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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of the really annoying parts of self-publishing is updating the backmatter of books to link to the new ones on every vendor when you have links.

So far, the way I've been handling upcoming books is to link to the page on my website, and then have the page on my website for that book prominently push my newsletter. This has two problems:

1) It is annoying to update and reupload EVERY BOOK that you put out EVERY TIME you put out a new book. I've streamlined the updating a bit, but the reuploading is a pain in the *ss no matter how you slice it.

2) The people who buy the book before the sequel comes out still have the old ebook file, with the link to your website, even if they don't read that book until after the new book has been uploaded.

Solution: Evergreen links.

I just set up a series of server side redirects on my website's .htaccess file, adding the following line

redirect 301 /links/unlocked-amazon.php http://www.amazon.com/Unlocked-Turner-Book-Courtney-Milan-ebook/dp/B0052YFNFQ/
OR, for a book that's not out:

So now I can link in the Amazon version to http://www.courtneymilan.com/links/tmr-amazon.php. Right now, that link sends the reader to my page for the upcoming book. But now I'm in control of where the link redirects. When that book goes live, I can switch the redirect on my server, and it will automatically send readers to the book page on Amazon, even for books that have already been out.

Edited to add: I stole the idea for this from my friend Carolyn Jewel.
 

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I was just pondering this!

I do it with a bit.ly URL shortener. I had to use bit.ly links in my Smashwords file. I use Smashwords to upload to Apple, and Apple was rejecting my latest because of the URLs leading to Smashwords. Which, I guess, makes sense. I created a bit.ly bundle with each of my current releases' links to all the places you can find them, and used the bundle in the back of the book.

A side benefit is that bit.ly does track incoming clicks on those links. I don't sell enough to figure if most of those clicks are coming from within book files or from my email sig files or facebook posts, but maybe someone with a higher profile would be able to tell if it's truly an effective way to keep the links evergreen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
JimJohnson said:
Not sure I'm tracking this. Why not just have every book have this link in the back? http://www.courtneymilan.com/byseries.php

No updating of files needed. Just update that webpage every time you add a new book.'

Maybe I'm missing something...?
Because my not-super-scientific testing suggested that I sell 10x more copies of my books from clicks on links if I have a direct link to the individual books on the vendor than to some generic page. Fewer clicks for readers = more purchases.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Athena Grayson said:
I was just pondering this!

I do it with a bit.ly URL shortener. I had to use bit.ly links in my Smashwords file. I use Smashwords to upload to Apple, and Apple was rejecting my latest because of the URLs leading to Smashwords. Which, I guess, makes sense. I created a bit.ly bundle with each of my current releases' links to all the places you can find them, and used the bundle in the back of the book.

A side benefit is that bit.ly does track incoming clicks on those links. I don't sell enough to figure if most of those clicks are coming from within book files or from my email sig files or facebook posts, but maybe someone with a higher profile would be able to tell if it's truly an effective way to keep the links evergreen.
Hm. I've never tried changing a bit.ly link after it's been created, and didn't realize you could do this, but hey, that's another way.

From experience, the one problem with bit.ly is that for people reading on iPad/iPhone apps for Kindle & Nook stores, the iPad will block links to Amazon and B&N even if you run them through bit.ly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Drew Smith said:
You might be a genius!
Actually, I stole the idea for this from Carolyn Jewel, so she deserves all the credit.
 

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Thank you!

I was just sighing and moaning about updating back matter and thinking of hiring someone to do it for me. This definitely will save time.
1
And thank you to Carolyn too! Darn smart girl!
 

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Thanks for sharing, Courtney!

I was just thinking of this problem the other day, that even if you update all back matter, it doesn't change anything for readers who purchased before the update. And updating is going to be a pain for me as I'm gearing up for four back-to-back releases.

However, my website skills are seriously limited so I'm going to cross my fingers that there might be a plugin or some way I can read and do it on my own. Or maybe hire someone to do it for me.

In any event, thanks for putting it out there, and thanks to Carolyn J too!
 

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I would never want to do this with bit.ly, tinyurl, or any other unnecessary third-party service on whose continuity and reliability I'd then be unnecessarily dependent.

