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How to Self-Publish on Kobo

How to Self-Publish on Kobo

How to Self-Publish on Kobo

If you are looking to publish your book with Kobo, you’ve come to right place. In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know in order to self-publish with Kobo. So, let’s get to it!

How Can I Self-Publish My Book with Kobo?

As a self-publisher, you’re probably familiar with Kobo and the Kobo eReader. Rakuten Kobo Inc., or just Kobo, is the name of a Canadian company specializing in eBooks, eReaders, audiobooks, and more. They introduced consumers to their own brand of tablet back in 2012. Since then, Kobo has become well known as one of the major self-publishing platforms in the industry. Similar to Apple or Barnes and Noble, it’s incredibly easy to upload your book to the Kobo website and begin managing sales through their author dashboard. While we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of getting your book uploaded and ready to sell on Kobo later on in this post, we’ll go ahead and tell you one big tip – make sure that you’re visiting writinglife.kobobooks.com when you’re looking to become an eBook publisher or seller! Although kobo.com is the website that consumers will visit when hoping to download the latest eBooks, the Kobo Writing Life site is where you’ll need to go for self-publishing purposes. Once you access the Kobo Writing Life website, you’ll be ready to make an account (or sign in to an existing one) and let the sales pour in!

Why Publish with Kobo?

  1. Your eBook will be available to download on both the Kobo site and on the Kobo tablet.
  2. Walmart – one of the largest chain stores in the world – carries Kobo tablets. This means that your book could be targeted specifically to their global stores, which Walmart.com estimates serves around 275 million customers a week.
  3. Kobo carries over six million eBooks and has customers in over 190 countries.
  4. Self-publishing on Kobo does not require any exclusivity to their site. If you publish with them, you can publish elsewhere.
  5. You do not have to pay any fees to publish on Kobo.
  6. Kobo offers Kobo Plus, an eBook subscription service similar to Kindle Unlimited. By publishing with Kobo, you can opt-in to enroll your eBook in Kobo Plus.
  7. You have the option to enroll your book in a Kobo promotion. While your book must be approved by Kobo for the promotion, and you’ll have to pay for it, this is a great way to jack up interest in your eBook!

What Are the Royalty Rates When You Self-Publish on Kobo?

Similar to sites like KDP, Kobo offers authors three different royalty rates – 70%, 45%, or 20%. The 70% royalty rate is offered only if your book is listed:

  • At or above $2.99 in the USA,
  • At or above £1.99 GBP in the UK,
  • At or above $2.99 CAD in Canada,
  • At or above $2.99 AUD in Australia,
  • At or above €1.99 EUR in the European Union,
  • At or above $2.99 NZD in New Zealand.

For a more detailed list of royalties based on location, check out Kobo’s Frequently Asked Questions website. Here’s our breakdown of what the 70% royalty rate will mean for your sales in USD:

Book Cost Royalty Rate I will make… Kobo will keep…
$9.99 70% $6.99 $3.00
$2.99 70% $2.09 $0.90

If your book is priced below $2.99 (US Dollars), you’ll earn 45% in royalties. Take a look below at what this means for your earnings:

Book Cost Royalty Rate I will make… Kobo will keep…
$1.99 45% $0.89 $1.10
$0.99 45% $0.44 $0.55

Is your book a part of the public domain? (This refers to creative works that are not subject to copyright or are available to the general public). If it is, you’ll earn 20% royalties no matter the price point of your book:

Book Cost Royalty Rate I will make… Kobo will keep…
$9.99 20% $1.99 $8.00
$0.99 20% $0.19 $0.80

You should note that if your book is enrolled in Kobo Plus (the company’s subscription service), your payment will be tracked separately from regular sales. According to Kobo’s site, you’ll be paid out of the pool of revenue earned from subscribers to this program 90 days after sales have been made.

For regular sales, you will receive payment from Kobo via Electric Fund Transfer (EFT). This will deposit your earnings directly into your bank account 45 days after the end of the calendar month in which the sales occurred. However, note that you must have made at least $50 CAD (Canadian Dollars) to earn payment. You can manage your linked bank account, tax forms, and more underneath “My Account” and “Payment Information”.

