by Lori Hetherington
Hello Camille and welcome! Thank you very much for taking time for this interview.
Hello Lori and EWWA! Thanks for having me for this interview.
Spring is a busy period for European book fairs (Paris, Bologna, London, Turin). What trends are you seeing in publishing?
After English-language markets, self-publishing has blossomed in Europe and is becoming a major trend. I attended Leipzig, Paris and London Book Fair in March-April and I witnessed the same vibrancy there among the indie community. Many indie authors were there, to meet either together, or with book industry professionals, or with readers. The press was also keener than it was before to cover this topic and to talk about these new authors. Finally, the fairs’ organizers were also opening the floor to conferences and discussion panels about self-publishing with indie authors and professionals. For example, I was invited by the French Authors’ Society to talk about self-publishing at Paris Book Fair. In London, Kobo Writing Life hosted three discussion panels about writing and publishing. One of the talks gathered four bestselling indie writers from the US and the UK — Diane Capri, Jillian Dodd, CC Mackenzie, Raine Miller — who talked about the collective initiatives they had been leading, proving that authors can successfully unite in digital age.
Are there any upcoming developments at Kobo that you can tell us about?
On April 7, Kobo announced the release of a brand new eReader, the Kobo Glo HD, which offers the highest resolution screen available on the market, with a built-in ComfortLight, at the lowest price, including easy registration and a concierge service. Available for sale in Italy on June 1, the Kobo Glo HD is a great option for both print booklovers considering eReading and digital enthusiasts alike.
We also have made some major improvements to our website: readers can now access the first pages of each book in one click (“instant previews”) and they can also post their ratings and reviews for each book directly on the ebook’s page on Kobo. This can be shared on social media as well. We started experimenting new type of deals and promotion like “Buy More Save More” where readers can buy 2 ebooks and get a third one for free, among a selection of titles. All of these changes are here to help readers browsing the Kobo catalogue and picking their next read.
Frequently I hear writers say they are “all thumbs” when it comes to computers and don’t have the slightest idea how to upload their book for self-publishing. Is it really such a scary proposition?
Self-publishing is not a scary process today, thanks to the evolution of technology and the emergence of easy-to-use platforms like Kobo Writing Life. Our platform has been designed by authors for authors: our director Mark Lefebvre is himself an author and knows what authors need. They want to focus on their writing first. That’s the reason why we came up with an intuitive and accessible platform where authors can publish their ebooks in four easy steps:
– First you need to describe your ebook: title, subtitle, author, cover, synopsis and categories of the book;
– Second you upload the ebook content: we sell ebooks as ePub format, which is the open and universal format used today in digital publishing. Authors can either upload their ePub file if they already have one, or upload their Word document that will be automatically converted into ePub by our platform;
– Then you choose the ebook’s rights: territorial rights as well as file protection (with or without DRM). Authors generally go for worldwide rights, in order to reach as many readers as possible in the world;
– Last you set the price of the ebook in the currency of your country. You can also convert this price in the currency of the other countries where you want your ebook to be available. Here you can also set promotional prices (including free) any time you want.
Once you are done with this process, you select “Publish” and your ebook will appear shortly after on the Kobo site everywhere in the world, as well as on our retail partners’ sites like Mondadori in Italy.
Pricing is an important element when self-publishing and there seem to be a number of strategies. What are some of the considerations an author should keep in mind?
Generally speaking, indie authors price their ebooks cheaper than the publishers; which helps readers discover their titles more easily. However, they should be aware not to price their books too low because that may be synonym for bad quality for some readers. Plus authors have been working hard on their writing; therefore they should get a decent price for their book.
Usually for fiction, indie titles are priced between 0,99€ (for a short story) to 4,99€ depending on the genre of the book.
Ideally, authors should use dynamic pricing at most in order to experiment with price and see what works best: setting a release price for the first week, doing a promo price when the next book in the series is out, trying free for a short period of time to get attention on the series.
The good thing with ebook is that you can change any parameter whenever you want: nothing is carved in stone. Hence the use of dynamic pricing and promotion.
Thank you very much Camille for your time and fascinating insights. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you.