Kobo Writing Life Podcast (general)
KWL EP 004 - Mitch Joel


Kobo Writing Life Director Mark Lefebvre interviews Mitch Joel, author of the books Six Pixels of Separation and CTRL ALT DELETE: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends on it.

The conversation between Mitch and Mark involve the following:

  • Mark’s riffing on Mitch’s regularly used consistent classic opening for interviews in his Six Pixels of Separation Podcast
  • The importance of creating consistently delivered content (Mitch’s 6 times weekly blog content and his weekly podcast) and how that relates to author branding
  • The nature of having an audience available BEFORE you have a book and providing value to the community that you are creating content for
  • How publishing his first book Six Pixels of Separation was a bit of a social experiment
  • Never making an ask unless there is something more to give/offer as part of that ask
  • The reality that selling a book is really hard
  • Mitch’s expression: “digital crickets and virtual tumbleweeds”
  • Twitter perspectives – who to follow, who is spamming, who is followed by who; why am I following someone?
  • Figuring out your work/life balance:  Mitch’s blending theory for work and play and the three tiered-stool of professional, family/friends and community
  • The importance of presenting your ideas and yourself
  • The “mystery” aura of an author such as the time when Mitch met Michael Connelly in the hallway his publisher’s NY office
  • What, in Mitch’s view, makes Margaret Atwood so amazing in the way that she tries new things and engages with the community in social media
  • The size of certain physical books (like the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson or Under the Dome by Stephen King) and how reading on an eReader has freed Mitch up
  • The importance of “above the neck” exercises – ie, reading


Taking a note from Mitch’s book, Mark talks about the concept of treating indie publishing as a profession and a business as well as highlighting the importance of connecting with your audience as opposed to being “that pushy guy.”  Mark also discusses the value of pitching your book to the right target audience rather than trying to broadcast to everyone and to people who aren’t in your target audience group.

Six Pixels of Separation – Mitch’s Blog

Six Pixels of Separation – The Podcast

Direct download: kwl_004_mitch_joel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30am PDT

KWL EP 003 - Sean Platt & David Wright


Kobo Writing Life Director Mark Lefebvre interviews authors Sean Platt and David Wright about their Collective Inkwell properties which include the highly successful serial thrillers Yesterday’s Gone, White Space and Available Darkness.

Mark chats with Sean and Dave about the following:

  • Collaboration between writers – tools used, the logistics of how they do it and the importance of honesty with each other (ie, not pulling punches when something “sucks”)
  • Writing a serialized story and Dave’s behind-the-scenes inspiration from the old TV series “Cliffhangers” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliffhangers_%28TV_series%29)
  • Communication with readers, reader feedback & responding to fan email
  • Budgeting writing time, email time and the Sanelater email filter (Sanebox - http://www.sanebox.com/)
  • Sean’s 5 sentence email rule
  • The importance of the duality of Mr. Sunshine and Mr. Cynical
  • A mention of Unicorn Western (co-written by Sean and Johnny B. Truant) – Free First Book and Full Saga (Books 1 to 9)
  • Writing an evil character like Bericio Wolfe (favourite “bad guy” from Yesterday’s Gone) First Episode – Free, Full First Season (Episodes 1 to 6), Full Second Season (Episodes 7 to 12), Full Third Season (Episodes 13 to 18)
  • Keeping track of timelines and Dave’s favourite tool – Scapple (a brainstorming tool from the makers of Scrivener.
  • Advice to writers just beginning on their path: which includes the importance of patience, trusting your instincts and the rabbit-hole of distractions that can steal an author’s time
  • Teaser talk about the sci-fi series The Beam (co-written by Sean and Johnny B. Truant) – Free First Episode or Full Season (6 Episodes) eBook
  • The thrill of hearing from new fans who are Kobo readers.  (And Dave’s love of Canada and Canadians)
  • Being real, being human and being honest
  • Sean’s perspective on the importance of speed, genre hopping and how he’s like a monkey
  • How sharing so much via their weekly podcast (Self-Publishing Podcast) keeps them honest
  • The importance of giving yourself permission to suck in your first draft and keeping at writing, ideally every day


Mark talks about Kobo’s “open, social and collaborative” nature and the concept of embracing all retailers and making your work available everywhere – how certain retailer’s exclusivity programs are akin to asking ALL your customers to only shop at a single bookstore.  Not always a realistic option.

