How to Sell Your Book on Kobo Writing Life

Amazon might be the first place to think about when publishing and selling a book. We even talk a lot about it here at Book Launchers. But, there’s one platform out there we ensure not to ignore, and that’s Kobo.

Kobo rolled out a ton of exciting developments within the last year alone. Readers of e-books everywhere are taking notice. If you want an incredible platform that genuinely supports authors, you definitely should take notice too!

This article will cover everything you need to know about selling your ebook on this platform.

What Exactly is Kobo?

Here’s a quick rundown to catch you up if you’re new to Kobo. Kobo is originally a Canadian-based retailer of e-books, e-readers, and audiobooks. It launched in 2009 and is now available in over 200 countries.

Kobo hails from Toronto, Ontario. As a side note, I lived in Toronto for five years. I did my MBA at York University, riding the good old TTC all the way there.

So whenever I talk about Toronto, I get this warm place in my heart, except when I think about that bus ride. Anyway, Kobo is now a subsidiary of the Japanese eCommerce conglomerate Rakuten.

Kobo is the second-largest e-book retailer globally and the biggest competitor to Amazon in the global e-book market.

What’s remarkable is they seem to be a genuinely great company. People often praise them for their stellar customer service. They even helped provide over 20 million free books to readers stuck at home during the pandemic.

Now that’s genuine community service!

How Kobo Helps Authors

Kobo’s overall mission isn’t just reader-focused. They also offer some of the most incredible opportunities for authors through their free self-publishing platform, Kobo Writing Life.

I know it might be a little scary to think about branching out from Amazon. But, widening your book distribution with Kobo could kick your sales up to the next level before your book even launches.

That’s right; I’m talking about pre-sales.

I’ve covered everything about pre-sales in a video – that precious pre-sale launch period, pre-sale rankings, and how pre-orders benefit your book in the long term. Check it out if you haven’t yet:


How to Do A Pre-Sale on Kobo

Kobo makes setting up your book for pre-order very simple. You simply make a Kobo Writing Life account, log in, and click e-books. From there, you’ll need to head over to “Create New e-Book,” where you’ll input your metadata, add your description, and upload your cover.

You’ll also want to hop on to “Edit Categories” on that same page to select up to three categories for your book within that Kobo library. I got you covered on that if you need some category research and selection tips. I’ll link to those videos at the end.

Once all of that is squared away, you can upload your content file in a .doc, .docx, .odt, .ePub, or a .mobi format. Make sure to select the right release date, and voila, just like that, your e-book will be available to purchase on within 24 to 72 hours.

Take Advantage of Kobo’s Preview Feature

Even if your book isn’t ready in terms of final files, you can still set it up for pre-order. Simply upload a placeholder file that you can later replace once that final version is ready.

In Kobo, customers can take a sneak peek and preview the first 5% of an e-book. So use this to your advantage when creating your placeholder file. Include the title page, copyright, and, if it’s ready, a chapter or two.

It also helps to include a short note introducing yourself to the reader, letting them know your book is being finalized but is available for pre-order. It’s best to share your social media or other ways they can connect with you in the meantime.

Control Pricing and Availability

Kobo also gives you complete control over your pricing and availability. Don’t you just love control? Hear that Audible? We authors like to control our pricing. Audible might not see this, but I’m going to keep saying it because it drives me crazy that I can’t control the pricing on Audible.

Kobo’s pricing tool helps you set your perfect price for over 16 currencies in 200 countries. You can also choose where you’d like your book to be available for sale and optimize the pricing for each territory.

If you want to reach readers in libraries (over 30,000 libraries, more precisely), KWL gives you the power to distribute directly to them with Overdrive, a library marketplace.

Want to hear the best part about pre-sale on Kobo? I’ll tell you.

Leverage 2x The Ranking For Every Pre-Order

On Kobo, every pre-order sale has twice the effect on ranking as a post-launch sale. Yep, you heard me right. A pre-order on Kobo counts double towards your book’s rankings compared to a regular sale.

You don’t get paid twice, but you do get 2X ranked. Woo hoo! The ranking works the same way across most retailers. More sales mean a higher ranking for your book, and a higher ranking means your book’s listing becomes visible to more customers looking for their next read.

Every pre-order on Kobo essentially doubles your increase in visibility and discoverability.

That’s an invaluable extra boost for your pre-sale strategy that Amazon doesn’t offer. And a perk that keeps on giving once launch day rolls around.

Give yourself enough time in pre-sale to take advantage of those doubled pre-order benefits. The longer you have your book available for pre-sale while paired with some strong promotion, the more sales you can accumulate and the higher your book can climb within its category come launch day.

Plan Ahead to Get Handpicked for Kobo Curation

Kobo uses humans to curate some of their lists instead of an algorithm. So plan for enough time to give your book a chance to be considered for curations by the Kobo team since you’d want to take advantage of their spotlights, carousels, and feature pages.

Kobo’s curators often highlight the top-selling pre-orders on their featured promotional lists. But, they craft those anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks before they publish. So if you want to snag a spot, plan ahead when it comes to your pre-sale.

How to Keep Sales Going After Launch

Kobo’s perks don’t stop after pre-launch. After launch day, you can keep those sales going with Kobo’s promotional opportunities available through your KWL dashboard. It’s a new feature and is still in beta mode. But the process is just as simple as the rest of KWL’s tools.

Head over to your promotions tab on your dashboard and check out the current onsite sales and email promotions offered, such as daily deals, discounts, price drops, category features, and free e-book promotions.

When you spot an opportunity you’d like to apply for, click on which of your books you’d want to be featured, input your price for the sale, and submit. It’s that easy to apply.

Kobo’s merchandising team will check out your application and tell you if they’ve approved the title for the promotion you’ve selected. There’s more magic to be discovered within your KWL dashboard, by the way.

Track Your Book’s Performance in Real-Time

You can track your sales in real-time with various useful analytics like top titles, top-selling regions, daily activity, and even free downloads.

You never have to wonder or struggle to see how your book performs. All the info you need is right there, ready to help you better optimize your marketing decision-making.

Before Wrapping Up, I’d Like to Say…

Move over Kindle; Kobo is crushing it as far as making authors’ lives better.

Now, as I mentioned, if you’re struggling with category research and selection, I have a few videos for you:

If you found this article helpful, here are a couple more to help you out on growing your book sale numbers:

Don’t forget; you can always hire us for your book project. Set up a call here!

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