For the second time, Kobo Writing Life awarded a star on Frankfurt Book Fair’s Walk of Fame to two bestselling authors: Joanna Penn and Matthias Matting, in the flurry of camera flashes.
Check out the photos below and find out more about Matthias Matting and Joanna Penn in their interviews with KWL European Manager Camille Mofidi.
- What is the situation of the German market in terms of eBooks and self-publishing in 2014?
The German market has matured in the last year, even if it still lies 2 years behind the US and UK. But the German market also has its own specificities like the fixed price law: “Buchpreisbindungsgesetz.” This past year, there has been a boom in Germany’s self-publishing scene.
- Which strategy should indie authors be using today?
If authors are already known, they should be everywhere to maximise their visibility. But if they’re new into self-publishing in Germany, it is hard to get visibility on platforms like Tolino, the German retailer. So I would recommend starting with one platform and then expanding to all of them.
- What was your impression of FBF this year compared to last year?
The fair seems more open to self-publishing, with many places and stages to talk about the future of publishing and self-publishing; both in German and in English. The German self-publishing area has grown a lot this year, with more activity going on every day.
- How does it feel to be featured at the Fair’s Wall of Fame?
It is a great feeling to be featured and to get a Star on the author Walk of Fame, especially since there are so many famous authors getting a star there like John Green or Heinz Rudolf Kunze. I’m just a writer; I’m not recognized on the street like a rock star. Even though the German blog LousyPennies.de now calls me “The Self-Publishing Pope” (Der SelfPublishing-Papst)!
Matthias Matting is a journalist with news magazine FOCUS and an author of several nonfiction and fiction books available in German and English. He writes mainly technical books like “Samsung Galaxy S5 – das inoffizielle Handbuch. Anleitung, Tipps, Tricks”; he also wrote a sci-fi novel “Meltworld Shanghai.” He started self-publishing in 2011 and since 2013 he runs selfpublisherbibel.de, the #1 site for self-publishing in Germany.
- Generally speaking, what is your impression of self-publishing? Are there any differences between the British and the German markets?
I would say that Germany is 2 years behind the UK, which is now catching up with the US. There are now some big indie authors’ names in Germany, but it is difficult for the other authors. Anyway, Germany is a great market for eBooks today.
- What would be the #1 advice you would give to beginners in self-publishing today?
The first question to address is: “What is your definition of success?” I started back in 2008 and my objective by then was not the same as today. It is important to know why you want to self-publish and what your goal is.
- Can an indie author make a decent living in self-publishing?
It is possible to live from your writing as an indie author, but you need to remember that this doesn’t happen from the first book out there. You need to have a significant catalogue first. Then, I would recommend thinking of all the formats, not only eBooks. You can publish your books as eBooks, but also as audiobooks, print books with POD, box-sets, etc.
Authors entering into self-publishing need to think about their business model: this is what I’ve tried to address in my last book “Business for Authors. How to be an Author Entrepreneur.”
- What are you looking for by attending Frankfurt Book Fair?
Aside from the talks I’ve been invited to*, I’m mainly here to wander around the fair, meet people and get new ideas out of these meetings and talks. It feels also nice to get a star on the Author Walk of Fame: I didn’t expect this at all because I’m not so famous, but it’s a really fun event!
Joanna Penn is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers as well as non-fiction advice for authors. Joanna is also a professional speaker and entrepreneur, voted as one of The Guardian UK Top 100 creative professionals 2013. Her site, TheCreativePenn.com is regularly voted one of the top sites for authors and creative entrepreneurs online.
*Kobo Writing Life invited Joanna Penn for a talk on the Kobo booth at Frankfurt Book Fair, about “How to be successful in self-publishing,” in which she shared valuable advice with indie authors from many countries. For more on Joanna Penn’s presentation and KWL events at Frankfurt Book fair, please visit www.kobowritinglife.com.