This post by Karin Cox originally appeared on Indie Chicks Café on 10/18/13. In it, she addresses the controversy surrounding Kobo’s decision to pull all indie titles submitted via Draft to Digital last fall.
It’s one step forward, and a jump to the left for self-publishing.
Two years ago, I decided to take my writing life in my hands and self-publish. At the time, I worked in the trade publishing industry and I saw the free-fall trade publishers were going into (either that or burying their heads in the sand) when it came to digitising titles. I also know how difficult and slow a process it was seeking out an agent and a contract and going through the mill. Frankly, I didn’t have the patience, and I saw the success others who had self-published were achieving.
Back then, in 2011, there was no Bookbub, Draft to Digitial, or Kobo writing life, and most international authors, like myself, were disadvantaged—receiving payment by cheque (or carrier pigeon) and unable to upload to some platforms. Since then, I’ve paddled through rivers of advice, both good and bad, trying to keep my self-publishing canoe afloat. Sometimes, I have found myself up the proverbial creek without a paddle. But one thing I have found is that, like most businesses, self-publishing is never static. It is very often a strange dance, or a game of hopscotch, leaping here and there in an effort to jump on the latest craze or publicity opportunity, or to avoid the pitfalls placed in your way.
Some of the advice I have received is purely commercial:
”Write in popular genres so you can make money and afford to write other books (like literary fiction or fantasy).”
“Upload directly so you get a better cut of the money.”
Some is more inspirational:
“Write what you love and the success will follow.”
“Don’t forget to live.”
And some is technical or logical: “Use smarturl and affiliate links to promote your books.”
“Ask for reviews in the back of your books”
“Change categories often using a list of popular keywords at http://www.keywordtooldominator.com/k/amazon-keyword-tool/”
“Price pulse to get on bestseller category lists.”
However, no matter whether you follow the advice or not, as a self-publisher you’re still at the mercy of the system, as many publishers of erotica and romance, and just novels in general, found out over on Kobo this week. In a knee-jerk reaction to some extremely questionable content published by a few unscrupulous authors, Kobo pulled all self-published titles that had been uploaded through the aggregator Draft to Digital—a simple-to-use and more efficient site for uploading as a one-stop shop to Apple, B&N and Kobo.