News for Self-Published Authors

Very exciting news from Kobo this week:

PRESS RELEASE:

Kobo Writing Life Delivers Best-in-Class Open, Collaborative Self-Publishing Portal
Easy-to-use, data driven portal provides authors with reader insights never before seen in self-publishing

New York City, NY (Book Expo America), June 5, 2012Kobo Inc., a global leader in eReading, today introduced its self-publishing portal Kobo Writing Life for independent authors and publishers. Designed to help writers become the best authors and publishers possible, Kobo Writing Life offers key reader insights and marketing tools to engage with fans on a global scale.

Another step in the company’s focus and support of open standards, Kobo Writing Life uses industry standard ePub files giving readers more flexibility to choose on what computer, smartphone or eReading device they want to read the self-published titles. At no cost to the author, Kobo Writing Life titles are published easily using a revolutionary self-service portal in minutes. The platform is designed to put the power of all aspects of publishing – from price setting to advertising to marketing – in the hands of the writers helping them to maximize sales.

“When we started working on Kobo Writing Life, the first thing we did was ask authors what they felt was most important in a self-publishing platform,” said Michael Tamblyn, EVP Content & Merchandising, Kobo. “They were incredibly clear: openness, control, great royalties, incredible reporting and global reach. It should be powerful but drop-dead simple. And there should be people running it who care about writers -- not like dropping your treasured manuscript into a machine. We can't wait to see what authors will do with this.”

Unlike competitive self-publishing tools, Kobo allows authors to set their book price to “FREE” at any time without restrictive exclusive agreements, in addition Kobo pays 10% higher royalties on sales in many growing international markets and allows authors much more freedom on pricing. The company’s focus on Social Reading will also give authors the opportunity to connect with readers through its Kobo Author Notes program enabling writers to provide commentary within the book for readers to enjoy as well as through Kobo’s free apps, integrated with Facebook Timeline.

“Kobo has designed an intuitive dashboard that is easy to use and loaded with features important to me as an author,” said Bella Andre, best-selling author of the Sullivan series. “The ability to see the performance of my books across different markets helps me to understand how my advertising and promotions are influencing sales so that I can engage with more readers around the world.”

“Self-publishing is an important way for even established authors to strengthen a personal relationship with fans by offering them new or backlist titles that might not be suitable for large-scale print publishing,” said Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times bestselling author. “The technology behind platforms like Kobo Writing Life is offering ways for writers to reach specific audiences easily. Some books are suitable for release by a major publisher, while others are better suited to a targeted approach.”

Kobo Writing Life, currently being tested by 50 authors in its beta program, will be available in English at the end of June for the more than 1,600 authors already signed up. Additional languages and country-specific support will be added in the coming year. To sign up for Kobo Writing Life, please visit www.kobo.com/writinglife and check out the tutorial videos and FAQ.

From Marie: I'm really excited by this new platform coming from Kobo. I love their philosophy on freebies. It is our book so we should be able to do what we want with it. Great thinking! I recently undertook the process to go direct to Kobo and have found their team to be awesome to work with. Looking forward to the new Writing Life platform!

Here's a great article from self-published author Jessica Park that I found really interesting and well written called "How Amazon Saved My Life." I'd love to hear your thoughts about the Kobo platform as well as Jessica's article in the comments!

Read Bob Mayer's report on Book Expo America for some interesting insight into where the innovation is taking place in publishing today. Getting books to readers, now there's a "novel" thought!

Finally, a big congrats to my friend Bella Andre who hit the USA Today list at no. 111 with her recent book, IF YOU WERE MINE! I love to see self-published authors making the lists! There has to be a special level of satisfaction in knowing you did it all by yourself. Congrats, Bella!