Kobo Writing Life Podcast (general)

Kobo Writing Life Director Mark Lefebvre interviews Alex P. Berg, author of the “Daggers and Steel” sci-fi mystery series. In the interview Mark and Alex talk about:

  • Meeting at the Superstars Writing Seminars in Colorado Springs, CO.
  • What Alex calls “The Superstars Effect”
  • How, when Alex had finished his novel and started querying agents and publishers, he ended up getting nowhere fast. That was when his wife gave him a proverbial kick in the pants, telling him that if he was serious about this writing thing, he better figure out a way to get it done.
  • The effect of seeing how hard the pro writers presenting at the Superstars Writing Seminars worked to achieve their success combined with their passion for it and how that inspire Alex to keep at it.
  • Starting out as a fan of science fiction and fantasy, then watching Brandon Sanderson’s online workshops, and following David Farland’s online and daily email writing tips as a way to get started
  • The commitment to finding and making the time to write while balancing a full time job and a family. How giving up other activities that weren’t progressing Alex down the writing path he had wanted helped in this regard.
  • The realization that anyone who says the cover doesn’t matter is a whole lot of B.S. and how Alex found experts to assist with the professional touches in his books.  Alex used  South African based cover designer: Damonza, and for an editor, he relied on a personal recommendation from an author friend at Superstars Writing Seminars.
  • The business plan approach that Alex took in which he worked at putting some money aside in order to afford some of the professional services for his books; with a highlight that he knew this would be a long term plan rather than just looking for some sort of short-term payback for his work.  (IE, the income stream is going to last for a long time) If you’re looking at trying to earn your $2000 back, for example, right away, you’re likely to be disappointed.
  • How, even though the success for his first few books came a lot sooner than he had planned or expected, his long term goals and plans haven’t been altered or changed.
  • The fact that it is absolutely true what they say about your second book.
  • The importance of accurate and specific metadata in helping the right readers discover your books
  • The music Alex listens to while he is writing, including something called “melodic death metal” which is not a lot like regular death metal.
  • The band Alestorm and their brand of “True Scottish Pirate Metal” which Alex is listening to while working on a forthcoming project.
  • One thing Alex wished he had learned a bit earlier and it was that there are great options out there for writers and that self-publishing can be a very viable option.


After the interview, Mark discusses the concept of productivity that Alex spoke about and reads a short piece from Kevin J. Anderson's book Million Dollar Productivity and provides a coupon code allowing authors to get the book for $0.99 (rather than the $8.99 USD / $9.99 CDN price it is listed for).  Use coupon code MILLION99 during checkout.  (Please note that the coupon is only good until the end of May 2015)

Direct download: KWL_EP031_AlexPBerg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:32pm PDT

Mark Lefebvre, Kobo Writing Life Director, in conversation with Dean Wesley Smith, a USA Today Bestselling author of books in multiple genres including Science-Fiction, Mystery, Thrillers and Westerns.

Currently producing novels in four different series, Smith is also the co-publisher of WMG Publishing along with his partner Kristine Kathryn Rusch and runs a series of workshops designed to help writers become smarter not only about the craft but also about the business of publishing.

During their conversation, Dean and Mark talk about:

  • ·         The fact that Dean wasn’t born into writing, actually loathed it when he was in college (He has a Masters in Architecture)
  • ·         The various careers and roles that Smith played during his life, including his past as a Pro Golfer and hot dog skier
  • ·         How his goal of being a Golf Course Architect led to writing via an English course that he had to take.
  • ·         The English Professor who told Smith that his writing was too commercial
  • ·         The writing class that forced Smith to submit a poem to a college poetry market (at which he won second place and $300) – at the time, he had to go see the professor to ask about it because he had no idea what it meant
  • ·         After this experience, Smith tried his hand at fiction, wrote a 1000 word short story and mailed it off to a market right away. Then he wrote a second story and mailed that off right away. Both stories sold immediately.
  • ·         How, after these first three successes, Smith started listening to people’s advice (AKA myths) about writing, and re-wrote his stories to dead, and for the next 7 years never sold a single thing
  • ·         It wasn’t until 1982 that Smith ran across Robert Heinlein’s Business Rules of Writing, followed the advice, started selling again and has never looked back  (http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/heinleins-business-rules/)


