Joanna Penn visits Kobo HQ!

Last night, the Kobo Writing Life team was thrilled to welcome Joanna Penn to our Toronto office. Joanna is a bestselling author-entrepreneur and professional speaker, and she shares invaluable information with the self-publishing community on her blog and podcast, The Creative Penn.

Joanna Penn speaks to a crowd of local authors at Kobo's Toronto headquarters.

Joanna Penn speaks to local authors at Kobo’s Toronto headquarters.

A packed house of local authors chatted with Joanna over drinks and snacks, then she took the stage with KWL Director Mark Lefebvre to speak about self-publishing and answer questions from the audience. The advice she shared was incredibly helpful and inspiring, so we wanted to share a few key takeaways with you here.

  • Remember that this industry is global. You can build a platform from anywhere in the world and reach an audience in countries you may have never heard of before!
  • Book publishing and marketing are processes that take time. Set long-term goals—we’re talking years, not days. Don’t give up if you do not see a return on your investment immediately.

    Joanna signs Kobo's Author Wall of Fame.

    Joanna signs Kobo’s Author Wall of Fame.

  • It’s ok to fail. The Creative Penn is Joanna’s third blog effort.
  • Take your work and yourself seriously as a business.
  • Do a little bit every day.
  • Be true to yourself and what you love in terms of your writing and marketing.
  • Think about every opportunity for every book, including print on demand, audio, and translation. You can turn each book into multiple product streams, such that ten books multiply to become 50 potential income sources.
  • Publish directly wherever you can. Every platform—KWL, iBooks, KDP, Nook, etc.—is a potential business partnership and can bring you new opportunities for success.
  • The writing life does not have to be lonely. Get online and engage with other authors on social media, join ALLi, or go to a conference. Even if you’re introverted, don’t be afraid to join the author community.
Joanna with the KWL team, from left: Operations Manager Jodi White, Director Mark Lefebvre, Coordinator Tara Cremin, Content Specialist Christina Potter, and US Manager Christine Munroe.

Joanna with the KWL team, from left: Operations Manager Jodi White, Director Mark Lefebvre, Coordinator Tara Cremin, Content Specialist Christina Potter, and US Manager Christine Munroe.

We are so grateful to Joanna for sharing her time and knowledge with us.

 

ADDITIONAL LINKS

Grab J.F. Penn’s newest release, DELIRIUM!

If you haven’t listened in to our podcast interview with Joanna, you can do so here.

KWL is a proud sponsor of The Creative Penn Podcast, which we can’t recommend highly enough.

 

Joanna PennJoanna Penn is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers on the edge, as well as non-fiction for authors. She is also a professional speaker and entrepreneur, voted as one of The Guardian UK Top 100 creative professionals 2013.

Twitter: @thecreativepenn

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JFPennAuthor and  http://www.facebook.com/TheCreativePenn

Memories of Superstars Writing Seminars 2014

C. Michelle Jefferies was the lucky winner of Kobo’s Superstars of Writing Seminars scholarship giveaway for 2014. She attended the conference in February, alongside KWL Director Mark Lefebvre and US Manager Christine Munroe. A few months post-Superstars, we asked Michelle to reflect on her experience, and here’s what she had to say!Superstars logo

By C. Michelle Jefferies

When I think of the three days at Superstars, several one-word descriptions and emotions come to mind.

The first one is amazing. There was so much information and so many things to learn that I was, at times, completely overwhelmed with what was being presented. I took tons of notes. I have a stack that I still need to go through, again, to solidify the information in my head. The accommodations were great, the hotel was amazing. The variety of books offered by the presenters and the management of the bookstore falls into this amazing category as well. It was all simply amazing, every moment of it.

The second is expanding. I know how to write, even if I am not at the level I desire to be. This seminar goes way beyond that skill set; it deals with the business of writing and managing ourselves as professional authors. The presenters talked about contracts, marketing, how to behave in public (which was my favorite class), self-publishing, and audio books. There was so much information, I felt as if we could have spent a week there and still not learned a fourth of what there is to know.

