KWL price scheduling tool now live

You can now schedule price promotions and permanent prices in KWL.  Just set it and forget it!

On the Set the Price screen, you’ll now see a Set promo price button (you can also set a permanent price for a future date with the Set regular price button):

Price schedule 1

This will take you to the Set Promo Price screen, where you can set the price and the start and end dates of your promotion:

 Price schedule 2

Once set, your KWL library will display a badge to show which books have a price change scheduled.

price schedule 3

If you’re a forward-thinking individual and like to plan things far enough in advance, you’ll receive a reminder email 2 days prior to when your book is scheduled for a price change.  Remember to add Kobo Writing Life to your email client’s white list so these important reminders don’t get caught in your spam filter!

price schedule 4

This is just another way the KWL team is continually working to ensure you have as much control as possible over every aspect of your titles, and right at your fingertips.

Keep writing!

A letter to our KWL authors and self-publishing partners

As you may be aware, there has been a significant amount of negative media attention in the UK regarding offensive material that became available across a number of eBook platforms. Kobo was included in the reports from media and we are taking immediate action to resolve an issue that is the direct result of a select few authors and publishers violating Kobo’s content policies.

In order to address the situation Kobo is taking the following steps:

  1. We are removing titles in question from the Kobo platform.
  2. We are quarantining and reviewing titles to ensure that compliance to our policies is met by all authors and publishers. We will ensure that content meeting the policy is made available online as soon as possible.
  3. We are reviewing our policies and procedures to implement safeguards that will ensure this situation does not happen in the future.

We are working hard to get back to business as usual, as quickly as possible. We appreciate your patience and understanding in this matter.

Our goal at Kobo is not to censor material; we support freedom of expression. Further, we want to protect the reputation of self-publishing as a whole. You have our promise that we will do all we can to ensure the exceptions that have caused this current situation will not have a lasting effect on what is an exciting new channel that connects Readers to a wealth of books.

Sincerely,

Mark Lefebvre

Director, Kobo Writing Life

KWL new feature: free download tracking

Kobo Writing Life is pleased to announce that as of a recent October 2013 update you can now track your free book downloads!  Up until now, all reports were sales reports, and free books downloads weren’t captured in that data.  Now, however, you can also stay informed of which of your free books are being downloaded and where.  (Remember, with Kobo Writing Life, you can make your eBooks FREE whenever you wish for as long as you want – no strings attached)

You can view total free downloads on your dashboard under Sales at a Glance:

downloads 2

If you want to measure the number of times a particular title has been downloaded for free, you can drill down to the book level under Sales by Book:

downloads 1

Or, to see where your eBooks are being downloaded for free, you can see a summary of total free downloads in Sales by Region:

 downloads 3

These will be valuable tools you can use to gauge the temperature of your free offerings and inform your marketing strategies, and is part of the ongoing updates and improvements we are continually making to the dashboard to help you measure the success of various promotions.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Even if you’ve never offered a title for free download, you might still see a small number of free downloads appear on your dashboard. Here are two reasons that might be:

  1. Someone internal at Kobo from the Publisher Operations / Kobo Writing Life / Quality Assurance team downloaded the book for testing to ensure it presented okay on one of our eReaders.  Sometimes we do this when helping answer an author’s question about something they are seeing when the book is downloaded (as part of the trouble shooting process) And other times, it could be part of the random sampling testing we perform on titles to ensure that everything is working okay on our devices and apps.
  2. Someone from our global Merchandising team might downloaded the book to check it out. This can be an extremely good thing for an author, as having the attention of someone from Merchandising can turn out to be very beneficial, particularly since there are thousands of titles published every single day — getting a Merchandiser’s attention is a rare and wonderful thing. Because if they like your book, that just might help get it some extra attention.

Making sense of the KWL terms and conditions

All KWL authors received an email recently regarding a small change to the terms & conditions of the KWL agreement which will be in effect Oct 17, 2013. Here’s a quick plain-English rundown of what those changes are and why we’ve made them.

The Kobo Writing Life team is constantly on the lookout for ways to help you succeed, and that means keeping an eye on trends and valuable high-end data.  One of the trends we’ve noticed is the Dead Price Point as we recently posted about.  We are keen to pay attention to these types of purchasing trends and do what we can to encourage authors to think of price as a verb rather than as a noun, to experiment with pricing models for different territories and to be careful not to devalue their work.

chart

We’re still trying, for example, to understand the logistics behind a customer’s decision.  For example, why are 99 cents and $2.99 fine for a reader to take a chance on a lesser known author’s title, but $1.99 (mid-way between those two spots) is a complete dead zone? Is it because you’re appealing to two completely different types of customers, and the isn’t any sort of overlap? We’ll keep you posted on what we learn.

