Tue, 10 October 2017
Heather Tucker, author of The Clay Girl, had an entire career as a nurse, teacher, bereavement counselor, and professional writer, before she discovered that “playing with words is more fun than working with them.” What is it like to publish a debut novel at age 62?
Wed, 27 September 2017
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.
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 audiobooks on Kobo (Listen for FREE with Kobo Audiobooks trial)
If you enjoy this podcast and would like to automatically download episodes as they go live – even before the show notes are posted to the Kobo Writing Life website – subscribe to the RSS feed via your favourite pod-capturing platform (such as iTunes) using this link: RSS feed for Kobo Writing Life Podcast.
Wed, 13 September 2017
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:
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
Wed, 6 September 2017
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
Mon, 28 August 2017
Episode 90 of the Kobo Writing Life Podcast features an interview with Dennis Weichman, (AKA, Mr. W.), a retired math teacher who has brought his passion for teaching and tutoring into the digital realm with YouTube channel and study guides published to Kobo.
Mr W. is interviewed by KWL Director Mark Lefebvre. In the interview, they discuss:
After the interview, Mark talks about writing specifically for a niche market, and uses both Mr W.'s example as well as a personal example to outline the process.
His talk includes how focusing on a niche market/niche audience usually involves identifying and resolving a problem or an issue for that target audience as well as the application of personal experience and knowledge as well as personal passion to creating and publishing that book.
Mon, 21 August 2017
Episode 89 of the KWL Podcast includes on location interviews with 7 different authors conducted by Mark Lefebvre, Director of Author Relations at Kobo during the 2017 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Annual conference.
Sharing the enjoyment she gets connecting with fellow writers at RWA, Barbara also shares info about a new romantic suspense series (a spin-off of her Storm trilogy) that she was releasing during the week of RWA, as well as a collaboration with 6 other authors called “Seven Brides for Seven Soldiers” that will be launching in the fall.
Chris discusses the strategy she used for her Faraday Country series (currently 8 books out with books 9 and 10 up for pre-order at the time of the interview), including stock-piling the first 4 books before beginning to release the series.
She also talks about how she used a permanently free Book One in the series to help propel sales of the rest of the books in this clean and wholesome romance series.
The combined effect of this stock-piling and a permanently free first book in the series has helped her triple her sales numbers.
Fresh on the heals of the recent releases of Inked Expressions and Hope Restored, Carrie Ann shares the “tree-trunk” manner by which she connects the various series books together in a cohesive whole and the multiple points of entry this creates for readers.
She also shares the combined multi-author launch of the Bad Boy Homecoming Romance connected novels as well as the slightly different branding that she uses when switching between paranormal romance and contemporary romance.
How M.L. (Matt), who writes in 11 different series (publishing 8 books a year and at least 13 short stories, including two that appear in Fiction River #4 and Fiction River #23), doesn’t engage in social media in any significant way, but uses his newsletter to create a great value for his fans. Matt provides a free short story for his newsletter fans every single month.
Matt also shares a bit about his important book Estate Planning for Authors: Your Final Letter (and Why You Need to Write it Now)
Ember and Renna talk about the collaborative contemporary royalty romance series that they’ve been writing for the past 3 years (3 6 part serials that are all connected) and the way they split the writing (Ember writes the guy parts, Renna writes the girl parts).
They also share the aggressive “every 2 week” release schedule that they developed and the success of creating a large reader funnel by making the first 2 books in the original series free.
Mark talks about some of the strategies that he has used for Facebook ads, particularly the ads placed for 8 book box sets targeting Kobo customers, particularly customers in Canada and Australia. Much of Mark's shared wisdom can be found on his website SelfPublishingFormula.com
He also talks about the importance of not getting details wrong, in particular the use of weapons (which one of his most popular characters, John Milton, uses) and shares the fact that, later that same day, he was heading off to a shooting range to try various weapons first hands as the ultimate research.
At the end of the podcast, Mark Lefebvre points out a recent article that was posted on both the Kobo Writing Life website and the Kobo Writing Life Community that outlines the 5 most common reasons why a book might be rejected in the publishing process.
He shares that these posts are created specifically to help authors with finding information about particular details related to publishing on Kobo and encourages authors to take advantage of that information.
Wed, 9 August 2017
Episode 88 of the Kobo Writing Life Podcast isn't the more typical interview, but rather, KWL's Director, Mark Lefebvre, outlining five strategies that successful authors use to build their sales, raise their author profile and get readers to sign up their author mailing lists with Free eBooks.
First, Mark talks about the updates to FREE tracking.
If you've been paying attention to the updates in the Notification header of the Kobo Writing Life dashboard (which link to this VERY HANDY - hint, hint, nudge, nudge - part of the KWL Community) throughout July, you may have noticed that the Web team and the KWL Team have been working at revisions to the broken free tracking that we've been dealing with for quite a while.
And whenever a customer clicks on the "Save Preview" button on a book's item page, it adds that preview ePub file to that customer's library. Since there isn't currently any filtering that distinguishes the preview ePub file from the full ePub file, it appears as if that eBook was given to a customer, and is tracked as a "free download" in the dashboard.
(The KWL, Web and UX Teams will be adjusting and fixing this, but having that information can be extremely valuable, because it allows you to see how many customers have PREVIEWED your book. IE, if you have a huge number of PREVIEWS but not a huge number of sales, that could tell you something important about the conversion from free preview to sales)
1) First Free eBook in Series (Perma-Free)
Although this isn't a new practice, it continues to be something that works quite nicely for authors looking to increase their sales and author profile at Kobo.
