Kobo Writing Life Podcast

Launched in 2012, BookBub has become the essential marketing platform for authors and publishers to promote their eBooks to millions of power readers around the world. We jumped at the chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at BookBub, how they select eBooks for their daily emails, and what you can do as an author to make the most of this incredible marketing tool. You don't want to miss a minute of this conversation between Christine Munroe and BookBub's Carlyn Robertson.

Direct download: KWLPod_Bookbub_FullEpisode1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:51am PDT

Rachel Amphlett, bestselling crime and thriller writer from Brisbane, Australia, was at Kobo HQ earlier this fall as part of an international author tour. Rachel spoke to Mark Lefebvre about:

  • Rachel’s re-introduction to writing after a long lapse and the underlying concept for a story that just wouldn’t let go
  • The wonderfully inspirational Christmas gift from Rachel’s husband Nick and his keen words of advice on how to deal with that story (which became the novel WHITE GOLD)
  • The Italian publisher who approached her wanting to purchase Italian language rights to that first published novel
  • The mindset shift that requires discipline on a daily basis in order to hit the daily word count first thing before all the other business and marketing tasks take hold
  • The necessary step of turning off the wifi and putting her phone in another room when it is time to be serious and get down to writing
  • The Gantt chart Rachel uses to outline and stick to her twelve month pre-planned publishing schedule
  • Her latest book, the November 2017 release HELL TO PAY and how it wraps up an underlying sub-plot that had been developing over the previous three novels in the series
  • How emails and feedback from readers around the world have helped Rachel to “up” her game when writing the books in her two series
  • The decision Rachel has made to use British English versus American English for different books depending on where they are set
  • How Rachel’s Canadian audience on Kobo was established well before any of her other international audiences started to grow
  • How being in Kobo Plus in the Netherlands and Belgium have helped Rachel sell more books in those territories than ever before
  • Her advice for beginning writers, which include “don’t give up” and “do your homework”
  • Nick’s advice for the spouses of writers


Direct download: KWL_ep_098.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:19am PDT

Mark Lefebvre interviews James Alan Gardner and Spider Robinson, co-editors of the Tesseracts Twenty: Compostela anthology.  Compostela means “field of stars” and is most commonly known from the Santiago de Compostela, which, for more than 1,000 years, has attracted pilgrims to walk to the cathedral that holds St. James the apostle's relics. The stories in this anthology in their own way tell the tale of futuristic travelers who journey into the dark outer (or inner) reaches of space, searching for their own connections to the past, present and future relics of their time.

Direct download: KWL_EP097_JamesAlanGardner_and_SpiderRobinson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:19am PDT

It’s day 8 of National Novel Writing Month - perfect timing to listen to some excellent inspiration from Grant Faulkner, Executive Director of NaNoWriMo. He just published a nonfiction book, Pep Talks for Writers, and Christine Munroe chatted with him about how to stay dedicated to daily creativity, in November and beyond.


Direct download: Grant_Faulkner_podcast_-_2017-11-07_9.43_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:50pm PDT

KWL Director Mark Lefebvre interviews bestselling author M.L. Buchman (“Matt”) about his non-fiction title specifically targeted for writers and other creators, Estate Planning for Authors: Your Final Letter (and why you need to write it now), a step by step guide on how authors can make sure their legacy remains profitable for decades for their heirs after they are gone.

During the interview, Mark and Matt discuss:

  • The approximate 120 titles that Matt has written (about half full length books, the other half short stories) in the past several years
  • The 20 “sweet romance” versions of his romance titles that were re-drafted to remove the adult situations and adult words for a more “wholesome” audience. Described as: “This “Sweet Version” is the exact same story as the original, with no foul language and the bedroom door—even when there isn’t one—tastefully closed.”
  • How Kristine Kathryn Rusch, after hearing Matt state that he couldn’t write short, commissioned him to write a short story for an anthology she was editing (Fiction River: Christmas Ghosts) – showing the power that a good editor can have a pulling excellence out of a writer
  • The way that the short fiction Matt writes can help funnel readers into the various series novels he has written
  • The free short stories that Matt posts to his website for free on the 15th of every month (called “the Ides of Matt”) and how he uses that to earn money (both the individual short stories available on all retailer websites as well as in compendium editions later on)
  • How Matt’s book on estate planning came out of the fact that his wife and child were terrified about how they might manage his IP should something happen to him
  • A will might control who gets what, but it doesn’t usually include instructions on how to manager that person’s IP (Intellectual property)
  • The examples of estates that were not necessarily handled well as well as examples of estates that were managed spectacularly (how Priscilla Presley turned a near-bankrupt Elvis estate into a multi billion dollar legacy
  • The 14 page letter that explains, “in English” (ie, explaining publishing industry concepts that most non-publishing people don’t understand) how to manage the various elements of an estate, particular one that includes assets from an author publishing digitally
  • How this process and the “final letter” works not only for writers, but for anybody who has an IP that can be passed along to heirs

After the interview, Mark reiterates the importance of thinking about the future and about the long term and reminds authors the importance of putting a plan in place to ensure that their heirs are equipped to properly manage their IP when they are no longer around. He then reminds writers of the forthcoming NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and encourages writers to take advantage of such “global” activities where writers can mutually support and cheer one another on to get that first draft of a novel written in a 30 day period.