 o   1 – You Must Write

 o   2 – You Must Finish What You Start

 o   3 – You Must Refrain From Rewriting Except to Editorial Order

 o   4 – You Must Put It on The Market

 o   5 – You Must Keep It on The Market Until Sold

  • ·         Dean’s books:  Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Publishing and Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Indie Publishing.
  • ·         The magazine that Dean and Kristine Kathryn Rusch ran for 9 years, called Pulphouse.
  • ·         The Starfleet Corps of Engineers Series that Dean kicked off in the Star Trek Universe – a series about the people who follow up after Captain Kirk, cleaning up his messes (which was originally meant to be an eBook back in 2000 and knocked John Grisham off the eBook bestseller list when it was released)
  • ·         The challenge of writing within an existing restrictive universe, such as Star Trek, such as the reader having to hear Shatner’s voice when writing the character Captain Kirk.
  • ·         Smith’s lesson for writers creating character voice by paying really close attention to the differences in voice you can easily see created for the Star Trek characters of Kirk, Spock and McCoy
  • ·         Regency Romance as one of the only genres that Smith really can’t write in
  • ·         How Westerns, (the old West) and Science-Fiction are two of Smith’s go-two genres for writing.
  • ·         The FICTION RIVER anthology series that Smith edits with Kristine Kathryn Rusch and how this river of fiction brings in new talent along with some major names from the genre.  (For example, the latest FICTION RIVER property, Pulse Pounders, edited by Kevin J. Anderson, included a previously unpublished sci-fi story by Frank Herbert)
  • ·         The Oregon Coast workshops where the FICTION RIVER anthologies are derived that include a board of 6 Editors critiquing the stories live on stage and how that helps inform writers that what one editor rejects another editor might have bought
  • ·         How the workshops that Dean and Kris started originated as the “Denise Little” short story workshops; because of the similarity to the way that editor/agent Denise Little liked to teach these principles
  • ·         A bit about Smith’s Monthly Magazine, which has both a paper and an eBook edition
  • ·         How Smith sees the approximate 80,000 words that he writes each month as still “not enough”
  • ·         Smith’s ongoing Blog in which he shares daily insights: Writing in Public
  • ·         How the teaching that Smith does is part of his desire to try to give back or pay forward to the industry in the way that the industry and writers before Smith have given so much to him
  • ·         One of the biggest myths from indie publishing, regarding indie writers not being able to get their indie published books into bookstores and the “fairy dust” that has long been spread regarding that
  • ·         How Smith isn’t anti-traditional but is 100% pro smart-writer


Other Links

Dean Wesley Smith’s Books at Kobo

WMG Publishing Workshops

WMG Publishing Lectures

Fiction River Anthologies (website)

Fiction River Anthologies (Kobo)





Direct download: KWL_EP030_DeanWesleySmith.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:48pm PDT

KWL Director Mark Lefebvre interviews Kristine Kathryn Rusch, an award-winning writer of science fiction, fantasy, mystery and romance, at Superstars Writing Seminars.

Apart from her decades of writing and editing experience which includes being published in 14 different countries in 13 languages, Rusch co-runs a publishing business (WMG Publishing) with her partner Dean Wesley Smith and provides authors invaluable insights about writing and publishing through her popular blog series: The Business Rusch.

During the conversation, Mark and Kris talk about:

  • ·         Her recent book, Discoverability and how it was derived from about 6 months’ worth of blog posts outlining a bit about the history of publishing and how it relates to where we are today
  • ·         A disclaimer that, unless you’ve already published about 10 books, you aren’t likely to be able to use the advice from this book
  • ·         The Business Rusch, the blog in which Rusch provides valuable insights that many smart writers ensure they read every week
  • ·         Rusch has been a professional writer since she was sixteen years old and wrote an article for the local newspaper (insert appropriate and in-appropriate age jokes and laughing here)
  • ·         How Rusch and author Kevin J. Anderson met while in college as like-minded writers with similar goals and how that social group expanded into relationships they’ve both had with writer friends ever since
  • ·         How much Rusch gives back to the writing community and why she feels it’s important to pay it forward to other writers the way that she was provided help, insights and support from writers who took the time to help her
  • ·         The selfish reason why Rusch gives back – because she’s an avid reader and wants more great books to read
  • ·         The biggest pitfall that writers fall into – that they don’t know enough about the business of writing
  • ·         The reason why Rusch stopped editing full-time – how living in that critical space can affect your writing style and writing brain
  • ·         The concept of “reader cookies” – a term that Rusch learned from editor Gardner Dozois – as well as “anti-cookies” and how that can affect an editor
  • ·         Rusch’s love of “secret identity” stories
  • ·         The various different pseudonyms that Rusch has written under in various styles and genres, including Kristine Grayson, Kris Nelscott, and Kristine Dexter.
  • ·         How Rusch puts up a free short story on her blog every Monday that people can check out with no strings attached.
  • ·         Rusch’s statement of advice to beginning writers     