Authors can set any book on Kobo to free at any time for as long as they want with no restrictions and no requests for exclusivity.
The concept is creating a funnel to get a lot of people to grab the first book for free and hopefully converting them into buyers because the worlds, characters, settings and situations they are reading about in your series are so compelling that they HAVE to keep on reading.
Below are some stats that are typical of the conversion rate from FREE to SALES via studies done on multiple different first book in series promos.
2) Free Book/Novella/Novelette Kept Perma-Free that ISN'T the first in the Series
The same technique used above can be used for other books in the series (rather than the first book), or perhaps for interstitial stories in the series universe.
Remember that, with Kobo Writing Life, you can enter Series metadata using decimals. IE, imagine you have a novella that takes place between Books 1 and 2 in your series. Entering 1.5 into the Volume Number value in your Series metadata connects those book. (See this post on how that works at KWL)
3) Free related/connected Short Story hook into a novel or series
Mark shares a personal anecdote about using a short story to entice readers to want to learn more or explore more about characters that appear in a full novel.
His example is how the FREE short story, This Time Around, a 10,000 word short story, has been successful at helping new readers discover his main character Michael Andrews, who is a werewolf attempting to live a normal life in the midst of one of the world's largest metropolitan centers in the novel A Canadian Werewolf in New York.
4) A Free eBook that is a stand alone novel / NOT part of a series
For those of you who do NOT have series books, don't despair. There is still a correlation between the "funnel" of free eBooks and readers going on to buy more books by the same author (rather than books in the same series)
Mark shares how his friend Sean Costello, a thriller/horror writer he works closely with, uses free to build a readership, not based on the book being part of a series, but based on readers discovering the voice of a brilliant author who they feel compelled to read more books from.
Costello's SQUALL has garnered almost 3300 reviews on Kindle and more than 800 reviews on Kobo with a 4 star average.
Again, good news for authors who don't write series books. Free works for gaining new readers and selling more eBooks for you too. :)
5) Using FREE eBooks for Newsletter sign-ups
While it's great that retails can help authors sell more using algorithms and targeted emails to their customers making recommendations, it is important for authors to get readers to sign up to their author newsletter.
Folks like Nick Stephenson (Your first 10,000 Readers) and Mark Dawson (Self Publishing Formula) have been helping authors use techniques to help get readers signed up for their newsletter mailing lists which allow authors to better control their own success. (Being able to let your best fans know when you have a new release or have a promotional price available has a direct correlation with sales success)
The way this works (and you can get FAR BETTER details by clicking the links above), authors set up a newsletter sign up at the end of their eBooks or via targeted social media ads (Facebook, etc) and when a customer signs up, they can get a free eBook sent to them from the author. These are typically eBooks that are NOT free on the various retail websites. So these readers who become newsletter subscribers get something of value directly from the author which helps built brand trust and loyalty.
Other authors, such as M.L. Buchman don't ever make their eBooks free nor do they give free eBooks away. But, instead, they create unique, fresh and interesting new stories and content specifically FOR their best fans, via either an author newsletter or directly on their own websites. (They will sometimes release this material via regular retail channels at a later date) This ensures that their best fans get access to reading fresh and exiting new material before anybody else can read it.
That, in a nutshell, are just five different ways that authors are using FREE to help build their sales and their author brands.
We would love to share more strategies that work well, so if you have a strategy that works for you, please free free to share that in comments on this podcast's show notes on the KWL Podcast web page under Episode 88.
Free eBooks on Kobo - curated from KWL titles and updated weekly. You can apply to be featured via the PROMOTIONS tab, which is currently in beta release. If you don't have it, simply request it by emailing email@example.com
Tue, 11 July 2017
KWL Podcast Episode 87 – Perils, Pitfalls & Perseverance with Eve Silver
Episode 87 of the Kobo Writing Life podcast features a keynote address from When Words Collide’s 2016 Guest of Honour, Eve Silver. She is a national bestselling author of books for adults and teens, has won the Ontario Library Association’s “Forest of Reading White Pine Award” and has been praised for her “edgy, steamy, action-packed” books, darkly sexy heroes and take-charge heroines.
Eve is introduced by Randy McCharles, When Words Collide chair, and who happens to also be a successful author.
In her keynote talk from When Words Collide, Eve talks about:
Mark then shares a few thoughts on the concept of what can happen to the “little writer heart” with all the types of rejection (either from publishers or from lack of sales), as well as a reminder about the important theme in Eve’s message, that writers write, no matter what.
Links of Interest:
Direct download: KWL_Podcast_EP_087_PerilsPitfallsandPerseverance_with_EveSilver.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:33pm PDT
Wed, 28 June 2017
Episode 86 features an interview with international bestselling author Catherine Coulter, about one of her most recent titles, Insidious.
In the interview, Mark and Catherine talk about:
After the interview, Mark gives a bit of an update on Kobo Plus
Links of interest
Wed, 14 June 2017
Episode 85 of the KWL Podcast contains an interview with Scacchi Koul conducted by Johanna Schneller about Scacchi’s new book One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter.
Please note that this interview contains adult language which might not be appropriate for all listening audiences.
In the interview, Johanna and Scaachi talk about:
Scaachi Koul's Website: scaachi.com/odwabdanotwm
Scaachi Koul on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Scaachi
Scaachi Koul at BuzzFeed - firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Links of Interest: The Appropriation Prize Controversy