SmartURL vs BookLinker for Amazon Books?

SmartURL vs BookLinkerAs of today, there are 12 Amazon countries selling your books (soon to be more). But are you missing potential sales in some of these nations? Below is a tutorial video for making links that direct customers to the right one. Think of it as a global Amazon link.

Example: Jane Reader visits your site, sees your book, wants to buy it, clicks on the link and visits Amazon.com. That’s great if Jane lives in the USA or an Amazon.com affiliated nation. But what if Jane Reader lives in a foreign country like Germany, India, Brazil, the UK or a host of other nations where people cannot buy directly from Amazon.com?

(Save 92% Sell Ebooks on Amazon and Major Retailers)

Some Jane and John Readers know to visit their local Amazon, but they are savvy shoppers while others are not. How many others will simply leave your book page, wrongly assuming it is not available to them?

Hence the need for a global Amazon link, one that takes Jane and John directly to their proper Amazon countries to buy your book. This will convert more browsers into paying customers, get more international sales and even get more reviews.

There are several outfits for help with this (and for free). BookLinker (formerly ViewBook) and SmartURL are among the most popular, though Georiot is a good choice too. The video below demonstrates step by step how to use them and lists pros and cons of each service.

There are different suffixes for each Amazon nation. For example, here are links for the same book in the US and in Germany:

http://www.amazon.com/How-Make-Market-Sell-Ebooks-ebook/dp/B00LXH4KIW/
http://www.amazon.de/How-Make-Market-Sell-Ebooks-ebook/dp/B00LXH4KIW/

Just apply the proper suffix after Amazon, followed by the book name, dp, and ASIN. Delete all the ref stuff that often follows.

United States: US – .com
United Kingdom: GB – .co.uk
France: FR – .fr
Japan: JP – .co.jp
Canada: CA – .ca
Germany: DE – .de
Spain: ES – .es
Italy: IT – .it
India: IN – .in
Mexico: MX – .com.mx
Brazil: BR – .com.br
Australia: AU  – .com.au

The good news is all of these link-builders allow you to use your Amazon Associates Affiliate tags for an extra approx. 5% commission on sales. If you don’t use one, they’ll use theirs which is how they make money. Note that you must apply to each Associate country individually:

US: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/
UK: https://affiliate-program.amazon.co.uk/
DE: https://partnernet.amazon.de/
FR: https://partenaires.amazon.fr/
IT: https://programma-affiliazione.amazon.it/
SP: https://afiliados.amazon.es/
CA: https://associates.amazon.ca/
JP: https://affiliate.amazon.co.jp/

Part 2 of this post (see below) explains how to implement these links at your website and within your books. First, watch this step by step video for how to make the links.

Pros and cons:

BookLinker is designed specifically for Amazon, is fast and has a slightly better custom URL upon creation. But it only works with product (book) pages and author pages, while it does not work with review pages. Currently BookLinker only shows 9 flags; newcomers India, Mexico and Australia’s flags aren’t visible. Not to worry, an email to the admin confirmed those countries will work. “We are currently in the process of updating the ‘My Links’ page of our website to display statistics from some of the newer Amazon’s – and you can expect this feature to be available within the next few weeks.”

SmartURL works with all Amazon pages including reviews, which is wise to do in my opinion. But it takes a bit longer to use and you have to reinsert affiliate tags for every single product instead of just once.

Ultimately, both of these are great. BookLinker is nice because it is designed to be used only with Amazon, but since SmartURL also works with reviews pages, if I had to choose only one–that factor would cause me to go with it. For now, I’m using both with a memo to BookLinker Admin to add Amazon review pages to their platform.

Part 2 of this post teaches how to implement these links at your website, in your document and upload to Amazon.

Do you have a preference or additional thoughts about all this? Please share in the comments.


HomeVideosHow-To GuidesNovelsAbout


Subscribe to this blog for updates on indie authors and self-publishing.

add me to Google Plus circles

Google Glasses–Ebook Killer? Nah, er maybe

Google GlassesGoogle Glasses–Project Glass–Internet Head–Google Goggles–maybe you’ve seen them. The space-age specks enabling you to go anywhere with the internet at your fingertips and eyeballs (assuming you want that) tend to elicit strong responses, polarizing many into camps of thought like heck yeah can’t wait to get mine to those who claim it a sure sign of the end of the world. My opinion is closer to the heck yeah camp. What are your thoughts?

Since the scope of this blog is typically for Indie authors and all things e-publishing, one of my questions was if people would eventually read this way. Seems logical enough. Think you could read an ebook with Google Glasses? Certainly someone will. If so, might theses goggles make Kindles and other devices obsolete just a short time after the majority of readers finally accept them? Probably not. By then, readers might complain that they simply prefer the old-fashioned feeling of hard plastic and e-ink in their hands.

