Eight years ago, if I told you I was an internationally-published indie author with a global scale you’d go, “Right. You can’t find an agent or traditional publisher to peddle your pages so you’re forced to self-pub through a vanity press and you mailed five copies to your Scottish-bred mother.” I’d lower my eyes and mumble, “…. …” Today, that’s no longer my self-conscious indie state—thanks to Kobo.
Kobo (an anagram for Book) is a godsend for indie authors like me who operate a growing online publishing business. I avoid the word “self-publishing” because no one in this business truly publishes by themselves. It takes a team to produce a book, whether that’s in print, eBook, or audio form. That includes a cover designer, editor, proofreader, formatter, narrator, writer, and of course, the folks at Kobo who distribute the final product to a worldwide reading audience.
Before going into how Kobo operates and what Kobo has done for me, let me tell you a bit about this leading-edge publishing company. Kobo started in 2009. It was a Toronto, Canada-based online start-up promoting ShortCovers as a cloud e-reading service for Indigo/Chapters. In 2012, Kobo merged with the Japanese e-commerce conglomerate Rakuten, and the e-publishing company is now officially listed as Kobo-Rakuten Inc. Most call it Kobo for short.
Kobo has grown enormously in the past eight years. It’s absorbed brand-names like Waterstones, Borders, Sony Books, and W.H. Smith. In 2018, Kobo partnered with Walmart intending to make Amazon nervous. After all, Rakuten is the Asian version of the American ’Zon.
Today, Kobo-Rakuten has well over 5 million titles in their store. They’re available online in 190 countries and 97 different languages. If that isn’t a truly international indie-publishing platform, then I don’t know what is.
How Kobo is Structured
Kobo-Rakuten focuses on its core products. That’s electronic publication. Their business model, or structure, has three parts. One is digital printing or eBooks. Two is electronic audio books. Three is electronic reading devices like Kobo e-readers and Kobo tablets. At this time, Kobo does not do print-on-demand like Amazon and Ingram. That may happen through Walmart’s Espresso machines.
Kobo’s corporate statement says it’s a “company built by booklovers for booklovers through talented and passionate people taking the top of their game to the next level”. Kobo’s primary management team is in Toronto, and it has a prominent software development division in Dublin, Ireland. International sub-teams work in the US, UK, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Japan, Brazil, and Australia.
Besides corporate white-shirts and hipster geeks, Kobo has a down-to-earth bunch of ladies in their reader and writer service department. It’s these with-it women that an indie like me communicates with. And by communicate, I mean I can send them an email or arrange a phone call and I’ll get prompt human contact with someone whose accent I understand.
Publishing on Kobo
I have indie-publishing experience in three electronic platforms—Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. I’m here to tell you that Kobo is far superior to the other two when it comes to diminished operator frustration. I think the Kobo techs must indie-publish themselves because they’ve built a dashboard that doesn’t suck.
Kobo’s user-friendly dashboard has five distinct parts laid-out in this easy-to-follow order:
Part 1 Describe Your Book — This is where you enter “metadata” into the boxes. It’s basic information like title, series number, author name, publisher, ISBN, etc. You’re allowed up to three placement categories to check off from a comprehensive drop-down list. You also copy & paste your synopsis (product description/blurb) into an html-friendly format. It’s far better than Amazon’s product description block that makes you write html by letter-code.
Part 2 Add Your eBook Content — Here is where you upload your manuscript e-file. Kobo is so easy to add content to. Unlike Amazon that dictates a proprietary e-file called Mobi or AZW, Kobo lets you upload a Microsoft document directly, and it uses its own e-Pub conversion program to convert your document into an e-Pub file. Kobo will convert .doc, .docX, .mobi, and .ode files automatically. They also have a pay-to-convert affiliate called Aptara.
Note: If there’s one secret to successful Word-to-e-file conversion, it’s making sure your Word.doc is properly formatted to start with. This is crucial! I covered the steps in a previous Kill Zone post titled Top Ten Tips on Formatting eBooks From MS Word. Once your file is uploaded to Kobo, they have a one-click preview feature.
Part 3 Determine Your Rights and Distribution — This is straightforward but necessary metadata. Leave your Digital Rights Management (DRM) slide off. Activate your slide for Geographic – Own All Territories. Allow Kobo Plus Subscription. (This is akin to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited (KU). It’s only available in a few countries but will probably go worldwide.) Also, allow library purchases through Overdrive. Just make sure to increase your price from your regular retail listing. If libraries want your works, they’ll gladly pay $4.99 instead of $2.99. (It’s called a profit center.)