Michelle (center) with KWL's US Manager Christine Munroe and Director Mark Lefebvre.

Michelle (center) with KWL’s US Manager Christine Munroe and Director Mark Lefebvre.

The third is equal. I felt as if I were a peer, even among the presenters. I was treated with the most amazing respect and felt as if my life, my work, my value as a writer and human was important to everyone in the room. There was no segregation there. There was no posturing, no jealousy. I could go and talk to anyone in the room and get equal treatment. I even got a hug from Kevin J. Anderson and while it was a true friendship gesture I had to remind myself to breathe so I didn’t pass out, because this was Kevin of all people. I had lunch with Mark and Christine from Kobo, who sponsored my tuition through their scholarship, and felt completely at ease, which for my shy self is an accomplishment.

Fourth is welcomed. When you participate in Superstars, you become a “Tribe Member.” This amazing group of people stick together. Having survived the three intensive days and sharing the same desire for more than just writing knowledge, we became a family. We stay in touch, talking books, cheering each other on in the writing world as well as our non-writing worlds. We share posts, promote each other’s work and often come to each other’s aid in both virtual and real life situations. They’ve become my friends. The actual hard work of writing, revision, and editing is a solitary effort, so it’s especially nice to know that I have people who “have my back.”

Last word, tired. From a misadventure-filled drive from Denver to Colorado Springs, to the information and energy-filled days, it was a very good kind of tired.

This was an experience I will never forget, and one that I will recommend to anyone who asks. To those who are wondering or wavering: Go. I promise you it’s worth the time and expense.

 

If you missed Superstars 2014, you can purchase seminar DVDs and MP3s here. Superstars Writing Seminars 2015 will be held February 5–7, 2015, at the  Antlers Hilton in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and you can register here.

C. Michelle JefferiesMichelle Jefferies is a mother of seven who writes about urban fantasy and bad boys turned good  – all while beating herself up three times a week in Karate class as she works toward her black belt in Tang Soo Do. Visit blog here or find her on Facebook.

Write Away

By Kerrie L. Flanagan and Jenny Sundstedt

Write_Away_FrontCoverWRITE AWAY: A Year of Musings and Motivations for Writers combines monthly insightful and humorous stories with tips, tools and interactions that encourage writers to reflect on where they are and where they want to be. From “Writing Naked” to “Writing an Effective Query Letter,” these essays remind readers of the unique nuances in the life of a writer and provide practical advice for strengthening skills and knowledge. Each month opens with a place to record goals and action plans. A back section provides resources and tools to help readers stay on track and stay informed. Inspirational quotes, reflective questions, and short exercises keep motivation and energy flowing. Here are a few excerpts:

“Time to Get Rid of Excuses”

By Kerrie

One of the biggest issues I hear writers bring up is that they find it difficult to find time to write. The bottom line is that if you want to be a serious writer, then you must make the time to write. We all have 24 hours in a day, and we all have the power to decide how we are going to use those hours.

If all you can spare is 30 minutes a day, then commit to those 30 minutes. Don’t let anything get in your way. Think about it—a half hour a day, five days a week, is two and a half hours a week, which then equals 120 hours a year. That is definitely enough time to make a dent in your novel or write a dozen poems or a few stories or a picture book or two or a dozen articles . . . you get the idea.

Here are some quick tips to help you find success in organizing your time.

  • Make a daily/weekly goal for the number of hours you are going to write.
  • Schedule your writing times and mark those times on your calendar.
  • Stick to your commitment. If someone calls to try to schedule something during your writing time, nicely say to them, “That time won’t work for me, I have a prior commitment.” No further explanation is necessary.
  • Reward yourself after one month of sticking to your plan.

What is one way you can be better about honoring your writing time?

“Take A Leap”

By Jenny

Poor February. It’s the little brother of the calendar, never quite matching up to the longer months. But every four years, it puffs up its chest a bit with the addition of an extra day. I love the novelty of Leap Day, even though it occasionally gyps me out of a coveted Friday or Saturday birthday.

