Whether you’re a one-time author or a serial writer, most authors want to maximize the income they generate from their published works. And there’s plenty of really solid advice out there about how to do just that.
- Build an email list.
- Engage with your fans on social media.
- Rather than getting paid for speaking engagements, ask the organizers to buy books.
- Do Search Engine Optimization.
- Figure out how to optimize your Amazon presence.
- Ask happy readers to write you reviews on Amazon.
The list goes on and on. And honestly, those are all useful strategies.
Unfortunately, all of these are going to take extra work. They’re the kind of activities you maybe wouldn’t be doing otherwise – you’d rather be writing. Now, you probably still are going to want to do some of these – especially if you’re hoping to earn a good income from your writing.
But there is ONE activity you’re going to be doing anyways that you can do smarter. By smarter, I mean same effort, better outcomes.
And honestly, the word smarter pretty much gives away what I am about to propose.
Rather than using regular links, use smart links whenever you share your book – in social media, via email or even in print.
It doesn’t take any extra work on your part, but using smart links to promote your book will do extra work on your behalf.
So, what’s a smart link?
It’s a link that can automatically direct the user to different destinations depending on the user’s location, device or preferences.
Oftentimes, smart links are short links. But most short links aren’t actually smart links.
If you’re an author and are just looking for a short link to promote your book on social media, Booklinker is probably the simplest tool you can use. It’s built for authors so you can use relevant domains such as myBook.to, viewBook.at, getBook.at, viewAuthor.at, and Author.to, which from what we’re hearing, is getting much higher click through rates than cookie cutter tools, like bitly. That certainly makes sense as people are expecting a more relevant click with domain options like that. Oh, and did I mention that Booklinker is completely free? We run it for the benefit of authors and we’ll continue to do so for as long as we can afford to.
And while Booklinker is mostly a short linking service, it does have some smarts built in. Every BookLinker URL is “universal” and automatically takes readers to your book in their correct Amazon storefront. This means fewer barriers between your readers and purchasing your books.
Honestly, if this is your first book and you’re still just dabbling in the world of publishing and self promotion, Booklinker is probably all you need to get started. Use it, love it and tell your friends about it.
But, if you’re serious about earning a living as an author then you’re going to want to incorporate the following three strategies to help you maximize the amount of money you make with every link you share.
1.Give Your Readers A Choice Of Where To Buy
This is a biggie and honestly, we can’t believe how hard it traditionally has been to do this. Many people still like to buy their books at places like Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, WalMart or their favorite indie bookstore. If you’re selling your book internationally, well, people are even less likely to just buy at Amazon. In Australia for example, Amazon’s share is closer to 50%.
Have you ever shared a tweet with multiple links to your book, each in a different store? That has been the sad reality for many authors. Fortunately we heard you and decided to fix that problem.
If you’d like to provide your readers with an option to purchase a book in their favorite online store (as not everyone loves Amazon), Choice Pages are the way to go. Instead of sending your readers directly to a storefront to purchase your book, the Choice Page provides them with an intermediary page that allows them to select to purchase your book in the online retailer of their choosing.
Check out this example of one of our author clients’ using a choice page. Try clicking this link.
Giving your readers a choice of where to buy is a total game changer when it comes to driving more sales for your book. Don’t assume that everyone just buys from Amazon, or that people enjoy seeing four different links in a tweet. Sell more books by giving people more choices to buy – all in one link.
Also, as an added bonus, you get to learn what stores your fans prefer when given the option.
2. Nurture your true fans
This is especially pertinent when you’re planning to sell more than one book. Have you ever heard of retargeting? Better question yet, have you ever been retargeted? When you’re trying to buy that new pair of leather shoes online, don’t, and then all you see is ads for leather shoes for the rest of the month. That’s retargeting and it works. Unfortunately to-date big platforms such as Amazon benefit hugely from this practice and actually probably make quite a bit of money by remarketing to the people you drove to their websites. And then, worst of all, when you want to try and reach your readers – they try to sell you on their advertising platform. At some point that drove us bonkers to the point that we went ahead and did something about it.
So, with a smart link you can fire a retargeting pixel every time someone clicks on a link you share – even if it goes to a website you don’t control (that’s where retargeting pixels usually fire). Nerd alert here. Every time that pixel fires, you’re building a retargeting pool which you can sync with ad platforms such as Google and Facebook. Unfortunately you still have to pay for those ads, but usually that’s a pretty limited and effective investment – as you’re only targeting people who have shown real interest in your work before.
Those are the people most likely to buy again, so when it comes time to launch your next book – they’re the first ones you should try to reach.
By the way, if you haven’t already, I highly recommend you read this post.
1,000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly.
Find your 1,000 True Fans and then continue to communicate with and market to them.
3. Affiliate – Start With Amazon
Yeah, yeah, I know. You’re an author not an affiliate marketer. But hear me out. By affiliating your smart, short links – you’re adding a nice extra percentage of income to every click that resulted into a sale. Commissions range anywhere from 1-10% depending on what people end up buying on Amazon. Trust me, it took myself a long time to start affiliating book links I shared, but now it’s easy and effortless and something that happens automatically every time I share a smart link. And honestly, easy and effortlessly are the key here because I just couldn’t do this when I constantly had to log back into Amazon and try to create new affiliate links. Use a smart linking tool for this, and then be done with it. For my own personal projects, I used to use my Amazon Affiliate revenues to pay for the various software subscriptions I need to run my online ventures. Other friends of mine just ask to be paid in gift cards, so this one can really help offset (or eliminate entirely) you monthly Amazon tab.
Last, but not least, by affiliating your links you also get some extra sales information that can help you better optimize your promotional efforts moving forward. If this is of interest to you then check out this blog on how to really use Amazon’s affiliate program for tracking with your marketing.
Now there obviously are more strategies you can use to increase your book sales. And I encourage you to experiment with them to see what effort creates the most impact for your investment of time.
But, I also understand how busy you are, which is why I feel like these three strategies simply make what you’re already doing to promote your work more effective. So you can increase your book sales, without taking time away from writing.
We’d love to help you make this happen. To honor authors, we’re giving away a month-long free trial during #NaNoWriMo.
Sign up here and then ping us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll happily extend your free trial.