Note from Nick: This is a guest post from Kathy Golden.
Eliminate the need for readers to search all over cyberspace to find your books. The rapidity with which information is shared on and garnered from the internet has divested practically every searcher of patience. Searchers want information available at the click of a link or the tap of a finger.
So wherever you can post your links without spamming or breaking the rules, be sure to do so.
Readers are more into indie authors now than in the past. Thanks to paid advertisements that get indies’ books in front of the right subscribers, thanks to review groups and book clubs that focus on indies, and thanks to indies who books are killing it, interested readers want quick access to previewing what indies are offering.
Providing a convenient link is not the same thing as shouting, “Buy my book.” When readers visit your blog, they have come to your party and they’re the ones shouting, “I’m here, Mr. or Mrs. Author. I won’t be here long. So, where are those links?”
Such impatient guests shouldn’t have to hunt for the link to where they can purchase your book.
It doesn’t matter if they don’t go to the retail site and buy it; the fact that they want to visit your book’s page is enough. Why? Because their visit constitutes another round of exposure for you. Whether they buy your book, add it to a Wish List, toss into a TBR, or take no further action is not something you can control. But you can ensure they receive the instant gratification of easy access.
Promotion of the same book involves continuous rounds of action to make it visible enough for readers of the book’s genre to finally see it as a glaring, independent entity they want to read. Yet, if they have to jump through hoops just to get to its retail page, odds are they won’t be inquiring about your books in the future.
It probably won’t be an intentional oversight. There are so many books out there, and books by authors that require unnecessary effort to learn more about are just as easily abandoned as pursued. So make sure those links are highly visible and working (that’s right; test them and make sure they work).
What is highly visible?
1. Any site where you have an Author’s Profile should have links readily available.
Are you on LinkedIn? Are clickable links to your books highly visible on your profile page? Most discussion groups for authors don’t allow self-promoting links to be posted. This fact doesn’t stop people from wanting to know more about your book because every author is also a reader and a buyer. Profiles without links are missed opportunities. Make sure you have a link to your book even if you don’t know how to make it clickable. At the very least, the person can copy and paste the link.
2. Beneath any YouTube videos promoting your books should be a clickable link in the “About” section.
This link should be the first thing that viewers encountered when they glance—and they seldom do more than that—at that section. To be clickable from the YouTube web site, this link must have http:// in front of the web address: http://www.kathysnotes.com is clickable; www.kathysnotes.com is not.
3. As obvious as it may sound, on the book’s page on your website, there should be a highly visible and clickable link.
Place the link at the top of the page or at least to the right side of the page. I suggest a text link across the top of the page. For example: “Children Who Never Grow Old is available for purchase.” The book’s title would be hyper-linked to where the book is sold.
If you are using multiple retailers, you can include two sentences with the retailers’ names in each hyperlinked. I placed this notice at the top of my website dedicated to An Invisible Hand:
Purchase An Invisible Hand at Smashwords today for the introductory price of 99 cents. Also available on Amazon. Thanks for your support.
Readers seeking general information about the book might not notice this ad at first, but when they realize they’re ready to visit the retailers’ pages, they know exactly where the link is that will take them there. Also place this same ad at the bottom of the article. It’s called “readers’ convenience,” folks, not over-promoting. Why make them scroll back to the top of the page? You can make the font-size a little smaller than the other text if you feel better with that. I used the blue font for this info-ad because my cover is blue, but most of the discussion on that page is in black.
To the right of the page, you can place a widget listing all the places where your book is available. If it’s only available on Amazon, then get the Amazon widget for your book and use it. If you don’t like the widgets, hyperlink your book’s cover. Most people expect this link to lead to the book’s retail site. But a clickable image shouldn’t be the only link provided.
It‘s frustrating to readers, searching for a way to buy your book, to have to skim through all your Twitter- and Google plus- and Facebook-feeds or scour through everything on your sidebars just to find a clickable link to your book. Few will do it.
3. On Goodreads, when promoting your book or sharing your book in any of the discussions created for authors to do just that, be sure to provide purchase links.
The Goodreads text-editor (comment-section) allows you to easily copy the link to your book from any retailer’s site and paste it into your discussion. After you’ve written your comments and added your links, when you click—and be sure you click—the preview link, you’ll be able to see the links to your book. Make sure they are working. Also provide a link to your book’s page on Goodreads. The text editor allows you to insert a text-link or image-link to any book that has been added to Goodreads. Just click on the “add book/author” link located on top of the comment’s box, on the right-hand side.
If you have other suggestions for ways in which authors can make their links visible without spamming, feel free to share them.
Kathy Golden writes in multiple genres: family dramas, romance, and Christian fiction. She also writes non-fiction articles and reviews. In addition, she creates persuasive and engaging book trailers at affordable prices. Her new services include paid book reviews and enhancement of images to get rid of those hideous black borders. For more articles and information, visit her website at www.kathysnotes.com. Don’t forget to subscribe for updates. Email her at kathy (at) theomissionshortstory.com.