Before, KWL paid an author 70% of their Suggested Retail Price (SRP) if the price was between $1.99 and $12.99 USD, and 45% if the price was outside of that range.  We’ve changed that:  now, you’ll get 70% of your SRP if it’s $2.99 USD or above to encourage you to avoid the “Dead Zone” of $1.99.

And yes, we are removing the cap on 70% — our cap used to be $12.99 USD, but now there is none. This means that for “box-sets” and other higher priced items, you aren’t penalized for pricing higher than $12.99.

And it’s as simple as that.  A quick little change to encourage you to value the hard work you’ve done and get the most out of your self-publishing endeavors.

Keep writing!

Entering your payment information on KWL

Before you publish your first book you’ll need to enter your payment information. Our royalty payments are sent via Electronic Fund Transfer. You may need to contact your bank to confirm the information you’ll need to receive this type of payment.

There are two steps involved in entering your information, your Account Details and your Bank Branch Details.

Under Account Details you must enter the name of the person the bank account is registered to and the bank account number. The tax registration number is optional.

payment_information 1

Underneath this you’ll find your Bank Branch Details. Here you can choose the currency in which you will be paid by selecting a currency from the drop down menu. You’ll also be required to enter the country and city that your account is registered in. Don’t worry about adding the state or province into this section, the city alone will be enough to bring up your branch.

payment_information 2

The next step is adding your SWIFT Code, Routing Number or IBAN. The details needed in this section can differ depending on the currency that you’re using. Here’s a list of the information that each currency requires:

AUD

- Valid six digit Bank State Branch (BSB) Code
- Beneficiary Bank Country: Australia 

CAD

- Five – twelve digit account number and valid nine digit transit code
- Beneficiary country: Canada 

EUR

- Valid BIC/SWIFT & Valid IBAN
- Beneficiary Bank Country: Euro Monetary Union Countries (except Malta) including French Territories 

GBP

- Valid six digit BACS sort code & eight digit bank account (or IBAN)
- Beneficiary Bank Country: United Kingdom 

HKD

- Valid six digit Hong Kong Clearing Code
- Beneficiary Bank Country: Hong Kong 

NZD

- Valid six digit bank branch code & nine digit beneficiary account number
- Beneficiary Bank Country: New Zealand 

USD

- Valid ACH ABA (http://www.fedwiredirectory.frb.org/search.cfm)
- Beneficiary Bank Country: USA or Canada (valid transit required if  beneficiary bank is within Canada) 

JPY

- Eight – eleven digit swift code
- Beneficiary Bank Country : Japan

If you’re unsure of the banking details needed, please contact your bank. They’ll be able to provide you with the correct information.

Once you’ve filled this section in and click ‘Search’, your bank branch will appear on the box on the right hand side. All you need to do is select the bank branch and then save your changes.

If for some reason you can’t find your bank branch, please contact us at writinglife@kobo.com and we’ll help you find it.

New KWL WYSIWYG editor is here!

Now you can edit your existing eBooks or create new ones right on the KWL website with our WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor.

You can access the editor from the Add eBook Content screen on either a New eBook or existing eBook screen.

start writing

Click the “Start Writing!” button to open the text editor:

 blank editor

The editor is divided into two main windows: the Chapter window and the Content window.

The Chapter window is where you can create, delete, and rename chapters and sub-chapters. If you want the Table of Contents to work properly in your eBook, it’s important to define and name your Chapters.

new chapter- Create new chapter

new subchapter- Create new sub-chapter

delete chapter- Delete selected chapter or sub-chapter

rename chapter- Rename selected chapter or sub-chapter

“Create new chapter” and “Create new sub-chapter” will create the new item after the currently-selected one.

The Content window has all the icons you’re used to seeing: bold, italic, underline, find, replace, spell-check, numbering, bullets, indenting, and so on.

When you click on the insert image icon, you’ll get a popup:

image popup

You can click “Browse Image Gallery” if you’ve already uploaded the image you want to use. If this is your first time using the editor, you’ll have to upload files to your image gallery.  Click on the “Uploads” tab.

 image upload

Click “Browse…” and navigate to the image you want to upload, then click “Upload to Gallery.”

You’ll then see the image in the popup and can edit its properties, such as size, border, spacing, and justification:

 image popup full

The Latin filler text is there so you can see how the image will look when embedded in your text.  Click the “OK” button to insert the image and return to the editor.

The insert/edit table icon will also bring up a popup window:

insert table 1

Here you can define how many rows and columns to include, as well as table width, height, spacing, padding, border, and alignment.  If you like, you can also add a caption and a summary.

The table popup has an Advanced tab:

 insert table 2

Here you can set things like stylesheets classes and language direction.

Once you click the “OK” button, you’ll be returned to the editor, with your table inserted and ready to be filled.

