Kobo Writing Life Podcast (general)
KWL EP 018 - Moses Znaimer

KWL Director Mark Lefebvre interviews Moses Znaimer, co-founder and former head of CityTV, the first independent television station in Toronto, Canada, the current head of ZoomerMedia (Zoomer Magazine) and the author of The Zoomer Philosophy.

Mark and Moses discuss:

  •          How Moses rarely stops to look back because he is always on to looking at the next thing that he is working on
  •           The Zoomer Philosophy (his book) and the definition of what a Zoomer is
  •           How the Zoomer Philosophy fits in with the idea of living longer and better lives
  •           How the words old, senior, elder and mature provide discomfort and make people squirm
  •           Znaimer’s examination, through his essays at how Boomers, who sang songs like The Who’s “My Generation” with lyrics like “I hope I die before I get old” have suddenly found themselves at the age they originally mistrusted
  •           How the first group of people who coined the phrase “don’t trust anybody over 30” are now 60 years old
  •           How The Zoomer Philosophy was inspired by Hugh Hefner’s The Playboy Philosophy
  •           The serialization of The Zoomer Philosophy in the print magazine and in eBook format and how Moses is likely to continue writing the serialized essays until he dies
  •           Demolishing that old “women of a certain age” stereotype
  •           The appeal that long-standing celebrities who are “of a certain age” in their mastery of the professions they hold and the confidence they exude
  •           The concept that what was important about the Boomers is NOT that they were young but that they were the largest generation ever made
  •           The stat that 1000 Canadians turn 65 every day and will continue to do so for the next 20 years (that number is 10 times as large in the US)
  •           The way that the print articles from the magazine endure and how digital helps bring them back into focus for some readers (by collecting them together in a single, easy to consume delivery system)
  •           The challenge of trying to find a type of media that Moses hasn’t already been involved in
  •           How Moses draws inspiration daily from the environment around him
  •           Advice to writers on how it’s not the mechanics of the medium that makes the difference
  •           How you don’t learn broadcasting from going to broadcasting school, and the importance of living a life the best you can so that you end up with the type of life that gives you something to say
  •           The importance of accumulating a wide variety of life experience (reading or traveling – preferably both)

Mark then compares The Zoomer Philosophy to the fact that eBooks are also in their mid-forties and reflects on how we are still at the cusp of the eBook revolution. He applies these thoughts to the concept of writing and publishing being a long-term game.

Direct download: KWL_018_MosesZnaimer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:29am PST

Camille Mofidi, European Manager for Kobo Writing Life interviews Italian author Vieri Tommasi Candidi about his Who’s Jo Spatacchia? Series and the unique method by which he had released this in two languages with a regular and enhanced version for different audiences. 

During the conversation, Camille and Vieri discuss:


  • Developing projects along with talented artists
  •            The concept of Who Joe Spatacchia is and the inspiration and thoughts behind the creation of this character
  •           How Vieri has mixed the story with drawings and music in this interactive eBook as well as how he chose the music and the drawings to accompany the story
  •           How music and images could give a choreography and elevated atmosphere to the story allowing people to enjoy it on many levels
  •           The 7 episodes as well as the scheduled release plans of either 1 episode per month or even, perhaps 2 per month
  •           The fact that there are two versions per episode – one with music and the other without music (for those devices and eReaders that don’t have a way to play audio)
  •           The price point of those separate versions are 99 EUR for the version without music and 1.49 EUR for the version with music
  •           Vieri’s smart move of releasing the eBook in both Italian and English and the international stradegy
  •           The challenge of getting people to find your work as being something that supersedes the difficulty of actually writing and publishing your book
  •           A perspective of publishing in Italy being on the pioneering edge
  •           The managing of the rights for all of the markets this series of books are available in within both languages
  •           How Vieri has managed the promotion for this series in both Italian and English
  •           A wonderful compliment that Vieri received regarding his activities that have been moving the face of digital publishing forward


KWL Director Mark Lefebvre then talks about the recently launched Opening Up To Indie Authors campaign and the book launch which took place at the Kobo Booth at London Book Fair 2014.






