Understanding How Amazon Links to Markets
Understanding How Amazon Links to Markets
The most important step in getting your books into the reader’s hands is directing them to a storefront. Since Amazon has the largest market share globally, many opt to target them exclusively and gain access to features such as Kindle Unlimited.
Authors will typically provide a link to their book from Amazon.com or their regional counterparts. These links can be used on Twitter, Facebook, other social media, and the author’s blog. For example:
Does that link work for everyone? How about those that shop in a different market? Good question, but first we need to explain what an Amazon market is.
Amazon is separated into regional marketplaces usually but country. This is why you will find sites like Amazon.com (United States), Amazon.ca (Canada), Amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom) and so forth. For various reasons, not all goods can be purchased in a market that is not your own, and this extends to Kindle Books. So how does this apply when people are sent to the wrong market? The answer is nuanced.
On a computer, Amazon will inform users that they are not in their market and will redirect them. That is not the case for mobile users, the example below shows a case where the user is not in their default market (Amazon.com).
Page viewed on Amazon.com, not the user’s default market
Since the user is in the wrong market, they are told that This title is not currently available for purchase. Some potential readers will know what is going on and change the link. Then they would then see the following page:
Page viewed on Amazon.ca, the user’s default market
What if the user is not aware this problem exists and/or how to correct? What happens then? Simple answer, the user moves on or contacts a confused author. Potentially leading to one less sale, and the opportunity to get a positive review or build a fan base.
So how do we fix this? Here are three easy methods.
Authl.it http://authl.it/ is a service that provides a jump page for the user. When someone clicks on the generated link, they will see the novel, synopsis and shows users various markets. This service requires no account and comes with a concise link mimicking services like Bit.ly http://bitly.com/.
Note that the page shows which market is most likely correct, reducing the chances for someone choosing the wrong market. Also, note that not all markets are available through this service.
BookLinker http://www.booklinker.net/ is a site that offers the ability to create market agnostic links. The links are free for the basic service, easy to create, and provides a simple link that you can pass on. These links can also be customized, so they are easier to remember. When users click on the link, they are redirected to their market, a process that is invisible to the user.
Universal Books Links
Universal Books Links http://www.books2read.com/links/ubl/create/ is a service offered by Draft2Digital http://www.draft2digital.com/ and provides a similar function to BookLinker. The difference is how this service also links marketplaces other than Amazon, such as Apple, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble. The service is free, and Universal Book Links are created automatically when you push books through Draft2Digital.
You can also add links that Draft2Digital will not target, such as Smashwords. Overall this is an excellent solution for those who go wide. Users who click on the links will get the option of choosing their market and going straight to the book. Links on this service can also be customized, just like BookLinker.
Launch page created by Universal Book Links
Note: All of these services can be paired with a web link shortening service such as Bit.ly http://bitly.com/. This can be invaluable on sites like Twitter with a limited character count and provides the ability to track links for statistical analysis.
In short, Amazon has multiple markets to sell Kindle books. A link for one country may not redirect users and result in a lost sale.
Using services like Authl.it, BookLinker, and Universal Book Links helps you provide one link which negates this problem. Users end up where they need to be, and you can grow your fanbase from there!
Evelyn Chartres is the nom de plume for a self-published Canadian author. The writer of three Gothic fantasy novels, Evelyn introduced the Portrait in 2016, the Grand in 2017 and the Van Helsing Paradox in 2018.
A fan of the phrase live to eat, Evelyn shares her recipes on evelynchartres.com. Her recipes have a loose focus on French-Canadian cuisine, featuring deep-dish meat pies, seafood, and desserts rarely seen outside of La Belle Province.
Evelyn is currently living in Ottawa, Ontario and is busy laying the foundations for her next project.
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Your story begins with beautiful, lyrical prose. You engage the reader's interest with your scenic descriptions, the protagonist's wounded backstory, and a hook that makes the reader hungry for more. Then it's time for someone to speak, and you feel like your characters can't string two words together.
Some authors struggle with dialogue, and if that's something you can relate to, I'll be offering a few tips to help you put just the right words in your character's mouths.
