I recently published my novels directly with Kobo instead of going through a third-party aggregator such as Smashwords. I have more control over the formatting by going direct and earn a higher royalty. Plus, my head is hard like that.
It was mostly a straight-forward proposition. They will convert a .mobi or text file to an .epub or I could FTP the .epub directly. So, they wanted an .epub file. Check. A cover image file. Check. And a metadata file. A what?
Simply put, the metadata consists of the stuff already in your .mobi or .epub file if you used my formatting guidelines, such as: title, description, pricing. Et cetera. Et cetera. I could deliver this using an Excel spreadsheet which they provide, or send it via an .xml file using the ONIX international standards for transferring book information.
While the Excel spreadsheet would have been easier, if I wanted to make changes later, the ONIX file was the best vehicle. And it was harder. Like my head.
So I tackled the ONIX file in my usual manner; I tried to find a working example. I found a file purported to be in compliance, but the Kobo file processor complained vehemently. In the end, I muddled and created my own. If you want a copy of my happy file, contact me, and I’ll send it.
I’ve been meaning to write an update about my adventures but have been busy with my next manuscript and the Great Spring Purge. Both hard work but quite satisfying. In the interim, Kobo has announced their coming-soon new ez-pz publishing portal. I know some writers who are beta testers for the portal, so I expect it will be a much simpler process than what I encountered.
Assuming Kobo listens.