Vieri’s Website:





The Who’s Jo Spatacchia? Series on Kobo





Opening Up To Indie Authors (Kobo Writing Life)





Kobo Listing for Opening up To Indie Authors eBook





The Open Up to Indie Authors Campaign





The Launch – From ALLi’s website





The Speech Orna Ross gave at the launch at the Kobo Booth at LBF 2014



Direct download: KWL_017_Vieri_Tommasi_Candidi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00pm PST

KWL Director Mark Lefebvre and US Manager Christine Munroe were joined by NYT bestselling author, professional speaker, and entrepreneur Joanna Penn. Joanna is an invaluable resource for indie authors through her blog, The Creative Penn, and podcast of the same name. Listen in as Joanna shares insights about:

  • How Joanna began her journey as a fiction writer through NaNoWriMo in 2009.
  • Why she defines herself and fellow indie authors as entrepreneurs: "I define an entrepreneur as someone who creates something of value from their own head… these days, if you're writing fiction and you're self-publishing, and you are being a businessperson, then you are being an entrepreneur."
  • Other methods of earning income as an author: audio, print, and translation – and specifically how Joanna produced PENTECOST as an audiobook through ACX.
  • How publishing her eBooks in English through kobo.com helped her reach readers in 30 countries and counting.
  • Joanna's collaborative "give first" approach: if you give first, others will come back and give to you (which she calls "social karma"). Similarly, if you read others' books and review them, they will come back and review your books ("reading karma").
  • Why Pentecost is now permanently free – it is an easy way to draw readers into a funnel. This works best when you have many other books available. Joanna has seen an increase in sales of her other titles and sign-ups to her email list by using this strategy.
  • The breakdown of Joanna's eBook price strategy for her latest novel, DESECRATION: week one following the release, $2.99. One week later, increased to $4.99. In general, at the moment she prices eBooks at $2.99 for novellas, $4.99 for novels, $0.99 for short stories, and $5.99 for nonfiction.
  • How writing A THOUSAND FIENDISH ANGELS for Kobo (inspired by Dan Brown's INFERNO) enabled her write darker material and stop self-censoring, which helped her push her boundaries while writing DESECRATION.
  • The distinction between her two brands, J.F. Penn for fiction and Joanna Penn for nonfiction – including her amazing title that every author should read, HOW TO MARKET A BOOK. She only recommends establishing two author brands if it's necessary, which is true in her case so that she can target to these two distinct audiences.
  • Why she's a self-described "taphophile" - aka a "cemetery enthusiast."
  • How reading five books a week, and traveling to the places where her books are set, inspire Joanna's writing.
  • The best thing Joanna has learned as a writer: "It's all about the Compound Effect. Little things repeated every day over time are what makes the difference."

Joanna recently became a NYT and USA Today bestselling author with the boxed set DEADLY DOZEN, which features her novella ONE DAY IN BUDAPEST. Learn more about this amazing example of author collaboration on Joanna's blog post about this experience

Direct download: KWL_016_JoannaPenn.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:56am PST

KWL EP 015 - Nathaniel Kressen

Christine Munroe interviews Brooklyn-based author Nathaniel Kressen, who took a truly unique approach to self-publishing his debut novel Concrete Fever and won over local independent booksellers along the way. Tune in to hear about:


  • Why Kressen decided to hand-craft hard copies of his novel, and the misadventures he encountered as he mastered the bookbinding process
  • What he learned by meeting Jenn Northington from WORD Bookstore, which helped him to become a favorite amongst local indie bookstores
  • The essential components of a one-sheet to give bookstores along with hard copies of your book: your contact information, ISBN, retail price, suggested discount (60%), number of copies in the box, number of copies in store that have not yet been sold, payment information, whether you are a local and available for events, image of the cover. Not helpful: a press packet trying to convince stores how great the novel is
  • Advice for getting your self-published book into bookstores: create a great product, and be respectful and professional of booksellers' time and needs
  • The scalability problem of binding your own book (and hand-painting each cover, in the case of Concrete Fever) when you also have a 9-to–5 job. Kressen eventually decided to outsource the printing to The Sheridan Press
  • Why eBooks haven't yet played a major role in Kressen's self-publishing journey — he has been focusing on making the book a "physical art object," then hand-selling it to independent bookstores
  • His writing group, the Greenpoint Writers Group 
  • How you can support your local bookstore by buying eBooks, through Kobo, and how Kressen is building upon his relationship with bookstores through this partnership


Kressen was featured on a recent KWL-sponsored ABA bookstore event – a panel discussion for self-published authors at Housing Works Bookstore Café – to which he added wonderful input from the indie author perspective. 


Additional links:





Direct download: KWL_015_Nathaniel_Kressen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:33am PST

KWL EP 014 - Melissa Yuan-Innes

Mark Lefebvre, KWL Director, interviews Melissa Yuan-Innes, author of the hot-selling Hope Sze Medical Mystery series about...