Part 4 Set Your Price — Setting your price point is entirely up to you. It depends on what you think you can charge to get the maximum return from sales. I’ve found my sweet spot is $2.99 per e-Book. If I bump up the price to $3.99 or $4.99, I find my sale numbers drop considerably so I actually make less net income by charging more.
I’ve refined my eBook prices to $2.99 everywhere. That includes all publications on Amazon (20 eBooks), Kobo (8 eBooks), and Barnes and Noble (7 eBooks). I have one perma-free on all platforms, and I could write another entire post on how beneficial perma-frees can be.
Kobo pays 70% royalty on $2.99 and over which is the same as Amazon. Drop below $2.99 and Kobo pays 45% where Amazon squeezes you to 30%. Them’s the rules… and so you must play.
A distinct advantage of publishing “Wide” with Kobo is they won’t penalize you if you’re not exclusive the way Amazon enslaves you under the Kindle Direct Publishing Select (KDPS) program. Trust me. The advantages you lose by moving off exclusive KDPS are far exceeded by publishing perks on Kobo. The only issue might be if you have a large KU page reading and you’ll stop this income stream if you go wide. I didn’t, and I have absolutely no regrets going Wide and hooking up with Kobo.
I’ve been told that using the “.99” trick is important when pricing eBooks, and I believe it. This is a tried & true marketing technique that’s been around forever. That’s because it works. Kobo is truly an international publishing platform that allows you to set individual prices per country and in its currency. Kobo also has an automatic currency converter built-in to the dashboard. However, don’t let Kobo automatically convert and post a $2.99 USD equivalent in a foreign currency or it’ll look like doggy-doo with ugly-weird figures, ie 2.31, 8.47, 28.01, etc.
To get the 70% royalty at $2.99 USD and keep with the “.99” strategy, here’s how I manually set pricing on my Kobo international dashboard:
United States Dollar – 2.99
Canadian Dollar – 2.99
United Kingdom Pound – 2.99
Australian Dollar – 2.99
New Zealand Dollar – 2.99
Brazilian Real – 9.99
European Euro – 2,99
Hong Kong Dollar – 19.99
Indian Rupee – 99.99
Japanese Yen – 299.00
Mexican Peso – 99.99
New Taiwan Dollar – 79.99
Philippine Peso – 99.99
South African Rand – 29.99
Swiss Franc – 2.99
By the way, Kobo pays in half the time Amazon does. You’ll receive your Kobo direct deposit 45 days after the last day of the month. This becomes a monthly cycle and is disbursed provided you make at least $50.00 in sales during that period. Otherwise, Kobo will defer payment until you have a $50.00 payable account. Don’t worry about not getting paid if you have a slow month. It’s like money in the bank, and it motivates you to promote sales and get regular checks.
Kobo has a unique promotion program built into your dashboard. When you first open a Kobo account, the promo tab won’t appear. You have to send Kobo a quick email request and… presto! It’s there and really easy to understand, never mind use.
Kobo’s internal e-Book promotion system is entirely pay-to-play. You have to apply for a particular Kobo promotion feature and you get declined more times than accepted. Looking at my Kobo dashboard, I have 2 active promos running, 1 forthcoming, 7 completed, and I was declined 19 times. Don’t get hurt feelings over being declined for a Kobo promotion. You have to apply quite a bit in advance (2-4 weeks) and they’ll overlook you if they think you’re trying to game or monopolize the system by hogging spots. It didn’t take me long before I got that memo.
Kobo has two promotion packages. One is a flat rate where you pay a fixed-fee (up-front) for a particular exposure. Two is a shared percentage based on sales volume that’s deducted from your pay. Here’s a sample of Kobo promotions and costs:
Daily Deal Homepage – $100.00 flat rate
Free Page – Fiction and Non-fiction – $5.00 or $10.00 flat rate
Double Daily Deal – 10% share
First in Series – $10.00 or $30.00 flat rate
Editor’s Pick – $30.00 flat rate
Kobo has no restrictions about you running independent ads on the email list discount sites. You just have to make sure you adjust your Kobo price to match your privately-advertised promo price. If you don’t, they’ll cut your Kobo promo in a flash. The algorithm-powered bots have a way of knowing this… so be diligent here.
