on March 16, 2023
What’s the Big Deal About Links?Shop Talk
Everyone knows Amazon provides multiple ways of getting to the same information. Some are better than others, but they have their preferred methods. We’re going to talk a little today about user experience and linking your users to your books and Vellas. This information is based on trial and error, reader feedback, and comments made from Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). If what you are doing is working for you, great! Keep going. But these are all things to consider when you are promoting your Vellas and books.
Links For Your Books
Below are the links to Mistress Giselle. All four of these links are valid and will get the user there. There are two clean links and two referral links.
What’s a clean link? A clean link is a web URL without any referral information for tracking purposes.
What does the referral part do? This tracks back to Amazon’s analytics, or whoever is building the analytics, to let them know how you got to the destination.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09PF6SF8C – Basic URL that takes you to your eBook. The group of numbers at the end is your books ASIN number with Amazon. Building upon this, if you offer your eBooks in other markets you can replace the amazon.com part with amazon.co.uk and it will take you to your book on that Amazon site. This is the “cleanest” link you get from Amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/Mistress-Giselle-Hope-Marie-Wolfe-Legacy-ebook/dp/B09PF6SF8C – This is also a clean link, created from removing the referral part of the link, but it will take you to the exact same place the previous link does. This is okay for people who need words in their URLS. Studies show users see a longer link and shy away from it, distrusting it.
Which is why it’s important to keep your link succent and clear.
For example, jrfwriting.com is better than jrfroemling.com due to the difficulty of spelling Froemling. jrfwriting.com/events is better than jrfwriting.com/events-i-will-be-at. Both links will work, but your users may be turned off by the events-i-will-be-at part.
https://www.amazon.com/Mistress-Giselle-Hope-Marie-Wolfe-Legacy-ebook/dp/B09PF6SF8C?ref_=ast_author_mpb – This is the link that’s produced when a reader clicks your story from your author page. The ?ref_=ast_author_mpb is telling Amazon your book was referred by your author page. There is nothing bad about this link, but people get hinky about being tracked. Yes, we know they are still using Amazon, but it’s like letting the Wookiee win. The more people use this, the more likely Amazon is to refer your stuff.
https://www.amazon.com/Mistress-Giselle-Hope-Marie-Wolfe-Legacy-ebook/dp/B09PF6SF8C/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= – This link isn’t as scary as it looks. The ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= means someone was on your paperback, or hardback then chose your eBook. You can see here how garbledy-gook this looks and could make people question what shenanigans you are up to.
Links For Your Vellas
The number one thing I can tell you about Vella is to not use any of the above links for your Vellas. That is, unless you like punishing your readers. Vella is a completely different section of Amazon and because it isn’t fully developed to integrate when you try to use the same style link you provide a vastly different user experience ranging from nothing bad happens to a user gets told they can’t read your story. The links above are designed to open the Amazon shopping app on mobile devices and you cannot read Vellas from the Amazon Shopping app on Android devices.
So what are you to do?
Vella provides you with a specific link format for their stories. Go to your summary page and click the chain link and copy it.
https://amazon.com/kindle-vella/story/B09NT8HJC1 – Clean link that takes readers to your story summary page. Benefits of this is they get the blurb, ratings, ability to share, write reviews, and Amazon will bookmark where they left off in your story and tell them to click on the next episode they need to read!
https://www.amazon.com/Mistress-Giselle/dp/B09NT8HJC1?ref_=ast_author_dp – This is the link provided when a reader clicks on your Vella from your author page. If you aren’t linking your Vellas to your author page, take a cue from Nike and “Just Do It”. This link will open into the Amazon Shopping app and may not work for Android users. So I wouldn’t use it for promotional purposes.
Yeah, but what about linking to the first episode because Amazon messed with our likes by putting the first episode on the summary page?
I hear you! Every episode has an ASIN assigned to it. Amazon views each episode as a teeny tiny book. Below is what this link looks like. This link is excellent for something like a Facebook ad, where you are exposing your story to NEW readers. Amazon has built in a bookmarking feature that you ruin when you link existing readers to a specific episode. Sometimes you just have to let the like go.
Why is linking to an episode bad?
This link goes to episode 64 of Mistress Giselle, a 74 episode story.
If you are on episode 64, great! You go right to it. Here are the more likely situations that happen to a reader.
Scenario One: If you are brand new to the story, you have been dropped into episode 64, immediately have to pay to read it, and have no idea that you’ve missed out on 2/3 of the book. I would think an author’s a liar about the first three episodes being free if I had this experience.
Scenario Two: If you are an existing reader, but you’re on episode 7, you have been skipped to episode 64. You have to click the title of the story at the top of the page to get back to the summary. Then you have to click “See All Episodes” to see where you are in the story. If I’m a paying reader, I quit at having to click the summary at the top.
Causing extra clicks diminishes your ability to retain readers exponentially with each additional click.
Scenario Three: Let’s take the same scenario as above but your reader was on episode 54 instead of 7. That’s one click to get to the story summary, one click to see all episodes, one click to see episodes 26-50, one click to see episodes 51-74, one click to open episode 54, one click to buy tokens. That’s a total of SIX clicks to read one episode of your story. How many readers do you think will actually keep clicking through? A few die-hard fans might, because they love you want to support you. But if you’re like me, you can’t even convince your family into clicking on it the first time! 😉
Scenario Four: This also applies if you’re an episode 1 linker and I’m on episode 112 of your story. I already am irritated your story is more than 75 episodes (personal preference) and now I’m clicking EIGHT times to get back to where I was in your story. I may give the mistake to you once. But then I pay attention to your link and I quit clicking on your link after that, which means I’m likely no longer reading your story.
Before you respond with, “It’s just a few extra clicks, it’s no big deal,” let me shoosh you like Dr. Evil. The moment you started publishing your work on a public forum and promoting it, you became a customer service specialist. Your job is to provide the best experience for your customer (the reader) so they want to keep throwing their money at you without you having to work so hard for it. Anytime you decide to make your customer “work” for the experience, your percentage of losing that customer goes up. One of the biggest complaints from users is a website is confusing, the links take them in circles, or don’t work as expected.
Links should be as clean, concise, and accurate as possible.
When navigating a user through a workflow (reading your story) provide them with the link that will give them the smoothest experience possible.
A Note About Linktree
I love the premise of Linktree. 99% of Vellans use Linktree wrong. I have a Linktree and it used to be cluttered with all the mistakes listed below until I got feedback from a close friend about how I was torturing them. (I love bright colors and had 20 links in a mix of Vellas and eBooks). Here is my Linktree now: https://linktr.ee/jrfroemling
To be fair, I have a pretty detailed website where I prefer users to go to and the only reason I keep the Linktree alive is it was used in promotional materials and on the off chance someone still stumbles upon it, they can still get to my site where all the information is.
Here are the four main issues I see with Linktree (and Vella promos specifically)
- The psychedelic backgrounds make it completely inaccessible to people with vision issues.
- If you have more than 10 links you’ve abused Linktree and everything is lost.
- When promoting Vellas and eBooks on the same tree the massive list with no clear division between the two makes me stop looking for your Vellas in the promos.
- Red and Green are for Christmas, not links.
After all this, I hope some other author doesn’t make the mistakes I have made, or sees they are doing one of these things and ponders adjusting their methods.