February 29 is a bonus day, but, as such, how should one choose to spend it? Is it a do whatever you want because nothing counts day (i.e., whatever happens on Leap Day stays on Leap Day), or is it a day to take a real shot at something meaningful? Or maybe a little bit of both.

We’re told how to celebrate most holidays, whether it’s with candy and flowers, fireworks, or green beer. But I say that Leap Day should be celebrator’s choice. So, writer friends, it’s up to you. If you’ve been working so hard on a manuscript that you’re revising it in your sleep, perhaps your Leap Day should be spent with crossword puzzles and a bottomless cup of tea, or a double feature of completely mindless entertainment at your local movieplex. Cheesecake for lunch is also a viable option.

But if your writerly self has lately been feeling hampered by self-doubts, intimidated by the prospect of success and/or failure, and generally reluctant to strike off in any direction, then perhaps February 29 is your day to take a leap of faith. Send a query. Enter a contest. Register for a conference or sign up for a pitch session. Write a first word, a first line, a first page, a first chapter. You may like it so much that you’ll want to treat every day like it’s Leap Day. Except for the cheesecake for lunch part.

My leap is sending off one of the short stories I’ve been sitting on for a while. What will your writer’s leap be?

For more helpful tips and motivations, get the WRITE AWAY eBook here!

About the authors

Authors Kerrie and Jenny at the WRITE AWAY book launch.

Authors Kerrie and Jenny at the WRITE AWAY book launch.

Kerrie Flanagan is the Director of Northern Colorado Writers (NCW), writing consultant, and freelance writer with articles in regional and national publications including Writers Digest and The Writer.

Jenny Sundstedt is a member of NCW and serves on the creative team for the annual NCW Writer’s Conference. She writes long and short fiction, essays, overly ambitious to-do lists, and since 2010, has been a regular contributor to the NCW blog, “The Writing Bug.”

 

So, About That Cover: Book Cover Design Tips From a Merchandiser

By Shayna Krishnasamy, Kobo Writing Life Merchandiser

As the merchandiser for self-published eBooks at Kobo, my job is to judge books by their covers. Okay, that’s not my whole job, but you might be surprised at how much of my day is spent scrutinizing, arguing about, praising, sifting through, staring at, and judging (oh, and also mocking. Yes, sometimes a cover practically begs to be mocked) self-published book covers. Book cover design is an immensely important part of the digital self-publishing process. I really can’t emphasize this enough. A professional book cover will get your title the attention it needs and will make it more likely to be awarded merchandising space on our website, in email newsletters, and in promotions. An amateur book cover, on the other hand, will do exactly the opposite. That your book’s success depends so heavily on something that has nothing to do with its contents might be a hard nut to swallow, but it’s a reality that can’t be ignored. So, before you sit down to make your next book cover using a photo you took last summer of your friend Matt’s cottage, let me share with you my list of Dos and Don’ts of digital book cover design.

DO Your Research

Every genre has its book cover hallmarks. While you don’t want your cover to blend in with the rest so completely that it gets lost, you also don’t want to create a cover that is so different from the other books in the genre that it confuses the reader. The book cover, even more so than the title, is the thing that’s going to sell your book. You need to make sure the reader can tell, at a glance, what kind of story you’re telling.

The easiest way to make sure you don’t mislead the reader is to check out other books in your genre, both self-published and traditional, to get a feel for the kind of cover you want for your book.

New Adult Romance covers tend to feature couples and cursive fonts:

Between UsReckless TogetherPerfect RegretWait for You

But not always:

Kiss Me Like This: The MorrisonsDamagedLosing HopeTen Tiny Breaths

The covers of Thrillers are known to have weapons, buildings or vehicles, and apparently orange is a popular colour. Faces are less important:

Panic: A Leopold Blake ThrillerSaint DeathWild StormWasted Justice

Sometimes just author and title is enough:

Act of WarPersonalBad PennyInside Man

Whichever genre you’re writing in, you should incorporate at least some of these familiar elements into your cover to ensure the reader is getting what they expect.