Be aware that “FREE” is the most-searched word in Kobo’s engine. Kobo readers love their free stuff, and it’s a wise move to offer a freebie from time to time… or a .99 cent discount. I only have one free book on Kobo. That’s the first in a multi-book series, and it’s a very profitable loss-leader. The read-through sales rate triggered by a free offering is significant.
Kobo-Rakuten is here to help indie authors and publishers. The Kobo dashboard has great links to all sorts of practical assistance. The “live voice” is also only a click or call away. Value-added author/publisher services on the dashboard include:
Audio book recording
Kobo has another excellent writer/publishing portal. It’s called Kobo Writing Life (KWL) which is a blog about writing and self-publishing. Besides the dozens and dozens of helpful posts, KWL has an excellent podcast series featuring their help-ladies, inspiring success stories, and featured events.
So, how is Garry Rodgers Doing on Kobo?
Very well, thank you. That’s considering the short time I’ve been indie-publishing there. I was told by other Kobo indies to be patient and promote. They said it takes a while to gain Kobo traction… give it six months before assessing Kobo’s worth, they said.
It’s been six months now. I put out my shingle at Kobo on April 24, 2020. The first bit… crickets… nuthin’… zilch. Then, I ran some strategic promotions and Kobo took right off for me. I originally started with 5 Kobo publications. I added 3 more eBooks in the summer and, by August 2020, it was all worthwhile.
In July and August, I ran “stacked promotions” on Kobo along with paid ads on sites like Booksy, EReader News Today, and Robin Reads. My Kobo sales jumped to an average of around 20 downloads per day or 600 for the month. Now, in mid-October, I’ve had 3,849 all-time Kobo downloads in 68 international markets. This is growing exponentially, and it’s key to eBook sales success. It’s the same principle as compound interest.
Here are stats on where Kobo sold books for me in the last 6 months. Note: These figures include all regular priced sales and discounted promotions.
Canada – 1817
United States – 510
United Kingdom – 466
Australia – 290
South Africa – 160
New Zealand – 106
India – 69
Netherlands – 45
Nigeria – 33
Ireland – 30
The remaining 58 countries range from 1 to 30 downloads each. In no particular order, they are:
Mexico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, St. Vincent & Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil, Tonga, Belgium, Germany, Andorra, France, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Greece, Romania, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, Turkey, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Malta, Libya, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Ghana, Uganda, Zambia, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Cocos Islands, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.
Kobo is a Truly International Indie-Publishing Platform
A marvelous feature built into Kobo is their deep-analytics distribution map of the world. It shows your total sales volume per country represented in blue circles. The bigger the circle, the more books you’ve sold in that country. The more circles you have on the world map, the wider your global distribution is. You can custom-adjust your stats review by the day, the week, the month, or all-time.
Seeing my Kobo sales growth is encouraging and rewarding. I still have limited experience in Kobo publishing, but what I’ve found is consistent with what more experienced (and much more successful) indies have told me about working with Kobo. These are the factors that’ll make Kobo work for you on an international scale… not possible with any other publisher:
Multiple Products — This includes eBooks and audio books (which I haven’t tried yet). It’s unrealistic to expect decent and expanding sales figures from one stand-alone product. Indie writing and publishing is a “numbers game”. The more products you offer for sale, and the more platforms you offer them on, the more you stand to sell.
Series Production — Most of my Kobo downloads are in a series. I have 6 books in a Based-On-True Crime Series and 2 stand-alone products offered on Kobo. The series beats the stand-alones ten-fold. I see a read-through sales pattern, and it’s growing with more readers recognizing my brand and being confident enough to buy into it.
Pay-To-Play — You have to spend money to make money in the indie writing and publishing business. Paid promotions work. That includes Kobo’s in-house program (which isn’t expensive) and boosting the Kobo promos with “stacked” independent ads. Those include the discount email sites and click-through ads on BookBub. I haven’t tried FaceBook yet, and Amazon won’t allow you to say “Kobo” in their presence.
A Positive Indie Author/Publisher Mindset — This is the most important factor of all. Once I made the decision (February 17, 2020) to treat my indie writing and publishing as a business, things really changed. It takes time and persistence, but it’s worth it. It fits with this quote I have on my writing space wall:
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to drawback. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in ones favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no one could have dreamed would have come their way. ~ Johan Wolfgang von Goethe
How about you Kill Zoners? Do you have any words to share about Kobo or writing and publishing in general? Let us know in the comments!
