Many of us share our buy links* with others. But are your links clean? While doing a project for my publisher I discovered many authors didn’t have clean links. (I also didn’t myself for one site!) Or in other words, they had extraneous letters, numbers and symbols that were not actually part of the real link. How does this happen? Often, when we do a search the url shows part of the search as well as what was found.
Let me give you some examples.
For Barnes and Noble many links included this information after the real link: ?ean= followed by a bunch of numbers. What is actually needed? http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/book-title-authorfirstname-authorlastname/10digitnumber. (In some cases there was a /p/ instead of the /w/.) In my book’s case when I search for “alone by sm ford” on the B&N website, my address bar shows: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/alone-sm-ford/1124041307?ean=2940158495786. However, this is all the address that is needed to reach the book: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/alone-sm-ford/1124041307.
Many Amazon links included /ref= followed by numbers and letters and special characters. Often, you’ll see something like keywords= followed by what you searched for connected with + signs. Here’s the url I get back when I go to Amazon.com and search for my book “alone by sm ford”-- https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=alone+by+sm+ford. This is a search url, not a direct link to the book. By clicking on the book title itself, I get https://www.amazon.com/Alone-SM-Ford-ebook/dp/B01HR7O0Y0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1504655116&sr=8-1&keywords=alone+by+sm+ford. All I need though is https://www.amazon.com/Alone-SM-Ford-ebook/dp/B01HR7O0Y0. See how it specifies the type of book?
For itunes books the extra info was much shorter. Usually it was ?mt=11. Removing those six characters made a cleaner url.
The kobo links all looked clean. They were usually in this format: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/book-title. If the book title wasn’t unique enough it had a dash and a number after the title.
Smashwords books had clean urls too usually with an id number. Here’s mine: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/650072
Fortunately, most websites give clean urls. For example, I entered “how to write devotionals” in my browser. When I clicked on a choice, the url was clean and readable: http://devotional.upperroom.org/how-to-write
Are your urls for your buy links clean? Check them out. I’m off to fix my problem one.
*buy link – the direct link to a product on a site that sells the product
SM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too. She also loves assisting other writers on their journeys.