NYT bestselling author Cristin Harber recently blogged about her efforts over the last year to expand retailer market share at Kobo. We loved the story and her helpful tips, and were thrilled when she agreed to let us share the post here. To read more posts by Cristin outlining “Actionable Ideas for Indies,” go to The Next Level Author.

By Cristin Harber

One of my 2015 goals was to rely less on Amazon. They owned over 75% of my market share in 2014, and I wasn’t comfortable with that. So I prioritized Kobo and iBooks for 2015, drafting two distinct marketing plans. Basically, I needed to make the sales needle move substantially without a scary financial investment.

Below is a global, pictorial representation of my Kobo 2014 year to date sales, which were earned organically. Other than posting Kobo buy links and running (without a good ROI) Facebook ads and generic release week boosted posts, I did not my promote my Kobo books or focus on my Kobo readers. (sad, I know!)


Without using specific numbers, what you can assume here is that I was strong in Canada, US, UK, and Australia. These are all places that Kobo is historically strong.

Assessing my sales and trajectory, I laid out my new 2015 goals:

  • Double my Kobo income
  • Maintain the same organic trajectory while exploring new audiences

This is my starting point.

I start to play with very low dollar ads, both in countries that I feel can’t fail me: Canada, UK, US, and Australia, and in new countries that I’m curious about the cost of acquiring a new reader.

Without getting into the nitty gritty of targeting a romance Kobo reader in this blog post,  here’s a quick summary:

kobo facebook ad example

Coupled with a niche universe of my readers who like Kobo. It’s a tiny universe, but it’s a highly segmented ad. Think slice and diced.

kobo example universeOkay, back to what happens when I start targeting specific people with a targeted message.


What I learned in the process:

My loss leaders work. I have three. They are very different, with distinct covers, genres, and styles. They sell VERY differently in different countries, with different messages on the different retailers.

I’m still mapping all that out. It’s confusing, and I need more hours in the day. I’m not a household name, but if I want a chance to continue to meet my next-level goals, and hit my next major one, it’s something I need to prioritize.

(Side note: Holy shiz, Cristin. This is a lot of work. If someone told you that there’s a good chance you can bring in seven figure next year, and this might be one of the steps it would take, would you think about working it into your plans? Yeah, me too.)

My can’t-fail-me countries like the US and Australia failed me in my ads. Or rather, I failed the ads, because something I’ve done in the copy, messaging, or graphics is wrong. If your ads aren’t working, it’s not because Facebook is out to get you.

I haven’t prioritized the problem-solving endeavor high enough on my to-do list to figure out why yet. But, I will in 2016.

Here I am, running low dollar Facebook ads, focusing primarily now on one loss leader book to Canada. I haven’t had a book release since mid-July.


It is one of my best months of the year. The size of the Canadian bubble makes the others look less significant. Not the case.


I’ve met my 2015 Kobo goal. :)CristinHarber_BlackDawn_HR

Cristin Harber FB2

Cristin Harber is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author. First published in September 2013, she writes steamy new adult, romantic suspense, and military romance. Find all of her titles on Kobo.

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