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Big Al's Books & Pals 2014 Readers' Choice Awards: Young Adult Nominee

A ruthless murder and a stolen shipment of gold.

At school, sixteen-year-old Nikaia Wales endures the taunts of bullies who call her a “half-breed.” At home, she worries about how her family will react if she reveals her growing feelings for the quiet boy next door.

Those are soon the least of her troubles. Nikaia discovers a hidden cache of gold, and when police find a corpse nearby, her father becomes a suspect. Worse, Elias Doyle is circling, hungry to avenge his brother’s death.

Nikaia desperately searches for clues to save her father. In her quest to find the killer, she learns about the power of family, friendship, and young love....

Author Topic: How do you kill it (or do well) on Kobo?  (Read 1100 times)  

Online Herefortheride

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How do you kill it (or do well) on Kobo?
« on: September 13, 2017, 12:02:51 PM »
If you are already wide I'm interested what's your Kobo (or other wide platform), Smashwords, etc. strategy?

What do you do to get visibility?

Make things easier on yourself?

Can you link to goodread review page?

What do new "wide" authors need to know?
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Offline elizabethbarone

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Re: How do you kill it (or do well) on Kobo?
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2017, 12:12:32 PM »
I used to do really well because of Kobo's promotions. Now, however, they don't seem to be anywhere near as effective anymore.

Time seems to be the best strategy for wide availability. It can take six months or longer in some stores to gain traction.

Smashwords seems to have a special relationship with sales reps from different stores; one of my titles was featured on BN and I had no idea until it started selling like hotcakes.

I've heard other authors say that iBooks will occasionally feature books their staff enjoyed. iBooks AU features a friend of mine every time she releases something new. She never contacted them; they just started doing it.

The key seems to be writing good books, consistently. Non-Amazon stores tend to merchandize by hand rather than using algorithms to sell to customers.

I know this probably wasn't the magic bullet answer you were looking for, but the above advice coupled with promos via places like Bookbub* should help you get things moving.



*You don't necessarily need Bookbub; there are plenty of effective, less expensive services out there.

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Re: How do you kill it (or do well) on Kobo?
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2017, 12:37:17 PM »
It's really hard to sell at KOBO. Not even Bookbubs do much. I've only ever had luck with their in house promos, but it's true they aren't as good as they used to be.

Like Elizabeth said, release good books consistently. It takes time to build up readership on wide sites.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 05:03:57 PM by Allyson J. »

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Offline David VanDyke

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Re: How do you kill it (or do well) on Kobo?
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2017, 12:51:53 PM »
Permafree plus use of promo sites that do wide. This assumes you have series, of course. Make your best or first book permafree, promo every 90 days on sites that are not Kindle-only.


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Offline Patty Jansen

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Re: How do you kill it (or do well) on Kobo?
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2017, 03:55:17 PM »
Don't make any of your books free permanently. Free books sink into the morass at Kobo unless you pay for their display on their free page but this is only for a week at a time.

Their promotions can be good, but they're mixed with absolute duds. The monthly ones are the best.

Make sure that the promotion is an actual real promotion. Kobo doesn't react well to discounts from $4.99 to $2.99. They dislike the 99c price point, and if you do it, you must be the driver of traffic (like, if you get a Bookbub). DON'T leave your book at 99c. Don't leave it at $2.99. In fact, you can't even take part in many of their promotions unless your book's regular price is at least $4.99.

Be direct on Kobo. It works magic behind the scene that I don't know how it works, but it does.

Higher-priced books do best. Bundle your books into sets if all your books are normally $2.99. You can (and you should) ask more than $9.99. This also gives you somewhere to seriously move when you do a promo.

Bookbub is spotty, but depending on the deal, can still significantly move the needle on paid promotions. Not so much on free. Best I ever sold on Kobo  from a Bookbub was over 800 books. These are almost exclusively on box set promotions, discounted from $9.99 or higher to 99c. You first need to have the back list to make that strategy (extremely) profitable.

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Re: How do you kill it (or do well) on Kobo?
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2017, 09:07:58 PM »
 :o Wow, people have really differing opinions on this!

What about Kobo makes it so hard to sell? Just no traffic, or what?
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Re: How do you kill it (or do well) on Kobo?
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2017, 09:11:35 PM »
:o Wow, people have really differing opinions on this!

What about Kobo makes it so hard to sell? Just no traffic, or what?

It's not hard to sell on Kobo

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Re: How do you kill it (or do well) on Kobo?
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2017, 09:28:01 PM »
It's not hard to sell on Kobo

You mentioned pricing higher does better. Could you expand upon that. Why do higher priced books sell better? If I normally price my book 2.99-3.99 on Amazon are you suggesting I should put that book higher on Kobo? Does it not hurt that it's cheaper on Amazon? Or do customers not notice?
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Offline Seneca42

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Re: How do you kill it (or do well) on Kobo?
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2017, 09:32:54 PM »
I don't think you "kill it" on kobo, or anywhere else. Kobo is the same as anywhere else, you build readers over time. What's nice with them is that they have in-house promos, so you can play around with those. When I went wide I made my first permafree and used their free promos and I attribute that with offsetting my KU revenues.

I don't do free anymore, though, and my tractions has come from promos that include kobo. My international bub went nuts and I was #2 in scifi and kobo rolled me into a bunch of promo slots without me doing anything.

Eventually, when the bub tail dies, I'll go back to using Kobo's in-house promos again. That's why i always say you MUST go direct with Kobo. It's absolutely critical.

