Tuesday, July 5, 2016

For Authors: How to Create a Global URL for your Book

Authors, have you ever given out links to your book on Amazon, and then wondered if someone would try clicking on them from, say, India - and not be able to purchase them from the Amazon US store?

The solution is to create a global URL that will take anyone, from any country in the world, to your book's page in their own country's Amazon store. Here's how to do that in ten easy steps!

1.) Go to https://manage.smarturl.it/ and log in or create a free account. (You can do this without an account, but I recommend creating one so that all your info will be there later for you to go back to. For example, the next time Amazon sets up a store in a new country, you'll want to be able to just add that one to your list without having to do everything all over again.) Make sure you wait until you receive a confirmation email, and click on the link in the email to verify your account. Parts of the process below won't work before your account is verified.

2.) Click on "Country". Here's what you'll see (don't be confused about how it says "music"; this really will work for books):

3.) Where it says "default URL", paste in the link to where your book is available on Amazon. Even if you're not in the US, you might want to use the link to the book on the Amazon US site, since that's the most commonly used one. That's where the global URL you're about to make will take people if the system can't figure out where they are in the world, or if their country doesn't have its own Amazon store.

Be sure you know whether the link you're using is to the paperback edition, or the ebook. Either will work, but you want to know what you're directing people to. :-)

4.) Open a new tab and go to https://kdp.amazon.com/, then sign in to access your KDP Bookshelf. Next to the title of your book, there's a drop-down menu that says "view on Amazon". There, it has links to all the different Amazon stores around the world where your book can be found (US, UK, etc.)

Click on the links to open each one in a new tab.

5.) Back at the Smart URL site, go to the section that says "Country Destinations". Where it says "Country", type in the name of one of the countries where Amazon has a store, e.g. India. Then go to the tab you opened where you can see your book in the Amazon India store. Copy the address from there and paste it into the bar that says "URL" next to "country" on the Smart URL site.

6.) It's possible that the site will then automatically fill in the names of more countries and your book's address in them. However, it may not include them all. Check back on your Bookshelf to make sure every country with an Amazon store is really represented in the list. If not, click on the orange circle with the + on it, to the right of the URL bar back on the Smart URL site. It will open up a spot for you to do fill in the information again with a new country. Keep doing it until you've entered the information for all the different Amazon stores.

If you want to test the links, you can copy them one by one and past them into your browser. You should see them take you to your book's page in the other Amazon stores. However, I've never had a problem with the system filling in incorrect links.

Here's how mine looked when I was done with this step (though depending when you read this, I may have gone back and added more countries as Amazon adds more stores):

7.) Below that, where it says "Organize (Optional)" you can create a custom alias using the name of your book, or part of the name. For example, I have http://smarturl.it/gladiatorguard for my book The Gladiator and the Guard.

8.) "Description" is just for your own reference. In mine, I wrote "The Gladiator and the Guard from any country." If you plan to do this for multiple books, it's helpful to have a description that will remind you which one is which.

9.) I don't use anything below that in the online form. If you want to look into it, you're on your own. :-) But the most important part is, make sure you click the orange "Save" button at the bottom!

10.) After that, you'll see a button at the top right in the black bar that says "my smartURLs". If you click on it, you'll see the one you just created, with a "Create smartURL" button at the bottom that will let you create more. Here's what my screen looks like, with all the smartURLs I've created for my various books:

If you hover your mouse over the word in the first column, you'll see three little icons appear. The middle one, shaped like a clipboard, will let you copy the URL to your clipboard. You can then paste it into your email signature, a document of your own for offline reference, a form on a promo site where you're submitting your book, etc. And anyone, anywhere, who clicks on it will then see your book in their own country's Amazon store!


RJ said...

Good idea!

Kenna said...

Thank you, Annie! I'll definitely use this information. Great sharing of a great marketing instrument. My publisher, Creativia, has provided us all with global urls to our Creativia books but I have others, and have often wished I had a universal url for them. At one time I created one through Goodreads but don't know if that is still available.