Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Kobo Experience

I've dallied about, posted my work on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but sort of gave the hairy eyeball to that "Kobo Thing".

In one of my frequent chats with Michael Kingswood we got to discussing the success he's found with Kobo's platform.  My hairy eyeball came creeping out again, and I decided to take another swing around the block to peek for myself.  What was this Kobo Thing?

Plainly put, Kobo is kind of what is Amazon is... where Amazon is not.  Kobo, for instance, has a considerable presence in Japan.  KDP, Amazon's proprietary blah de blah, does not list in Japan.

This is not the only place Kobo is working it, while Amazon is lagging.  In fact, it appears Kobo is quietly becoming a powerhouse... in other parts of the world.

So, hairy eyeball intact, I signed up and took a swing around Kobo's Authors Enter HERE site, weirdly titled (at least for me) Kobo Writing Life.  It just doesn't roll off the tongue.

The site seems clean, easily navigable.  Things are logically placed.  There are notes to help you along.  The unimaginatively entitled Dashboard has very insightful and interest-piquing promises... once you've published a book, that is.  It has features like quick stats, if you just want to eyeball (hairy or no) your income.

It has a graph that shows your daily sales... you know, for you, so you don't have to swim through ugly excel sheets just trying to figure out your monthly numbers coughAmazoncough.

It conveniently lists your top sellers in order, and also has (what promises to be) a cool map showing you world interest by region!

I've been meaning to go back through the IH series with a fine-toothed comb.  I know I have typing errors, weird errors, in there.  I'm sure of it.  In fact, I went through "Cheat", the first episode today.  Oh yeah, best error?

He felt like a fool.  Except, I didn't type fool.  I typed food.  I wonder what type of food he felt like?

But I've been pondering over DWS, and the value of my time, my work, ect.  At 20k, the IH episodes should be sitting pretty at the $2.99 mark.  So that's my goal.  As I update them with the cleanest possible copies, and little teasers like "Look out for episode HARGLE" (where HARGLE = the next number in sequence) I'm going to start prodding the price points up to $2.99.  So if you're somewhere in the middle of the series, here's your warning - they won't stay $1.99 forever!

So back to Kobo.

The update process was remarkably painless, after remembering my early days stumbling through Amazon and B&N's complicated, often slow and annoying systems.

There is even a link, prominently placed and easily visible, for people to provide feedback and "I'd like to see..." suggestions.

I think Kobo's really got their heads on straight when it comes to bringing in the talent.  Honestly, Amazon's site looks like something I'd picture from the DOS age and B&N is kind of all over the place.  And one major point that Amazon just cannot understand, but that B&N at least has down - when a book has been edited, you can easily go back in and change your edits.  Leave out something in the description?  No problem, change it before it goes to review.  Kobo is fatalistically simple to get back into your queued-for-review books.  Amazon locks them down like Fort Knox, often making you wait hours, (days, in the beginning) to be able to worm back in and fix an error.

So, I uploaded "Cheat" to Kobo today.  I'm hoping to get at least 1 IH up a week until they're all up, and then we'll start on the rest.  "Shackled"'s KDPS runs out at the end of this month.  Time to get 'er back out there, and on a new market!

Oh, and the best part is that Kobo is running a special through the end of November - any titles at the 70% price point... will be bumped up to 80%!  That's not only a sweet deal for authors that just... well... sweet.  You can't help but wonder if Kobo maybe, just maybe, cares about us.

Kobo, you've got yourself a convert.


  1. JE, thanks for this. I'll be looking at Kobo, but only because you mentioned it.
    And I can't believe the image "hairy eyeball" leaves...

    Thanks for sharing

    1. Haha, yeah, hairy eyeball is a little gross to imagine.

      I'm glad I could pass the knowledge on! I hope you have success with it :)