Kobo has finally taken the wraps off of its newest project, Kobo Writing Life. The development of this self-publishing initiative has taken well over a year to develop and is finally released. It gives authors the ability to convert an existing Microsoft Word file to an EPUB format. It also gives you the power to download your file and distribute it to friends and family, or even use it for self-promotion.
There are three major aspects of Kobo Writing Life for authors: Dashboard, eBooks, and the Learning Center.
The main Dashboard gives you an indication on how your books are doing on a regional or global basis. It also gives you personalized purchase activity on a day by day basis. You can track your sales by individual country and how many sales originate from particular locations. Being able to track book sales country by country is currently one of the favorite options by authors participating in the beta program.
The Kobo Learning Center is your online destination to find guides, tutorials, and updates on Writing Life. The main page of the learning center gives you some videos that outline the service and provide some basic guidance on how to use Writing Life. There are some great books that discuss ALL self-pub options, including info on how to self-pub at KDP, B&N, and Smashwords. One book we recommend is written by global indie author M.A. Demers (available EVERYWHERE through every major e-retailer’s catalog) and is one of the best all inclusive self-pub help/advice/support books out there.
The eBooks section is the most important aspect of Writing Life and lets you check out books in Progress, Delisted/Inactive, and On Sale books. When you upload a new book, the submission process is very clean and elegant. You simply input all of the necessary fields such as Name, Title, Cover Art, Series Name, Imprint, Publishers Name, and others. Once you input all descriptions and cover art, you can upload your book in PDF, DOC, TXT, or EPUB format. Writing Life will then convert the book for you and show you examples of how it looks. One factor that authors are loving so far is the optional ability to employ Digital Rights Management. You can either opt into protecting your book with encryption or make it DRM-FREE!
Once your book is uploaded into the system, you can setup your book to be sold in different countries. Some authors only own the rights in specific countries and other indie authors can opt into worldwide distribution. For each country, authors have the ability to set their own price, so you can charge a different amount in Canada than the USA. Customers are then charged in the their own local currency, which makes it easier for people to know how much they are paying.
Kobo is one company that has a worldwide mentality to the distribution of digital content. They actively market their bookstore in Europe, Australia, Canada, China, and Japan. Its footprint in international markets is growing because of its two pronged attack with hardware and a vibrant ecosystem of content.
Writing Life should be a program embraced by all self-published authors. It does not cost you anything to publish with it, unlike other companies who convert and distribute your work. LULU, Bookbaby, and many others charge you a fee to convert your books and don’t give you the freedom to download an UN-encrypted copy of your final product. My favorite aspect of Writing Life is being able to track your sales in real time. Keven J Anderson, a seminal science fiction writer, said that when he spends the money to visit different cities on promotional tours, he can immediately see if the money was well spent, what with the sales speaking for themselves.
Check out Writing Life for yourselves and let us know your thoughts on the new platform!
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.