Mark then talks a bit more about the books for writers that Rusch has written and shares a personal experience about how reading the book Deal Breakers helped him in a very significant way when he was negotating a contract for one of his most recent books, Tomes of Terror.



Rusch's book: Discoverability

Rusch's book: Deal Breakers: Contract Terms Writers Should Avoid

The Business Rusch



Direct download: KWL_EP029_KristineKathrynRusch.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:36am PDT

Kobo Writing Life director Mark Lefebvre recently attended the 2015 Superstars Writing Seminars (Teaching you the business of being a writer) in Colorado Springs, CO. During the conference, he had a chance to interview several of the faculty and guest lecturers.

Presented here is Mark's interview with Superstars Faculty member James A. Owen a comic book illustrator, publisher and writer who is best known for the comic book series Starchild and the The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica novels.

Highlights from the discussion include:

  • How Owen got to know Kevin J. Anderson and was first invited to be a guest instructor of Superstars Writing Seminars and that led to a permanent Faculty position
  • The collaboration that Owen is working on with with Kevin
  • The regular Standing Ovation that Owen's "Drawing out the Dragons" talk receives
  • The speaking that Owen has done in Middle Grade schools, Art Schools and for Corporations
  • Mark pauses to express the wonder he feels whenever Owen gives a talk, harking on how James is an example of one of the ultimate types of oral storyteller
  • The mixture of storyteller and artist and how Owen self-identifies as a "Comic Guy"
  • The manner by which the story beautifully derives from the words and pictures coming together
  • How Owen puts the needs of others, of those he meets, those he works with, those who look to him for advice first
  • Owen's perspective on how all of us are born into this world without prejudice, without hate, without anger; but how some can become conditioned to that. The shewing of things into a positive light is a choice James makes as a way to perceive a life in an attempt to return to the more natural state
  • Owen's roll at Superstars in terms of a question he asks, which is "How can I serve you?"
  • The philosophy of deciding to make things happen or allowing things to happen to you and the manner by which Owen embraces that at all turns
  • Being in the depths of despair, and how Owen had posted publicly regarding where he had been and the demons he had been struggling with the previous year, his public posting of it and how, in the middle of it, he still had to do the "Drawing Out the Dragons" presentation on an empty gas tank
  • Owen's belief in the attendees of the Superstars Writing Seminars and how he knew that they all had his back and would not let him down
  • The difficulty most people have in not surfacing those personal struggles in believing that we won't be listened to and that we will be judged for our struggle.  Which is why Owen is so open about that
  • An intriguing depression-help line discussion that Owen was involved in when he'd been struggling with his own demons
  • A moment when a story Owen shares is so emotional that interviewer Lefebvre is overcome with emotion and is rendered speechless
  • Advice for writers: How no writer ever wrote a great book without first having finished it. Finish it and then it can be made better
  • Owen's next projects:  The Fool's Hollow novels (the novel versions of the stories told in Starchild) and The Hundred.

Mark then discusses the importance of drawing attention to mental health issues such as depression, which can affect writers and other creative types, outlining the need to discuss these things openly in an understanding way, rather than trying to blame those who suffer from mental health issues.  He mentions online resources that might help in Canada (Healthy Minds Canada), the US (Mental Health America) and the UK (Mental Health Foundation)


Direct download: KWL_EP028_JamesAOwen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:51pm PDT

In the fall of 2014, Louise Penny visited Kobo's home office in Toronto and was interviewed by Toronto editor and book enthusiast Jen Knoch for a special Kobo in Conversation video.

