Self Publishing with Kobo: Mark LeFebvre ep28

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Introduction

Mark Lefebvre is the Director of Self Publishing & Author Relations at Kobo since 2011. He started his career as a technologist during the day and author during night. Mark is the writer of dark fiction that is often described as “Twilight Zone”style fiction. He has been involved in book selling business for over 20 years. Mark describes himself as a writer & book nerd from Hamilton, Ontario in Canada.

In this episode, Mark and I talk about his career in the book publishing industry, from being a bookseller to now with Kobo Writing Life. We talk about Kobo’s approach towards book publishing and particularly their focus on Indian market after acquisition of Flipkart‘s ebook business, and pricing for the Indian Market. Finally, we discuss Barnaby Bones, Mark’s skeletal companion.

Listen To The Podcast Episode By Clicking Below

Discussion With Mark

  • Mark Lefebvre talks about Kobo‘s presence in India given their acquisition of Flipkart‘s ebook catalogue, pricing for local markets and his author journey.
  • He enjoys reading mystery, scientific fiction, suspense, crime thriller ghost stories among all the genres.
  • Mark Lefebvre has written horror, scary and crime in fiction genre and paranormal , true ghost stories in non fiction. He would someday love to pen a romantic love story for his mother who believes that he should write some nice story.
  • Joanna Penn, Rebecca Patrick Howard and Neil D’Silva are some of the other authors who write in the similar genre.
  • His first book published in 2004 , “One Hand Screaming” is a story about a book store that hides more than dusty old tombs among its shelves. It is a collection of mostly previously published short stories and poetry along with a few original tales.
  • He is also the editor of the science fiction anthologies North of Infinity II (2006), Tesseracts Sixteen: Parnassus Unbound(2012) and the horror anthology Campus Chills (2009).
  • Mark’s first non-fiction book, Haunted Hamilton: The Ghosts of Dundurn Castle & Other Steeltown Shivers (2012) is an appreciation of his hometown told in a combination of historic journeys combined with ghostly legends. His second non-fiction paranormal title Spooky Sudbury: True Tales of the Eerie & Unexplained (2013) is co-authored with Jenny Jelen, about the city they both grew up in. Mark’s third paranormal book is Tomes of Terror: Haunted Bookstores & Libraries (2014). Evasion (2014).
  • Mark Lefebvre continues to publish short fiction in small press horror magazines and anthologies and his first full length horror novel is I, Death (2014).
  • Mark has done editing for a few anthologies in the similar genre. He was a part of 7 people editing team who commented on the stories submitted by authors in live sessions . The advantage for the authors was how every editor had a different way of looking at the same story.He has close to 24 years of experience in the book publishing and online selling business which grew out of his fascination of putting books in people’s hands.He started an Expresso book machine in 2007 at university book store which could print and bind the book in 15 minutes. There are close to 100-120 locations offering this service in the world. His was a second of it’s kind of store in Canada, ninth in the world.
  • It has worked really well for small publishers and independent authors as it is print on demand done locally, so it reduces the physical shipping, reverse logistics ,returns and reduces waste.
  • Mark believes the best part of working in the book publishing industry is to bring stories from people who write stories to the people who want to read them and escape for a few hours.
  • Since 2011 , Mark works for Kobo Writing Life , an ebook company born out of Toronto, Canada . The founder is one of the largest retail chain owners. He believes that people should be able to read any book on any device at any time.
  • Kobo Writing Life has been one of the sponsors and have strong presence in NaNo WriMo.
  • Mark’s role is to provide solution for independent authors and small publishers to get their books on Kobo’s platform. Kobo believes in collaborating with retailers especially who sell print books in the local market and Kobo provides digital books for their customers. The advantage for customers who buy print books can access ebooks through Kobo. Kobo did the same when they acquired Sony’s ebook business so that customers could access those ebooks through their platform.
  • In India they have bought the ebook business of Flipkart which is one of the largest distributors of print books online. He believes that one of the biggest reason why ebooks have not picked up in India is mainly because the cost of print books is dramatically lower and competitive and the publishers are pricing the book in such a way that encourages people to buy print books.
  • Currently, Kobo is paying attention to better understand the Indian market and it’s platform is free for authors and small publishers .Kobo would help the authors in curating their titles and making it available for people.
  • Authors and publishers can go to Kobo Writing Life – www.Kobo.com/life and create a free account , link the bank details and can publish the ebook online.Kobo does not believe in exclusivity contract with the author or publisher unlike Kindle Direct Publishing .It offer royalty of 70% for ebooks above $2.99 and 45% for ebooks lower than $2.99.The payment would be directly credited to the account . Authors can also publish free ebooks.
  • Kobo had payment in 8 currencies and are planning to add more currencies including Indian Rupee which would help them in better pricing of ebooks as per the market. The advantage for authors publishing in India would be they can pick the price of ebooks in Indian Rupee rather than just the dollar to rupee conversion.
  • The Kobo Writing Life blog and podcast aims to educate the authors and publishers about the market condtions in various geographies. Example: Prices of ebooks in Australia, Canada and New Zealand should be higher than those of United States while the price should be lower in United Kingdom based on the print book comparison.
  • Kobo has a strong presence in Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Canada, France, Italy and other European and African countries and it has benefited a lot of authors in serving new territories.
  • Readers can go to www.kobo.com/app and go to free ebooks and can read the best curated ebooks online.

Resources and References mentioned in the podcast

Ways to Contact Mark Lefebvre