  • Melissa’s role as an emergency physician and the role this plays in helping develop her fiction and the character of Hope Sze
  • Melissa’s latest book, TERMINALLY ILL which is coming out February 1, 2014 (and is available for pre-order)
  • How the beloved yet frustrating city of Montreal is a prominent feature in her fiction
  • How Melissa manages to find time to write on top of her demanding day job (10 to 14 hour shifts) and her family life.
  • Melissa’s “secret weapon” otherwise known as her husband
  • The many pseudonyms Melissa uses for the different style of fiction that she writes (sci-fi/fantasy and non-fiction medical humour fiction) under Melissa Yuan-Innes, medical thrillers and mysteries written under Melissa Yi, medical romance written under Melissa Yin, children’s books under Melissa Yuan and the reasons behind that (and how it has changed since Melissa first started)
  • The unpredictability and wonderful escape factor as something that drew Melissa to science fiction
  • Melissa won second place in the Writers of the Future when she was in medical school
  • The importance and value of professional workshops, including the long term friendships that were forged at Writers of the Future, and the reason why Melissa has returned to Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s professional workshops for over a decade
  • Some early mistakes that Melissa made when she first started writing and sending submissions to editors (and great tips she learned from Kristine at the pro workshops)
  • Some of the similarities and differences in the electronic age of writing and submitting and writing and publishing
  • Melissa’s amazing experience winning Kobo Writing Life’s Win your Cover contest (featuring the talented and dedicated cover designer Scarlett Rugers
  • Melissa’s traditionally published short story “Burning Beauty” which appears in the anthology Tesseracts Sixteen: Parnassus Unbound, and how writing short fiction can be a refreshing change from writing novel length works, and still be a way of getting a lot of your material in front of a diverse and broad reading audience
  • The CBC commissioned story written under Melissa Yi - No Air
  • Melissa’s yoga mystery story being published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and how Dean Wesley Smith calls being published in a market like that being one of the best advertising tools for a writer
  • Melissa’s dark humour December 2013 release:  The Italian School for Assassins and the role that humour and dark humour plays in her life and in her writing.
  • Melissa’s advice to writers regarding persistence and humour


Mark Lefebvre then talks about the difference between trying to find time to write and making time to write, outlining a few strategies that authors who work day jobs sometimes employ when carving out time in their busy schedules to make time for writing.



Direct download: KWL_EP014.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:11am PST

Camille Mofidi, European Manager for Kobo Writing Life interviewed three authors that Kobo sponsored for the 2013 Frankfurt Book Fair Author Walk of FameEmily Bold, Kristie Cook and Hugh Howey.

This is the third in the series of three interviews and features international bestselling author Hugh Howey.  In the interview, Camille and Hugh discuss:

  • Hugh’s start into writing, the multi-faceted journey his life took, including being a ship’s captain
  • How Hugh was working as a bookseller when he started on the path of writing a book, publishing it, and then moving on to the next project writing the next book
  • Hugh’s perspective on the importance of joining a writing group; in particular the group he joined (the High Country Writers)
  • The critical role that revisions of that first draft play for a writer, whether you are self-publishing or want to send it to an agent or publisher
  • The role being a bookseller played in helping to inform Hugh about the realities of the publishing industry
  • Hugh’s belief that we should celebrate the fact that there are so many people out there able and willing to express themselves through literature like they do all other art forms
  • How Europe, often seen to be lagging behind the North American trends is, in Hugh’s opinion, actually progressing quite a bit more quickly than the U.S. in terms of accepting self-publishing
  • The meetups that Hugh participates in when he is traveling, as a way to connect directly with readers
  • How Hugh uses social media to make himself available and to interact with his readers and friends
  • How Kobo Writing Life has been a major avenue to international readers for Hugh’s eBooks
  • How Hugh sees the KWL interface as the cleanest and most user-friendly platform, presenting data in an interesting format, and how he tells the other platforms they should be copying what Kobo is doing
  • Hugh’s 7 week tour through Europe promoting the book, and his embrace of a hybrid approach (Hugh sold the print only rights to WOOL to Simon & Schuster)
  • The incredible innovation that several of Hugh’s publishers have demonstrated in promoting WOOL