DON’T Make It Yourself

Unless you’re a graphic designer by trade, and therefore know what you’re doing, do not make your book cover yourself. This is where so many authors go wrong. In order to save costs, because of a false sense of their artistic ability, or just due to a misguided belief that book covers are easy to design, so many authors end up designing their own covers, often with disastrous results.
I’ll admit, I did this myself back in 2010. Here’s the cover I originally made for my first novel, Home:

Home CoverI still like a lot of things about this cover. I like the image and the colour scheme. I like the font I found for the title, and the way I was able to fit it between the branches. But this is, very obviously, an amateur attempt at book cover design. Nothing says “I don’t know what I’m doing” like using Times New Roman font for the author name. The novel is a historical fantasy for young adults, which isn’t at all clear from looking at the cover. This cover is a good effort for a first try, but it is definitely not professional. It just isn’t good enough.

 

Here’s another example of the type of cover I come across all the time:

Bad cover (2)There are many things very, very wrong with this cover. To begin with, the dimensions are wrong. The image is obviously a personal photo taken while on vacation. It’s a beautiful photo, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to make a beautiful book cover. The title is in some weird font meant to mimic handwriting. Points are awarded for not choosing Times New Roman and for the nice centering, but that’s about it. The colour of the author name makes it unreadable and it’s also placed way too close to the edge of the cover. And then there’s the cut and pasted dog.

I would never merchandize this book.

You want your cover to represent the brilliant book you’ve written, to draw in customers who might not have considered reading your stuff otherwise, to wow the merchandiser. If you’re considering designing your own cover, ask yourself if whatever you might create will have this kind of power. An adequate cover isn’t good enough for your book. You want your cover to be the BEST!

I’ll say it again: Don’t Make It Yourself. Hire a professional book cover designer.

DON’T Put It On Repeat

If you’re writing a series, it’s a great idea to use the book covers to link the titles in the series together. When looking at a list of your books on the retail site, you want the reader to be able to tell right away which three of your five books are a part of your series, especially since not all readers check if a series name is listed. Similar images, colour schemes and font choices on the covers can do this job quite well.

H. M. Ward (who, incidentally, creates her own covers, proving that there’s always an exception to the rule) achieves this quite nicely with her The Arrangement series:

The Arrangement 7The Arrangement 8The Arrangement 9 (Ferro Family)The Arrangement 13 (The Ferro Family)

What I don’t recommend is getting one cover professionally made and then using it for every title in the series by changing the book title only. I’ve seen many authors do this, and I believe it causes confusion with the reader and makes for ugly merchandising. If the series number (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, etc.) isn’t clear enough the customer can end up purchasing the wrong title. It also implies that you didn’t care enough about your book to get a new cover made.

Though repeat covers are by no means a deal breaker—they are far too common for me to exclude them from merchandising entirely—I feel that series covers pack the most punch if they are similar but distinct.

DO Reserve The Right To Change Your Mind

One of the great things about self-publishing is that the author has complete control over the book cover, which is certainly not the case with traditional publishing. Not only can you decide what your cover will be, but you can also change that cover whenever you wish. Naturally, you don’t want to confuse your readers by putting up a new cover every other week, but if you feel your current cover isn’t working, why not try something different? Do your readers continually mention that they were expecting your book to be more of a romantic suspense, when it’s actually a straight contemporary romance? Are you getting a lot of returns? Have you noticed that it’s hard to read the title when you’re looking at your cover on the retail site? All of these problems could possibly be solved by changing up your book cover. Even better, if you don’t like the resulting sales of the new cover, you can always change it back! Such is the freedom of digital self-publishing.

Do you have a favourite book cover designer to recommend? Let us know about them in the comments!

Shayna's PhotoShayna Krishnasamy is a Montreal author of literary and young adult fiction by night and the merchandiser for Kobo Writing Life by day. Shayna’s books are available on Kobo.

