Sell More Kindle Books with Better Links

I’ve been reading book marketing tips for three years, but recently I learned something that made me want to do the “V8” forehead smack. If you sell your ebooks on Amazon, but only link to the book page in your own country, do you know you might be missing sales?

linksI live in the US, but if I click on a Kindlebook link that leads to the Amazon UK page, I won’t be able to buy the ebook. If I’m observant enough, I might see a notice on right-hand of the page telling me I can only shop at Amazon.com. BUT if I click on the link provided, it doesn’t take me to the page for the ebook I was looking at on Amazon UK, no,  it takes me to the Amazon Kindle storefront! It works the same for all Amazon stores.

So, if I post only Amazon US links on my blog or social media accounts hoping to entice readers to buy my ebook I’m probably discouraging or, at least, frustrating my friends and contacts who live outside the US. If they are interested in my ebook and click the US link I provided, they might very well think the book is not available for them to buy. Bad news, right? BUT …

Did you know you can easily create a universal link that will direct the potential buyer to the page for your Kindlebook in their country’s Amazon store?

I know of two free services where you can create these links: BookLinker and SmartURL. I learned about these through this blog post by Jason Matthews, which includes step-by-step videos to show you how it’s done. I used BookLinker and in a couple of minutes had a universal link to use on my blog, social media accounts, and my other Kindlebooks.

BookLinker is simpler to use. You can create an Author page link or Amazon Associate links also.  An advantage to using SmartURL is that you can create a link to your Amazon reviews page and use it in your ebooks to encourage readers to leave a review. So, though my new book link is through BookLinker, I’ll also be creating a review page link through SmartURL and updating my ebooks.

And don’t forget to make a universal link for your print version too. Although Amazon may allow you to buy a print book from any of its stores, who wants to pay international shipping if they don’t have to?

The Brevity of Roses: A man discovers himself through the two women he loves.Okay, so how am I initiating use of my new links? By running a book sale, of course. For the next five days (1-5 September) The Brevity of Roses ebook is free! (Remember Amazon has a free Kindle app, so you don’t have to have a Kindle to read Kindlebooks.)

Illusion_2014_widgetWhat’s better than one sale? Two sales! So also this week, I’ll be running a Kindle Countdown Deal on An Illusion of Trust ebook! The price starts at $.99 cents and will rise to $1.99 midweek before returning to its regular price at midnight PST on Sunday. (UK price will be £ .99 VAT-inclusive for the duration, with the sale ending at midnight GMT on Sunday.)

Go ahead, readers, click my links!

 

Linda

 

A necessary diet for this writer

This time last year, I blogged about why it took me so long to get serious about writing. I was preparing to publish my first novel and wondering how many other books I might have already published if I’d started writing sooner. I still think about that, particularly because I’m not a fast writer. Then I get all metaphysical and profess that I will write as many books as I am destined to write.

This time last year, I blogged about why it took me so long to get serious about writing. I was preparing to publish my first novel and wondering how many other books I might have already published if I’d started writing sooner. I still think about that, particularly because I’m not a fast writer. Then I get all metaphysical and profess that I will write as many books as I am destined to write.

Amy J. Rose Davis recently took a vacation from writing and then blogged about her decision to reprioritize. She decided to lower her expectations for her writing, and said, “No, really, this is a good thing. I’m not normally one for lowering expectations, but since I’ve come to realize that I have absolutely no control over the market, I have to focus on expecting the right things from my work.” And what does she feel is the right thing to expect from her work? “I want to bring joy to a few people through my work. I want to make people think. I want to make people clench their fists, laugh, sigh, and weep when they read my stories.”

To that, I say, “Amen!”

The trouble is, I’ve said that more than once, and then I forget my intention. But each time, I hold on to it longer before I read another blog post telling me how to have better name recognition or build more influential relationships or sell more books, which plummets me back into the abyss.

The promotional side of writing for publication is like the relationship between dieting and eating. No matter how much weight you want to lose, you can’t just quit eating entirely—but you can, and have to, reduce your intake. So that’s where I am now, cutting back on those high-calorie You-Too-Can-Sell-a-Million-Copies blogs, articles, tweets, and status updates. Like, Amy, I want to get back to enjoying both my writing and my non-writing lives.

I believe I’ll be a much better writer for it. I know I’ll be less stressed, and that’s always a good thing.

UPDATE: I wrote this post on Saturday night, it’s now Sunday morning, and my husband just told me we need to get serious about marketing The Brevity of Roses! Oh, the irony. He wants me to ask: have any of you authors tried Facebook ads as a marketing tool?

The whole truth about why I self-published

Three years ago, I started this blog to chronicle my journey to publication of my fiction writing. I wrote often about my trials and tribulations in writing, editing, and querying my first novel. I had always planned to get an agent, who would then sell my book to an editor at a traditional publishing house. It didn’t work out that way.

Three years ago, I started this blog to chronicle my journey to publication of my fiction writing. I wrote often about my trials and tribulations in writing, editing, and querying my first novel. I had always planned to get an agent, who would then sell my book to an editor at a traditional publishing house. It didn’t work out that way.

The_Brevity_of_RosesPart of what went wrong with that plan was not something I could control. By the time I finished that novel, traditional publishing was in upheaval, and editors were buying fewer debut novels than ever. It seemed the only way to get an offer was to have an inside connection or write a book in the hottest genre. Neither my book nor I qualified.