Access payment information by following the pink arrow.

What Do I Need to Know About Publishing on Kobo?

Kobo offers a user-friendly site – to both consumers and to publishers on Writing Life – that’s easy to navigate. However, it’s always smart to be prepared and keep a few major points in mind before getting started publishing with Kobo:

1) Kobo Plus isn’t exclusive. Unlike Kindle Unlimited, your eBook can be enrolled in Kobo Plus and also be sold on other sites. However, you will be required to keep your book enrolled in the program for at least 90 days after opting in. (As a note, our team had an issue pop up and we needed to de-list a book from Kobo Plus. The Kobo team responded quickly, listened to our situation, and immediately removed our book from Kobo Plus. Thanks, Kobo!)

2) You have the option to enroll your book in a Kobo promotion. You can do this for a flat fee, or choose to have a percentage of your sales taken off to pay for the promotion. Sales offered by Kobo include percentage sales by promo code, price drop sales, and buy more save more sales (buy 2, get 1 free, etc). This is a great way to gain momentum in your sales! Who doesn’t love a discounted book?

3) Your book must be approved by Kobo. After you upload your text, cover, and fill out all relevant information, you must submit this for a QA process. Unfortunately, not all books are going to be approved. To ensure that your book is approved by Kobo, make sure you own all rights to your book cover, double check if your text needs to be specifically submitted as “erotica” (they’re very strict on this), and ensure all metadata (title, subtitle, and such) is entered correctly.

4) Are you familiar with Kobo Writing Life’s author services? If not, we really suggest checking them out! Through your author dashboard, you can buy a predesigned book cover for as little as $69, purchase an ISBN, submit your book for professional reviews, and much more. The Author Services page is your one stop shop for reaching even more readers!

5) Kobo recommends using EPUB files for uploading text to their site. Although they do accept .doc, .docx, .mobi, and .odt files, you can always use their free EPUB conversion tool provided during the book uploading process.

A Step by Step Guide to Publishing on Kobo

Have all your ducks in a row? Got your EPUB file, book cover, and all relevant information ready? Great, then let’s dive into the steps on how to upload to Kobo!

  1. Go to https://writinglife.kobobooks.com/.
  2. Log in to an existing account or sign up for one.
  3. Once you’re logged in, you’ll have access to your author dashboard. Select the “eBOOKS” option in the upper right-hand corner to upload new content.
  4. After you select “eBOOKS”, you’ll see a red button in the upper right-hand corner that says “Create new eBook”. This is what you’ll press to start getting your book uploaded.
  5. Kobo has four steps in the publishing process: “Describe your eBook”, “Add eBook content”, “Rights and Distribution” and “Set the price”. If you’re familiar with other self-publishing sites, all of this information will be familiar to you. However, a few steps in this process will be unique to you. You can choose to enroll your book in Kobo Plus (Kobo’s subscription service) and even make your book available to libraries for a separate listing price. Take some time to think if these are services that you might be interested in.
  6. Once you fill out the necessary information, your book is ready to be published! Kobo enables you to set a release date and allow pre-orders if you’d like. Once you’ve decided on a publication date, select “Publish your eBook” and you’re good to go!

My book is Live on Kobo — now what?

You did it! You uploaded your book to Kobo and now you’re ready to start seeing sales. Remember, you have plenty of author tools at your disposal exclusively for the betterment of your book. Once you’ve made your first sale, you’ll be able to track how your book is doing on your author dashboard. Kobo will provide you with an easy-to-read overview of your book stats.

If at any point you need to remove your book from Kobo, update your book price, or make any changes to your text or information, you can do all of this under the “eBOOKS” portion of the website. Changes will take up to 72 hours to appear on Kobo.com. As we mentioned previously in this article, we had to remove an eBook from the Kobo Plus program and the customer service team worked quickly to assist us. From our experience, you’ll hear back from someone within several hours of contacting Kobo!

So there you have it – we’ve gathered what you need to know about self-publishing on Kobo and walked you through the process. Have you had success with Kobo? Have any tips that we need to hear? Let us know below!

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