Click here to visit Shayna’s website!

My Writing Life – J.E. Taylor

Taylor's PictureWhen did you first discover a love of writing? Is there a particular book that made you want to become a writer?

I started writing stories when I was in middle school (7th and 8th) grade. My first short story was entitled Good-bye Doesn’t Mean Forever and I received an A+ on it in my writing class. That story has morphed over the years from a pre-teen story to an adult romance titled Miami Heat.

I wrote poetry and short stories through my college years and started my first novel back in college under the title Mirror Lake. When I got married, my husband balked at the time I was putting into writing – well new marriage and all, I decided to put my writing away for a bit. Then I had a family and a full time career in corporate America and we all know how that goes.

It wasn’t until I was whining about work that my daughter asked if I could do anything, what would it be? The answer was easy. Finish writing the book I put on ice for twenty years and publish it.

Mirror Lake became Dark Reckoning and it was originally published in 2010 by Fido Publishers.

Since then, I haven’t looked back.

What’s your favourite book? What was your favourite book as a child? The Stand  by Steven King is my all-time favorite. As a kid, I read the entire Edgar Rice Burrough’s Tarzan Series and loved it.

Night+HawkWhere do you get your story ideas?

It’s a walk into the darkest corners of my imagination where my nightmares fester until something living and breathing escapes onto the screen of my laptop.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received as a writer?

A good editor is priceless.

And if you decide the traditional publishing route is your thing, know what a query letter should contain. It’s not a dissertation on your life or your assertion that the story is the best thing since sliced bread, it’s a teaser of the book. Think movie trailer or book descriptions on the back or inside sleeve of a hard cover. Just enough so that agent or publisher HAS to know more.

Where do you usually write?

In a comfy oversized chair in my family room. There’s a picture of it on my website.

Do you believe in Writer’s Block?

No. I believe in taking the time to work out plot snares when you’ve backed yourself into a corner – but writer’s block – no. You can always write a short ditty while you’re turning over what needs to be done to get unstuck. Or you can step away and read something to clear the mind.

Give us an example of some of the research you’ve done for your books:

The main character in Dark Reckoning is an FBI agent and yet when I started writing the book, I had never handled, never mind shot, a fire arm. I happened to mention this to a few co-workers and lo and behold, one of them owned several different types of guns and offered to take me shooting. You bet I jumped on that and we went out to a range and I got to shoot a .22 caliber – which I hit the target consistently – not always in the center – but I did get one or two there, a .40 caliber – disaster – I’m not sure I hit the hay bale the target hung on with this one and a 9mm – not great but not a total miss like the .40 caliber.

It gave me a clear picture of how much talent is involved in being an expert marksman and a clue of how difficult it would be to hit a moving target.

Other interesting research items revolve around forensics, arterial spurts, bleed out timing, explosives, drugs…

All things a suspense/thriller and horror writer should know. I’m sure my Google searches have me on some kind of watch list.

If there was one writer (alive or deceased) that you would love to meet, who would it be?               

The author of my favorite book – Stephen King. I’d be willing to buy him dinner in any Maine shoreline restaurant just for the chance to pick his brain while enjoying the rugged scenery and of course, a Maine Lobster.

What’s your favourite literary genre? Any guilty pleasures?

Horror, thriller, suspense, even good erotica – yes, there’s a theme. Anything that gets the blood pumping. :)

Are there any self-publishing tricks of the trade you’d like to share? What rules of craft or promotion do you live by?

In order to understand how to create powerful prose, I chose to invest in a series of Margie Lawson classes: Deep Editing, Empowering Characters Emotions and Writing Physical Cues like a Psychologist. These helped me understand my weaknesses as well as what the early rejections I got meant by “Getting into a character’s head”.

Writing should be three dimensional – and use all the senses. My early drafts were visual – like watching a movie with no sound or depth. So the investment in my craft took it to the next level and after revising the hell out of the manuscripts and short stories I had, I started getting bites and eventually that first publishing contract.