Introduced by Kobo's Director of Communications, Tracy Nesdoly, Knoch interviews Penny in front of a live audience about her writing, followed by a Q&A from the audience. In the discussion, Knoch and Penny discuss:

  • The difference between murder in a large city and murder in a the country in an idyllic small town setting like Three Pines
  • How Louise had written the original Three Pines novel thinking of it as a stand-alone novel that she wanted to write mostly for herself
  • How, when the book was originally written as an exploration of the world being dark (it was written post-9/11) and then modified to encompass a more warm and pleasant setting where the depth of friendship and the connections between people was more prominent – where the cast of characters would be people she would like to have as friends
  • How the inspiration for the first Three Pines novels was inspired from a few specific lines from the poet WH Auden
  • How it takes a whole lot more courage to be kind than it does to be cruel to others; and how the majority of characters of Three Pines are filled with so much compassion
  • Good people who might have done bad things and bad people who are also capable of doing good things
  • How Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is a balanced and complex character with flaws and strengths and yet is an incredible human being
  • How Penny tries to hint at and provide information in order to let the reader imagine, creating a rich reading experience
  • How Penny’s first draft can be akin to a “huge pile of merde” – and the cutting and tweaking and polishing that happen in the next drafts and how she does 5 or 6 drafts before anyone else (ie, her editor) sees the manuscript
  • Penny’s belief that there isn’t a single “right way” to approach writing – how different writers will find different approaches that work for them
    The dial-up connections in Three Pines are very much based on where Penny lives (where she only has a dial-up connection), and Penny’s expression that it sounds, when you are connecting, that the internet is in pain.
  • How the more high tech we become, the more we yearn for intimacy, and how that ties into the fictional setting of Three Pines quite wonderfully
  • The interesting news Penny rec’d from her agent when, upon selling the first book to a publisher, she had also sold the second and third books
  • How she was inspired to show the “critic” who had been writing the follow-up books the door and to let the Creative Spirit inside her write the first draft; and how important that was to free her up (and how that second book ended up winning the Agatha Award in 2013
  • The importance of giving yourself permission to make mistakes in that first draft
  • How Penny writes “Fair Play” mysteries in which the reader realizes, at the end, that all the clues were there for them to solve it.
  • How she knows, before she begins writing, who did it, how the person died as well as the overall theme of the book

After the interview, Kobo Writing Life Director Mark Lefebvre comments on a few of the things Penny mentioned and then talks about a new feature on Kobo Writing Life which allows authors the ability to enter the Volume Number for a Series into the system for their books.

Lefebvre explains the critical importance that clean metadata plays in assisting readers with finding the right book and how Kobo intends on using this clean data to assist with the automatic curation of series books for customers who adore them.


Direct download: KWL_EP027_LouisePenny.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:05pm PDT

Kobo and Kobo Writing Life have long been known for being open, social and collaborative. And this episode of the Kobo Writing Life podcast is no exception. In fact, to start 2015 off on the right foot, we thought it would be useful, in our ongoing communication with authors regarding the importance of making your work available on multiple platforms, and not just on Kindle, to help with that.

This episode contains a collection of tips curated from the Author Marketing Podcast by Author Marketing Institute founder Jim Kukral covering tips and things you might not know about publishing a book to Kobo, Nook (Barnes & Noble), iBooks (Apple) and Google Play.

Kobo Writing Life Director Mark Lefebvre sets up the various clips from Jim's fantastic podcast. The tips that Jim shares are from the following original podcasts

7 Things You Didn't Know About Publishing A Book on Google Play

1) The Play Store is popular
2) You can post your book for free
3) It has Permafree benefits
4) There's less competition
5) It takes patience
6) Keywords matter
7) For some authors it's #1 or #2

Read the full blog post with details or listen to the Author Marketing Podcast

6 Things You Didn't Know About Publishing A Book on Apple iBooks

1) Apple is the #2 US eBook retailer
2) You need a MAC or a 3rd party to publish
3) More readers have iBooks access
4) Content is curated
5) You need to show your support
6) There are features you can't find on Amazon

Read the full blog post with details or listen to the Author Marketing Podcast

6 Things You Didn't Know About Publishing A Book on Nook Press

1) Nook is on the decline
2) Indie authors dominate the bestseller list
3) You need to pay attention to format
4) Support has a bad reputation
5) Connections with merchandisers are key
6) It's still #2 for many authors

Read the full blog post with details or listen to the Author Marketing Podcast

5 Important Things To KNow About Publishing A Digital Book on Kobo

1) It has an international focus
2) Kobo took over for SONY
3) You can schedule promos ahead of time
4) There's a page for Free Book Promos
5) Success requires networking

Read the full blog post with details or listen to the Author Marketing Podcast


There's also discussion about the Author Marketing Live events as well as other great resources from AMI, including:



Direct download: KWL_026_ImportantThingsToKnowAboutDigitalPublishing.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:13am PDT

This podcast includes a roundtable discussion with Mark Lefebvre, Director of Kobo Writing Life as well as three other Kobo employees (Bessie, Camille and Shayna) who participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 2014.

