By Patty Jansen
When other writers hear that I sell quite well on Kobo, the reaction is invariably: how do you do that? I don’t even know how to promote my books there.
Last month, this post appeared on the Kobo Writing Life blog, which details useful sites for ebook promotion. There are also a few Facebook groups that concentrate on Kobo or sites that sell ebooks in EPUB format. Kobo Writing Life and Kobo Indie Ebooks are two I can think of.
Invariably, a lot of these Facebook groups have the same problem in common: they are populated mainly by writers wanting to “promote”. You may sell a copy or two, but those books are bought by someone who came to the site wanting to advertise their own books.
So, maybe we need to step away from that tacky word “promote”.
What does promote mean? Since the start of self-publishing, it has come to mean spam the living daylights out of all your Facebook and Twitter friends, and pay big bucks for advertising that may or may not work, but even if it works, effects are usually very short-lived.
Many people seem to survive on this crash diet of expensive promos and free giveaways and so many of them are becoming disillusioned with the process. It’s a draining and tiring and takes you away from writing.
The reason people give away books is because they want to find people who will champion their fiction. The more copies of your book you have in circulation, the better the chance of finding people who will love your work. If you make your book free, you can give away lots of books. Hang on, only if you can get mentioned on one of the main free and cheap book blogs, which don’t list as many free books as they used to, because of a crackdown on the use of affiliate links for free titles (story too long to recite here). The free spots on those blogs have become competitive, which means that the blogs charge for them. Yes. To advertise a free book.
This may work if you have more books in the series, and you may not lose any money if you make your book 99 cents rather than free, but still…
In my opinion, this is spiralling into all the wrong directions.
Some time, in some industry called the traditional publishing industry (remember that?) someone said something that went like: money flows to the writer. Not to the service providers. I do sometimes pay for advertising, but I’m starting to feel very uneasy about this whole free/cheap book blog money-grabbing business. Feel free to disagree in the comments.
How DO you promote on Kobo? Because Kobo doesn’t offer this crash-course diet of free days, and there are only a few dedicated Kobo book promotion blogs.
The same way as you can let people know about your fiction everywhere else:
1. Write a good book
2. Write a sequel. Make sure you brand books as a series. Make sure you number the volumes.
3. Write another sequel. Make book 1 free if you want, but that’s not really necessary.
4. Talk about your book on your author and Facebook page, Facebook groups and on Twitter. I mean talk about, not spam.
5. The three Be’s: Be there, Be genuine, Be interesting on social media
6. Do a LibraryThing give-away (free), casually give away ebooks to anyone who shows interest in reviewing.
7. Do an occasional guest post on someone else’s blog.
8. Make sure your author website has a page for each book that lists links to all the places where people can buy the book. Remember that if they use Google Chrome with adblocker, people will not see your links if you use affiliate codes.
9. The most important thing is that this process is a constant, low-key affair that need not take you away from the rest of your life for more than 15 minutes a day.
Right. Did I mention the word “Kobo” in any of these points? I did not. Because this method is a one-stop-shop and works everywhere, including on Kobo. I would say especially on Kobo and other sites that are dedicated to selling books. The most valuable thing an author can have is a reader base that’s not linked to any one retailer.
About the Author:
Patty Jansen lives in Sydney, Australia. She loves to write fantasy set in unusual worlds, space opera and realistic science fiction. She has sold short fiction to genre magazines such as Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Redstone SF and Aurealis.
Her novels include Watcher’s Web and Trader’s Honour (Return of the Aghyrians series, with book 3 expected later this year), The Far Horizon (middle grade SF), Charlotte’s Army (military SF) and Fire & Ice, Dust & Rain and Blood & Tears (Icefire Trilogy). Follow Patty’s blog for news on her fiction, her Monday dawn photography project, discussions on science in fiction and digital art.