Kobo Writing Life Podcast

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 PDT

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 PDT

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 PDT

KWL EP 008 - Johnny B. Truant

Kobo Writing Life Director Mark Lefebvre interviews Johnny B. Truant author of the Fat Vampire series, and co-author of The Beam and Unicorn Western.  The two discuss:

  • How Johnny is continuing and concluding the Fat Vampire saga, which began as a joke during a discussion on the Self-Publishing Podcast, but became a series featuring a loveable, sympathetic and genuine hero (Reginald) rather than just a simple series of fat jokes.
  • Johnny’s evolution as a writer – specifically, how Johnny’s first novel, The Bialy Pimps, described as “Clerks” in a bagel shop, took him twelve years to publish it; compared to the incredible weekly word count he is currently producing (ie, 270,000 words for the Fat Vampire series in a single year)
  •  Giving oneself permission to simply write fast
  •  Johnny’s first collaborative novel project (along with Sean Platt) entitled Unicorn Western, and the hilarious origin story of how the series stemmed from a research argument on the Self-Publishing Podcast that led Dave to crack a joke about unicorns appearing in a western.
  • The Beam, an intellectual science-fiction series that Johnny is co-writing with Sean Platt
  • How outlining, or creating “beats” for a story helped Johnny to write fast
  • Johnny’s continuing experiments with his writing, including the layout and placement of the tools, such as keyboard, monitor, etc
  • Eminem as Johnny’s “go-to” musical artist to listen to while he is writing
  •  Johnny’s evolving philosophy on pricing strategies and funnels for writers, including making the first book in various series free
  • The call to action including choice of links to the other books and bundles in a book published as part of a series.
  • How the product image for The Beam books one through six is a three dimensional image conveys something one might normally only see when holding or looking at a physical boo
  • How there is no instant fix or easy solution, but that being successful requires thinking long term, being patient and involves a lot of hard work
  • The satisfaction of helping other writers that Johnny receives from producing the Self-Publishing Podcast

For this episode’s side-bar note, Mark speaks about social media strategies, including how it’s not about “broadcasting” a message (such as “please buy my book”) but, rather, engaging with and participating and adding to a community (with a reference to Episode 004 with Mitch Joel)



Direct download: kwl_008_Johnny_B_Truant.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:46pm PDT

KWL EP 007 - Jacqueline Garlick


Kobo Writing Life Director Mark Lefebvre interviews Jacqueline Garlick, author of Lumière: A Fantasy Steampunk Romance Adventure (http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/lumiere-1).

Mark and Jackie discuss:

  • Jacqueline’s background in writing and experience working with SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators - http://www.scbwi.org/ ) under the mentorship of Ellen Hopkins (http://ellenhopkins.com/)
  • How Ellen Hopkins helped promote and nurture a beginning writer, helping them to believe that they could do it
  • The Niagara Retreat and Conference event (http://niagararetreatandconference.com/) that Jacqueline is a driving force behind
  • The self-publishing approach that Jacqueline’s agent suggested and supports
  • Taking the long-term approach as a writer, in both the indie and traditional publishing spaces, determining where a project best fits in an industry that is in flux
  • How the X-Ray machine used to be seen as a cure for everything
  • Themes in the novel, such as:  Science created for good being done for bad; and the concept of inclusion for a person with an internal affliction (epilepsy) vs a person with an external affliction (visible birth defect)– and what is more terrible to live with
  • What it was like winning and participating in the Donald Maass Breakout Novel Intensive Scholarship (http://maassagency.com/)
  •  How self-publishing actually “takes a village” or, in Jackie’s case, a team that includes a photographer and an animator
  • The types of questions that are important to ask when hiring an editor, a designer, etc

As part of this episode’s soliloquy, Mark speaks about the importance of networking for writers, why attending local writing groups, conferences and seminars can be invaluable for a writer.


Jacqueline Garlick’s website: http://jacquelinegarlick.com/

Facebook Page : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jacqueline-Garlick/1395763840647691

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jackie_garlick

Lumière on Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/lumiere-1


Direct download: kwl_007_Jackie_Pynaert.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:34am PDT

KWL EP 006 - Chele Cooke

Diego Marano, UK Manager for Kobo Writing Life interviews Chele Cooke, author of Dead & Buryd. Diego is joined by KWL Director Mark Lefebvre.