The round table discussion includes the following:


  • ·         Camille talks about the fact that during last year’s attempt, she wrote about 25,000 words and that this year she wrote the entire 50,000 words. This year she took on a completely new project (rather than attempting the same one she attempted in 2013. Camille says she felt she got trapped in the wrong direction with last year’s project, and that might have been what prevented her from completing the novel. This year, she prepared a synopsis in advance, and that is what she felt helped her.
  • ·         This was Shayna’s first attempt at NaNoWriMo – though she has written novels before – and she wasn’t sure, going in, how she would do with the 30 day deadline involved.  Though she completed the 50,000 word limit, she is still, in no way finished the book she is working on.  (She estimates the book’s length will be in the realm of 100,000 words)
  • ·         Bessie, a self-confessed math nerd, admits this is the first time she has attempted writing of this nature. The whole experience was new to her and when it first started she was quite excited and wrote quite a bit, but then the “fun” aspect fell away, and so, too, did the writing. Her feeling was that the pressure of the deadline pushed her in the opposite direction – now that November and the NaNoWriMo deadline is out of the way, the writing has become fun for her again.
  • ·         Mark got to 50,000 words at the “11th hour” cranking out close to 18,000 words in the final two days, so did complete the goal, but is still several thousand words away from the conclusion of his novel.
  • ·         Shayna found that the deadline worked for her, despite her initial thoughts that it wouldn’t be a good experience for her.
  • ·         The group discussed the question about pre-planning and reveal who was a “pantser” and who was a “plotter” – who went just from notes and who created a chapter by chapter outline
  • ·         How the roadmap of the chapter by chapter outline helped Camille, even though she didn’t follow it precisely the entire time.
  • ·         The fun that can happen when your characters make their own decisions and take you to places or situations that you hadn’t originally intended or planned.
  • ·         How Shayna doesn’t always have her characters completely fleshed out in advance and how they discover their own voice as the story rolls out.
  • ·         There is a discussion regarding whether or not they approached writing their novels in a linear fashion (ie, from the beginning of the novel to the end of the novel in the manner it would be read), or if they skipped around and wrote a number of scenes to be pieced into order for the final draft later.
  • ·         Conventions of inserting notes into the manuscript in order to keep writing, such as Mark’s use of inserting square brackets [with a note like this] inside the text for spots in which he might need to do research later on and fill in gaps, or Shayna’s use of the letters TK as inserted into the text to denote spots that required filling in later (based on the principle that this is a very uncommon letter combination – thus, searching the document text later for ‘TK’ returns those spots you need to find and fill later.
  • ·         The importance of avoiding the research rabbit-hole that can happen to a writer, but with an example of how one of those rabbit holes actually helped inspire Mark with an entire scene (based just on looking at a particular area of Toronto using Google Maps)
  • ·         A discussion of what’s next for these particular book projects now that NaNoWriMo is over.
  • ·         Is it harder to write serious literary fiction as opposed to some of the other more “fun” genres
  • ·         The answer to the question: What was one thing that you learned from NaNoWriMo that you’re going to take forward in your writing?



Mark then discusses the concept of “winning” or “losing” NaNoWriMo, with a thought that, ANYTHING you wrote during NaNoWriMo, regardless of your final word count, means that you are a winner. Drawing from his own personal experience of having “not won” NaNoWriMo in 2006, yet managed to take the project he had started more than half a dozen years ago and work it into a novel that will be coming out in 2015, means the effort he put into it back then was part of the process of getting that novel done, and well worth it.




Shayna's KWL article entitled "Dear Writing: I Hate You!"

The KWL article Shayna wrote about the importance of daydeaming

Mark's appearance on The Writing Show podcast (in 2006) in which he did NOT win NaNoWroMo

Direct download: KWL_025_PostNaNoWriMoDiscussion.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:38pm PDT

This podcast includes the full and unabridged audio feed of the Kobo in Conversation interview with Kathy Reichs conducted by Bob Ramsay and hosted by Kobo's Senior Director of Communications Tracy Nesdoly.