And I can’t say this enough – GET A COPY EDITOR to run through the manuscript before you hit publish. Not your best friend who has a minor in English or someone who likes to read a lot – get someone who understands the rules of grammar and the nuances of when it’s okay to break the rules and when its not.

No matter how good your story is, if the grammar or punctuation make it impossible to read, you won’t get far.

the-steve-williams-thriller-series-box-set

View some of Taylor’s work here

 

You can also find Taylor:

On facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JETaylor

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/JETaylor75

On her website: http://www.jetaylor75.com/

 

Edinburgh International Book Festival’s brochure is available in eBook format free on the Kobo Store

Edinburg Festival Logo

Working in partnership with Kobo, Edinburgh International Book Festival has published its 2014 brochure through Kobo Writing Life.

The Book Festival’s eBook brochure is now available on the Kobo Store across over 190 countries. Readers can download it free, and read it across Kobo tablets and Kobo free reading apps.

If you already have a Kobo account and own either a Kobo tablet or a free Kobo reading app, you just have to download the brochure from the Kobo Store here.

 

If you do not have a Kobo account or a Kobo reading app, follow our step-by-step guide below for an easy way to browse the Book Festival’s brochure anytime, anywhere.

To create a Kobo account you need an active email address. You can also sign in through your Facebook account.

To create a Kobo account click here.

 

create an account

 

After you have created your Kobo account you are ready to download the Book Festival’s eBook brochure.

You can find the eBook by typing “edbookfest” in the search box.

 

search

 

You can now read the brochure, across any device, through our apps. To download the free Kobo reading app click here.

 

Apps Page on Kobo Store

Kobo mobile reading apps are available for: Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows. You can also read the brochure on your laptop through the Kobo desktop app for Mac and PC.

 

Once you have installed the Kobo App, launch it and sign in!

 

K App Create an Account

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The app will automatically sync with your Kobo account and show all your books in the library. Click on the Book Festival’s Brochure and enjoy the reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kobo app syncs all your bookmarks, so you can read between your smartphone, tablet, computer, or Kobo device and pick up right where you last left off.

 

ReadItOnAnyDevice

How to Beat Boxed Set Burnout: Making the Summer Lovin’ Series

By The Summer Lovin’ Authors

Being an author means more than writing a book. Authors are businesswomen, just like any other person who creates a product for sale. Part of our business is delivering a high-quality product—in our case, a great book!—and another part is finding ways to enhance the reading experience for the reader.

When our group first began talking about writing a project together, it was in response to the prevalence in the romance market of themed box sets. Since box sets are a fabulous waysummer lovin to introduce readers to new authors at a bargain price, we started off considering that approach. However, the conversation quickly changed after we talked about how some of our readers were experiencing what we called “box set burnout,” which meant that they either purchased a box set but never read all of the stories because they simply found the number of books overwhelming, or they felt the set wasn’t as fulfilling a read as a single author’s series featuring recurring characters in the same setting.

After a little more discussion, we decided to address box set burnout by writing a linked series instead. The Summer Lovin’ series features six category-length works by six different authors, each releasing two weeks apart. All books are set in the same location—at Stone Cliff Resort in the fictional town of Deerfield, Canada (modeled after Banff)—and each book has overlapping characters with at least two other books, but could easily be a standalone read, as well.

Crashing Down, New Adult RomanceLosing ItLoving Lies

This approach allows us to create a better reading experience, not just by offering a fun way to introduce readers to new authors, but also by giving readers time to read and digest each book without feeling overwhelmed. We each came up with a synopsis and a cast of characters, (even the town itself became a character) then we used Springpad to set up an online group data storage system to make our bible. Using all this information, and sharing ideas back and forth on a daily basis, we honed the story lines until we felt we had built a solid world! Then, it was writing time. We each wrote independently, based on the plots we had discussed, and then read over one another’s work, tweaking characters and setting descriptions to make sure everything in the books flowed together. Writing this way can be a challenge, since everyone is very close to their own story, but we were all willing to make changes to ensure description/characters fit with the rest of the stories because we all cared about the final produce, and ultimately the reader experience.

