Kobo Writing Life

Top 5 Reasons Books Are Rejected From Publishing on KWL

By Stephanie McGrath

Every book published through Kobo Writing Life undergoes our QA process and because no book is perfect, some will be rejected. When a title does not meet our standards for publication we will decline the title and inform the author the reason for rejection.

You will see rejected titles as “Declined” in your dashboard.

To see the reason for rejection, select the title (which will open the book in edit mode) and navigate to the “Publish your ebook” page. That is where you will see the specific reason the book was not accepted for publication.

If you see a rejection on one of your titles, don’t panic! It just means that something needs to be adjusted in order to pass our QA process.

Listed below are our most common reasons for rejection and steps you can take to successfully publish your title and avoid the delay.

1. Duplicate Content

Have you published your title(s) through Smashwords, Draft2Digital, BookBaby, Streetlib or any other eBook distribution sites?

These distributors send eBooks to a wide variety of eBook retailers including Kobo. When an author publishes their titles through Kobo Writing Life and these online retailers, it often causes a title to appear twice on our site. Duplicates of titles on our website is confusing to our customers since they are often unsure which book is the “correct” title to buy. (And also, having a double-listing can end up splitting the ranking and possibly the reviews of your titles, since titles can be purchased on multiple SKUs rather than a single one).

These distributors often have the ability for authors to directly manage the sites they distribute their titles to. You often will be able to deselect Kobo as an option for distribution which will allow you to publish directly through Kobo Writing Life.

2. Public Domain

Is your title part of the public domain? 

Please make sure to declare your title as being part of the public domain.

You can do this on the “Describe your eBook” page of the publishing process. Please note that while we accept public domain content, we do not accept content that another site has created and/or owns. Please ensure you’re publishing your own, original edition of public domain titles.

Public domain works are works that are not restricted by copyright and are free to use without a license or fee and usually fall under the following 3 categories:

(Please note that the use of some works, such as ideas or symbols, may be restricted by other laws, such as patent, trademark, or trade secret.)


3. Erotic Content 

Are you publishing Erotica?

We require that authors correctly categorize their books as Erotica when the main focus/content of your book includes erotica or is meant to appeal to readers of erotic content.

Not only does it clearly mark your title as containing adult content (which is helpful for children/family-safe content browsing for some customers), but it also allows our customers to better find your title when searching for Erotica books.

You can find Erotica category codes under our Romance category.

4. Book Cover Images

Do you own the rights to the images you are using for your book cover?

Using images as your book cover without the permission of the original creator is infringing on copyright and we are unable to accept these images. Books covers should be original creations and cannot be taken directly from other books or sources.

This comprehensive article about How to Avoid Copyright Infringement is one of several places to learn more about the use of images, photographs, drawings, artwork, etc.

5. Incorrect Metadata 

Have you correctly filled out the metadata for your title? 

Book titles, subtitles, series titles or author fields that include extraneous words that are not part of the official title, subtitle, series title or author name are not acceptable and lead to confusion and corruption of metadata standards. We respectfully request that you ensure your catalog of titles does not include such details so that the overall Kobo catalog can offer the purest experience for our customers around the world.

We notice that title, subtitle and series information are either not filled out correctly or are skipped entirely. This information is crucial for customers and when filled out incorrectly causes customers confusion when trying to purchase a title, particularly books from series. See below for an in-depth explanation of the metadata required.

Title: The official title of your book. Do not include the subtitle or series information here.



Subtitle: The explanatory or alternate title. Do not include tag words, series information or the title in this allotted space.



Series Name: The series in which this title is included. Please do not include the series number, title or tag words in this spot. If your book is not part of a series, leave this space blank.



Volume Number: The number of the book in the series.

Incorrect Metadata Examples: (Using Book 2 in the “Little Women” series)

Correct Metadata Example:

Proper Series Title Metadata doesn’t only look better to customers, but it also helps our systems create better automated recommendations to help customers move through a series (and for you to sell more). For more information, check out this article entitled: Selling More of Your Series Books on Kobo.


We hope that you find this information helpful and that it saves you time when uploading new titles to Kobo.

If you are still unsure as to why your title has been rejected, don’t hesitate to email us at writinglife@kobo.com and we will be happy to answer any questions.