Purchase links can be hideous, long, octopi-like disasters.
What happens on sites like Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and others, is that the path you take to get to the link becomes attached – part of the “history” of the link. The next thing you know, you have something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Postcards-Mr-Pish-Cross-Country-ebook/dp/B0072YXQGC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1370798259&sr=1-1&keywords=postcards+from+mr.+pish+by+k.+s.+brooks. Ugly, for certain. What this tells anyone who takes the time to look at it is – the person providing the link didn’t have a dedicated link saved or bookmarked somewhere, so they searched on Amazon.com using the keywords “postcards from mr. pish by K. S. Brooks” to get to the book they wanted. Sure, sometimes doing a search is faster than pulling up a bookmark, but the results do not look professional. The only part of that link that you actually need to give someone is: http://www.amazon.com/Postcards-Mr-Pish-Cross-Country-ebook/dp/B0072YXQGC/. Much better, right?
So, basically, all the junk after the book’s code can be deleted.
Honestly, authors should have their Amazon.com Author Central Page bookmarked in their browser so they can click directly to the book of their choice and grab a clean purchase link.
Believe it or not, there are some authors just starting out who don’t understand what a purchase link is. When asked, they provide www.Amazon.com or www.BarnesandNoble.com. Every time I receive that in response to requesting a purchase link to their book, I respond with “It is the sales kiss of death to expect a prospective buyer to search the world’s largest bookstore for your book.” And, it is. For those of you who don’t understand what a buy link is or how to find it, locate your book on whatever site it’s available, then see the screen capture below. THAT is your purchase link. That’s what you should be giving people who want to see or purchase your book.
Okay, back to making that link look pretty. If you’re submitting a book for consideration for a feature here at IU, please don’t make that link pretty. We like to know what we’re clicking on, so leave it nice and ugly for me. For everyone else, though, you have choices.
You can shorten that link with TinyUrl.com. We showed you how to do that back in May of 2012 in a tutorial here.
And, just last month, our Laurie Boris was kind enough to teach you about all the tracking tools Bitly offers when you distribute one of their pretty URLs. That article is here.
If you don’t want to go to all that work, you can always just cut the gobbledeegook from the end of the link as I showed you above. And don’t forget to bookmark it! That way, you’ll be both gorgeous and ready on a moment’s notice.