Our cover artist, Croco Designs, created covers with the same Summer Lovin’ logo and summer-by-the-lake theme, and before we knew it, the linked series was ready to go!

Taming Tess, New Adult RomanceSurviving NikkiSaving Sullivan

We’re so excited to offer this series of six books by Cathryn Fox, Audra North, Renee Field, Jan Meredith, Lilly Cain, and Sara Hubbard.

Check out the Summer Lovin’ Series here!

Connect with the authors on Facebook here!

An exciting new initiative: Digital Book Day

“One day, one site, hundreds of authors and free books, all to celebrate our readers!”                         – CJ Lyons, founder of Digital Book Day

For three years, World Book Night was an effort to share the love of reading by giving away thousands of books in a single day, once per year. Unfortunately, due to a lack of funding, World Book Night announced last week that they would cease US operations.

Author CJ Lyons quickly stepped up to the plate to organize something unique and exciting: Digital Book Day, an initiative with the same mission – celebrating readers – but featuring free digital copies instead of print editions. It’s all happening next week, on July 14, 2014.

DBDsquare“When I heard the news that World Book Night USA was over, it saddened me, “ Lyons told Kobo Writing Life. “And it came on the heels of so much upheaval and distress in the publishing industry that instead of addressing the issue with more rhetoric and empty words, I decided to take action.”

“After all, thanks to digital publishing, authors (traditionally published or self-published) have a less expensive and more efficient way to gift books to readers via e-books. I myself have given away over 50,000 print and e-books in the past five years—and it’s always, always, always led to new readers finding me, not to mention a ton of fun for me to do, kind of like Christmas all year round! So I thought, why not a self-funded Digital Book Day?”

We applaud CJ’s efforts and the inclusive spirit of Digital Book Day. Any author can submit a free book HERE, and link to their preferred retailer – including Kobo!

By self-publishing with Kobo Writing Life, you have the ability to price your titles free anytime, with no exclusivity. If you want to offer a book free for a limited time for Digital Book Day, use our easy price scheduling tool to schedule that price change ahead of time. Readers, remember you can find amazing free books any time on our First Free in  Series page: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/Collection/free-first-in-series

Find out more about Digital Book Day here: http://DigitalBookDay.com

About CJ Lyons

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-three novels, former pediatric ER doctor CJ Lyons has

Author and Digital Book Day founder CJ Lyons.

Author and Digital Book Day founder CJ Lyons.

lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge Thrillers with Heart.

CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday).

Her novels have won the International Thriller Writers’ prestigious Thriller Award, the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Readers’ Choice Award, the RT Seal of Excellence, and the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense.

CJ will be giving away SNAKE SKIN for free on Digital Book Day. You can find all of her eBooks on kobo.com, including her latest release, FAREWELL TO DREAMS: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/farewell-to-dreams-a-novel-of-fatal-insomnia

Learn more about CJ’s Thrillers with Heart at www.CJLyons.net

 

 

My Writing Life: Mark Dawson

markdawsonWhen did you first discover a love of writing? Is there a particular book that made you want to become a writer?

I’ve always wanted to write. My first book was a 25,000 word sci-fi story that I put together on BBC Micros when I stayed late at school. It was dreadful, of course, but it was a great start. Was there a particular book? Not really. It was more a love of reading everything and anything but, when I was older, I’d point to books like The Stand, American Psycho, Money and the Thomas Covenant series.

Where do you get your story ideas?

Newspapers are a pretty fertile source of ideas. My John Milton series deals in contemporary events, and so recent stories from Somalia and Iraq have been fruitful in providing me with ideas for plot and setting. Relevant non-fiction is brilliant when you are in the drafting. My present novel is set in Basra and so I’m reading the excellent Red Zone by Oliver Poole. And then, of course, there’s TV and film. My Soho Noir series has been described as a cross between The Sopranos and The Talented Mr. Ripley, and that’s something I’ll happily take to the bank.