There’s a Google Plus follow page for Project Glass, and yes, they are verified, go figure. Project Glass, really? Why can’t Google brainiacs come up with a decent name right off the bat? Remember their ebook store that came out–Google Editions, which was a dumb name too so they changed it to something really clever–Google Ebooks. Seriously, they need to get a writer on payroll. Google Goggles perhaps? Have a feeling they’re fighting that one tooth and nail.

Seems like just yesterday I was playing Classic Electronic Football that had tiny red lines representing players. Got to admit, it’s hard to imagine what another 35 years of technology could bring. One thing’s for sure in the here and now; several other R & D departments are probably scrambling to put something together comparable to Project Glass and fast. Apple? How about it?

Add a comment.


HomeAuthor Help VideosHow-To GuidesNovelsAbout


Subscribe to this blog for updates on indie authors and self-publishing.

add me to Google Plus circles

?rel=me ?rel=author ?rel=really, Google?

rel=author rel=me authorship markup?rel=me and ?rel=author has left some of us asking, rel=wtf? This should be easier as my solution in the final paragraph reveals.

For authors who write blogs, articles or just have plain old websites, understanding these tags and their association to a Google Plus profile can be confusing to say the least. In my attempt toward comprehension, it seemed every lesson had slightly different variations on the same theme, sort of like the Gospel’s account of Christ’s life but on a smaller scale. Even watching top brass, Matt Cutts and Othar Hansson, explain in a 10-minute low budget whiteboard video presentation–there seems to be something… uh, lacking. Hey Othar, I need a telescope and a degree in handwriting to read your scribbles. (And I thought my videos were lame.)

For sites and blogs with single authors, it’s extremely important to jump through the rel=author hoop for verifying webpages to your Google Plus profile page. The tag, rel=author, defines authorship. Okay, so what’s in it for me, you might ask? Answer: your photo may get listed next to the search results of your page, may being the operative word. Aha, that’s what this is all about: getting your smiling mug on page one so surfers will click your link!

This tag can feel elusive especially since Google seems to continually tweak their instructions on how to make it, but it simply means that anyone who is a contributor to a website or blog and also has a Google Plus profile can follow a few steps to make Google aware of the connection. Since they’re the king of global internet search, as soon as I learned of this feature I raced to all of my sites and added the ?rel=author code (though not correctly the first time).

How do rel=me and rel=author tags get inserted? There are actually a few ways to accomplish the connection and then one main way to check that it’s working. The first thing you’ll need to do is create a Google Plus account with a recognizable face shot as your main profile image. Sorry, no dogs, family reunions or animations for the main profile photo.

contributor to Google Plus profileOn your Google Plus profile page (click your name from the home page), you can Edit to insert information about yourself, upload photos/video, as well as add URL links for websites and other social media profiles. When Editing, notice the section that says Contributor To where you can add the URL for all of your websites and blogs. It’s most common to use the “About me” page of your sites, or you could use the Home page. For newbies, I recommend copying and pasting the URL from another browser tab to confirm the URL is spelled correctly. Once that is done, you need to go to the corresponding “About me” or Home page of your websites/blogs and input your Google Plus profile URL followed by the tag, ?rel=author. For example, my G+ profile URL is https://plus.google.com/117850331447734054313/ so when I add the rel=author tag, my G+ profile link could be any of the following and even a few more variations:

https://plus.google.com/117850331447734054313?rel=author

https://plus.google.com/117850331447734054313?rel=author+JasonMatthews

Notice if you click on either of the latter links they direct you to the same G+ page, https://plus.google.com/117850331447734054313/.

These tags can go anywhere on the site that is crawled, even invisibly to visitors like in the <head> section:

<link rel=”author”

href=”https://plus.google.com/117850331447734054313/about

title=”+JasonMatthews”/>

Of course, in all of the above examples you’ll need to substitute your profile number and profile name where I have inserted mine.

This rel=author tag can be added to the <head> section, or a sidebar widget (like a G+ badge) or to signature text, or to the footer, pretty much anywhere. My form of overkill was to add some everywhere just to be on the safe side. All that really matters is the “Contributor To” links point from your Google Plus Profile page to your websites, and the rel=author tags from your sites point back to your Google Profile page. That’s how Google sees the connection and verifies that you are both the webmaster and person behind the Google Plus profile.

Next you can check your work to see if the link is being recognized by Google by visiting the Rich Snippets Testing Toolhttp://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets. Enter the URL address and click the Preview button. If you see your profile photo and a green line that says, “Verified: Authorship markup is verified for this page,” then you’ve got it and it should appear as this image below. If not, you can redo the previous steps or try some other methods.