The trio discuss the following:

  • Chele’s start of writing when she moved, at the age of 14, to San Francisco, where she began writing fan fiction in the Harry Potter universe
  • How Chele’s degree in creative writing opened her up to different types and styles of fiction
  • The effect of being short-listed for the Wicked Young Writers Award (http://www.wickedyoungwriters.com/)
  • Some mistakes made early in a writing career and how that helps a writer to learn
  • Chele’s previous challenge of piles of unfinished manuscripts and HOW she overcame that during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – November) by investing some time in outlining rather than just sitting down and writing without planning
  • OUTLINING was the key to Chele’s success in completing a novel
  • Chele’s plans to write the sequel to Dead & Buryd during NaNoWriMo this year (and the fact that Kobo Writing Life is a proud sponsor of NaNaWriMo 2013)
  • How being new in self-publishing is like being the new kid in school
  • The full story of how Chele & Mark met at London Book Fair, with zombies in the park, spontaneous hugs with strangers and Kobo Writing Life swag
  • One of Chele’s favourite characters in Dead & Buryd and how she looked forward to writing scenes involving this character
  • Embracing the challenge of killing off main characters and killing off the words in one’s first draft
  • How Chele wrote 21,000 words in three days (again, thanks to the aforementioned outline)
  • Chele’s book launch on October 5th at Big Green Book Shop (show up for a chance to win a Kobo eReader courtesy of Kobo Writing Life)

After the interview Mark talks about the importance of personal relationships and networking for a writer’s success. He calls out attending workshops, conferences and other in person events in order to make important connections. You never know when that connection you made might lead to a beautiful thing. Mark also talks about why looking for what you can do to help other writers is a great long term strategy for success.


Chele Cooke’s website

Chele Cooke on Twitter      

Chele's Pinterest page for Dead & Buryd

Chele's Facebook Page

Dead & Buryd on Kobo


Direct download: kwl_006_Chele_Cooke.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:38pm PDT

KWL EP 005 - Douglas Smith

Kobo Writing Life Director Mark Lefebvre interviews Douglas Smith, an award-winning Canadian author of fantasy, SF, horror and supernatural fiction with over 100 short story sales in 30 countries and two dozen languages.

Doug and Mark discuss the following:

•    Doug’s start to writing in 1995 stemming from a “mid-life” crisis
•    How Doug’s new novel The Wolf at the End of the World ties back to the very first short story he wrote in 1995, Spirit Dance
•    Doug’s prestigious career as a short-fiction writer (how he turned the sale of 40 short stories sold into re-selling them to 170 markets globally), the importance of taking advantage of reprint rights
•    Doug’s outstanding foreign language rights sales of short fiction:  25 languages in 30 countries
•    Ralon.com – online free short fiction market listings
•    Doug’s strategy for hiring a cover artist, an ePub formatting conversion company to create a consistent professional look and feel to generate a catalog of eBook versions of his short story fiction collection.  (And how he made his investment back within a year selling short stories in eBook version for 99 cents – where he keeps 35 cents on Amazon and 45 cents on Kobo per unit sold)
•    The adaptation of one of Doug’s short stories “By Her Hand She Draws You Down” into a short film of the same name.
•    Doug’s penchant for writing fiction that references Bruce Springsteen’s music
•    How Doug discovered he had written a vampire story only after reading customer reviews

Mark also talks about discovering ingenious use of social media by authors and cites author Chele Cooke’s intriguing use of Pinterest for her forthcoming novel Dead & Buryd as an example.  Here’s a link to Chele’s website  and her forthcoming book on Kobo.


Daniele Serra – Italian Artist

Doug's website: www.smithwriter.com
Twitter:  @smithwritr
Doug’s article on Selling Foreign Language Rights
Doug’s Foreign Market List
Doug’s Amazing Stories Blog Series

Short fiction recommendations to check out Doug’s writing:

If you like Horror check out By Her Hand She Draws You Down
If you like Urban Fantasy check out Spirit Dance
If you like post-apocalyptic science-fiction check out Memories of the Dead Man
If you like revenge/science-fiction/time-travel stories check out State of Disorder

If you like martial arts/Japanese fantasy check out The Red Bird

If you like modern thriller/fantasy, check out The Wolf at the End of the World

Direct download: kwl_005_Douglas_Smith.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:07pm PDT

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