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Check out Mark’s best-selling Soho Noir series

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received as a writer?

Write. Write. Write. And then do it again.

Where do you usually write?

On the train. I commute to London at the moment and I have never found a better spot to get stuff done. It’s 3 hours every day, too, and so I can easily plough through 5,000 words a day.

Do you believe in Writer’s Block?

No. If you’re out of ideas, go for a walk. We have a dog and some beautiful fields very close (we live in Wiltshire in England) and I found a bit of exercise usually works wonders. I was struggling with a tricky plot point this morning and it was solved by the time I was back for breakfast.

What’s your favourite literary genre? Any guilty pleasures?

I love thrillers, sci-fi and fantasy, but I can be tempted to read just about anything. Guilty pleasures? A friend recently dabbled in chick lit and I was pleased to find that I quite enjoyed that. Who doesn’t like a happy ending?

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Introduce yourself to Mark’s thrilling John Milton series

What made you decide to self-publish?

I was traditionally published at the start of my career and although I received generous advances I was disillusioned by a lack of marketing, no input on covers, that sort of thing. Self-publishing blows all of those up once and for all. Now, I am responsible for getting the books out and making readers aware of them. I have final say on the covers, although I am blessed to work with a professional who has designed UK covers for Stephen King and John Le Carre, among many others. And then, of course, there is the immediate contact with readers that I never had before. True story: I once found a copy of Subpoena Colada in a second hand book shop with a handwritten note of comments about what worked and what didn’t work. I wish I could have met that person, because she was spot on. I do get to meet that person now – I get emails from readers nearly every day and I love it.

Are there any self-publishing tricks of the trade you’d like to share? What rules of craft or promotion do you live by?

I don’t think you can trick or game your way to success. Readers are not dumb and you will be found out. You have to write well. That’s a given. You have to have a great cover and your blurb needs to rock. The first few pages are going to be read as previews, so make sure that you start with really strong writing (and then don’t let up). I make a point of nurturing my email list and I will always respond to emails from people who get in touch. That’s not a chore – I defy you to find a writer who doesn’t get a thrill every time someone tells them that they’ve enjoyed their new book. I bet JK Rowling still feels that way. I know I do.

Why do I want to publish on Kobo?

Because I want as many people as possible to read my books, in markets where other retailers struggle to make headway. As a British author with a long standing fondness for WH Smith (fostered during a childhood spent exchanging hard won pocket money for magazines for my Spectrum and Commodore 64), I’d get a real thrill to be sold through them. Oh, and Canada rocks.

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You can also find Mark:

On facebook: https://www.facebook.com/markdawsonauthor

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/pbackwriter

Edinburgh International Book Festival – Author Contest

Edinburg Festival Logo

Kobo Writing Life is delighted to be supporting the 2014 Edinburgh International Book Festival in its commitment to openly celebrate and foster the written word in all its fascinating expressions.

To this same end both Kobo Writing Life and Whitefox are glad to be offering you the opportunity to win a £1,000 OFF coupon for any publishing service (e.g. design, editing, marketing, etc) provided by Whitefox.

Don’t worry! Just enter Kobo’s Edinburgh International Book Festival – Author Contest for your chance to have all your questions answered!

Whitefox LogoOne lucky winner will enjoy a £1,000 OFF coupon for any publishing service (e.g. design, editing, marketing, etc) provided by Whitefox

You will be able to choose any service that will fit your individual skill level and needs. You choose what you’d like to focus on and you ask the questions. Whitefox will help you move to the next level!

To Enter Simply Fill out this form.

There can be only one submission per author entry. Entry Deadline: August 25th, 2014.

ELIGIBILITY

The Contest is open only to legal residents of the forty eight (48) contiguous United States, District of Columbia, Canada (excluding Quebec) and the European Union who have reached the age of majority in their respective jurisdiction at the time of entry (each entrant, an “Entrant”).  Void in Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and where prohibited by law.

Click on the link to read the: Full Terms and Conditions

 

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