Now, what about this rel=me business? Fortunately, all 10 of my sites were verified (I’ll explain below) without even adding rel=me, so this tag still feels elusive and delivers some of the more varied explanations by the experts. (However, rel=me has been around for quite some time as an element of XFN, which is a solution for identity consolidation.) From the consensus, rel=me seems most important for people who contribute to websites but are not the sole contributors to the sites, or for active bloggers who post with the rel=me tag that points to their “About me” page which points to Google Profile page. Confused? Perfect, you must be paying attention.

The ?rel=me tag can be used from any article and ultimately points back to the Google Plus Profile even if indirectly. If you post an article on another site and have an “author bio” on that site, your post can contain a rel=author tag that links to your “author bio” page that links with rel=me back to your Google Plus Profile (as in <a rel=”me” href=”https://plus.google.com/117850331447734054313/”&gt;). Hence Google sees the connection has been made. Good for bloggers who write multiple posts pointing to their own “About me” page or writers who moonlight and have an “author bio” page at someone else’s site. Still confused? It’s okay; I was too. Support for this from Google can be found here – http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1229920.

Google has recently added an email version to verify for those of us who still don’t quite get it:

Sign in to your Google profile.

Click Edit profile.

On the right-hand side, click the Contributor to box, and add all the sites you write for.

Next, click the Work box.

Click the New contact info box (the last in the list, and type the email address you use for the sites you write for.

In the list to the left of the email address you just added, click Email.

Click Save, and then click Done editing.

Repeat for every email address you want to add.

On your profile, click Verify next to the email address you just added.

Once you’ve finished and also Verified Authorship Markup with the Rich Snippets Testing Tool, fill out this form to complete the procedure – https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHdCLVRwcTlvOWFKQXhNbEgtbE10QVE6MQ&ndplr=1.

In my opinion, this could be a whole lot easier because Google has long perfected the method of verifying that we are webmasters of our sites by simply giving us a unique ID to insert in the site with either meta data or html code and then click the verify button at Webmaster Central. Boom, done, it proves we’re the webmaster. Couldn’t this be how they do our “Contributor To” option? Google could simply generate a long and unique ID number for our Google Plus “Contributor To” page. Then we could simply add that unique ID (or hyperlink to it for invisibility sake) to any article, blog post or website that we contribute to and tah-dah. If our “Contributor To” ID is unique, and since we’re the only ones who can Edit that section for adding the sites that we contribute to… then anywhere we put that ID and also add the site to our “Contributor List” would solve this problem. My solution is similar to what they’re doing, just with a few less steps involved, namely eliminating the need for both rel=author and rel=me. Hopefully this solution would also eliminate a lot of rel=wtf?

What are your thoughts?


HomeAuthor Training VideosHow-To GuidesNovelsAbout


 

Subscribe to this blog for updates on indie authors and self-publishing.

add me to Google Plus circles

oDesk, Online Indie Author Assistance and more

odeskFor Indie authors who could use help with cover design, interior formatting, marketing or a variety of related aspects to the e-publishing business, oDesk is one place to look. While this blog generally focuses on doing everything possible for free to sell ebooks and paperbacks, there is an epilogue called Cheating With Money for certain authors and times where it makes sense to hire out. Although the Cheating With Money chapter could easily morph into an entire book all its own, oDesk will be added to the next updated version (January 2012) of How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free.

What is oDesk? It’s a free to join, online community of business owners and subcontractors who can connect and work together. Jobs can be large or small, full-time or just an hour. Professionals in web development, software, multi-media, mobile web, sales & marketing, translation, administrative support, general office and much more can be listed for both job opportunities and employment wanted. oDesk takes a 10% cut on every job, so factor that into the equation if you’re looking for work.

Business owners seeking help can post jobs and receive contacts from perspective workers with resumes, examples, references, etc. There are tons of people out there so don’t be surprised to receive dozens of replies in little time. Many of the candidates who do the work are not from the US, which often keeps the prices extremely competitive (low). Pay can be hourly or fixed price. There are feedback ratings similar to eBay for both parties and even a screenshot of the people working every 10 minutes on your project to keep things on the up and up.

