With the invention of the internet, people from all over the globe can read your book. You could be from the USA, France, Hong Kong, or anywhere and your readers might be from Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, even India or anywhere else in the world. You don’t know if they found your book through a friend’s blog, maybe one of your posts went viral, or you share a diverse group on Facebook. I know I’ve seen many writers on FB and Twitter do the “list of Amazons” with a different URL for each country on a book promo post/comment. To make it easier to connect readers with your books, use a global URL.
A global URL is a web link that transfers a reader from anywhere in the world to their local store. They are also called rerouting links. Example: I’m an American author. Someone in Japan clicks on one of my books2read.com or mybook.to links and they don’t end up on Amazon.com but on Amazon.jp according to their IP/internet connection. I didn’t have to do anything past setting up the link the first time—it’s all automated.
There are two services that I highly recommend for creating your global URLs.
The first one is Booklinker.net. This rerouter focuses on Amazon only links. If your book is exclusive with Amazon, in Kindle Unlimited, or maybe you’re running an Amazon—only promo … whatever the reason, Booklinker is the one to focus on.
Booklinker also lets you create a global URL for your Amazon author page. Mine is author.to/KariHolloway and no matter where a reader is, they’ll be transported to the correct Amazon store for their location.
My only issue with Booklinker is that the free version of the program won’t let you change the URLs attached. Let’s say you updated your paperback listing to a new edition. The booklinker link you were using for paperbacks can’t be reattached to the new edition. You’ll have to create a new link or upgrade your Booklinker account.
Now, if your books are wide (Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, etc), Books2read.com is for you. This is part of Draft2Digital but you don’t have to use Draft2Digital to use Books2Read. These links reroute people to a landing page where they can pick a preferred store (major e-retailers) and until they change it, they’ll always be directed to their favorite store, regardless if that’s Kobo, Amazon, Nook, or a dozen other sites.
No matter which of the two you use, they have a few things in common.
What is in a name?
Getting tired of looking up multiple sites, typing out a long title, or remembering the funny digit/letter combo of something like from bitly? I know I do with titles like Cracked But Never Broken and Mark of Cain. With both Booklinker and Books2Read, you can rename the URL to something easier to remember. For some of my books, I rename them like this LPCracked, DPCain, StringsAttached. This means when I’m scrolling through FB and I see “drop your links below,” I don’t have to take time to go look it up. I can type books2read.com/LPCracked or mybook.to/KHStringsAttached and know that link will work for anyone who clicks it.
A Penny for your trouble?
The second thing both programs have in common is connecting to your Amazon Affiliate ( https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/home ) account. Now some programs like Kobo have similar ones, but a majority of readers use Amazon, so I will focus mainly on Amazon’s affiliate program.
Affiliate accounts are programs that act like referral programs. You send someone to Amazon, they click and purchase something (doesn’t have to be your book), and you’ll get a few pennies thrown at you.
To understand why Amazon and other companies have these programs, you’d have to understand basic consumer nature. To make it simple for this article, no matter how you get them there, the reader gets on Amazon and starts browsing, and most people who go to Amazon end up buying something. Amazon is thanking you for sending people to them by rewarding you through the affiliate program. It’s the same reason stores offer coupons, bonus bucks, and window front displays. It works.
Now, Amazon doesn’t make it simple regarding the program. They don’t have just 1 program; they have 1 for each main Amazon site. To sign up for each of these, you’ll have to go to every affiliate program’s page and sign up for them. That means applying for all the different programs.
I don’t recommend this if you’re just starting out. I write mainly in English, and those are the ones I would focus on (USA, UK, Canada, Australia). Depending on what you write in, you might focus on other ones.
There are rules for obtaining an account. Amazon can walk you through it better than I can describe it, but here’s the basics you’ll need to know as a writer:
- without a rerouting link similar to Books2Read or Booklinker, you can’t post affiliate links in newsletters.
- those links you can’t use in a newsletter, you’re more than welcome to use them on social media (maybe you’re sharing an awesome fondue pot you bought someone for Christmas).
- you must make at least 1 sale per affiliate program every 90 days.
That last one is one reason I recommend not rushing out and signing up for every single program. You will not get the clicks, even through a rerouting link, to sustain the 90 day rule for every account. (1 for Germany, 1 for Japan, 1 for Mexico, 1 for France, etc.)
If you don’t make a sale in 90 days, Amazon gives you a temporary boot. After some time, you can reapply for the ones you’ve been removed from.
It seems complicated now, but once you set it up, the system takes care of itself. By combining your affiliate code with a global URL, you’re making it easier to market, easier on your readers, and you’re making a few pennies on the side that could add up to a nice bonus as your reach grows.