You know how we can sometimes get so used to doing some things that it can almost seem robotic? Well, it occurred to me, after reading my daily news articles on publishing, that just because some little tricks have become second nature to me, others may not be aware of this important tip on cleaning up your links.
This little nugget of information is important for authors and for bloggers who write posts promoting their books or featured guest posts of other authors and sharing the URLs of all books.
About Amazon URLs
I have my own system of setting up promotional posts, and part of that means going over to Amazon to look up the book I’m posting about – mine or someone else’s. Once there, I copy the image of the book and save it to my media library to include in the post (if it isn’t my book), then I copy and paste the URL of the book’s page in my post, usually where I insert ‘Get this book on Amazon’ hyperlinked to the book page I copied the URL from. This is where the waters get murky!
The Link to Lost Reviews
Are you aware of the chatter in the self publishing world where many authors are losing reviews by Amazon removing them off their book pages because their algorithms seem to inform them that somehow the reviewer is connected to the author? This is something I’m always cautious about, and I know too many author friends who’ve had reviews wiped off their book pages. Although nobody seems to know the exact secret sauce of Amazon’s logic, there is a huge telltale sign their system uses to link readers to reviewers and that is by referred links. Below is a screenshot I’ll use on how to clean up these telltale signs. (Sorry I couldn’t enlarge)
As you can see, the ASIN of my book P.S. I Forgive You comes after /dp/B01WOYPRP after that ASIN comes a forward slash/ref etc. etc. Delete everything after the last letter in the ASIN starting with the forward slash!
In the above URL, this is what I get when I go to Amazon and type in the name of one of my books in the search bar. This is the link that most people will take to use in their posts to direct readers to that book. The problem is, after the 10 digit ASIN number there is a bunch of code which is irrelevant to the average person, but a wealth of information Amazon uses to track potential buyers.
Some of this code gives them the exact time and day that page was visited. If you use that link in your posts and readers go to that page through that link and happen to purchase the book while there, Amazon will know that person was using a link from a prior visitor, and because that person came from that other person’s link, that shows a connection with those two people, or anyone else using that link to purchase!
Yup, it’s like a spy thing.
I learned about this a few years ago and I make sure ever since to clean up my links and like I mentioned, sometimes things just become habit to us and we may forget that what we’re doing would be newsworthy to others. So now I’ll tell you what needs to be done to clean up the links.
Cleaning Up Your Links
The most simple thing to do when using the URL for that book page on your post is to copy and paste the URL as you normally would to create a hyperlink and backspace to delete every character that comes after the last number/letter of the ASIN. I also do this when linking to an author’s Amazon page – same protocol. When promoting my own books, I find it much easier to use my own universal links I have for my books. Check out one of my earlier posts to learn more about how to create Universal links .
Let this procedure become a habit, especially when promoting your own books! It can save you losing reviews on Amazon and us authors know just how valuable each and every review is to us!
More Tip on Reviews
If the book you’re reviewing was given to you by an author, it’s also important you write a disclaimer at the start of your review, something like ‘I received a copy of this book as a gift from the author’ will do.
This lets Amazon know how you got the book if their robotic spies detect that you never purchased the book. It permits honesty for the review by admitting. And I’d also recommend you leave it short and sweet like that and not adding anything like ‘ …..in exchange for a review’ because that would sound like there was intent to extract a review when given a copy of the author’s book.
I’m not going to go into all the politics and semantics of Amazon’s logic, merely cautioning you of the current protocol. So recap:
- Remove any extraneous characters after the ASIN number on an author’s book page before creating a hyperlink
- Use a disclaimer when reviewing a book to avoid your review from vanishing
- And always check your URLs after you’ve drafted your post to ensure they work by ‘saving’ your draft and clicking on ‘preview’ you can then click your links to make sure they are valid, working links.
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