Mark Lefebvre, Director of Kobo Writing Life, discusses a point that Hugh makes in the interview regarding patience and the strategy of continuing to work on your next book (rather than focusing all your time and attention worrying about your already published title or titles) -- he also references a recent blog post by Dean Wesley Smith entitled "The New World of Publishing: Some Perspectives of 2013" in which Smith notes the importance of building a career over decades rather than giving up after a few books and very little sales (or, as the case used to be with publishing, quitting after 50 rejections)



Other Links:

Hugh's website

Hugh's books at Kobo

The WOOL trilogy (WOOL, SHIFT & DUST)


Direct download: KWL_EP13.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:53am PST

KWL EP 012 - Kristie Cook

Camille Mofidi, European Manager for Kobo Writing Life interviewed three authors that Kobo sponsored for the 2013 Frankfurt Book Fair Author Walk of Fame:  Emily Bold, Kristie Cook and Hugh Howey.

This is the second of the series of three interviews and features bestselling New Adult paranormal romance author Kristie Cook.

Camille and Kristie discuss:

  • Kristie's bestselling series Soul Saver
  • An exploration of Kristie's path to writing which began at the age of 8 years when she embraced a school writing assignment
  • Kristie's experience in business and marketing writing and how that background helped provide her with a solid understanding of good marketing strategies for her books
  • The importance of taking a business perspective and a professional midset
  • Kristie's POV regarding flying across the ocean from the US to Germany and the UK for attend both Frankfurt Book Fair and London Book Fair in 2013
  • How meeting with Kobo representatives in person at the London Book Fair was the highlight of Kristi's visit to LBF back in April 2013
  • The importance of making contacts and the long term view of a writing a publishing career
  • Kristie's thoughts on being a KWL Star on the Frankfurt Author Walk of Fame
  • The inspiration for Kristie's novel The Space Between (which is in her The Book of Phoenix series)
  • How self publishing authors help and support each other out and don't see one another as competitors, but rather as colleagues


KWL Director Mark Lefebvre discusses one of the recently introduced Kobo Writing Life Dashboard tools, the Price Scheduling tool (for scheduling temporary/promotional or permanent price changes), why the KWL team developed this for KWL authors and publishers, and how price scheduling and being able to make your book free at other times without exclusivity requests are a hallmark of the Kobo and Kobo Writing Life spirit. 


Other Links/Resources:

Kristie Cook's website and blog

Kristie's books on Kobo

The Soul Savers Box Set (a great value bundle of 3 novels plus a novella)

Kristie's KWL Blog Guest post on why authors should consider attending conferences and conventions


Direct download: KWL_EP12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:15am PST

Camille Mofidi, European Manager for Kobo Writing Life interviewed three authors that Kobo sponsored for the 2013 Frankfurt Book Fair Author Walk of Fame:  Emily Bold, Kristie Cook and Hugh Howey.

This is the first of the series of three interviews and features bestselling romance author Emily Bold.

Camille and Emily discuss Emily's continued growth and rise not just in Germany but around the globe, something which saw a significant increase when she embraced the opportunities available to independent publishers and authors through eBook publishing.

They also discuss working with agents regarding the sale of foreign rights as well as strategies for translating work into English and other languages as a way of broadening Emily's reach in the global market.

This episode also includes the audio of a presentation that Kobo's Chief Content Officer Michael Tamblyn gave at Futurebook Conference November 2013 regarding this past October's "Eroticagate"


Direct download: KWL_Podcast_Ep11_EmilyBold_rev.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:28am PST

Christine Munroe, US Manager for Kobo Writing Life, interviews Darcie Chan, author of the NYT and USA Today bestselling novel, The Mill River Recluse.


Christine and Darcie discuss:

  • Darcie's dedication to this novel, which she finished writing almost 10 years ago, and her unique experience from experimenting with self-publishing to signing a deal with a traditional publisher
  • The exciting moments when in 2011 MILL RIVER RECLUSE sold 100 copies – and when it hit the NYT Bestseller List a few months later
  • Why it's important for authors to read across different genres – and whether Darcie would ever write outside of what she describes as her "mainstream fiction comfort zone"
  • What Darcie would do differently given the benefit of hindsight: hint, it involves making your book as professional as possible
  • Collaboration with other writers – Darcie describes the group Backspace as "the most invaluable source of information" she found on her journey as an author
  • Darcie's daily writing life, including a description of her above-garage "Writer's Nook" where she does all of her work
  • The real-life inspiration behind Mary, the protagonist of The Mill River Recluse, who left a legacy of generosity in Darcie's hometown, Paoli, Indiana
  • Hints about the long-awaited follow-up to Mill River Recluse, which Ballantine will publish in 2014


Mark Lefebvre, Director of Self Publishing & Author Relations, talks about the “KoboWriMo” team at Kobo participating in NaNoWriMo and offers up a couple of helpful tips. The following links on the Kobo Writing Life Blog are useful and NaNoWriMo related.