Q&A Answer to:  Do I need an ISBN to publish on Kobo Writing Life?  Answer: No, you don’t need an ISBN.  You can certainly BYOI (bring your own ISBN) or, if you don’t we’ll assign a “dummy” ISBN – with a note on some of our retailer partners that don’t ingest dummy ISBNs



Self-Publishing Podcast (which Sean & David co-host with Johnny B. Truant)  - AKA SPP


[SPP Episode 57 – With KWL’s Mark Lefebvre as guest:  http://selfpublishingpodcast.com/57/]


Listen to the audio version of Yesterday’s Gone via the YG podcast





Direct download: kwl_003_Sean_Platt_and_David_Wright.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:09pm PDT

KWL EP 002 - Robert Levine

Kobo Writing Life Director Mark Lefebvre interviews author Robert Levine, the author of Free Ride: How Digital Parasites are Destroying the Culture Business, and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back.

Mark and Robert discuss the following:


  • The vision of the orderly process of interviewing subjects for a non-fiction book VS the actuality
  • The hard part being stopping (research and interviews) when you feel that you have enough material
  • Understanding copyright law when you’re not an attorney
  • The stress of publishing deadlines even with a supportive editor behind you
  • What it’s like traveling the globe for research and delivering the finished product
  • The difference between writing for dailies/weeklies/monthlies and writing a book which relies more on the underlying ideas than current events & details
  • The essence of what publishers do in terms of aggregating risk
  • The concept of making it convenient to do the right thing and inconvenient to do the wrong thing
  • The inconclusive nature of the way different generations respond to the concept of copyright, digital and free media
  • The economics of windowing with respect to format releases in publishing
  • The difference in cost between making Iron Man 2 and the book Free Ride
  • Pricing books and eBooks to maximize revenue


This episode also includes Q&A regarding the right price to set for your eBook as well as an overview of one author’s experiment with increasing the price of her eBook on the various eBook retail platforms.


Robert Levine's book Free Ride on Kobo (Please note there are two different links depending on which territory you're in):







Robert Levine’s Website





Direct download: kwl_002_robert_levine.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:16am PDT

KWL EP 001 - Steve Vernon

Kobo Writing Life Director Mark Lefebvre interviews author Steve Vernon, a writer and storyteller of both written and spoken words and they discuss the following:

·         Aspects of writing a serialized story (Steve’s Flash Virus Series), elements of humour in a thriller/horror story and the perspective of being able to laugh at life. 

·         Steve’s first published story in the mid 1980’s in a magazine that featured “Busoms, beards and big bellied bikers.”

·         Embracing both traditional publishing and self-publishing as a hybrid author and how that syncs beautifully with how Steve really “isn’t a writer, just a windbag who likes to spin yarns”

·         The importance of being able to adapt and continue to learn as a writer

·         A few of Steve’s titles:  Sinking Deeper, Maritime Murder, Tatterdemon Omnibus

·         Steve’s favourite advice for writers

·         Some book recommendations from Steve (The Scorpion Races & The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater)

Also included in this episode are Mark’s “Three P’s of Self-Publishing Success” as well as a listener question regarding ensuring your Goodreads reviews appear on Kobo.


Steve’s Blog “Yours in Storytelling”



Download Episode One of Steve’s Flash Virus series (FREE)



Steve’s Flash Virus Series



Steve Vernon’s Books on Kobo




Direct download: kwl_001_steve_vernon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:30am PDT