Let me tell you a story."

Introducing Audiobooks for the Free Kobo App with a beautifully designed, easy to use player.

One home for all your ebooks and audiobooks.

It's your whole reading life - always with you!

Start your free trial today and embrace the art of listening.

For authors looking to get their audiobooks loaded to Kobo's catalog, there are currently three main ways to do that via distributors:

If you are using a third party distributor for audiobooks, be sure to check with them to make sure they are distributing your titles to Kobo.

The KWL development team is looking into how KWL authors might be able to load their audiobooks directly to Kobo's catalog, but there currently isn't a direct upload solution.

Direct download: KWL_Podcast_EP_091_SpecialAudioAnnouncementEpisode.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:48am PDT