Too many people have had problems with that, in the past.

Tinyurl has done a disappearing act once or twice, and bit.ly is hosted in Libya, I believe?  :eek:

Something that's done through your own website, of which you're in control, is surely much safer, in the long run? There are various WordPress plug-ins with such facilities, and there are ways of doing it through a line or two of HTML coding, for other sites, etc.
 

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I've sort of abandoned links to other books in the front/back matter. All platforms (as far as i know) add "More by this author" at the end of the book automatically, so i feel like having this in the book is just creating extra cruft the reader has to flip through. Plus i hate having to maintain a bunch of different versions of my books (iTunes, Amazon, Nook, Kobo). Without those vendor-specific links, i can have one version to rule them all.

Courtney, the redirect thing is a very clever idea, though. Kudos.
 

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I'm curious, do you include separate links/pages to each one of your books in the back matter of each one of your books? Does this require setting up a brand new link for every book?

Right now I just have a single "Buy Now" link at the back of mine that points to a landing page on my website, which then has links to all the various retailer sites where readers can go purchase the book. This is preferable to me for the effort involved. One link to rule them all, etc. But like you mentioned fewer clicks for the reader is preferable. Of course, this would mean creating a separate epub file for every retailer just to accommodate the link for that retailer.
 

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vmblack said:
Okay, I used the Simple 301 Redirects plugin with my Wordpress installation. It was super easy!
I installed this, but can't get it to work. You enter the URL without the http crap according to the instructions, but it doesn't matter how I enter it, with or without, but it still won't work.

Just so that I understand this: the requested URL has to be on your site. The referred-to URL can be anywhere on the web?
 

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Courtney Milan said:
Hm. I've never tried changing a bit.ly link after it's been created, and didn't realize you could do this, but hey, that's another way.

From experience, the one problem with bit.ly is that for people reading on iPad/iPhone apps for Kindle & Nook stores, the iPad will block links to Amazon and B&N even if you run them through bit.ly.
I use bit.ly (and I use ipad links for the ipad version, because I direct upload there), but the major drawback is that you can't change a bit.ly after it's been created - unless you have a PRO account, which costs some major bucks (last I checked, which was end of 2013).

Wish I had wordpress to use that plugin option!

My alternate solution, for links that I didn't have when going to press, is to use a link directly to my author page on the retailer, whoever it is. Better than linking to the website page (less clicks to get to "buy"), but not as good as the individual book. I figure if they're on my author page on Amazon and they want a particular title, it's not that hard to find it.
 

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The other approach to this (stolen from Write.Publish.Repeat) is to use a "funnel" method - basically you funnel your reader to the next most-logical book they would want to buy. That book leads to another and so on... I do a modified version of this. I pitch the next book (or possibly two) then add some "evergreen" info at the bottom that has direct links to a range of my books. Like this:

Back Matter for Open Minds (Mindjack #1):
Kira's journey is just beginning. While she may think she's safe at home, at last, the consequences of her actions will be nothing short of revolutionary in the mindreading world. You can pick up Closed Hearts next (available in ebook and print) or you can save by getting the entire Mindjack Trilogy at once.


When you control minds, only your heart can be used against you.
Eight months ago, Kira Moore revealed to the mindreading world that mindjackers like herself were hidden in their midst. Now she wonders if telling the truth was the right choice after all. As wild rumors spread, a powerful anti-jacker politician capitalizes on mindreaders' fears and strips jackers of their rights. While some jackers flee to Jackertown--a slum rife with jackworkers who trade mind control favors for cash--Kira and her family hide from the readers who fear her and jackers who hate her. But when a jacker Clan member makes Kira's boyfriend Raf collapse in her arms, Kira is forced to save the people she loves by facing the thing she fears most: FBI agent Kestrel and his experimental torture chamber for jackers.

watch the live-action trailer

Susan writes speculative fiction all up and down the age spectrum. She's always dreaming up something new, so subscribe to her mailing list to be the first to know what's up! (Oh, and new subscribers get a free short story, too!)

Faery Swap
(middle grade)

Mindjack Trilogy
(young adult science fiction)

The Dharian Affairs
(steampunk romance)

Debt Collector
(adult future-noir)

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