Goodreads CEO Reveals A Remarkably Easy Way To Sell More Books

Otis Chandler CEO GoodreadsAt the recent ‘Tools of Change’ publishing conference in New York, Goodreads CEO Otis Chandler revealed a remarkably simple, effortless way for authors to sell more eBooks on Amazon… or in fact anywhere eBooks are sold online.

In a survey of Goodreads’ 15 million strong membership, he found that the main driver of eBook purchases was, unsurprisingly, ‘referral by a friend’.  But when a follow-up question was put to readers, another powerful sales strategy for authors emerged.

They were asked:  “What do you want to do when you get to the end of a book?”

The telling response was this:   83% wanted to see what else the author had written.

Here’s the actual slide from Otis Chandler’s ‘Tools Of Change’ presentation:
-Goodreads Readers

(The entire slideshow is included at the end of this post)

How Can Authors Take Advantage Of This ‘Show Me More’ Moment?

If most readers finish books and immediately want to know what else the author has written, then why not give them exactly what they want.

By including a highly visible link to your next eBook right there at the end of your first eBook, you can take advantage of this ‘show me more’ opportunity, and make instant sales. If they click on the link, it takes them straight over to Amazon, where they can buy your next eBook straight away.

Think about it.  There’s no question that a reader will be most susceptible to buying your next book immediately after finishing your first one.  Having enjoyed a fully immersive story experience for several hours, there’s no better time to pitch your next story.

This may seem blindingly obvious, but the reality is that most authors aren’t doing this yet. With an easy link path to follow, and an attractive blurb and cover image right there too, a significant number of readers will click on the link and go across to Amazon to check out your other books.  And if you have a series, this linking strategy might even mean they buy the whole series in one hit.

How To Include A Link To Your Next eBook

On the first blank page at the end of your eBook, put a highly visible link to the webpage where they can buy your next book (or books).  e.g. link to each book’s Amazon page.  You’ll also want to include a decent sized picture of the book cover in each case, as this will act as a highly persuasive promotional billboard.

Books on KindleIn addition to this, add an intriguing book blurb with a few descriptive paragraphs about the story, settings, characters and theme.

A blurb gives a sense of the entire story.  Essentially it is a brief, carefully crafted tease for your next book that poses the big question:  What will happen next…?     The reader already knows how well you write, because they’ve just read your book.  So it isn’t crucial to give them more ‘writing’.  But if you do want to include some chapters, then be sure the free sample ends at a cliffhanger point.

Note: Using the Kindle to link to your Amazon books is just that – a Kindle tactic. (Apple, for example, don’t allow links across to Amazon in their iBooks.)

Make Sure Your Amazon Pages Do Their Job Too

This ‘hot to buy’ moment at the conclusion of an eBook is another reason it’s crucial to have both your individual Amazon book pages and your main Amazon Author Page up to date and working hard for you.

Readers look at these pages when making decisions, so fill out all the sections on these pages properly.

Make sure your books are in the right categories with relevant tags, put relevant information about yourself on your Author Page, and include  fascinating ‘teaser’ blurbs for your books on their respective pages.

Here’s The Whole Reader Survey:

If you’re interested, here’s the whole set of slides from the Goodreads survey.

 What’s Going On With Readers Today
Goodreads.com survey slides from the ‘Tools of Change’ publishing conference


-
This is a highly interesting and informative survey, so do have a flick through the slides above and see what readers are saying.
_______________________________________________________

UPDATE March 31st 2013: Goodreads has been bought by Amazon.
What this means for authors:
http://bestsellerlabs.com/amazon-buys-goodreads-the-impact-on-authors/
_______________________________________________________

Are you planning to put links in your eBooks?  Or have you already?   Which eReader do you like to use?  Please do leave a comment.