Darcie's website

Follow @DarcieChan on Twitter

Buy The Mill River Recluse on Kobo.com

Stay tuned for Darcie's next book, forthcoming in 2014!


Direct download: kwl_010_DarcieChan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:56am PST

Episode 9 – Kobo Writing Life Podcast

Kobo Writing Life Director Mark Lefebvre interviews Terry Fallis, multi-award winning author of The Best Laid Plans, The High Road  and Up and Down.  Mark and Terry talk about:

•    How they met when Mark was a bookseller at McMaster University’s bookstore, and Terry, a former McMaster student self-published The Best Laid Plans in 2007.
•    Mark’s comparison of Terry’s writing to John Irving
•    How Terry applied his knowledge of politics and engineering to create the characters of Daniel and Angus (the main characters from The Best Laid Plans and The High Road)
•    Terry’s original nativity when venturing into the realm of self-publishing back in 2006/2007
•    How Terry used podcasting to gain a worldwide audience for The Best Laid Plans and was the first Canadian to follow in the footsteps of such podcasting pioneers as Scott Sigler
•    Mark’s original reluctance as a bricks and mortar bookseller to carry The Best Laid Plans or even read this satirical novel of Canadian politics, but how, after a single page, Terry’s prose won him over
•    How, feeling “up” from the McMaster Bookstore launch event led to Fallis deciding to submit The Best Laid Plans to the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour  (which Terry won and which led to his book deal with McClelland and Stewart)
•    How Terry is thrilled to have Beverly Slopen as his agent and Douglas Gibson as his editor & publisher
•    Winning November 2010’s CBC Canada Reads for the Essential Canadian Novel of the Decade
•    The importance of local community bookstores and the great relationships that Terry has forged with so many amazing Canadian bookstores (Canadian Booksellers Association honoured Terry with the CBC Libris Author of the Year Award in 2013
•    CBC’s creation of The Best Laid Plans miniseries (and having lunch with the fictional Angus McClintock in Ottawa during filming) -  (which will begin airing January 2014)
•    Terry’s use of humour and heartfelt moments in The Best Laid Plans and The High Road
•    Terry’s membership in the “Write What You Know” club – and how he takes advantage of that by writing about things he already knows a lot about (public relations, politics, etc) rather than spending more time doing research
•    How Terry’s latest novel Up & Down seemed to almost predict the incredible manner by which Commander Chris Hadfield captured the hearts and minds of people who again became interested in the space program.
•    A bit of insight into Terry’s forthcoming (spring 2014) novel No Relation – about a writer with the unfortunate name of Ernest Hemmingway (although spelled differently) who is trying to leave the family business to pursue a writing career
•    How Terry manages to write novels while working full-time
•    The importance of writing detailed outlines (each outline approximately 65 page long) and how, when you know that much about the story the efficiency of getting the manuscript completed in about 4 months
•    How, despite the detailed outlining, how at least half of the comedic moments and humour comes to Terry during the actual writing process
•    Terry’s creative/musical family and the dinnertime family tradition which included the goal of trying to tell a story that would make his stone-faced father laugh
•    The importance of being true to one’s own writing and one’s own personality
•    How there are likely some fine manuscripts sitting in publisher slush piles right now and the opportunities authors have to creating bold new opportunities

For this episode’s side-bar note, Mark reflects back on Terry’s journey into publishing and how he and authors like Scott Sigler used podcasting as a way to help find an audience for his novel.  Mark mentions the website Podiobooks.com and using programs such as GarageBand (MAC) or Audacity for creating the audio files.


-    Terry’s books at Kobo:  http://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/Search?Query=terry+fallis
-    Terry Fallis website - http://terryfallis.com/
-    Terry’s page for Up and Down - http://terryfallis.com/up-and-down/
-    Terry’s podcast page for The Best Laid Plans - http://terryfallis.com/the-best-laid-plans/tblp-podcast/
-    Terry’s Video “An Unorthodox Journey to the published land” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-_zmv0MICU
-    Scrivener (http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php)
-    Podiobooks (http://podiobooks.com/)

Direct download: kwl_009_Terry_Fallis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:24pm PST