If you’re unhappy with what you’ve created, you can click the “Clear all” button: do be careful, however. This won’t simply undo the changes you’ve made and return your eBook to its previous state: it will delete the entire contents of your eBook. You will get a pop-up warning:

clear content popup

If, however, you’d like to keep your changes, you don’t need to save. The editor automatically saves your changes as you work.  The bottom of the editing window will tell you when the content was last saved:

 last saved

Click the “Download and preview this eBook” link to see the effects of the changes you’ve made. This is an important step to make sure that things look as you want them to.

Marking the book as complete will enable it to be published when you’re finished all four steps of publishing through KWL.  Keeping it unmarked will prevent the eBook from publishing.

Clicking the green “Next” button will take you to the Choose content rights screen.

Clicking the “Stop editing” button will take you back to the Add eBook content screen.

Clicking the “Delete eBook” button will  delete your eBook from KWL.

Have fun, and keep writing!

Avoid the meat-grinder! Creating a self-published book can be as easy as writing a blog

by Emily Craven

I always had it in my head that something like Smashwords would be my first e-book platform: the easiest, the largest distributor, the least work.

Then I looked at the style guide, and read the tax information and realised I needed to buckle on my superhero suit for that gauntlet.

I’d had enough trouble deciding how to format my YA novel to look like Facebook, now I had to figure out how to stop the meat-grinder from turning my work into something resembling a 52,000 word experimental poem. It was still in the cards, but I needed a new plan to keep the momentum rolling before I drowned in paperwork and coding.

I have always been a keen advocate for self-education. In industries like writing and in particular e-publishing and internet marketing, things change too quickly for your run of the mill university. It’s this drive for self-education that has seen me being asked to present on marketing and creative e-book advances, and got me into the coolest courses for free. It was at one of these courses I found a way you can create your own clean ePub or print-ready pdf file, for free, without any supernatural talent at html code, and have your books uploaded on Amazon and Kobo in the same hour.

PressBooks is God’s gift to writers.

PressBooks has taken the WordPress open source code and created a powerful tool to produce epub and print-ready PDF files. The epub file it produces is directly upload-able to Kobo Writing Life (which offers their own free epub conversion service as well) and KDP (which will convert the file cleanly to mobi) and it’s as easy as using the WordPress blogging platform.

There are several reasons why I would marry PressBooks over my partner of five years:

  • The platform is free. You can create a file for every one of your 100 haikus if you wish.
  • It is as idiot-proof as blogging with WordPress. Basically you set up each of your chapters as an individual ‘blog post’. This makes it incredibly easy to fix your own typos and add extra scenes or features you thought up while singing in the shower. You can upload and insert images in the same way you would a blog, easily compressing or enlarging your author photo depending on the size of your narcissistic streak.
  • It allows you to place your front matter (copyright message, dedication, foreword), novel (separated into chapters and, if necessary, parts) and back matter (about the author,  more books from the author and bonuses) on separate pages avoiding the run-on effect between sections that you get through other conversion tools. You can select which components you want to include in the export with just one click, allowing you to create different versions for different markets (print, Kobo , Kindle  whatever) or price points (e.g. I have a multimedia version of E-Book Revolution which includes links to ten instructional audios and a private Facebook group. This version of the e-book I sell for $47, where as the e-book without audio is only $5.99).
  • It provides three different template styles, all super professional. As well, it allows those of you who have painstakingly learnt html code (who I like to call the ‘obsessed’ or ‘book designers’), to upload your own CSS style sheet.
  • It allows multiple users to work on a novel at once. So if you are a small publishing house you can have the author upload work, then have a structural editor, a copy editor, a cover designer, and a copywriter all do their work on the same platform. PressBooks allows you to compare the changes between saved versions so the author/editor can approve changes. Each individual contributor can access the novel online from wherever they are. The efficient work flow should have all publishers salivating. Imagine the best of the best being able to work on the same project regardless of what office or country they are in.
  • Finally, but most importantly, PressBooks gives you the ability to integrate detailed metadata into your eBook. Metadata increases the find-ability of your books in the search engines tenfold. You can add keywords or tags, ISBNs, pricing, a synopsis, subtitles, covers and more into the metadata and it will be integrated into the backend of the ePub file, just waiting for Kobo, Google or Amazon to search it.

Creating print-ready files and ePubs was a mountain (or a giant hole in the wallet); now the only (mother of) a mountain is marketing and the reader-author connection. That’s where I come in… Sigh. Has anyone seen my superhero suit?

*******************************

Emily-Craven-200x300Emily Craven is an author of non-fiction, fantasy and YA fiction. She blogs and presents for If:Book Australia, Meanland and the Australian Society of Authors on the future of digital publishing, e-book marketing, author platforms and the reader/author connection. Emily’s non-fiction book ‘E-Book Revolution: The Ultimate Guide To E-Book Success’ is now available as an e-book through Kobo or a multimedia package at http://emilycraven.bkclb.co.