One element that I could possibly have controlled was to write a book destined to become a classic. I may be a bit delusional about my talent, but I know I’m not that good a writer. My book is a good story, it’s a pleasant read, but no one will ever add it to their favorite-book-of-all-time list.

So, if no editor was likely to buy my book, no agent was interested in representing it. I woke from the dream of seeing my book published by a big New York publisher. I started exploring other options. I researched self-publishing as well as small presses.

I was leaning toward submitting my book to these small publishers when something happened that changed everything.

Exactly a year ago, my husband’s employer downsized and because my husband was the highest paid manager in his store, he was shown the door. Overnight, our income dropped by 60%—sixty percent! We’ve never had much money, and what we had we didn’t manage the best we could have, so I knew if my husband didn’t get another job right away (difficult because of his age), it wouldn’t be long before we exhausted our savings. Long story short, he didn’t.

I panicked. Then I decided I could help. I had a book to sell. Suddenly, waiting another year or so to have my book published by a small press was out of the question. So in an extraordinary mixture of overestimation, misunderstanding, and fantasy, I chose to self-publish.

If you know the stress of total DIY publishing, imagine adding to that a total lifestyle change. I think I handle stress well, but I don’t really. I just internalize it. My body takes what it can and then starts packing on pounds, breaking out in skin problems, and producing pain, pain, pain. Nice, when you have no medical insurance, right? Okay, that’s the last of my whining on this blog.

Now I’ve finally told you why I really self-published. It wasn’t a well thought out decision. I think only now, seven months later, do I even understand how I should have tried to market the book. And despite what I wrote earlier, I now know you can publish without spending a lot of money, but it’s incredibly hard to successfully sell without spending money—at least not when you’re trying to sell a debut novel.

I apologize for writing so many glum posts this last year, but maybe now you’ll understand why. Nothing has changed in our financial situation, but I’ve decided it’s time to change my attitude. I’ve read many posts lately by writer friends that have lifted me up and shown me the path I need to get back on. This post is already too long, so I’ll publicly thank them next time.

Did publication make me a Grumpy Bear?

Once again, I’m reminded of the mixed blessing of getting what you asked for. The other day, I spent some time looking back at some of my old posts, ones I wrote before publication of my novel. I was so upbeat then. My posts reflected optimism for my future as an author. I let the “baggage” that came with publication murder that.

Once again, I’m reminded of the mixed blessing of getting what you asked for. The other day, I spent some time looking back at some of my old posts, ones I wrote before publication of my novel. I was so upbeat then. My posts reflected optimism for my future as an author. I let the “baggage” that came with publication murder that.

I don’t like this gloomy person I’ve become. More than once lately, I’ve read a blog post written by a hopeful writer, and found myself sneering with cynicism. At least I had enough sense not to leave a comment revealing my negative opinion.

What changed me from a champion of writers to a cynic?  In short—business. I bemoaned the necessity of adding book publicist to my role as writer, but what I actually did was replace one for the other. Big mistake!

After reading those old posts, there’s no question in my mind that I much prefer the writer me. I’m happy writing. It’s a great adventure. Oh sure, about every other day, I wailed that my writing was garbage, but I never really believed that because I had hope. I could learn. I could fix my mistakes. I could become the writer I wanted to be.

Then, I had to promote my writing. I suck at that. Really, truly, I do. And because I fail so miserably at it, my brain mixed up my view of myself as a marketer/publicist with my view of myself as a writer. I transformed into one ginormous Grumpy Bear that fails at promotion and never writes.

So, here’s my plan going forward. I will allow myself only one hour a week for the business side of publication. The rest of my time will be spent having fun—which mostly means writing, but also catching up on a couple other things I’ve put off for too long. Maybe I’ll even have time to play online again.

Promotion is a necessary evil, but only if I have a book to sell. If I don’t recapture that optimism, that glorious dream, I’m afraid I’ll give up writing completely … and that would be giving up on me.

Care Bears are copyrighted by American Greetings Corporation, Inc.

Teaching an old dog …

Ever since I left my school days behind me, happenstance has ruled my days. As a fairly normal human and stay-at-home mother of four, I observed a schedule of certain daily activities, but I also became a queen of procrastination.

Then my household dwindled to my husband and myself. I ruled my days. As of 2008, on most days, I could spend 8 … 10 … 14 hours writing, if I wanted. And I did. Housework be damned. But as of April, I have a published book. It’s up to me to promote said book. Happenstance is no longer cutting it.

Now I’m feeling the pressure to set a schedule—and stick to it. Every fiber of my being protests. But I don’t think it’s possible to go with the flow any longer and still effectively market one book while writing another. I have to decide what is worth my time and what isn’t.

I can’t do all the things the gurus advise to promote my novel. I’ll have to pick what I think will work for me. If I’m wrong, I’ll try something else. The most important thing to me is to have time to write. I accept that the marathon sessions I had for Brevity are no longer possible. Yet, I cannot write well in 15-minute segments.

Something’s gotta give. I don’t feel like myself anymore. I don’t feel like a writer. I don’t like this life.

Your turn: Are you naturally or do you force yourself to be disciplined with your writing time?

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