Evelyn Chartres Author
Tools

Not Available For Purchase – Understanding How Amazon Links to Markets

Not Available For Purchase – Understanding How Amazon Links to Markets was originally posted on Renée Gendron‘s Word Crafting site.

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:

Author advertising with a link to their book

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 market places, normally 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

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 really short link mimicking services like Bit.ly.

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.

Launch page generated by Authl.it

BookLinker

BookLinker 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 the process that is invisible to the user.

Universal Books Links

Universal Books Links is a service offered by Draft2Digital and offers a similar service 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 Books 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 a great 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. 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 Books 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!

Clara and a Positive Tweet

I got this post on Twitter today! I must admit, it’s great to see something so positive come across your feed. Thank you!

I just have to say that this is an absolutely brilliant piece of writing!! A vampirehunter story extraordinaire from the brilliant @EvelynChartres I loved every minute of reading and I can only recommend following and reading to everyone!!!

Curious about the book? Get the Van Helsing Paradox now!

Interesting Research

It’s astonishing what people will research! I was looking for a common Chinese restaurant names for my current work in progress and came across this article on the Washington Post.

Now I can cobble up together some popular words to make a fictional restaurant name feel authentic! Chang’s Lucky Wok anyone?

Inspiration in Panoramas

It always surprises me how much detail the human eye can capture.  I look at a scene, seeing an object in the distance with something in the foreground and pull out my camera.  Looking through the viewfinder, I play between the various zoom settings only to find that I cannot replicate what I see.

Typically the frame is too tight, or I cannot seem to get just the right perspective.  Fortunately, a couple of years back I discovered a handy program called AutoStich.  I take a series of burst shots of a location and have AutoStich make it into a whole image. It can take a while, especially when you are dealing with hundreds of shots but it can really generate beautiful images.

This time around, I had an opportunity to try it out near Saint Jonh’s, Newfoundland. Here are the shots and I hope they serve well for inspiration!

None of these images were modified, hence why there are missing sectors. Still I think they are lovely.

Spiral Development for the Literary World

I have a background in Computer Sciences and over the years worked on Open Source and corporate projects. Unsurprisingly, when I began writing the Portrait, I fell back on the tricks of the trade to refine my work.

Primarily I use the Spiral development model. As an author, I found this process allowed me to produce working drafts and revise content as necessary.  Over several iterations, the manuscript was refined. Additionally, I threw in measurements, metrics used to track trends and measure success.

Unfortunately, I never kept metrics for the the Portrait, so no meaningful data was collected. However, my work on the Grand permitted me to determine which suited my needs.

For now, Changes per Chapter and in turn Changes per Revision seemed like ideal metrics to use. I plan an in-depth discussion on the various metrics employed in a later post.

Changes per Revision for the Grand Project

Delta between revisions for the Grand Project

Armed with a development method and metrics, I was able to repeat the same steps over and over until the manuscripts were ready for release.

The process is composed of roughly four steps as follows:

Working Version

Take your draft or latest manuscript and prepare it for use as a working copy. The finished product may be used in the Beta or Revise and Implement phases later on. This format should permit you to view your work as though it were a tangible product.

You will want to avoid viewing your manuscript in content creation mode. So reviewing your manuscript on Microsoft Word or Scrivener may not be ideal.

I use Calibre to convert my manuscript into an eBook. Since, I primarily read eBooks today, changing into a reader mode with that format is simple.

The Great Pause

After my working copy is complete, I set the project aside and tackle something new.  It could be anything from reading a novel to painting the house.

The goal of this phase is to take your mind off the project. Doing something else helps you re-energize and leaves your mind open to new ideas. I prefer to take longer pauses during the initial revisions, since they take much longer to complete.

A good pause should also enable you to approach your work with fresh eyes. Hence your brain will not fill in the blanks and prevent you from being objective when reviewing the manuscript.

A good example of this was taken from an article on how the brain interprets words. Note how this paragraph can be read despite the atrocious selling.

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

I also found that my mind remembers what I meant to say and fills in the blanks or corrects as necessary. Adding a pause between reviewing cycles seems to prevent this.

Beta Reading

This step can be done concurrently with the pause. Since you have a working copy it can be distributed to solicit input and opinions.

This process can employ services like Wattpad which allows you display works in progress. Be aware that people will not likely check every revision you make, so it pays to engage beta readers when nearly ready to publishing.

Revise and Implement

During this step you revise chapters, tweak them or make corrections. This process is often referred to as redlining and was traditionally done using pen and paper. The term also evokes the images of earlier editions left dripping in red ink.

I use a Kindle Keyboard which permits me to insert comments. I use these comments to note a red line and transcribe them later. Early revisions tend to generate a lot of corrections, so you may wish to transcribe the changes every so often.

View of a review process on a Kindle Keyboard

Early revisions for the Grand contained a lot of edits. As revisions progressed I ended up with fewer and smaller corrections. Eventually I was looking for things missed in previous cycles, such as elusive typos.

This stage also permits you to adjust chapters, including their order. You may opt to add, rewrite or remove chapters. Just like you would add, fix or remove features in software project.

Repeat

Start the process all over again. Create a new version of the manuscript, take a break, revise and implement. With every revision look at your metrics to measure success.

Towards the end you will know when it’s ready. For me, that stage occured once I could complete a revision within a day with no more than ten  (10) corrections for the manuscript.

Revisions may also have different goals. The first few may aim to make it readable. While later revisions concentrate on trimming the fat or finding those elusive typos. Make sure to stay focused and track your progress, otherwise you will end up with an infinite loop.

Notes on Collaboration or Editors

This process can be easily adapted to collaborative writing or include editors. In such situations, the pause would likely be occupied by others completing their review process.

The process is malleable and can suit the needs of the author. Adapt as necessary so the process works for you, not against you. Just remember to establish ways of tracking your advancements.