Kobo Writing Life

So it appears that I’m about to do an about face. Earlier I’d been planning on leaving my existing titles opted into KDP Select as well as opting in my new horror novel due out in August. However, something has come along in the meantime to cause me to reconsider.

Writing Life, Kobo’s answer to Amazon’s KDP, has just gone live.

Kobo holds 46% of the market share in Canada and apparently has 5 million users worldwide. I’ve heard good things about Kobo’s new Writing Life platform as well as the folks who designed it.

All this got me thinking; am I leaving an untapped market, well…untapped? Are there inroads to be made outside of Amazon? I’ve already seen a slight increase in sales in the Amazon UK market; could this also be possible on other readers?

I’ve had my books on Kobo before, but it was through Smashwords. I sold not a single book there. Of course this was before Writing Life (and before I sold over 4,500 books). Has Kobo seen the light? Are they now promoting and selling self-published work the way Amazon does? Are things different than they were at the end of last year where Smashwords-supplied titles went there to die?

I’m curious and the only way to find out is to take the plunge.

I’m going to try 90 days opted out of KDP Select. I’ll put my books back at Barnes and Noble (which I hate to say is a crappy platform with dismal sales for me) and I’ll add them to Kobo’s store via the Writing Life platform. My new novel will go up immediately, followed by the rest of my work in August when my 90 days in KDP Select expires.

Will I miss the borrows? I might. I’ll be looking for two indicators of success. First, if my paid sales in Amazon increase enough to cover what I was making in borrows, then I’ll know that KDP Select isn’t providing me with much and I’m probably better off spreading myself to more eReaders.

Second, I’ll be looking at sales from both Barnes and Noble and Kobo. If those sales match my borrows for Amazon, I’m at least breaking even. Plus I’m making it easier for readers to find and purchase my work.

However, if sales are flat or non-existent on B&N and Kobo and/or sales go down on Amazon then I’m probably better off remaining exclusive to Amazon via KDP Select.

What about Sony and Apple, you ask? To my knowledge they haven’t done anything to make their platform more indie/self-pub friendly, so I’d expect those platforms to be as useless as ever. Unfortunately I expect the same poor performance on Barnes and Noble, but since I already have a Pubit! account and it’s simple to re-activate I’ll go ahead and do so. Maybe I’ll sell 4 or 5 copies there, if nothing else.

I might even try selling direct on my website, like David Gaughran does. It receives maybe 300 hits a month; not huge, but enough to maybe move some units.

As usual I’ll report on how things go. It could be a bust, or it could be a boon. To find out I’ll have to just take the chance.

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