Jonathan Gunson

Article written by Jonathan Gunson

Author / CEO Bestseller Labs

 

Notice: This article is copyrighted material. Reproduction of brief snippets of this article with a link to this site are permitted, but it may not be reproduced in full anywhere without the written permission of Jonathan Gunson at BestsellerLabs.com

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Comments

  • February 27, 2013 at 7:01am

    I swore I’d never get into e-books, that is until I purchased an ipad. lol Now I read them from kindle in ipad. I’ve read over 200 novels so far. Handy little gadgets, aren’t they. lol

    Great tips about linking. I’m always clicking on links. Thank you. :)

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 27, 2013 at 8:10am

      Suzanne.
      Never looked back once I bought an iPad. I HAD to get one because my current project involves Apple apps, so it’s essential. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)
      ~Jonathan

    • February 27, 2013 at 9:39am

      The dawning realisation on my seventeen-year-old’s face a few weeks ago, when he discovered how many more books he could afford to read on his ipad. He has suddenly converted from someone who bought the hard copy to an avid e-book reader. Links in with your comments on an earlier article too!

      • Jonathan Gunson says:
        February 27, 2013 at 9:49am

        Peter
        A telling story re your son. The question is, how long will the Kindle last? Or in fact any dedicated eBook reader. The surface is far superior to an iPad for reading, but that doesn’t stop me even though I don’t have young eyes. Plus there’s the additional expense of having two tablets. An iPad is so much more versatile and does everything.
        ~Jonathan

        • February 27, 2013 at 11:53am

          I think it is the link between Amazon and Kindle that will make it the most successful. Now that my teenagers have bookmarked Amazon’s Top 100 Free Lists in genres that interest them – they download books almost daily. It is simply more reader/author friendly.

          My go-to technology is my laptop – for both content and personal writing, my phone – staying connected on the go, and my Kindle – which allows me to review the formatting of my books immediately and is gorgeous to read from.

          I am too laptop addicted to use one of the e-readers full-time and my phone is more important in the day-to-day communication of calls/emails. My Kindle is more for enjoyment than anything and the free promos stored on the cloud make it possible to own thousands of books much more quickly than most people can afford (even the non-free ones) and not a single thing to dust.

          ~Shayne

          • February 27, 2013 at 4:37pm

            Jonathan,

            You’re right that this is an amazingly simple way to give satisfied readers what they already want: directions on where to get books like the one they just enjoyed.

            Amazon continues to add ways for buyers to share their purchases with their social network as soon as the sale is confirmed. Clever. Everyone benefits.
            ==========

            Shayne,

            I’m with you.

            I’ve neglected to buy either the Kindle or iPad because I’m addicted to what my laptop can do that neither of those devices can.

            I do love the small size and ease of tucking Kindles or iPads into a bag, but since I don’t want to carry two pieces of equipment, I’ll stick with my laptop with the Kindle app for now or until the iPad can function more like a laptop.

    • Sam says:
      March 1, 2013 at 2:52am

      Suzanne, you should try iBooks if you have an iPad. I find it superior to the Kindle app, from the presentation of books to the way you can organize your collection. The one thing Kindle has it beat is with prices, but when iBooks can match what Kindle offers, I always go with iBooks.

      • Jonathan Gunson says:
        March 1, 2013 at 10:56am

        Agree with Sam. iPad is uber-versatile.
        ~Jonathan

  • Tom Evans says:
    February 27, 2013 at 8:03am

    I’ve been doing this since Kindle books first emerged and the Amazon algorithm shows you how effectively it works when it says people who bought one of your books also bought others … this is something generated by Amazon we cannot fix.

    See for example
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/This-We-Know-ebook/dp/B009EVSSFK/

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 27, 2013 at 8:17am

      Tom

      With the Amazon algorithm working for you plus a sales link at the end of your eBooks, you’ll gradually collect sales in a way that’s not remotely possible with traditional paper books. So many still say “I’ll never change from traditional paper books.” I genuinely understand their point of view, but as eDevices spread ever more widely, and the prices to buy them drop precipitously, the naysayers will fade away.

      ~Jonathan

      PS. I think you may have already read the following article? It outlines the force wave that will benefit those prepared to put in the minimal effort to do eBooks: ‘Why Your Amazon Kindle Book Could Be Far Bigger Than You Imagine’

  • February 27, 2013 at 8:25am

    Hi Jonathan, Great, a surprisingly simple and potentially effective concept.
    I just wonder why it was never proposed to new writers like myself in all the advisory and educational pages I’ve read before now.
    I shall certainly include the idea in my next book, and wish that I had done so in the one recently published.
    Ho hum….live and learn eh?

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 27, 2013 at 8:30am

      David

      The most effective ideas to increase sales are usually the simplest. And this really is very simple indeed. So why am I not not surpised it hasn’t been mentioned in the materials you have read? Unfortunately most industry minds still live in the old book-store model. (I generally call that way of doing things ‘Traditional Publishing’ because it’s a 19th century business model.)

      Authors who take the simple steps such as described in this post can afford to be optimistic. It’s going to become increasingly easy to get those creative words out there.

      ~Jonathan

  • February 27, 2013 at 8:28am

    Another great post Jonathan.
    You should become a marketing coach. I have read many of your posts and ebooks and you seem to have the answers.

    Regards Geof

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 27, 2013 at 8:37am

      Thanks Geof
      More to come re growing your sales. I’m increasingly intrigued by the potential of what is to come. But because it is all so new, it can appear to be extremely complex. So my task is to simplify the pathway through it for authors. BTW. Check out this other article – it’s very closely related re eBooks:
      Why Children Hold The Key To Your Future As An Author
      Don’t miss it.

      ~Jonathan

  • February 27, 2013 at 8:42am

    Hi,

    Great, informative post. It’s surprising how many people are influenced by friends rather than searching on the internet. And with media being second, what would come under that?

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 27, 2013 at 9:43am

      Jack.
      It’s always been about referral by friends, until now. Now the Amazon engine has a big impact without the inclusion of referrals – except in the form of reviews, which serves a similar purpose, but even that is within the Amazon system.
      Jonathan

  • February 27, 2013 at 9:29am

    Yes, many readers often say they would like to read more by an author, some of mine have said exactly that. Unfotunately, I’ve only written one full length work, but am about halfway through the second, and will be sure to link to the first when it is completed, although I do think readers are capable of searching for other titles on Amazon, which is easy enough to navigate.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 27, 2013 at 9:35am

      Standing by for your next book Andy.
      And yes, readers are perfectly capable of searching for themselves, but the whole point is to take them straight to your next book without delay, while they’re still in the ‘bubble’ of your story. ~Jonathan

      • February 27, 2013 at 10:44pm

        Yes, I’m not disagreeing, but it goes further than simply that. I think it’s about using the best selection of social media to fit your profile. For example, yesterday I got a tweet from a reader who’d read my first book, reviewed on Goodreads, and we subsequently followed each other on twitter – she asked if I have a book coming out this year, and I said hopefully yes later in the year. Great to hear from her, and it made me think I should get some more words down sooner rather than later, and get the thing finished. A two way process, and it demonstrated the beauty of twitter as a communication medium as well as a showcase facility.
        But I wouldn’t enrol in Pinterest because images aren’t one of my strengths – unless I was to spend some time learning photoshop or similar.
        The link at the back of the book is a good feature though, but I don’t like to underestimate the intelligence of my readership and their ability to find me if they wish to.

        • March 18, 2013 at 4:37am

          A good tactic in this situation would be to add that person to a Twitter List you create specifically for people who want to know when your next book is published. That will keep them separate from the legions of random spam-type followers, and is the Twitter equivalent of a highly-targetted New Release Mailing List. Not only do you avoid losing sales from past readers of your first book, the initial burst of sales when Book 2 is published – driven by your messages to everyone on this list – should help drive you onto the Hot New Releases list for your category! That’s the kind of exposure that money quite literally cannot buy!

          • Jonathan Gunson says:
            March 18, 2013 at 6:27am

            Terrific idea Tony.
            Have to make sure they all follow back, although I guess one can always just directly Tweet to the @individualname.
            ~Jonathan

  • February 27, 2013 at 9:35am

    Thanks – will definitely add the link now – what a simple strategy! It seems obvious now I’ve read it, but this is the beauty of statistics!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 27, 2013 at 9:50am

      Peter
      No more a ‘Doubting Thomas’ then.
      ~Jonathan

  • February 27, 2013 at 9:45am

    Every time you bring out a new ebook, you need to go back to your previous books and update the back page. If you don’t want to do that, at least link to your Author Central page on Amazon, and make sure that is updated with every book.