Here are some keywords many writers might use to find help at the site: editor, illustrator, designer, photoshop, graphic artist, e-book, copywriter, marketer, book cover design, logos, e-commerce, internet marketing, SEO and more. I personally haven’t used oDesk, but my wife got some complex photo graphics assistance for an ebook cover for $20, which she was very happy with. (Notice she didn’t even ask me first, but that’s another story.) Tips from customers include things like this:

  • hire people with more experience and reviews when possible, though some newbies can be great
  • have the details very specific before making an agreement
  • good English speaking skills are a plus (assuming you speak English)
  • if time-frames are limited, working with someone in a similar time-zone helps
  • using Skype can help bunches
  • don’t work with people with multiple accounts, who might give you a runaround
  • stick with good workers and move on from bad ones (this is kinda obvious)

For people who are looking for work, simply sign up through the Find Work page and fill out the forms. Answers to several dozen questions can be found at their FAQ’s page.

This oDesk looks like a pretty smart place for certain jobs. The main ones Indie authors often inquire about are cover design and formatting. My guess is oDesk will have plenty of specialists in those fields. Smashwords also has a list of cover designers and formatting help that can be had by emailing list@smashwords.com.

If any readers have experience using oDesk, we’d love to hear about it in the comments section.

Click here for the home page of How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free.
Subscribe to this blog for updates on what Indie authors can do to sell ebooks.

Bookmark and Share


add me to your Google Plus circles.

+Jason Matthews

My 7 Links Tripbase Challenged Ebooksuccess4free

Tripbase blogIt’s an honor to be challenged for the Tripbase 7 links, a blogging community that seeks to unite bloggers in a joint endeavor of shared lessons by identifying 7 great posts from a myriad of blogs all over the world. A now this blog, How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free has been officially challenged. Feels like a throwdown with Bobby Flay. Bring it on.

Rule, rules, rules. Ah yes, here they are in a nutshell:

1)     Blogger is nominated to take part. Thanks to this blog in France, mine got nominated.

2)     Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog – 1 link for each category. This shouldn’t take you long to do – don’t over-think it!

Over-thinking is something that will likely happen. Okay, checking back on the nostalgia of 14 pages representing 133 posts, here are my answers:

– Your most beautiful post. Aren’t they all beautiful? Admittedly, beauty isn’t the main aspiration of this blog; education is. However, this post on Translation Widgets for blogs with international readers and all the pretty flags must qualify as quite beautiful http://wp.me/pP9sI-7n. It was well-received, probably for aesthetics.

– Your most popular post. This little post on 2epub.com, really more of a blurb for a conversion tool to format documents like Word doc to epub and mobi generated more traffic than I ever would have thought, especially for a post of less than 100 words http://wp.me/pP9sI-2m. Just shows you never know what to expect after making a post.

– Your most controversial post.  Mine are not typically controversial at all, but this post on making covers for free was a subject many authors have strong opinions over http://wp.me/pP9sI-kB. My opinion is that it’s great to be able to make book covers for free. Many authors feel only a professional should make a cover. Controversy in the air? Eh, maybe a little.

– Your most helpful post. Wow, this is hard because they’re all so wonderfully helpful. Just kidding. It may have been this post on how to price an ebook since so many authors ask about that http://wp.me/pP9sI-ho. My philosophy is to target the major price points and when in doubt, keep it cheap.

– A post whose success surprised you. This post on adding a TOC, Table of Contents to Kindle books was far more successful than I would have thought http://wp.me/pP9sI-dW. Just because it was new info to me and felt like being shared, it still surprised me to see how many others found it useful.

– A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved. This post of the new age being the free lunch actually meant a lot to me, but not that many viewers saw it http://wp.me/pP9sI-7O. I really believe the transition to heaven on Earth can take place, but one thing that will have to go ultimately by the wayside is money.

– The post that you are most proud of. I’m fairly proud of most of them. This post for helping Indie authors understand on-page SEO practices for their Amazon books stands out in that regard http://wp.me/pP9sI-lm. It incorporates two of my better lessons into one post: how to sell ebooks and how to use SEO wisely.

3)     Blogger nominates up to 5 more bloggers to take part. Instead of outright nominating bloggers, my habit of rule-breaking comes in here and now, so if any bloggers would like to participate… please do so on your blog.

4)     These bloggers publish their 7 links and nominate another 5 more bloggers (unless they’re rule-breakers like me, and then they can continue however they see fit.)

5)    And so it goes on!

6)    We’ll be sharing the best posts from participating bloggers on our blog and everyday on Facebook and Twitter at #My7Links

Any queries – contact katie@tripbase.com and keep a lookout for the My 7 Links posts circulating through the blogosphere.

Have you been nominated? Check out the list of Nominated Bloggers to avoid nominating someone twice. This was fun, thanks.

Click here for the home page of How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free.
Subscribe to this blog for updates on what Indie authors can do to sell ebooks.

Bookmark and Share


add me to your Google Plus circles.

+Jason Matthews

%d bloggers like this: