A blog about writing and self publishing

The A to Z of KWL

By Tara Cremin

A Audiobooks
Kobo sells both eBooks AND audiobooks! We’re working hard at Kobo Writing Life to allow indie authors to upload their audiobooks directly through KWL. Keep an eye on our social for an announcement! If you’re interested in creating an audiobook, we’ve partnered with ListenUp Audio to provide KWL authors with a discount. You can find more information about this partnership here.

BBox Sets
Kobo readers are big fans of box sets. If you have a series, you may want to consider making it available to readers as a box set. We don’t have an upper pricing limit, so you’ll receive 70% of each sale. In addition to this, we have box set specific promotions available multiple times a year! You’ll find these in our Promotions tab.

CCover Image
We know that it’s what’s inside that counts, but we also know that readers absolutely judge books by their cover. It’s vital to have an eye-catching cover. We recommend browsing our store for style inspiration. For some practical guidelines, check out this article.

DDashboard
Your KWL dashboard is home to your sales data. It provides a live overview of your sales and includes the popular #KWLMap that shows the countries where your books are being downloaded from. You can find your dashboard here.

E – EPUB
This is the type of file that Kobo readers are purchasing. It stands for Electronic Publication and is the industry standard for digital books. When you publish through Kobo Writing Life, we convert your DOC, DOCX, ODT, MOBI and EPUB files to a Kobo EPUB for free.

F – Free
What better a way to entice new readers than offer something for free! With KWL, you can set your books for free at any time. You can even schedule them to be free for a specific period of time, with our price promotion tool. When does free work? It can be great as a free first in series offer or as a tool to boost your backlist content.

G – Geographic Rights
You can set the geo rights in the Rights and Distribution section of your book in KWL. You can choose to select WW rights, or you can select specific territories where you’d like to make your book available. If you’re selling your book in all available territories, don’t forget to optimize your pricing! You should ensure your setting your prices at a .99 or .49 ending. This makes your book look great in all territories.

H – Help!
If you run into trouble in KWL, don’t hesitate to contact our help team. Our small but mighty team is dedicated to author care and will go above and beyond to help with any issues you may encounter. You can reach them by emailing writinglife@kobo.com. If you’re more of a problem solver, you can find lots of up to date information in our Help Centre.

I – ISBN
You don’t need to have an ISBN to publish with KWL. If you don’t enter one when you publish, you’ll be assigned a Kobo ISBN. You’ll notice a space for your print ISBN. If you have a print ISBN associated with a print book you’re distributing, you should enter this. We use this information to list your print and eBooks together on our partner sites.

J – Just books
Kobo is a retailer whose sole focus is selling books. We’re not distracted with other products; we’re just a bunch of book lovers that want to create the greatest reading experience possible, both digitally and audibly. It’s what we’re about, and what we’re named after. Kobo is an anagram of book, after all.

K – Kobo Plus
You can opt your KWL titles in to Kobo Plus in the Rights and Distribution section of your book. Kobo Plus is Kobo’s subscription program for Belgium and the Netherlands that’s available in conjunction with our local partner, Bol.com. There’s no exclusivity required and it’s an easy one step opt in. We’ve found that it’s a great way to reach new readers!

L – Logo
Are you looking to update your website to include links to all of the retailers that sell your books? Look no further! We have updated Kobo and Kobo Writing Life logos available here. If you’re not linking to all retailers on your website, we recommend that you do. This ensures that you’re making your books available to ALL of your readers.

M – Metadata
Metadata is the data about your book. This information is entered in the Describe your eBook step. Clean and accurate metadata is key to selling books in our site. For example, if you enter your series information identically for each book, our store will link your books. This lets readers know about your next book, with minimal effort on your side. If you want to learn more tips and tricks about metadata, this article has you covered.

N – NetGalley
Kobo has an exciting opportunity to offer any author looking for more reviews of their eBooks. By purchasing a slot in the NetGalley for Kobo Writing Life Co-op (for a discounted price), you have the opportunity to garner reviews from booksellers, bloggers, librarians, and more. You can find information about how to submit to NetGalley here.

O – OverDrive
Making your books available to libraries opens up an entirely new readership that you may not have previously considered. OverDrive is the leading digital reading platform for libraries and schools worldwide. You can easily opt your titles in to library distribution in the Rights and Distribution section of your KWL book. And as OverDrive is Kobo’s sister company, KWL authors receive a higher percentage on each sale (50%) than any other self-publishing distributor.

P – Pre-Orders
When you’ve completed all four steps to publish your book on KWL and you choose a future publication date, you’ll see the option to create a pre-order. This can be a great promotional tool to help you generate buzz about your upcoming book. It also creates a good bump to your rankings and earnings, when your on-sale date hits. We don’t have any date restrictions for pre-orders so you can create one as far ahead of time as you’d like.

Q – Quality Control
We care about the books that are being published through KWL and every title goes through screening. We balance using algorithms, with actual humans who vet the content. KWL’s Publisher Operations team are always there to help with any content questions.

R – Rakuten
Rakuten is Kobo’s parent company. Rakuten is a Japanese based eCommerce giant, where Kobo and OverDrive represent the digital reading arms. You may be familiar with this name if you’re a sports fan as Rakuten is the sponsor for both FC Barcelona and the Golden State Warriors.

S – Synopsis
The synopsis of your book is just as important as your book cover. The cover catches a reader’s eye, but the synopsis is where they really learn about your book. It’s a space that’s featured prominently on the Kobo site, and partner retail sites but it’s something that authors sometimes overlook. Is your synopsis engaging? Are you taking advantage of our tools available that allow you to highlight words?

T – Translations
Kobo is a global company, selling books in many languages, all over the world. Have you ever thought about boosting your sales by dipping into the non-English market? If so, you might be interested in translating your books. Kobo Writing Life has partnered with Language+ Literary Translations, to offer our authors a discounted service with a team of experts. For more information and a quote, visit here.

U – Universal Links
A big part of promoting your books is making sure your readers can easily find them. If you’re linking to Kobo on your website or social media (and you should be!), we recommend using universal links. This means that your readers will be directed to the correct geographic store. Remember that Kobo is a store with a global reach. You want your readers to be able to buy your book right away and not have to click through to the right store. You can find a guide on creating universal links here.

V – VIP
Kobo readers collect Super Points with each purchase. These points can then be redeemed for books. In addition to this, there is a loyalty programme for VIP members. With a Kobo VIP Membership, readers can earn more, save more, and collect rewards even faster for only $10.00 a year. KWL authors can also apply for promotions that are available directly to VIP members. These can be found in the Promotions tab.

W – Walmart
This is one of our newest and most exciting retail partnerships. Kobo is the eBook and Audiobook provider for Walmart in the US. If your books include US distribution, then they’ll be made available on Walmart’s site. You can find a full list of Kobo’s retail partners here.

X – Xenial
An adjective used to describe a friendly relationship between two parties. This word might not be often used but we think it encapsulates the relationship we at KWL strive to have with our authors. And to be honest, X words are hard to find!

Y – YouTube
Did you know that KWL has a YouTube channel? You’ll find the KWL Podcast here, and also step-by-step guides and tutorials. This is a good place to start if you’re a new author and you’d like a visual guide. Be sure to subscribe to see all the latest videos!

Z – Zero costs
There are no upfront fees to publish with Kobo Writing Life. If you have a dynamite cover and a well formatted book, you’re ready to start publishing, for free!

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Tara is responsible for the overall author experience on Kobo Writing Life, from optimizing current features to looking for new avenues of growth. Her aim is to make KWL the greatest and most user-friendly self-publishing platform available.

Tara has an MA in American Literature and Film from University College Cork, Ireland and has worked for KWL since inception. She loves talking to authors and using direct feedback to make improvements that benefit the whole user base.

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