The ebook retailer is thinking about expanding its Writing Life publishing portal with a new section where authors and publishers could hire skilled professionals to work on a manuscript.
The new venture has only just begun:
For the moment, we’re in Phase 1 of the project: measuring your interest in each service, so we can prioritize which opportunities are most important to our authors. Please feel free to go and click on which service or opportunity you’d like to see us focus on first. Don’t see what you want? Choose “Tell Us More” and tell us all about it.
Kobo currently partners with Publishers Weekly to sell book reviews through Kobo Writing Life, but that's just the beginning. According to the Author Services page, Kobo could end up selling ISBNs, offering a POD service, or connecting authors with a cover designer or editor. There's also a mention of audiobook production.
Kobo hasn't mentioned how they would provide these services, just that the Author Services section of KWL was:
... a project we’ve been working towards for several years: offering a list of recommended professional services – cover design, editorial help, print on demand, and more – that we trust and believe offer good value for independent authors. When possible, we’ll negotiate a great discount so you’ll get more for your money.
Kobo could develop "Author Services" as an internal division, or they could create a marketplace where authors would hire freelancers.
Either option is possible, and another likely option is that Kobo will outsource the work to a company like FastPencil (or one of its competitors.) As we saw with Books-a-Million's new publishing services unit earlier this year, outsourcing the work lets a retailer like Kobo add all of the desired services quickly and efficiently.
But that's not where Kobo is planning to go, according to Kobo Writing Life director Mark Leslie Lefebvre. He told me by email that "The services will be, in the Kobo way, about collaboration and partnerships. But what's key is checking into services to make sure they're author-friendly and not about exploiting authors. That's a key driving principle for us - and one of the reasons it has taken so long to roll this out."
Kobo has wanted to offer this type of service for a while, Lefebvre said "It's an attempt to meet the huge demand so many authors ask about, so we're trying to provide referrals to curated trusted 3rd parties."
image by Alan_D