Mark Leslie Lefebvre is an author and also the director of self-publishing relations at Kobo. Every author I seem to talk to loves Kobo, but struggles to get traction on the platform. In this interview I talk to the man in the know, to find out how you can do better with Kobo.
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Kobo Writing Life – Kobo platform for authors. And check out their excellent podcast.
Wattpad – Mark got a story featured on here and saw a vast number of reads. A great place to get beta readers, but you won’t make a ton of money.You can put subsc
NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month.
Lightning Source – How Mark got his early books done.
Espresso Book Maker – Very cool video showing an espresso book machine in action!
Kobo Writing Life – The author platform that Mark helped Kobo create. Excellent podcast as well.
Opening Up to Indie Authors – Mark recommends this book for learning about booksellers (free).
Michael Rank – Non-fiction author interviewed in episode 44
As a Writer
Mark found his eventual position at Kobo because of his background as a writer and bookseller. Mark started as a bookseller and his firneds told him that self publishing was going to kill his career. He had done some stuff in magazines before, but didn’t have any books out.
In 2004 he compiled his previously published fiction into a book and used Lightning Source to print the book. He did this to bring his writing back into circulation because they were no longer available elsewhere.
It was this book, and his self-publishing, that got him a traditional deal to do a non-fiction book. Having already established himself as an author was very beneficial. When he was pitching the book to them, he laid out the business side of things, he made it clear that there would be a demand for the book.
As a Bookseller
Mark had a student bookstore and was the second location in Canada to purchase an espresso book machine. He managed to give students a better deal and paid of the book maker in a very short amount of time. After a time Mark even began selling books to other book stores that were made with the machine.
He started working with Kobo as he realised that ebooks were a great way to get the book around the world without a shipping cost, which was more expensive than printing the books.
Kobo eventually hired him to build a platform for authors and that is what became Kobo Writing Life. This took a while to develop and they are constantly improving it.
“I love Kobo, but I’m not selling on Kobo” and what you can do about it
Amazon has been around for a long time and Kobo is a new platform. People complain that they don’t sell well on Kobo, but Kobo is a new company and is growing. Mark first of all encourages authors to play the long game and understand the risk of having all your eggs in one basket. Kobo doesn’t want you to be exclusive with them, but just not have all your sales through Amazon.
Mark also points out that many authors will just link over to Amazon even if they are on other platforms. This isn’t exactly conductive to making sales on Kobo.
The ‘free first in series’ is a program that Kobo run and if you want to get involved in it, reach out to Mark by commenting below, he’ll be browsing the comments.
What does well on Kobo
- Erotica “active romance”
- Thrillers/Mystery BIG DROP
Tends to be that way in all markets.
If you have questions for Mark, please comment below, he’ll hangout in the comments.
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