First, consider your genre, decade and setting. If your novel is set in a Dystopian future on an imaginary planet, make sure your characters' vernacular reflects that. I am also not a fan of filtering words or censoring my characters. Readers want to relate to the heroes in the story, and if someone stubs their toe on a coffee table really hard, you bet they are going to share an expletive or two.
You also have to remember to add the bits and pieces of real life that would naturally interrupt a conversation. No one speaks in full paragraphs without interruption. The phone will ring, thunder might boom, or that pot of boiling water on the stove will need tending.
Give your characters a voice that will be hard for the reader to forget. Make them as real as possible. Admissions of love, for example, should sound realistic and not contrived or forced, or worse, cliched.
I like to write my characters as if I were directing them in a movie. Remember to add expressions, hand movements, or even music. During a heated argument, a person doesn't stand stoically. They pace, they stuff their hands in their pockets and do everything human. Add emotion to your dialogue accordingly. A death-bed scene will include crying. A celebration will consist of shouts of joy or contagious laughter.
Dialogue is every bit important as the rest of the book. Passion is key; realism too. Your readers will want to relate to your characters (or wish that sexy protagonist was speaking directly to them.) As the reader, if you feel like you're eavesdropping on something juicy and wonderful, then the author did a great job.
When all is said and done, read it out loud to yourself to hear the conversation just how the reader might interpret it in their mind.
Last, but never least, be bold. If you're unafraid of what your characters will say next, your readers will no longer think of them as imaginary people, but simply someone they would love to befriend. That's a great compliment to any writer.
Barbara Avon is a multi-genre author. She is also the author of three children’s books. Her books have been received favourably across the board, entertaining readers with an almost “movie-like” quality. Barbara has written since she was young, pursuing her dreams and vowing to write for as long as she can. She has worked at several different media publications and will continue to publish novels until “her pen runs dry.” She believes in paying it forward, and you can read about this belief as the theme is given voice in most of her books. Avon lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, Danny, their tarantula, Betsy, and their houseplant, “Romeo.”
You can find her engaging in the Writing Community conversation on Twitter: @barb_avon
Why do people clink their glasses when they raise a toast? Historically it was to ensure a drop from your mug of ale or wine landed in mine and vice versa, and if you poisoned my cup, then your cup would also be tainted. Says a lot about how people took breaches of trust seriously.
You’re walking down the street in medieval England, and you notice men missing their index and middle fingers. What does that tell you? Have they been caught pick-pocketing? Some sort of accident at the smiths? At the time, it meant they were archers, and they were captured by an enemy who cut off those fingers so they couldn’t draw a bow.
Now, take those two missing fingers and place them in another society and the meaning changes completely. In another culture, say one where healers use their index and middle fingers to check the energy or meridians of a patient, having their fingers cut off might mean they were banned from practicing because they angered the queen or that an occupying force is stamping out the knowledge of the practice by targeting the healers.
Context. Everything your characters do happens in a context. Your book might be contemporary, an alternate history, or occur in a second-world. Wherever they are, they have rules and norms that are known to the character. Sometimes, they follow the norms, sometimes they break them. But the norms exist and define what is acceptable and not acceptable in the world. And how your character interacts with them shapes the problems they face, their internal conflicts, and how they interact with others.
Take for example a man in medieval Britain with his fingers cut off. Members of his community might view him as brave and worthy of help getting back on his feet. But, in the context of a second-world, where pick-pockets have their fingers cut off, another community will not be as inclined to welcome and support the person because of the connotation of the missing digits.
Having a ritual or a behaviour without attaching meaning to it drags on the story. Why did that character go to that shrine and pray and not another shrine? Why do those characters clasp at the elbows in greeting? What’s the seating arrangement at the dinner table and what does it suggest that mother sits at the head and father sits to her left?
To bring out the world you’re shaping, pick 2-3 norms that your character bumps up against. Maybe one cultural expectation works in their favour and empowers them, and the other two disadvantages them or causes problems for them in one way or another that they have to overcome.
Building meaning into your norms enriches the world, characterisation, and adds layers to the conflicts your characters face.
Word Crafting is a blog to help writers strive for excellence. If you would like to be a guest blogger, pitch me an idea.