Kobo Writing Life – Worth a Try?

Now that Kobo’s Writing Life has come out of beta with registration open to anyone with a book to publish, I thought I’d do a bit of investigating to see what the program has to offer.

With my KDP Select three-month contract about to expire, I’ve been giving a lot of thought as to what other publishing options are out there for my volume of poems, Lonely Girl.
I’m also looking ahead to determine what my best options would be for any future works on the horizon – specifically with two new projects, both fiction, that I hope to be successful.

While my KDP Select experience has been OK (especially since I’m dealing with a book of poems), I’ve been a bit frustrated at having my hands tied regarding where and how I can promote my book. Now, I know that all of this was in the fine print and I do, for the most part, love seeing my book on Amazon’s pages – it’s just that, where KDP Select is concerned, the free spirit in me really wants to spread my wings…if only just a bit.

In researching other publishing options such as Smashwords, BookBaby and the like, I’ve found that most of them have their pros – such as the free ISBN (International Standard Book Number) offered by Smashwords (Note to fellow Canadians: we are lucky – ISBNs are provided free by the Canadian Government) but they also have drawbacks – such as fees, commissions, distribution, etc.

Ultimately, Kobo Writing Life seemed to me the best choice, as I am comfortable with many of its features – primarily the distribution of my books to major retailers such as Indigo in Canada, WHSmith in the UK as well as Fnac in France and Angus & Robertson in Australia. The program also allows you to monitor sales activity on a location map, a feature that was very popular with beta users. Finally, from a financial and marketing standpoint, Kobo promises 45% royalties on low-priced e-books (Kindle offers 30%) and also gives authors the freedom to price their ebooks as they see fit, even if they choose to give them away for free. While I did have five free marketing days on KDP Select, this alone is not a good enough reason, in my view, to continue with this program at this point.

Perhaps I’ll have a change of heart once my novels are ready, but for now keep an eye out for Lonely Girl  coming soon to Kobo retailers, and of course, as always, on Amazon.

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  1. Have been trying for four days, unsuccessfully to complete my registration with Kobo Writing Life. So i tried to cancel my registration and start over. It won’t even cancel my account and “help and support” did answer an initial e-mail from me, but there has been no real follow through from customer service, so I am quite frustrated. Perhaps my computer doesn’t like beta. Good luck with your books.

    • I feel your pain. Since writing this post, I have been struggling with uploads, customer service and the like with Kobo Writing Life. I finally clicked the publish button 4 days ago. Unfortunately, my book seems to have now stalled in some sort of pending “publishing” phase.I’m not sure what the fate of my book is. Thanks for sharing your experience…

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