Garry Rodgers is a retired homicide detective with a second run as a forensic coroner investigating unexpected and unexplained human deaths. Now, Garry has reinvented himself in a third career as an indie author/publisher and admits at struggling to make sense of it all.
When not being indie, Garry Rodgers spends his of time putting around the Pacific saltwater near his home on Vancouver Island in British Columbia at Canada’s west coast. Follow Garry’s regular blog at DyingWords.net and connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.
What an incredibly helpful and detailed post. Thank you!
Nice to hear this, Becky. Thanks!
I’ve been with Kobo since they opened. I love the international reach–and their maps. I sell in countries I’ve never heard of. Yes, it takes a while to get traction, but I’ve always been a “reach as many readers as possible” person. Kobo also offers %off promotion opportunities, which means you don’t have to worry about price matching.
One thing I’ve discovered (and this comes from Mark Lefevbre, who used to be in charge of author relations at Kobo or something like that) was that the Draft2Digital conversion software was better than Kobo’s and that’s where he created his epubs. I’ve done it that way for the last few years, and have had fewer glitches. Also, D2D will create back matter, including “more by the author” which updates every time you add a new book, and a “teaser” for the next book, and more, all of which are perfectly acceptable at Kobo. I use universal book links now, so I don’t have to have separate back matter for each channel.
Good tips, Terry. Thanks. Modifying each book’s back matter every time you have a new release is time consuming, for sure. I’ve heard good things about D2D and I know Mark Lefevbre as an online friend. He’s a very credible guy.
Thanks for the great info on Kobo. I’m not published yet but leaning towering indie. As I hadn’t heard much about Kobo, so this was very informative!
As you read, I’ve had nothing but good experience with Kobo. I can’t take anything away from Amazon’s power, though. It has around 80% of the US and UK eBook market which is huge. I make about 2/3 of my eBook income on Amazon and the rest on Kobo. Barnes & Noble (Nook) is barely worth the time to publish on. I suspect their eBook division will be absorbed by another company – they just don’t have the vision or heart in it. Thanks for commenting, David, and good wishes for when you publish!
And I’d definitely be up for hearing more about your perma-free experiences!
One question: “allow library purchases through Overdrive. Just make sure to increase your price from your regular retail listing. If libraries want your works, they’ll gladly pay $4.99 instead of $2.99.” So if I’m reading this right, we are suggesting that while we are charging elsewhere for $2.99, we might charge the library $4.99. I am probably years out of date/misunderstanding some discussion of consumer law that I heard years ago, but is this okay? Charging two different customers 2 different prices at the same time?
Most channels suggest a library price of at least twice your retail. And there are several library models. In one, you get paid when the library buys the book; in the other, you get paid every time someone checks it out.
FWIW, as a now retired librarian, libraries are used to being charged more. Kobo’s suggested amounts for eBooks sold to libraries is an absolute bargain compared to what big publishing charges. Public libraries are often charged five or ten times or more retail for an ebook by publishers, who say it’s to compensate for the loss in sales. The same publishers often restrict how many times an eBook can be checked out before it must be purchased again as well (to “simulate” the discard-and-replace situation which can occur with print books that have been checked out many times).
Great perspective from a librarian, Dale. I think it’s entirely fair to charge $4.99 for a regular $2.99 eBook when you consider how that breaks down to a per-read cost. Thanks for your support on this!
Garry, this is pure gold! Many, many thanks for taking us by the hand and walking us through the process in a way that’s totally understandable, even for right-brained, technophobic writers.
Going wide is my next project. Printing this post out and using it as my bible.
Can’t thank you enough!
You’re quite welcome, Debbie. I learn things and put them in perspective when I research and write on topics like this. Best wishes for going wide. My experience is what I was told by those who’ve gone before me – it takes time to gain traction, it takes multiple products, and it takes promotion. But it’s worth it 🙂
Thank you, Garry, for this comprehensive and encouraging post. There’s much discussion about flattening the curve these days, and you’ve reduced my learning curve impressively. Best, Lou.
Best back to you, Lou. I hope this material helps others. I did a lot of poking around before I “went wide” and there’s not much out there that really deals with the nuts and bolts of Kobo – especially stuff that gives actual figures.
Garry, this is amazing from beginning to end. Someone with a finished work who is not sure where to take it could be up and running within hours thanks to you.
Now…if Kobo were REALLY on the ball, the powers that be there would hire you — for a handsome fee, of course — to promote their service.
I am for hire, Joe. I don’t know about the handsome part, though. Thanks for the positive feedback!