I don't think Canadians use things like ENT, freebooksy and the like anywhere near what US and UK readers do. I think they shop on Kobo and use the kobo deals page a lot.


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Re: How do you kill it (or do well) on Kobo?
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2017, 10:13:11 PM »
:o Wow, people have really differing opinions on this!

What about Kobo makes it so hard to sell? Just no traffic, or what?

The only time Kobo is a hard sell is when you aren't running one of their in-house promotions.  I love them because in so many cases, they'll take their fee as a small percentage of each sale.  I've done much better with them since going direct and using their promotions instead of through the aggregators, and that's only since February this year.

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Re: How do you kill it (or do well) on Kobo?
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2017, 10:57:54 PM »
The only time Kobo is a hard sell is when you aren't running one of their in-house promotions.  I love them because in so many cases, they'll take their fee as a small percentage of each sale.  I've done much better with them since going direct and using their promotions instead of through the aggregators, and that's only since February this year.

Good to know!

In regards to backmatter, can I link readers to my goodreads book page to ask for reviews or must it be a Kobo review thing? Are Kobo reviews worthwhile?

Is it easy to update the text if I need to change backmatter? Do they use the same formatted files as Amazon or smashwords?
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Re: How do you kill it (or do well) on Kobo?
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2017, 11:17:26 AM »
Good to know!

In regards to backmatter, can I link readers to my goodreads book page to ask for reviews or must it be a Kobo review thing? Are Kobo reviews worthwhile?

Is it easy to update the text if I need to change backmatter? Do they use the same formatted files as Amazon or smashwords?

Not sure about the Goodreads link since I've never done that personally.  I always put a link back to the site the manuscript goes with (A, B&N, iA, Kobo, Smashwords).

I've also found it MUCH easier to get Kobo readers to leave reviews, because Kobo allows you to simply star a review only instead of just provide written feedback.  Just since February, most of my books have just as many or more reviews as what I have on Zon.

Simple formatted Word document or PDF file like the others is all they require, and updated manuscripts go live within minutes.

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Re: How do you kill it (or do well) on Kobo?
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2017, 11:27:35 AM »
Good to know!

In regards to backmatter, can I link readers to my goodreads book page to ask for reviews or must it be a Kobo review thing? Are Kobo reviews worthwhile?

Is it easy to update the text if I need to change backmatter? Do they use the same formatted files as Amazon or smashwords?

Yes. I have l hyperlinks to GR, FB, and web site.

Also, updating is a joke on kobo. I'm uploading my back matter today across my books. Amazon takes like 3-5 minutes. Kobo takes 15-30 seconds. D2D takes 1 minute. Createspace takes like 5-10 minutes.

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Re: How do you kill it (or do well) on Kobo?
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2017, 11:52:50 AM »
Yes. I have l hyperlinks to GR, FB, and web site.

Also, updating is a joke on kobo. I'm uploading my back matter today across my books. Amazon takes like 3-5 minutes. Kobo takes 15-30 seconds. D2D takes 1 minute. Createspace takes like 5-10 minutes.

How is Kobo faster by so many magnitudes?

And can I link for them to leave their choice of Kobo reviews and/or Goodreads?  =  )
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Re: How do you kill it (or do well) on Kobo?
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2017, 12:18:46 PM »
I don't have much to add, except two things. These are things to bear in mind in case you want to pull the books out of wide distribution and put them into KU at some point in the future.

1) Don't do Kobo Plus. If you do, you are locked into their platform for six months. I don't think that it increases sales, either. I was locked out of putting one of my books into KU because of that program. It's not worth it.

2) Beware of their affiliates. FNAC and Boll.com are notorious for not pulling books down long after you pulled them from Kobo.

Other than that, I echo those who recommend their promos. I also echo the sentiment that they aren't as effective as they once were. Plus, Kobo isn't affected by BookBub. Release there direct, however, because then you can do the promos.

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Re: How do you kill it (or do well) on Kobo?
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2017, 04:15:49 PM »
I echo what everyone said about doing their internal promos - but submit your very best selling 1st-in-series book for one of the best promos, something where they say they're going to advertise a lot and offers a steep discount to entice readers. Don't be afraid to put in your bestseller. The better it's selling at full price, the higher up in their promo materials it will appear, and that's what you want - higher visibility. Low selling books will only get you a low position in the promo. You want to get onto page 1 if you can, not page 15. If the book is any good, readers will spill over to the rest of the series and that's where you'll make your money. I made over $12k on Kobo in April using this strategy.
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Offline Seneca42

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Re: How do you kill it (or do well) on Kobo?
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2017, 05:02:07 PM »
How is Kobo faster by so many magnitudes?

And can I link for them to leave their choice of Kobo reviews and/or Goodreads?  =  )

not sure about review links. I just have a "leave a review" reminder with no links. But I'd just write up all your questions and send them to kobo before or after you publish. They'll answer them all (then you can share them here.) The only negative with kobo is they take about a day to reply to inquiries (and longer on the weekend). BUT, on the plus side you'll get a Canadian CSR, not someone out of India. 

As to why it's so fast to upload? Couldn't tell you. My experience is Kobo is everything an online book store should be. Even the changes take effect almost instantly on the site. I think only uploading a book the first time it takes 24 hours.

The only thing that weirded me out at first was I thought surely I had to do more because it was so quick compared to amazon. I think I bugged CSR a couple times asking "did my book even upload?".