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Best Practices for Showcasing Your Books

There’s nothing quite as exciting for a new author as holding your first book in your hand. It’s a moment like no other. 
 

And then the reality sets in. 
 

How do I let people know about my book?
 

That’s a question I often hear when working with first-time authors. Book marketing can be a full-time job. It’s a bigger question for just one blog post. But I can start with one basic tip about how to tell potential readers to find your books.

 

Don’t do this:


Customer reviews are important on Amazon, and you should encourage buyers to leave reviews as long as they don’t violate Amazon Community Guidelines. Amazon frowns on reviews from your immediate family or circle of friends. They may refuse the review if they believe the reviewer has strong ties to the author. At the worst, the author may have their Amazon account shut down. It’s not worth the risk. 


One of the ways that Amazon connects readers to the author is through the url that they use to find the book. So, when announcing your new book, don’t simply search for your book on Amazon and copy the url to send to family and friends. Let’s look at an Amazon link to see why. Here’s a link to my Hidden Coven book:


https://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Coven-Complete-Kim-McDougall-ebook/dp/B07PJXFW1M/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=hidden+coven&qid=1556311503&s=gateway&sr=8-2
 

Everything in this link from “ref” on is code for Amazon that tells them who’s account the search originated from, namely mine. So if I posted this link on Facebook and someone clicked the url, then bought the book, Amazon would know that buyer came directly from me. Links aren’t the only way Amazon (or Big Brother) tracks connections between authors and readers, but it’s a start. So, when posting a link directly to your book, trim it from the “ref,” like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Hidden-Coven-Complete-Kim-McDougall-ebook/dp/B07PJXFW1M.

Better ways to let readers find your books:

Website
A website becomes home for your books. It’s the hub where you can direct traffic to all the retailers and give readers extra information about you and your books. I suggest getting a custom domain name for yourself. Your pen name dot com, is the best choice if it’s available. If not, your name plus “books” or “author” works too. Don’t get a domain for your book title. This would mean that you will need multiple websites if you write more books. And you will soon learn that tending one site is more than enough work. 


Your website doesn’t have to be extravagant, but it should include an about the author page, a book info page and a contact page. On the book page, you can have links to your book’s sales pages a every retailer. Remember to use trimmed url’s when linking your books to Amazon. Or better yet, if you have an Affiliate account at Amazon, this is a good way to earn a bit of extra cash. 

Universal Links
Anyone who has built a website book page with links to all the retailers has wondered, wouldn’t it be great to have one link to all the bookstores? Well, now you can thanks to Books2read.com. This free tool let’s you create one url for your book that brings buyers to a page with links to all bookstores that list your book. It’s very easy to set up and you can even make custom urls for your book titles. 

Author Pages
Another good option is to claim your author page at Amazon Author Central. Amazon has many tools to help authors connect with readers. On your Author Central page, you can post a bio, author interview, videos, upcoming events and even link to your blog. If you have several books, it’s a convenient way to showcase them all in one place. 
 

The disadvantage is that you are limiting your buyers to only one marketplace. But other book sites, such as Goodreads (owned by Amazon), Bookbub and Authors Den, allow you to create author pages too, and will link your books to more retailers.

So, what’s the best option—website, universal link or author page? Why, all three, of course. Create a website and drive traffic to your books through the universal links. Announce your author pages too, so readers will know where they can connect with you. Make it easy for potential readers to find you, where ever they might be searching on the internet.


Kim McDougall is the author of the Hidden Coven series and Revise to Write: Edit Your Novel, Get Published and Become a Better Writer. She is also a publishing coach and book designer at Castelane, For the Prose. Follow the Castelane blog with tips for indie authors at: www.castelane.com. 

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