Links of Interest

M.L. Buchman’s books on Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/search?query=M.L.%20Buchman&fcsearchfield=Author

M.L. Buchman’s website:  http://www.mlbuchman.com/

M.L. Buchman on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mlbuchman

M.L. Buchman on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mlbuchman

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)


Bestselling author M.L. Buchman started the first of over 50 novels and as many short stories while flying from South Korea to ride across the Australian Outback. All part of a solo around-the-world bicycle trip (a mid-life crisis on wheels) that ultimately launched his writing career. His true love in military romantic suspense, with contemporary romance, thrillers, and SF all vying for second place.



If you enjoy this podcast and would like to automatically download episodes as they go live – even before the show notes are posted to the Kobo Writing Life website – subscribe to the RSS feed via your favourite pod-capturing platform (such as iTunes) using this link: RSS feed for Kobo Writing Life Podcast.

Direct download: KWL_Podcast_EP_095_EstatePlanningforAuthors_with_MLBuchman.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:18pm PDT

Heather Tucker, author of The Clay Girl, had an entire career as a nurse, teacher, bereavement counselor, and professional writer, before she discovered that “playing with words is more fun than working with them.” What is it like to publish a debut novel at age 62?

  • She kept an emotional journal from a young age to age 50. She was going on a big trip to Asia and taped a note on the boxes that said, “If the plane goes down, do not read. Burn these.” Then she decided to take them outdoors up North and burn them herself. She didn’t lose her stories, she opened them up and set them into the universe, freed herself to pull them back and rework them in a new way
  • Now she does positive journaling, putting actual pen to paper, drawing and painting. If her plane goes down now, she has boxes of writing and journals that she does want to share
  • Her first books as a kid were the Junior Classics Collier’s Encyclopedia set. She felt intimidated by reading, until her grade 2 teacher gave her a copy of Pippi Longstocking. After that she was obsessed with waiting for the Bookmobile to come and bring new stories
  • How do you get started writing fiction at age 50? She joined a local writing group that has become her “tribe.” She reapplied to school for creative writing, and crashed the registration system because her student number was so outdated.
  • Michael Redhill taught one of her courses. One day after class she told him she was afraid she’d waited too long to start writing. He replied, “It’s never too late to start writing. Some start too early, but it’s never too late.” Now she feels she’s not late to the writing party, she just was conducting 50 years of research before she got started.
  • For any baby boomers considering starting to write fiction, it’s NOT too late. “You are the people with stories to tell. You’ve gathered stories through whatever your life experience has been.”
  • How she deals with negative feedback. She has to fight the urge to explain and defend her story. But she’s trying to hear the criticism and improve for the sequel
  • How she found her publisher, ECW Press: a mix of serendipity and luck. She didn’t set out to be a published author, she just wanted to write for fun
  • What it means to her to be a Canadian author, and for The Clay Girl to be considered “CanLit”
  • One of the most interesting part of the publishing process has been learning that readers are particular about HOW they want to read – eBooks, large-print, library, audio. Authors need to provide every format so that customers can keep discovering wonderful books in the form and location they want
  • When she started writing fiction, she would wake up at 2am and “give the best hours of my day” to writing before she went to her day job
  • You can make connections and have experiences no matter where you live and what you do. As long as you’re experiencing (and not just observing), you’re gathering stories to inform your writing
  • “There’s enough despair already in the world. I want to leave behind a legacy of hope.”


Direct download: Heather_Tucker_podcast_-_2017-10-10_4.05_PM.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:20pm PDT

Episode 93 includes a series of short interviews that KWL Director, Mark Lefebvre conducted at the 2017 When Words Collide conference in Calgary, Alberta.

Mark speaks with authors Robert J. Sawyer and C.C. Humphreys as well as marketing consultant Mickey Mikkelson about digital publishing, global eBook pricing, author promotion strategies and successful author readings.


Robert J. Sawyer

Robert J. Sawyer — called "the dean of Canadian science fiction" by The Ottawa Citizen and "just about the best science-fiction writer out there these days" by The Denver Rocky Mountain News — is one of only eight writers in history (and the only Canadian) to win all three of the science-fiction field's top honors (the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award and The John W. Campbell Memorial Award) for best novel of the year.

