During Book Expo America, I had an opportunity for a little face time with Mark Lefebvre, director of self-publishing and author relations at Kobo. A writer himself, Mark is eager to help improve the experience of authors using Kobo. We talked about some of the new goodies Kobo will be releasing over the next few months to help you get more exposure for your books.
1. Preorders. Yes, you read that right. If you self-publish on Kobo, you no longer have to be Hugh Howey to offer preorders on your soon-to-be-released book. Just set up your book to have a future publication date, say, with a lower price initially to start.
2. You’ll be able to make any book free at any time, giving you greater flexibility to offer “free-pulsing” promotions that could increase your name recognition and potential future sales. And you’ll be able to track those free downloads.
3. They will be adding a WYSIWYG interface to make loading and managing your content easier. It will help you build an ePub from scratch, tweak your uploaded document, and making editing that document simpler.
4. A customizable dashboard will let you switch from showing monthly sales to any date range you choose.
5. The elusive author page that we’ve been asking for is in the works! Mark said he was very excited about some prototypes he saw for a dynamic, SEO-oriented author page to help you become more discoverable. [Because as we saw, in indie publishing, “discoverability” is the new black.] This author page will go beyond mere keywords, however. For instance, if baseball is the backdrop of your YA series (Jim Devitt), it will pull in articles related to it, so you can further engage your readers by giving them more content about you and your interests.
6. Continued support for indie bookstores, because Kobo is one of the few e-readers they can sell. (Logical, since Amazon won’t let them sell Kindles and B&N won’t let them sell Nooks.) If you are doing an event with a local indie bookstore that sells Kobo devices and ebooks, why haul all those dead-tree books with you? Save that money you might have spent on chiropractic adjustment and simply print up a card with your cover on one side and a QR-code [along with other goodies like blurbs and quotes] on the back. Yes, you can still autograph the card even if you don’t have a printed book. And, bonus, on Kobo an indie bookstore can make your entire ebook backlist available at all times.
Looks like some smart moves afoot. It will be interesting to see how authors, readers, and bookstores like the changes.