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Kobo Writing Life Podcast

The Kobo Writing Life Podcast brings you insights and inspiration for growing your self-publishing business. We feature interviews with bestselling authors and industry experts, who share practical advice you can use to improve your writing and sell more books. Hosted by the Kobo Writing Life team, you'll also get the latest news and updates about Kobo and the KWL platform. Self-publish today at

Apr 15, 2015

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)