Thursday, August 6, 2015

Kobo Writing Life Newsletter July 2015

Kobo Writing Life Newsletter

July 2015

This month Kobo Writing Life celebrated its third birthday!

A lot has happened in three years and we've grown immensely. We now have 50,000 authors from 165 countries around the world and we've published books in 97 languages!

In July, Kobo announced the winners of the Emerging Writer Prize. And speaking of competitions, the deadline for our amazing Romance Writing Life competition has been extended to July 31st so make sure you get your entry in!

Kobo Writing Life Podcast - Episode 037
Victoria Strauss from Writer Beware 

This episode of our podcast is essential listening for all authors: Victoria Strauss from Writer Beware joined US Manager Christine Munroe to share her most important advice for how writers can avoid being scammed. 

Victoria and Christine discuss:  

  • The origins of Writer Beware in 1998. SFWA put a call-out for someone to monitor scams aimed at authors, and Victoria and Ann Crispin joined forces.
  • How self-publishing has created a new frontier in writing scams, from digital publishers charging exorbitant fees for their services to would-be experts offering services they're not capable of providing
  • The craziest scheme she has heard of to date (you'll have to listen to find out!).
  • How writers can avoid being scammed: DO YOUR RESEARCH and educate yourself.  
  • The best way to get started as a new author. Start broadly by reading books about the industry at large and the various options available to you. 

The Best Place To Write A Book... Keeping The Creative Process Sparkly
Author Elle Casey recently shared some advice on how to keep the creative process following. Sometimes routine can be a hindrance and she finds that an unpredictable routine can be just the thing to keep thinks sparkly.

As a writer, I'm often asked where I work, where the writing literally gets done. Do I have an office? Am I one of those people who works on a computer in Starbucks? Do I write in bed wearing my pajamas?

My answer is yes. Yes, to all of that. After three and a half years of writing for a living, I looked back and realized something about myself: I'm one of those people who needs to mix things up a bit to keep it fresh and fun. It's a theme that's played out my entire life, but until I was asked this question several times and sat down to write this article, I never put two and two together.

From the time I started working for a living at age 18, I've never been content to work the same job for more than a few years. Once I've mastered a thing and it becomes rote, I get antsy and have to move on and start all over with something new, something that challenges me and forces me outside of my comfort zone. For years that earned me the label "flaky". Thank goodness today it means I have a ton of personal background to use in my books! 

Meet Kobo Writing LIfe Author: Julianne MacLean

Julianne MacLean is a USA Today bestselling author who has sold more than 1.3 million books in North America. She took some time to tell us about when she first discovered a love of writing and how she made the decision to self-publish. She also provides some insight into her own business model.

What made you decide to self-publish?

I've been a traditionally published author since 2000 when I sold my first historical romance to Harlequin. I later moved to Avon and wrote 9 books for them, and then I moved to St. Martin's Press and wrote 6 books there. I loved my editors and it was nice to see my books in stores, but I just couldn't resist the lure of full control over the direction of my career, creative control over story concepts as well as cover art, a more generous royalty rate, and the monthly paychecks. In 2014, I turned down a six figure offer from a major traditional publisher to go fully indie, and I have no regrets. Best decision I ever made. 

Are there any self-publishing tricks of the trade you'd like to share?

I have learned to keep it simple, and my business model is now a well-oiled machine. At the time I'm writing this, my strategy is this: I focus on writing and publishing a new novel every three months, and I always have the next book available for pre-order at all the major retailers for as long as possible.  I promote the pre-order book and provide purchase links at the end of all my previous eBooks. I am constantly updating old eBook files with the new titles as they become available.

The Plotting Grid:
A Tool For Plotters and Pantsers

Chris Mandeville offers some tips about the value of a good plotting grid and provides steps on how to create your own. Whether you're a plotter or a pantser, the plotting grid can be a marvelous tool for your fiction writing.

The plotting grid can be useful to anyone at any stage of writing. For writers who like to plot out their stories ("plotters"), the grid is a great tool for charting the storyline before drafting, and again during revisions. For those who write "by the seat of the pants" without plotting first ("pantsers"), the grid can be invaluable when the first draft is complete and the writer is assessing character arcs and plot lines for cohesiveness.

The plotting grid is also a powerful tool when any writer -plotter or pantser- gets stuck, whether that's during brainstorming, plotting, drafting, or revising. It's great for illuminating gaps and inconsistencies that may be causing writer's block; by filling in the grid with the elements you do know, you can gain a new perspective on what you don't know. At the very least, by looking at the big picture of your story on the grid, you're reminded there are other parts of the story you can work on while the stuck part simmers in the back of your brain.
Whether you're stuck or simply trying to create a better story, the grid can help you delve into deeper analysis of your storyline

We'd love to hear from you! Feel free to send us any feedback or updates on your own writing life.

If you have any questions or concerns or would like to share your own tips, please contact us at
All the best,
The Kobo Writing Life Team 
In This Issue
KWL Podcast - Episode 037
The Best Place To Write A Book
Meet Julianne MacLean
The Plotting Grid
Quick Links

Calling all Romance Authors!

Time is almost running out to enter our Romance Writing Life  competition.

The winning novelist will be awarded the grand prize of a publishing contract with Mills & Boon, including both print and digital release. The book will be jointly promoted by Kobo, Mills & Boon and WHSmith.

Entry deadline is tomorrow, July 31st!

Kobo is launching an exciting incentive program to reward local bookstores in the US and their customers for choosing to eRead Local. Read more about it here.

In February 2015, we launched our inaugural Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, designed to kick-start the careers of debut Canadian authors. 

The best debut writers in Canada have been chosen and awarded a $10,000 cash prize, as well as promotional, marketing, and communications support. 

Here are the winners!

Do you make the most out of Microsoft Word when you're writing your book? Here are some time-saving and book-beautifying tips!

Have you ever been curious about what the folks here at Kobo like to read? If so, come join our Book Club on Viber. Various staff members talk about what they're reading now and what books they're excited about. Looking for a recommendation? This is the place to find it.
All you need to do is download the Viber app on your phone or your desktop, search for Kobo in the public chats and start to follow the conversation. Here's some more information. 

This month's Kobo Writing Life bestseller list includes J.F. Penn's 3 book box set, Arkane. 

Also topping the list are Silent Scream by Angela Marson's and Twisted Justice by Diane Capri. 

See the full list here.

Kobo has announced a new partnership with Mexico's top book retailers.

In an unprecedented partnership in the Americas, two of Mexico's most prestigious book retailers have joined forces with Kobo.

Kobo will power the eBookstore for both publisher and retailer Libreria PorrĂșa, with nearly 70 bookstores in Mexico and, Gandhi, the chain of nearly 30 stores. While the two retailers are competitors in other areas of business, they have jointly created a new service called Orbile, powered by Kobo, to offer a unified eReading service to Mexican readers.

You can read more about it here.
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