Fantastic post, Garry! Kobo is my own personal favorite place to publish as well. They were the first place I went wide on, at the end of July 2017, after being exclusive with Amazon for six months. Love the dashboard, and I love their author-centric approach.
It took me a few months to gain traction there. In house promotions can really move the dial, like you laid out. I’ve been fortunate and have had quite a few. Book Bub Featured Deals can help, too, but for me at least, the in-house promotions have been the most profitable.
Seeing downloads and sales of my books around the world pleases the heck out of me, too. It’s just plain awesome to see that someone in Malaysia, Uganda, the Netherlands, or elsewhere has downloaded one of my books 🙂
Oh, and I also love that Kobo makes it a snap to add your eBooks to Overdrive’s catalog for library purchase. As a former librarian, I also love the fact that we Indies can provide affordable eBooks to libraries through Kobo/Overdrive, while big publishers charge five or ten times retail to libraries.
Thanks for another terrific post on self-publishing!
It really is cool to think someone in a totally foreign environment is reading your work. I had two downloads in Andorra and I didn’t know where it is. Google tells me it’s a tiny principality nestled in the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain. Besides ski resorts, it’s known as a tax haven 🙂 Glad to hear you’re having success on Kobo, Dale. I think they’re awesome!
Garry, I add my gratitude for your gold-plated post…so much information to absorb.
I published my first three books indie, am now almost finished with a novel that I plan to try to publish trad. I’ve always wondered about the Kobo-buzz; now I have your post in my file to study later. It sounds like the place to be, in addition to Amazon and IS.
Will definitely put the information to good use if I can’t shop my novel to an agent/publisher.
Thank you for your diligence and detail on this post!
Thanks for your support & feedback, Deb. My half-year experience with Kobo is 100% positive.
Long before Kobo and the rise of the self-published authors, we’re talking the mid-1990s, there were small publishers who specialized in ebook and print-on-demand paper books. Publishers like Hard Shell Word Factory and their brave authors built the ebook market while the trads and their authors were trying to destroy it and those authors. No one knew what an ebook was, but ebook authors went out and evangelized and built the dang market, particularly the romance market which dragged the other genres kicking and screaming into the electronic world because romance readers are literary omnivores.
Kobo was much later, but Amazon was gleefully destroying the ebook publishers and self-published authors until it figured out how to monetize it once the ebook publishers proved it was a viable market. So, no, Kobo and the self-pubs did not magically build the digital market out of nothing.
Ellora’s Cave was one of the first digital publishers because women could buy erotica privately. There were no e-readers; people went to the specific publisher’s website, and downloaded to a PDA or their computer. Many e-publishers followed suit; many fell by the wayside. I was the first outside author contracted by The Wild Rose Press back when they were just starting out, for a short-short story that was really an exercise in POV.
I’ve heard the erotica story and how it contributed to the rise of eBooks. I just checked Kobo’s catalog and see it has a big erotica section. But I did notice that some of the leading eBook mailing list ad providers have a no-erotica policy.
Romance built the market then erotica blew the numbers out of the water. Because the various aggregator platforms refused to sell erotica, EC was one of the few publishers to actually bring buyers to their own site. I had friends who made lots of money at EC and other publishers before EC imploded.
Wow. You put a ton of work into this post, Garry. I could not be more thrilled for you! Sadly, Kobo resembles Amazon in their blocking of authors who don’t pub their own titles. All my thrillers are there, though, and I see their name on my royalty statements. 🙂
Thank you, Sue. It was a learning adventure for me – putting Kobo in perspective. Do Kobo and AZ actually block you from directly publishing or is it your publishers contract that doesn’t allow you direct access to these eBook platforms? On a side note, I’ve heard of some authors who sign print-only contracts with a traditional publisher but keep the eBook rights for themselves to indie-pub. Any input on that?
Most publishers want both paperback and ebook rights. They may sell hardcover and audio, but then the author gets paid again, so I’m good with that.
Because we don’t publish our titles we have no dashboard from which to run a sale. Rowman runs Amazon ads. They’ve got Pretty Evil New England in one starting this weekend, which I’m psyched about. Smaller publishers may run group specials and ads, but not usually a single book ad for one author.
Thanks for the info, Sue. So working with a TP, then you’d have no control with running a price promotion such as a BB ad or a newsletter ad on Booksy, ENT, etc?
