Today we welcome Christine Munroe, head of Kobo Writing Life (KWL), Kobo’s free self-publishing platform, to the Bublish blog. Christine will be joining us on Wednesday, March 21, for a free webinar to talk about what’s new and exciting at KWL and what’s driving book sales at Kobo today. If you’d like to register for this free webinar, you’ll find the link at the end of Christine’s post. Christine, take it away…
Thanks! Great to be here. For years, Kobo has been helping authors reach an international readership after they upload their eBooks through our free self-publishing platform, Kobo Writing Life. Uploading is fast and easy, and our dedicated author care team is on hand to help with any questions you may have along the way.
After your titles are live on the Kobo store, what steps should you take to maximize your potential? We looked at our biggest author success stories and put together a list of 10 strategies they have in common:
- Establish an online presence and a cohesive brand. Even if you’re just starting out, set up a website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a newsletter, all of which you can do yourself, very affordably. Make it easy for readers to find and connect with you and lay the groundwork for fast and easy ways to communicate with them.
- Hire professionals to design your covers, and to edit and proofread your books. Keep writing your next book and let the pros help you put your best foot forward with each new release, so your books can stand up alongside all of the other professionally designed and edited books in your genre.
- Do your research. Know what unique opportunities each retailer offers and take advantage of them. For example, through KWL you can distribute directly to OverDrive and reach library readers. We also have a Promotions tool where you can submit your own titles directly for Kobo marketing opportunities.
- Create a publishing distribution plan and stick with it. If you’re publishing to several retailers, think of your revenue as a portfolio and work to grow each channel, in each format that you’ve created for your books.
- Think globally. Create a marketing strategy that targets each retailer, and the many countries beyond your backyard where your readers (and potential fans) live.
- Share links to every retailer with each new release—on your website, in your newsletter, and on social media. Make it easy for Kobo readers to buy books where they want to buy them!
- Engage with the author community, and don’t view other authors as competition. Cross-promotion, newsletter swaps, co-writing, and exchanging ideas with other authors are amazing ways to grow your business, gain fans, and make new friends. The indie community is large and supportive – take advantage of it.
- Attend conferences. There’s nothing like engaging face-to-face with other authors in your genre, meeting retailers (make sure to introduce yourself, and follow up by email afterwards to stay on our radar!) and getting out of your everyday element to get inspired. If you can’t afford the money or time to travel, there are plenty of online conferences and webinars you could consider, but make attending one conference per year a goal.
- Stay business-savvy. Hire a CPA to handle your taxes. Read every contract and terms & conditions form carefully. If you co-write a book, create a contract first to outline each authors’ expectations and obligations. Don’t assume you’ll always earn what you’re earning today; set aside a safety net and re-invest the rest back into your business. Include your writing business in your will and estate planning. You’ve worked hard to create your work—protect your rights and revenue.
- Keep writing! Our most successful authors have at least 3 books available, which helps drive sales; readers love to know that if they enjoy a book, there will be more available from the author to dive into next. The phrase “more books sells more books” is absolutely true. Create writing goals that are realistic for you and your life and stick to them. Even if you can only write 500 words a day, that’s 180k words per year, or 3 novellas.
And finally, although these 10 tips hold true for many successful authors, avoid the trap of comparing yourself to others. Set your own goals and do what feels right for you and your books. The joy of independent publishing is having control over your writing journey—blaze the trail that you want to walk down. Happy writing!
If you want to learn more about KWL, check out our help centre, or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on our Blog. Email us at email@example.com. You can also check out the recording of my Bublish webinar, “Grow Your Global Sales with Kobo.” I share what’s new as well as what’s driving book sales at Kobo. Click the link below to watch.