Rob talks about how he sold the North American rights for his twenty-third novel, Quantum Night, to Penguin Random House, but retained the rest of world rights and took advantage of Kobo Writing Life to publish the international eBook edition of the book. (Link to the book in UK used) He shares the wisdom of lower eBook prices, comparing his own global sales of the title at $4.99 USD version the $18.99 price point that Penguin Random House set.


Mickey Mikkelson (Creative Edge Publicity)

Creative Edge Publicity specializes in arranging events such as book signings, library or school presentations, or any  event related to the arts in general. They represent many book events including When Words Collide and have a strong belief and advocate for the independent and traditional artist.

In his role at Creative Edge supporting authors with their marketing efforts, Mickey shares some of the things his company does helping both traditionally published and self-published authors. Mickey offers advice on what authors should consider before approaching a marketing team for support for their efforts and the fact that there is always a unique approach for each individual author.


C.C. Humphreys

Chris (C.C.) Humphreys has acted all over the world and appeared on stages ranging from London’s West End to Hollywood’s Twentieth Century Fox. He has written ten historical novels, including the most recent Plague and Fire. Tales of religious fundamentalist serial killers set against the wild events of 1665 to 1666, London, Plague won Canada’s Crime Writers’ Association Best Crime Novel Award, the Arthur Ellis in 2015. In the Summer of 2016, both novels spent five weeks in the Globe and Mail Top Ten Bestseller list.

Along with being a bestselling author, Chris is also a stage, film and television actor, who shares some tips for writers on doing public readings of their work. He suggests that an author’s goal in doing a reading should be to really engage with that audience and also to remember that the audience is there to “love” and cheer for the author’s success. He also suggests selecting a passage that is active and character driven as well as modulating the tone of their voice throughout the reading.



Mark then talks about the concept of authors taking full advantage of both traditional publishing and independent publishing opportunities, going into a full breakdown of the revenues earned from a single short story of less than 900 words. "Almost" the story in question, appeared in several self-published collections but also is contained in Bumps in the Night, One Hand Screaming and the Crimes, Capers & Rule-Breakers Bundle. but he also sold non-exclusive reprint rights to the story to McGraw-Hill Ryerson for their iLit program.

Based on the fact that the professional rate for a short fiction rates is typically somewhere in the $0.05 to $0.6 per word range for most writers, Mark calculates what the per word earnings for this story have been, landing somewhere between $0.40 and $1.15 per word depending on the various income streams for that story. Ultimately, a story whose original pro fiction rate sale would have been approximately $44.00 ended up earning more than $1000.

Of course, this is only a single short story, but as part of a larger strategy with plenty of other assets in play, consider how that might add up for authors who take full advantage of exploiting their rights and exploring all options available for earning money on their writing.  (See the original blog details here)


Links of Interest:

Robert J. Sawyer's eBooks on Kobo

Robert J. Sawyer's audiobooks on Kobo (Listen for FREE with Kobo Audiobooks trial)

Robert J. Sawyer's website (SFWriter.com)

C.C. Humphrey's eBooks on Kobo

C.C. Humphrey's website

Creative Edge Publicity website

When Words Collide Website


If you enjoy this podcast and would like to automatically download episodes as they go live – even before the show notes are posted to the Kobo Writing Life website – subscribe to the RSS feed via your favourite pod-capturing platform (such as iTunes) using this link: RSS feed for Kobo Writing Life Podcast.

Direct download: KWL_Podcast_EP_093_InterviewsfromWWC2017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:02pm PDT

In Episode 92, Mark Lefebvre interviews Charles de Lint, who is the author of more than seventy books. Renowned as one of the trailblazers of the modern fantasy genre, Charles is the recipient of the World Fantasy, Aurora, Sunburst, and White Pine awards, among others. De Lint is a poet, folklorist, artist, songwriter and performer. He has written critical essays, music reviews, opinion columns and entries to encyclopedias, and has been the main book reviewer for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction since 1987.

