During my peregrinations over this grand land of Britain, one of the most common questions I am used getting asked is “how can I get more visibility on the Kobo Store”.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a legitimate question. However, I’ve come to understand there is another question authors had better pose themselves beforehand: “why should the Kobo store give me more visibility ”. Yes, why do you think your title is ready for that?
For a retailer, promoting a title is equivalent to making an investment, possibly a reasoned one.
The Kobo store features Kobo Next, a shopping window devoted to the Kobo Writing Life authors. Here are the elements we rely upon in deciding what titles to promote.
Readers DO judge books by the cover (just as people judge other people by their looks). Present your book with a professional design. It should be beautifully crafted and if your book becomes successful your cover will become a brand, your brand. Select some graphic elements you’ll be able to reutilize as a brand in the long term. Lee Child’s covers are a good example.
If the price of your book is too low there is less value for a retailer in promoting your title. The same goes if your book is overpriced: people won’t buy it. So what to do? The price mainly depends on both genre and word count. Browsing the category your book belongs to on the Kobo Store. Take the 15 bestselling titles in that category, work out the average selling price and you’ll have a good marker.
How many reviews does your book have? Do you have a website? How many followers do you have on Twitter and Facebook? If we promote your title on the Kobo store, and you have a conspicuous fan base, we know they will help you echo any promotion you will run. Being able to rely upon a solid platform is always a powerful card to play.
Are you running any promotion on your own (e.g. book signing, special offers, competitions, giveaways). Do you have a schedule of promotional initiatives? If so, that will really help us how active you are in promoting yourself and what is the best time for us to sync up with your key initiatives. Submitting your book along with a solid marketing plan (no more than one page) is an effective way to make your request stand out.
The book synopsis is probably my favorite part;it’s the first opportunity an author has to engage with readers and show how good her/his writing is. Counter-intuitive as it sounds, don’t use the description to describe the book.
There is a rule I hold particularly dear: ‘when a trend reaches the critical mass it gets boring’. And ‘boring’ does not go very well with ‘selling’. The purpose of the synopsis is getting the reader to open the book. To do that you have to perform the same magic you need in order to get the reader to turn each page in your book. Instead of describing your book, why not giving some behind the scenes? For instance, the reason or the motive for you wrote the book.
Bear in mind you don’t have to be truthful, you are an author, you can make up things. You can create fiction within reality and reality within fiction. You can be misleading, even cunning. Readers love getting surprised, adore closing a book with a whirlpool of open questions lingering in their minds. And it all can begin with a good synopsis. Besides all the marketing and promotion the essence of this business is, always will be, good writing.
It is good showing your writing if, and only if there is something good to show. Romans used to say Nihil sub sole novum: (nothing new under the sun). Your story is not unique. However, the way you tell that can certainly be.
Writing is a craft, as well as an art, and it can be improved. On kobowritinginglife.com we have an entire section devoted to the craft of writing, a good place to start. If you are interested in delving deeper, there is a reading I hold dear:Italo Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millennium. Simply enlightening.