The key to selling books, selling anything really, is discoverability. If people can’t find your product, it won’t sell no matter how good it is. An indie author lives and dies on discoverability.
Followers of my blog know that I went wide back in April. “Going wide” means selling your books on multiple retailers, instead of exclusively on Amazon.
This week I discovered another reason why indie authors love Amazon. Their categorization of books is comprehensive, so if I write a more niche market book, I can still get some discoverability.
Kobo on the other hand, their categories are severely lacking. As I set up a pre-order for my upcoming book, David’s Summer, I realized the only suitable category was general fiction. I think “this can’t be right” and do a search for a few books similar in genre. Sure enough, there are categories I’d love to be in, but they are not offered to indies. Only popular books from big publishers get into these categories. Now I’m faced with placing David’s summer into a category with hundreds of thousands of other books, effectively burying it in obscurity.
I emailed Writing Life and this is what they said:
“You’ll need to choose from the category options available in KWL (Kobo Writing Life). We apologize that there isn’t as much choice in categories in KWL as there is in our store. We’re hoping to update our category options very soon and add missing categories. Until then, unfortunately, we’re unable to add categories beyond what’s already there.”
I was told in a subsequent email that expanding the categories is “on the roadmap for 2018.” I hope it happens in a timely fashion.
Part of my reason for going to Kobo was to offer my readers a wider selection of vendors. If readers can’t find my books without knowing my name or the title of my books, I may as well not offer them there.
I’ll continue on and see if Kobo delivers on more robust categories in 2018. If they don’t, then I may just move all my titles back to Amazon.