    There is one problem: At the end of every Kindle book, Amazon puts a page inviting reviews and sharing. If you put a link to find your other books, readers will never get to the review page!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 27, 2013 at 9:55am

      Ann.
      Good point. I went back and forth on this slightly vexatious issue before writing the article, but felt that giving people exactly what they want, right then and there is the primary objective – making sales. There are other ways for encouraging reviews and sharing.
      ~Jonathan
      PS. Just read your elegant, helpful blog post:
      Writing Wednesday: Self-Promotion – Start with a Blog

  • Ivin says:
    February 27, 2013 at 9:52am

    Hello Johnathan. If you DON’T place link in your eBooks you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. I know some authors sell their books for as little as possible as the back of the book has all the products and services they offer. IF you don’t have your next book yet, best to have the title planned and direct people to an ‘early bird’ list so they can sign up for an update for when it WILL be released.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 27, 2013 at 10:23am

      Ivin
      Insightful comment thanks re ‘early bird’ lists. Fact is, all authors should aim to eventually be independent of Facebook, Twitter and the other social channels. The way to do this is – as you suggest – is to build an email list for the long term. In fact an emailing list is the most important asset an author can build, but it’s not the easiest task. I’ll be posting about this soon, on how to simplify the process.
      ~ Jonathan

  • Carl Sinclair says:
    February 27, 2013 at 10:50am

    Hi Jonathan.

    It is such a simple idea but it totally works. I write but also read a lot of books. If I really like a book, the moment I finish I am straight on Amazon looking for their next title. I can see this working out well for indies if they have a few books out there.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Carl

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      March 3, 2013 at 5:00am

      Pretty much the way most readers use Amazon – your experience mirrors the 83% majority in the survey.
      ~Jonathan

  • February 27, 2013 at 11:00am

    Thanks!
    Any tips on how to gain visibility or grow audience on Goodreads?
    Ian

  • February 27, 2013 at 11:08am

    Having just today had my first book go live on Amazon to pre-order; plus currently writing the second in the series, this is exciting news! I’ve bookmarked this for when it becomes relevant – hopefully by the end of the year. Thank you so much for your posts Jonathan. They have helped me and, no doubt, countless other writers, so much.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 27, 2013 at 8:35pm

      Kate. Congratulations, a great moment.
      ~Jonathan

  • February 27, 2013 at 11:35am

    This article and the ensuing comments are exactly what I need to hear as I put the finishing touches on the paper version of my historical. The ebooks will follow immediately. As a former English teacher I’m wondering if I should include discussion questions for book clubs at the end? What are your thoughts, Jonathan?

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 27, 2013 at 8:37pm

      Elaine
      Notes a great idea, although grabbing the moment witha link is the point I’m making. Depends what you’re wanting to achieve.
      ~Jonathan

  • February 27, 2013 at 11:40am

    Hi, Jonathan:

    I have “Also by Shayne McClendon” at the beginning of my books – with buy links. At the end of my book, I have blurbs with buy links (usually 1 or 2), and my “About the Author” which has links to my work and my website.

    Occasionally, I feature small excerpts by other authors – with buy links – before my own blurb and my “About” section.

    It is EXTREMELY effective. Shared.

    Shayne

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 27, 2013 at 8:38pm

      Shayne
      Living proof! Thank you for sharing.
      ~Jonathan

  • February 27, 2013 at 12:01pm

    Great idea about actually putting a cover image for your other or next books. I’m excited by that idea. However this is one tiny disadvantage when using Smashwords. You can’t obviously upload multiple book files to go to various retailers. They say that Apple frowns on any links mentioning any other retailers. Other than pointing to your website, not sure how it works with a site like Smashwords.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 27, 2013 at 8:41pm

      Charles – true re Amazon not allowing links to non-Amazon sites. It may work against them in the end, because it frustrates so many writers.
      ~Jonathan

  • February 27, 2013 at 1:25pm

    I put a link in the back of my books to the page that my next book will be showing up on, but as I have yet to finish book 2? It hasn’t helped yet, lol.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 27, 2013 at 8:42pm

