Fantastic news for authors… you can now publish your e-books directly to Kobo! I’m not sure how I missed this little gem, but Kobo is now stepping into the same arena as Amazon with its Kobo Writing Life program by allowing authors to upload and manage their ebooks directly. Before, you had to go through a distributor such as Smashwords or Book Baby.
So what does this translate to? Higher royalties, for one; you’re cutting out the middleman. Secondly, you have much more control over your e-book’s formatting. Those who have been frustrated by the lack of control over the Smashwords formatting will like that they can make their own epub file and upload this directly.
Is there a down-side? Well, if you don’t know how to make an .epub file, then you might find this new route a bit tricky, and prefer to go through a distributor. Although Amazon recently upgraded their ebook upload system so that you can upload a Word document and have it converted automatically, Kobo has yet to add this feature. Which means that you have to create an HTML file from your document, then convert the HTML file to .epub using a program such as Calibre. Again, this is great if you want lot of control over your formatting, but may be too much for the non-technically-inclined. (If you have no HTML knowledge, I’d advise against).
The upload process seems very easy, and it’s open to international authors (unlike Barnes and Noble Pub-It, which STILL only allows American residents to publish their ebooks directly). I wish Barnes and Noble would wake up to the fact that e-publishing is an international arena…! So kudos to Kobo for doing this.
There’s also a “signing bonus” right now, although I’m not clear yet on how this is different from the usual royalty system… once I find the time to read the fine print, I’ll report back!