She also has her own blog at http://ebookrevolution.blogspot.com. In 2011-2012 she undertook a 12 month writing mentorship with fantasy author Isobelle Carmody, for her YA fantasy novel, Priori-The Power Within.

If you enjoy her tongue in cheek style you may also enjoy her comedy novels set in Facebook, ‘The Grand Adventures of Madeline Cain: Photographer Extraordinaire’ and ‘Jake’s Page’ available from Kobo.

Kobo Writing Life Announces Dashboard Enhancements

The amazing Kobo Writing Life Dashboard just got even better:

date_dropdown1)      Now you can define the date range for the sales data you want to see. Use the new pull-down menu to choose between this month, the last 30 days, the last 7 days, today, or a custom date range.  Choosing a custom date range will bring up easy-to-click-and-use calendars to choose the exact date range you’re interested in seeing.

 

2)      You can also now view sales data for a specific book in your catalgoge with our Sales By Book search.  Simply enter the title or ISBN of the book you want to see the data for, and presto!  Specific sales figures for your book.

 sales by book

3)      To make it easier to ensure you’re doing everything right, you can now search for your bank on the Payment Information page. Finding your bank ensures that the information you’re inputting is correct.

payment_validation

Using Kobo Writing Life has never been easier!  If you haven’t already (and why haven’t you?), join today!

Linking to Kobo

[Dec 2013 - EDITORIAL NOTE/UPDATE:  With recent updates made to the Kobo website in most English language territories around the world, the method to link directly to Kobo eBooks has changed.  The "=ISBN" link now returns a search result with the ISBN specified as the first search result - requiring a reader to click on that item to go to the book's detailed item page -- along with a host of other similar/related/linked titles based on systematic algorithms.  The best manner for linking to an item in the new web store is a title-based link]

Example:  The “old format of “ISBN=” link to “Write. Publish. Repeat” by Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant (with David Wright), would be . . .

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/Search?Query=1230000196857

The link above is derived from entering the ISBN for the item (in this case the dummy ISBN assigned by Kobo when the author published the book) into Kobo’s search box.

However, this method returns Write. Publish. Repeat as the first book on a search result page which also includes similar wonderful books for writers:  David Gaughran’s Let’s Get Visible, The Naked Truth about Self-Publishing (by The Indie Voice – 10 New York Times Bestselling authors, including Tina Folsom, Colleen Gleason and Debra Holland) and How to Market a Book by Joanna Penn.  The list also currently returns individual books by Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt and David Wright, as well as Hugh Howey’s Wool and a Neil Gaiman novel.  This is most likely because enough customers who bought Write. Publish. Repeat. likely also bought some of the other titles.  (Please also note that this is the search result for Canada in late December 2013 – the similar title result does change over time and may reflect different titles in different global territories)

While this does work, it requires a customer to make one more click before getting to the detailed item page for a book. And, you want to, anywhere possible, reduce the number of clicks between seeing a title and deciding to buy it.

The DIRECT link to the title now appears with the title embedded in the URL.  (Each word is separated with a dash)

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/write-publish-repeat

If there is more than one instance of a title (as some titles, particular in the thriller, mystery and romance genres, are often repeated), the system automatically assigns a numeric value to the end.  This makes determining the direct link a little bit more challenging, and which is why the KWL developers are going to embed the new direct link directly into the KWL dashboard in early 2014 to make finding the proper link easier for authors.

The good news about this new linking method is that it will ALWAYS link to the most recent version of the ePub file that is published to the Kobo webstore.  (As per the note in the original post below, you no longer have to worry that a new URL is being generated for your title whenever you upload a new ePub file)

—– [original post]——-

It is always useful to provide links to your books on various different retail sites. And linking to your books on Kobo via your website, your blog, on Twitter, etc. helps your fans who prefer Kobo to easily find and purchase it.

With that in mind, please note the following:

The best way to link to your eBook on Kobo is to use the following formula:
http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=eISBN
(replace “eISBN” with the 13 digit ISBN of your eBook)

You might notice that, if you enter this exact URL into your web browser, it will automatically redirect to a much longer less human-readable URL.  This is because Kobo is automatically redirecting to the most recent version of the ePub file you have loaded.  If you link directly to the long URL and then you update your ePub file (ie, the content of the eBook itself), a fresh new URL will be generated and the old URL will be deactivated.

This ensures that customers can’t purchase the old version of your text (however, Kobo needs to ensure that customers who already have the old version in their libraries still have access to that version — yes, they can refresh and update from the old to the new, but we can’t do that automatically for them because it would negatively affect their bookmarks and any other annotations, notes, etc they might have added to the originally purchased version)

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