      Daniel
      Finish that book Sir.
      ~Jonathan

  • Irina Cerna says:
    February 27, 2013 at 1:45pm

    One of the things that attract me to some author is just this. I love the easy way links provide to take a look at other works from an author I just liked. Those links are the way I find out that per. ex. the book I just finished has a sequel. This, more often than not, end with me purchasing the sequel.
    Even if the author has not put a “published so far” list at the end, Amazon (I’m a dedicated Kindle user) does it – “Similar to” and “From this author” links. It’s very effective and eases some the slight feeling of sadness, when you finish a good book, with “You see – there is more to read from this guy”. It’s definitely a strategy I support.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 27, 2013 at 8:43pm

      Irina
      Exactly so. Picking up the reader emotional need for more.
      ~Jonathan

  • February 27, 2013 at 2:05pm

    Jonathan, do you think putting up a cover image + link + blurb for your next book is more important than including a call to action to review the book they’ve just read ?
    Or maybe even a CTA to sign up for your email list ?

    I’m reluctant to ask for more than one action at the end because the simpler the demand the more probable the action.

    • Irina Cerna says:
      February 27, 2013 at 2:37pm

      Not necessarily, I started writing reviews after my first year of daily Kindle dose.
      The reason you give for not including all the possibilities in the end makes me (as a reader) think you find us somewhat disabled. I do believe that all readers, who do it for the joy of a good story, are smart enough to either multi task or choose one of the ways you gave them to show their gratitude/appreciation of your work.
      For a new e-book reader there has to be a reason to start reviewing. For me it was a really good book, that I found to be underrated for my tastes. I just felt restless until I could say to the other reviewer how wrong they were.
      What makes me sign up for a mailing list is the offer of short stories, excerpts and up to date info on new books.

      • Jonathan Gunson says:
        February 27, 2013 at 8:54pm

        Irina.
        Re countering reviews you don’t agree with: Additional options of links to reviews / email subscribe list as well as ‘buy next book’ is just fine. But I would put the link to the next book first on the list. And yes, most readers are far from brain dead – they can figure it out, but I would STILL make the buy link the most prominent. That’s the main objective.
        ~Jonathan

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 27, 2013 at 8:55pm

      Mars
      See reply to Irina.
      Jonathan

      • March 1, 2013 at 6:15pm

        thanx for the response, ou two !
        Helps me a lot.

  • SJ Hailey says:
    February 27, 2013 at 2:29pm

    Great article, thanks for sharing it.

    Putting it out there on my fb page as I am connecting with many other authors.

    I was planning to do this for my next book, a link and a free sample in the back of my current novel.

    ebooks change the rules, which is great for readers and authors.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 27, 2013 at 8:57pm

      Share on FB appreciated SJ.
      ~Jonathan

  • August Wainwright says:
    February 27, 2013 at 2:48pm

    Great article Jonathan. I’ve got a question you might know the answer to. If one was to publish a book and add a link to the next work, as laid out in the article, could you take pre-orders on the second book’s Amazon page and then automatically deliver the content to the reader when it is published? Just curious as a new author with no backlist. Thanks.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 28, 2013 at 12:28am

      August – the standard pre order system applies on Amazon, no matter how the order is placed. If a buyer pre-orders a book via a Kindle account, Amazon will eventually supply it. (A credit card is charged when a book is actually supplied.)
      ~Jonathan

  • February 27, 2013 at 3:08pm

    Jonathan: Great post. One thing people might check—if your books are listed on both Apple and Amazon, I think Apple will not allow links to Amazon in the book. I don’t know about B&N or Kobo, but I’d check before linking directly to Amazon. I have links back to my website in my books, that way they can go to the retailer of their choice. I know it’s an extra step, but it beats the alternative. If you sell on Amazon only, yes, I’d link direct. Thanks for all the insight you provide here.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 28, 2013 at 12:33am

      Giacomo.
      You’re correct re Apple, they don’t allow Amazon links. (The article here only covers linking to Amazon books via the Kindle – if doing an eBook for Apple distribution don’t include an Amazon link in that particular version.)
      ~Jonathan

      • March 8, 2013 at 10:07pm

        Ah, okay. This is good to know. So if I use BookBaby, which distributes to all outlets, then I’m sort of stuck with only putting in a link to my own website, is that correct?

