Wednesday, June 12, 2013
The Indie Life: Stuck in Kobo Limbo
I'm not sure why Twinned Universes is stuck in the publishing process at Kobo. I didn't encounter any issues when I went through the various publishing steps on Kobo Writing Life in March. (I reviewed everything last night, and everything is checked off.) It's possible there may have been some conflict between Kobo and Smashwords. (I may have had Smashwords at one point set to distribute the book to Kobo at the same time as it was supposed to be published on Kobo's website. I think I even played with the settings a couple of times to see if it made a difference. However, currently I am opted out of using Smashwords to distribute to Kobo.)
I've been so busy with many other things that I haven't had the chance to seek support from Kobo until last month. Their response (sent on 5/22) was essentially to make sure Smashwords wasn't distributing the book to Kobo and then publish the book through Kobo. This didn't fix the problem, but they sent me an e-mail on 6/2 telling me since they hadn't heard back from me, they changed the status of my troubleshooting ticket to "pending solved." I wrote back to them telling them I'd gone through the procedure they'd suggested, but it didn't work. From what I can tell, there's no way for me to remove the book from their system. I therefore asked Kobo to delete my account so I could push the book through Smashwords. They then told me they could forward the book to their publishing team so they could take care of the problem; otherwise if I confirmed my e-mail address, they could delete my account.
I thought about it for a while, then decided to give them one more chance and asked them to publish my book. I sent my response on 6/4 but got no response. I had to double-check my account settings before realizing it could be due to me sending the e-mail from a different address than the one they had on file for me. Accordingly, I updated my e-mail address and contacted them again. I even told them I was going to blog about this problem on Wednesday and hoped we could report it resolved. This time I received an apology and a reassurance that the Kobo team was working on the problem and my book would be available soon. As of Tuesday evening, Twinned Universes is still stuck in Kobo Limbo.
I think if there's no change by next Monday, it'll be time to pull the account with Kobo. Honestly, even if Kobo does get my book published before then, I'll be very reluctant to publish directly through them in the future. I hate to do it, but it may be simplest to just use Kobo as a retailer, not a publisher. If the problem really is due to a conflict with Smashwords (remember, this is just a hypothesis; it's not proven yet), then the systems need a way to identify this issue for the authors and to check when the conflict has been removed. In the meantime, I apologize to any Kobo users who would like to read my book; I'll have to refer you to Smashwords to sideload the correct format.
Have any of you Indies had similar experiences with Kobo or other publishers? If so, were you able to have the problem resolved? What has your experience been with Kobo?