The interview covers the following:

  • The “Big Bang Break” that happens in an investigation – that one moment when realization explodes and the search hurdles forward on the right trajectory.
  • The new YA writing she is doing in collaboration with her son
  • How, even though she has sold millions of copies of her novels around the world, has a television series based on her popular recurring character Temperance Brennan, she is still on tour and treats every new book with the same enthusiasm as her first book
  • Kathy’s perspective on the book publishing business and the promotion and sale of books in the next five years, with respect to the fact that recent UK stats of Kathy’s books show print sales up 30% and the electronic sales are up 68%
  • The importance of a presence on social media and the fact that Kathy does all her own Twitter
  • The difference between the book “Tempe” and the TV “Tempe” – and how on the TV show Teperance Brennan is a writer who writes a series about a fictional anthropologist named Kathy Reichs (a little tongue-in-cheek inside joke for her readers)
  • The electronic-only “Viral” series of stories that feature the Tempe’s great niece (Tory Brennan) and is about kids using science to solve cold cases.
  • How Bones Never Lie is Kathy’s second book about a female serial killer.
  • Behind the scenes on the inspiration for Kathy’s novel Monday Mourning, based on Kathy’s real-life experience involving the eerie discovery of bones in a cellar.
  • The terrible occupational hazard that comes with cases in which the victims are truly innocent.
  • The forensic work that Kathy has done in places such as Iraq, the World Trade Centre and an interesting trip in which Kathy and a group of other authors took a Black Hawk helicopter to thank front-line troups in Afghanistan.
  • What Kathy’s next book is going to be about and how it is drawn from intrigue and mystery from the Carolina Mountains.
  • How and when storytelling came into this scientist’s life, including “The Mystery in the Old House” a hand-written “novel” Kathy had written when she was 9 years old.
  • How a forensic examiner has to learn how to be objective and separate themselves from the personal in order to properly investigate and properly represent the victim.
  • Thoughts about the “Holy Grail” of forensic mysteries.
  • How Kathy writes “good old fashioned” murder mysteries, but where the key element in solving the mystery is science.


KWL Director Mark Lefebvre talks a bit about the concept of “write what you know” based on Kathy’s experience, the experience of author Melissa Yi and for writers who don't have first hand knowledge.  The key, of course, is research.  Mark references a great article by KWL’s Shayna Krishnasamy called “I’d Rather Not Be Talking to You but I’m Writing This Book: How a Shy Writer Tackles Research” in which she outlines research options for writers and Mark also draws from his own personal experience doing research for non-fiction (Tomes of Terror: Haunted Bookstores & Libraries) as well as fiction.



Kathy Reichs website

Bob Ramsay website

Kathy's books at Kobo






Direct download: KWL_024_KathyReichs.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:02pm PDT

Listen in as KWL Director Mark Lefebvre interviews nonfiction author Michael Rank, whose titles include HISTORY'S WORST DICTATORS and FROM MUHAMMED TO BURJ KHALIFA: A Crash Course in 2,000 Years of Middle East History. Mark and Michael discuss Michael's podcast, History in Five Minutes, self-publishing from a nonfiction author's perspective, and the challenges and rewards of translating self-published titles. Michael shares his thoughts about:

  • His History in Five Minutes podcast, where Michael works to share stories about things that challenge our assumptions about the past, and the people who "shouldn't be there" in a moment of history, according to our idea of that era of history.
  • Utilizing the podcast to develop a readership, connect with fans, and promote his books.
  • "Think global, act local." There are many opportunities for independent authors to go broad and deep: broad, by reaching a global audience through online sales and translations; and deep, by cultivating relationships with niche and local readers.
  • Michael recommends trying Babelcube for their translation services.
  • Through Babelcube, translators earn a share of royalties, so they are invested in your success. Michael has worked with translators to get help with foreign marketing, for example, through translating reviews, Facebook posts, or tweets.
  • It is important to educate yourself about writing and self-publishing, but mistakes and failures are inevitable as you work through the process of publishing. Accept and learn from these failures, and find the opportunities that work best for you. The podcast worked well for Michael, but he tried many other things along the way that did not.
  • Similarly, find a writing schedule that works for your life and goals. As a PhD candidate, Michael knows that he can realistically only write for one to two hours per day.

