Self Publishing On Kobo: Everything You Need To Know

Self-publishing on Kobo is a great way to reach new readers, and it's easy to get started. All you need is a PDF of your book, and you can upload it directly to Kobo's website, Kobo Writing Life. You'll also need to set a price for your book, and choose whether or not you want to offer it for free.

Once your book is live on Kobo, it will be available for readers to purchase on the Kobo website, as well as through the Kobo app. And, if you're looking to reach an international audience, Kobo offers its books in multiple languages.

While Kobo is not as well-known as Amazon or IngramSpark, it is a huge self-publishing platform with millions of users. One of the best things about Kobo is that they offer print-on-demand services, so you can sell your book without having to worry about inventory or shipping costs.

They also have a great customer service team that is always willing to help you with any questions or concerns you may have.

So if you're ready to self-publish, give Kobo a try!

Self Publishing On Kobo: Everything You Need To Know

Amazon KDP Is Not Your Only Option For Self-Publishing!

Amazon KDP may well be the only self-publishing platform you have heard about, but it is not the only option you have. Amazon has a wide reach and a very large marketplace which means while you have access to millions of potential buyers, your book also can get lost in the crowd.

But then again, so does Kobo!

With 275 million readers in 190 countries, you can reach a very large audience that rivals even Amazon KDP. There are even distributors that will help you sign up at Kobo and other e-book publishers. Although, if you take this route your royalties will not be as great as they would be if you signed up independently with each one.

The royalties you can earn through Kobo is up to 70%, and that is worth considering.

Self-Publishing On Kobo

It may be intimidating to publish a book if you are a first-time author. Kobo has simplified the process and cut it down to 4 easy steps.

  1. Create an account.
  2. Upload your manuscript.
  3. Advertise your book.
  4. Earn your royalties!

I won't bore you with the "set up your account" process. Chances are you have set up hundreds of accounts website in your lifetime, this is no different. You need to fill in your personal information, email address, password etc.

I am sure I don't need to prompt you to enter your genuine personal information, particularly where it asks for banking information, tax, and any publishing house name you use (don't be intimidated by the publishing house term, make one up or simply use your name or pen name).

Now comes the fun part. You need to describe your book. Here is where you take the opportunity to really sell your book! Next to the front cover, this is the first thing potential buyers will see. Learning how to write a kick-ass description will do wonders.

Upload the file, fill out the rights section and then set your price, hit that publish button. So simple.

Once that is done, you are now a published author of an eBook.

It Is A Simple Process, But Get It Right The First Time!

It Is A Simple Process, But Get It Right The First Time!

Now that you have an idea of how the process works, here are the details you need to know about to make sure the process goes smoothly, and each step is done right.

1. Account Set-Up

The first thing you need to do to publish your book on Kobo is to set up an account. Make sure to provide all the correct information when you sign up, as you don't want any issues with getting paid for your sales. Once your account is set up, you can start uploading your book.

2. Format And Upload Your Manuscript

Now that you've created your account, it's time to format it, so it's ready to upload and publish. Kobo has a specific format that your book needs to be in before you can publish it, but don't worry - it's not difficult to do. Once you have your book formatted correctly, you can upload it directly to Kobo and start selling it to readers around the world.

Below are the file formats you can submit:

  • .ePub
  • .doc
  • .docx
  • .mobi
  • .odt.

Although .MOBI is on the list, I would not recommend it for Kobo. Mobi is Amazon Kindle’s primary format and how it looks on Kobo may not be that pleasing to your or your readers’ eyes. Format your manuscript so that it is clear and will show up properly on any tablet.

3. Cover Art

Cover Art

Your book cover is the first thing potential readers will see - it's your chance to make a good first impression. Don't leave the design to the last minute, or you'll end up with something that looks rushed and unprofessional. Instead, take the time to find a talented artist who can create a cover that accurately reflects the contents of your book.

But if you have, and are just deciding on some art now, you might want to use a service such as Fiverr to hire a cheap freelancer to get it done for you. Otherwise, you can use free services like Photoscape, Canva etc., to design one.

The cover should be in .jpg/.jpeg or .png format with a 1 x 1.6 ratio (1600 by 2560 or 2500 by 4000 pixels). Keep in mind the file size should not be more than 5 MB.



ISBN is not mandatory for ebooks, but it is helpful, especially if you have a print version of your manuscript that has previously been published. If Kobo does not provide an ISBN number, there are other ways of obtaining one.

Those methods are found here, and you will have to scroll down to find the instructions. At the bottom of the page, there is a button you can push to learn more about ISBNs and their importance.

5. Book Description

When writing your book description, there are a few things to consider. The description needs to be concise, accurate, and honest, however, this is also an opportunity to make it SEO-rich so it helps with marketing. You can also add some positive reviews from beta readers if you want, at this stage of the process.

6. Rights


This is an important step to do accurately as it protects your book from being stolen or mishandled. Don’t skip any of these steps as they are designed to keep your rights from being violated as well as make sure you get credit for your work.

Here are the items you need to make sure you understand, know how to use, and make the right decisions:

  • DRM (Digital Rights Management). This option helps protect your book from being pirated. Unfortunately, it is not a perfect system, and there are people who can remove this protection quite easily. You can read our posts about DRM and what you need to know about book copyright for the full scope.
  • Kobo Plus- this is the next step after DRM, and when you allow it to be placed on your work, it allows people from Belgium and the Netherlands to access your book through a subscription service. The royalties you get will be at a different and lower rate than your regular royalties. Plus, there is no exclusivity clause in this option like there is with Kindle.
  • OneDrive catalog- this is optional as well, and it helps market your book to those people who use this system when they buy books. If you use a distributor like Draft2Digital, they have similar options in their publishing process.

Kobo Self-Publishing Royalties

This is the last step in the Kobo publishing process, and it is an important one. The price you set for your work will influence how big your royalty payments will be. Kobo has three levels of royalty payments, 70%, 45%, and 20%, and the cost of your book will determine which payment you receive.

To receive the 70% level, your e-book must be listed at $2.99 or above in the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. It also has to be listed at or above 1.99 BP for the UK and 1.99 Euros for the rest of Europe.

Finalizing The Process

Some final words about self-publishing on Kobo:

Once you have completed the process, all you have to do is hit that publish button, and your book is set to be sold. Kobo will send you a message that it may take between24 and 72 hours before it is published and available for purchases but that time frame is not exact.

Sometimes it can take less and sometimes it can take more. Waiting three more days is not going to be that bad, especially since you spent a long time writing your book. Once it is done, your work will be made available to the people in almost 200 countries of the world.

That is a good feeling.

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