In the interview, Mark and Charles talk about:

  • The underlying theme for de Lint’s new book, The Wind in His Heart – accepting the past and how community and a connection with others can help us surmount the challenges we face in the present – but only if we can teach ourselves to open up and trust those around us
  • How long de Lint has worked on the book through its various stages
  • The connections this novel has to de Lint’s popular Newford novels and stories
  • The pattern of writing adult novel, young adult novel and then repeating that pattern until it was suggested to de Lint that he focus on the YA market for a while
  • The readership of de Lints work, which spans from 12 to 82 years and how various folks have started with different introductory books to his work and then stuck with his writing no matter which direction he has taken
  • The factors that led to de Lint experimenting with indie publishing; such as the fact that the digital/eBook rights to his books were never sold to a publisher
  • The comparison between independent authors and independent musicians
  • The true hybrid approach for The Wind in His Heart, with de Lint self-publishing the eBook as well as a standard trade paperback POD version of the book, but how PS Publishing, a specialty publisher in the UK is released a limited edition hardcover version of the book and how de Lint’s agent ended up selling the audiobook rights to a major audiobook publisher
  • The great success of an independent musician such as Ani DiFranco - https://www.righteousbabe.com/
  • The hopeful and optimistic viewpoint that de Lint draws when comparing the music industry to the publishing industry
  • Some of the music that de Lint listened to when working on the novel, and how he believes that the southwest style music of Calexico (http://www.casadecalexico.com/) encapsulates the mood of the novel quite well
  • How de Lint got into writing book reviews, interviews with authors and articles about writers and the reasons behind putting all that work into it
  • Places where de Lint hangs out, such as the Facebook group The Mythic Café, with Charles de Lint and Company (https://www.facebook.com/groups/114379772019551/)
  • The launch events for the novel: Ottawa (Sept 19th at The Savoy Brasserie - https://savoybrasserie.com/_ ) Toronto Oct 21st at Bakka Phoenix - http://www.bakkaphoenixbooks.com/)
  • A few of the projects that de Lint is working on now for future release and the liberating joy he has experienced being able to follow his muse and just write the books he would like to write (rather than trying to follow a requirement from a contract)
  • De Lint’s advice for beginning writers


Mark then talks about the “true hybrid” approach that de Lint has taken on his writing and publishing journey – effectively and efficiently dividing up the rights of his works, as well as the optimism not only inherent in de Lint’s new novel, but in his overall approach to the opportunities available through digital publishing, and what writers can learn from embracing that spirit of hope and hard work.


Links of Interest

Direct download: KWL_Podcast_EP_092_CharlesdeLint.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:12am PDT

KWL Episode 90 is a special episode featuring the announcement of the launch of Kobo Audiobooks, narrated by Jim Dale.

Let me tell you a story. Do you remember when you first fell in love with reading? Well you weren't really reading, were you? No, your passion for books began quite another way. It was listening, wasn't it? To a story. Yes; your love of reading got started when you were being read to. Could there be any six words that have more anticipation behind them than: "Let me tell you a story."

Introducing Audiobooks for the Free Kobo App with a beautifully designed, easy to use player.

One home for all your ebooks and audiobooks.

It's your whole reading life - always with you!

Start your free trial today and embrace the art of listening.

For authors looking to get their audiobooks loaded to Kobo's catalog, there are currently three main ways to do that via distributors:

If you are using a third party distributor for audiobooks, be sure to check with them to make sure they are distributing your titles to Kobo.

The KWL development team is looking into how KWL authors might be able to load their audiobooks directly to Kobo's catalog, but there currently isn't a direct upload solution.

Direct download: KWL_Podcast_EP_091_SpecialAudioAnnouncementEpisode.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:48am PDT

Episode 90 of the Kobo Writing Life Podcast features an interview with Dennis Weichman, (AKA, Mr. W.), a retired math teacher who has brought his passion for teaching and tutoring into the digital realm with YouTube channel and study guides published to Kobo.

Mr W. is interviewed by KWL Director Mark Lefebvre. In the interview, they discuss:

  • How, after he retired in 1998, Dennis began tutoring students in math and he recognized something that was lacking for many of the people he was working with were enough examples.
  • His compilation of those examples into a print workbook that was made available via a local school uniform company’s retail store
  • The request from students for him to compile more math books for even more grades
  • The various high school math subjects covered and how they are all based on the Ontario curriculum
  • How he created math tutorial videos and the YouTube channel with more than 50 videos and 100,000 views from 150 different countries
  • Advice for those who are either frightened of or are not comfortable with math
  • Relating math to things that people understand or are interested in/passionate about
  • The “hand-written” appearance of the math examples and how that personalizes the content for users
  • How Dennis had to work really hard at math himself, and how that perhaps affected the way that he teaches it to others
  • The former student that helped Dennis get his books into eBook format

You can watch the full video on YouTube here.

After the interview, Mark talks about writing specifically for a niche market, and uses both Mr W.'s example as well as a personal example to outline the process.

His talk includes how focusing on a niche market/niche audience usually involves identifying and resolving a problem or an issue for that target audience as well as the application of personal experience and knowledge as well as personal passion to creating and publishing that book.



Direct download: KWL_Podcast_EP_090_MrWMath.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:28am PDT