Following the podcast interview, KWL US Manager Christine Munroe shares an exciting update: for the second year in a row, KWL is sponsoring NaNoWriMo! Starting November 1, hundreds of thousands of writers will endeavour to write 50,000 words within one month. Several KWL and Kobo staff members are participating this year, carrying on our KoBoWriMo tradition. We'll keep the KWL blog updated with the trials and tribulations of our fearless WriMos, the great prizes we are offering this year, and more. Stay tuned!

Direct download: 23_KWL_EP_023_-_Michael_Rank.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:13am PDT

KWL EP 022 - Rainbow Rowell & Faith Erin Hicks

Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks met in person for the first time at Kobo’s home office in Toronto in May 2014 and were interviewed by Kobo Writing Life Director Mark Lefebvre about their individual works as well as the forthcoming collaborative graphic novel they are creating together and which will be coming from First Second books in 2016.

The interview includes the following:

  • ·         How these two “Twitter bro’s” just met a few minutes before the interview (at Kobo’s home office in Toronto in May 2014)
  • ·         How Landline was a return to writing adult novels for Rainbow
  • ·         The manner by which some of the travel, airport scenes and long distance phone calls to a family while traveling were somewhat predictive in Rainbow’s journey as a touring author (and what she called “having a ‘Landline’ moment.”
  • ·         The speculative fiction element of Landline and Rainbow’s love of reading science-fiction and the “geeky time travel” elements of the novel which features a “magic phone.”
  • ·         How Rainbow wrote the novel Fangirl during NaNoWriMo and how both that novel and Landline were the fastest books that Rainbow wrote
  • ·         Faith Erin Hicks sharing the fact that she is a giant library nerd
  • ·         The ARC of Fangirl that Faith rec’d from a colleague who knew that she would like it (and that it was the first book of Rainbow’s that Faith had read)
  • ·         The cross-over in writing between the two women and Faith Erin Hicks’ The Adventures of Superhero Girl comic
  • ·         Faith’s use of Canada in this 2014 Will Eisner Award winning comic – (professing to a lack of supervillains in Canada)
  • ·         The “geekiness” factor in The Adventures of Superhero Girl and the fact that Faith wrote it with a reader like her in mind (to fill a gap that she saw in the industry)
  • ·         The cameo appearance of Faith’s local neighbourhood comic book store (Strange Adventures)
  • ·         Faith’s Mom recognizing Faith as Superhero Girl and her real life “golden brother”
  • ·         Faith’s hilarious copyright notice for her work posted online and her belief that she wouldn’t have a career if it wasn’t for making her work available online for free
  • ·         The way that Rainbow and Faith first connected via Twitter
  • ·         The Twitter connection to First Second Books and how Rainbow and Faith’s collaborative book project came together (in a very “When Harry Met Sally” way)
  • ·         How collaboration between two creators can be like a weird marriage
  • ·         The “Sherlock” tangent that Rainbow and Faith can often follow
  • ·         The importance of giving yourself permission to do something new and, importantly, the permission to try something and fail
  • ·         The fact that there will definitely be kissing in their collaborative book (because Rainbow likes to write “kissing” and Faith wants to draw “kissing”)
  • ·         The great fan art that exists for Rainbow’s previous novels from artists such as Simini Blocker 
  • ·         The mutual admiration the two have for The X-Men (particularly the “blue” characters for Rainbow)
  • ·         Faith’s adoration of the character of Marrow from The X-Men (the least popular character of all time, according to polls)
  • ·         The addictive nature and magic that happens when collaborations work really well
  • ·         How someone at Groundwood Books tweeted (well before this project was conceived) that Rainbow and Faith we work well together
  • ·         How KWL will continue to follow the progress of their collaboration (due to come out in 2016)

Mark then talks about what can happen when writers are open, social and collaborative in nature, reflecting on how Rainbow and Faith were mutual fans of one another, had connected in an online community. Mark shares his own experiences from a recent conference in which he connected with other writers, editors, publishers, librarians and booksellers, and explains the beautiful serendipity that can happen when writers take advantage of the connections and opportunities that can arise from engaging with the community.


Rainbow's Website

Rainbow on Twitter

Rainbow on Tumbler

Rainbow's Books at Kobo


Faith's Website

Faith on Twitter

Faith on Tumblr

Faith's Books at Kobo

Direct download: KWL_022_RainbowRowell_FaithErinHicks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:39pm PDT