BB allows anyone to place an ad or run a feature deal. ENT, Booksy, and the like — same thing. Then it’s just a matter of asking the publisher to lower the price for that day. Which I do all the time with Tirgearr Publishing. Rowman might be a bit trickier. Since they have a full marketing dept. any sales need to be approved first. But then, they’d also pay for the promo spot. 🙂
Okay, using Other People’s Money (OPM) to promote is fine with me 🙂
Thanks so much for such a detailed rundown on Kobo — I had no idea where the name came from. I used to work for Barnes and Noble, which uses Kobo. It was a popular platform.
You’re very welcome, Elaine. I knew Kobo came from Book but I didn’t know it was called an anagram. Learn something every day 🙂
What a gold mine of valuable information for indie publishers, Garry! Thanks so much for taking the time and effort to explain all this so clearly. I’ve published my books through Amazon and Ingram-Spark but haven’t tried Kobo. Thanks to your detailed info, I feel confident in giving them a try too. Kudos to you for compiling this and helping other indie authors! 🙂
My pleasure to help others, Jodie. I look at this with a Covid view – we’re all in this together 🙂 As you can read from the tone of the post, I’m very high on Kobo. I can’t say much about Barnes & Noble Nook – they have no internal promo features that I know of. Amazon is still the big dog and the majority of my eBook downloads are on Amazon.com and Amazon.uk. I’m planning to give Apple a go next, then maybe Google. Thanks for your supportive comment!
Garry, if you’re on Facebook, please check out “Wide for the Win,” a FB group for wide authors, moderated by Erin Write. I’m in there, along with 3400 other authors 🙂
Thanks, Dale! I’ll check it out.
Thanks so much for another great article, Garry! My one self-pubbed book is on Amazon, Kobo, B&N, Apple & IngramSpark. As a newbie to this world, I was very impressed with how easy it was to work with Kobo, but I haven’t looked into Kobo advertising. I will now!
Hi Kay! If your don’t have the Kobo Promotion bar on the upper right of your dashboard, just send them a short email and it’ll soon pop up. Their promos have been very productive for me. How user-friendly do you find Apple?
My reluctance to criticize others prevents me from talking about my experience with Apple. Let’s just say I haven’t developed a taste for that platform. ?
On a brighter note, Kobo has been wonderful. As much as I love codes and cryptograms, I never caught on that Kobo was an anagram for book. I really love clever.
I’m going out right now to look for that promo bar. Thanks again!
Just a tip from my Kobo promo experience, Kay. Most of the declined promo applications I got were because I didn’t give enough lead time and the spots were already filled. I recommend applying for a spot 2 weeks out or more.
Very thorough report on Kobo, Garry. Thank you for it. And congrats!
Personally, for me, I’m sticking with Amazon Select (exclusive) for now. I’ve done well by it and I want to see how it holds up with the release of the second in my Neanderthal Time Travel series. Maybe after #3, I’ll consider going Wide and including Kobo.
There’s also “the Canada thing” I’m wondering about. Is it coincidental that your #1 market is Canada (triple the U.S. volume), and that you’re Canadian, and Kobo is still “kinda Canadian”? Do you promote more in a “Canadian” way in some way? I only ask because when I view my stats, Canada is WAY down the list (#4-5) and approximately 1/100th of my U.S. revenue. And when I do multi-country promotions, Canada is nowhere on the horizon. (FYI: I’m in the SciFi/Fantasy/Time Travel/AltHistory space)
So—and with no disrespect meant to Canada—I’m very curious about this. Any clues?
Thanks for listening.
I’m glad you asked this, Harald. I’ve given this some though as I have virtually no Canadian online writer acquaintances. My influencers are American, UK, and Australian folks.
2/3 to 3/4 of my overall eBook sales are on Amazon. The main one is Amazon.com (US) with secondary Amazon.uk (Brits), Amazon.au (Auzzies) and Amazon.id (India). I sell almost nothing on Amazon.ca (Canada).
Kobo, from what I see, doesn’t try to compete head-on with Amazon. They go to a niche market with smaller countries by population… like Canada. I think one reason why my Kobo stats are up is because I’m Canadian and I place my stories on Canada’s west coast which appeals to that niche market.
But, I sell way more of the same Canadian-content stuff on Amazon in the US, UK, and surprisingly India. My ‘going wide” experiment is still new. It’ll be interesting to see what the next 6 months tell.
Thanks for the explanation, Garry. BTW, I’ve visited BC and Vancouver Island, and like it there. Maybe we’ll meet someday.