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          March 8, 2013 at 10:39pm

          Pam
          BookBaby distribute your book to Amazon. So you can directly link to where your books are sold at Amazon if that’s the only place they distribute your book to. (I don’t recollect whether BookBaby will do Amazon-only distribution.) If they distribute to Apple as well, then it would pay to ask BookBaby if they will allow a different version of your book for Apple that excludes Amazon links. Let me know.
          ~Jonathan

  • Michela says:
    February 27, 2013 at 3:15pm

    Hi Jonathan,

    I haven’t put a link to more books at the end of my ebook of short stories, because it’s my very first ebook, so there aren’t any others to link to yet! (I do have an “About the author” page at the end, however, in which I link to my website and blog.) The good thing is, being an ebook, it’s easy to update once I do publish my next one.

    Thanks for sharing this great post. Your blogs are always so motivational, easy to read and full of fantastic information.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 28, 2013 at 12:37am

      Michela
      Onto the next book then. Looked at your blog – travelling with a toddler and all. Great to hear that your travel book well received.
      ~Jonathan

  • February 27, 2013 at 4:04pm

    I just began redoing my ebooks, adding links at the beginning for every book to Amazon. Perhaps I should move that to the end. I also have a chapter excerpt at the end for all 9 of my romance, now rethinking that and just put the teaser blurb and then the link. Thanks.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 28, 2013 at 12:38am

      It is permissable to do both Grace.
      ~Jonathan

  • R. Lynn says:
    February 27, 2013 at 4:41pm

    Great article, and I just recently found out about adding links which I think is a fabulous idea. There are some really good helpful hint here, and even I have to admit that in the beginning of self publishing I may have been a tiny bit guilty of making my tweets, facebook, etc. about my book. Although, now I’m less aggressive about it, and like to mix it up with sharing things that I’m learning along the way. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 28, 2013 at 12:40am

      R.L. The key strategy is to get readers across to your book on Amazon. Best focus your thinking around that specifically.
      ~Jonathan

  • February 27, 2013 at 4:48pm

    My second novel is coming out soon and I actually already thought of this. I also intend to put a blurb at the end of the second book along the lines of, “read how it all began” and linking to the first.

    Great tip.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 28, 2013 at 12:40am

      That’s perfect Susan.
      ~Jonathan

  • JLOakley says:
    February 27, 2013 at 4:50pm

    Very helpful post. I might just do that to my ebook. Its prequel is in the final stages of publication, but I put up a short essay so that I’d have something else on my Author page. Wonder if I should put it up there in the back.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 28, 2013 at 2:58am

      J.L.O.
      Any intriguing or interesting information you can place on your page, so much the better. Using a short piece to generate interest, or even to gather a few pre-orders is another contribution to sales – no matter how small. It all adds up over time.
      ~Jonathan

  • February 27, 2013 at 4:59pm

    Although you describe this as for authors who publish on Amazon, it’s also applicable to (small) publishers and series of ebooks which are distributed more widely. I’ve gone half-way house with Collca’s non-fiction ebooks and included links to the page for the series in most titles — I’m going to expand on the concept.

    There is a dilemma however. How do you include links for all possible retailers? Amazon and Apple each account for about 42%+ of our sales; Kobo and others for the remainder. Apple will reject ebooks which have links to Amazon and possibly vice versa. There are 3 options as I see it:

    1. leave out the links which is unacceptable because it will cost one sales

    2. have specific versions for individual retailers which is time-consuming and potentially error-prone. Also what do you do about supply through library suppliers and through distributors who supply many stores. Indeed this would be a problem with Kobo who supply on to WH Smith in the UK and retailers in Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere.

    3. provide links to the author, series and title list pages on the publisher’s or author’s website. From there the reader can link to individual book pages which should contain links to all the major retailers. We include a supplier grid for the common formats on the page for each ebook. It’s not perfect but it works.

    There are probably much better solutions just around the corner once most ereaders support the latest KF8 and ePub3/HTML5 standards.

    Mike

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 28, 2013 at 12:45am

      Terrific contribution Mike. Food for thought. The linking process I’m referring to applies simply to Amazon. Taking it beyond that has considerable complications as you indicate. We’ll need some standardization to make it easier…. it’ll come.
      ~Jonathan

  • Sandii says:
    February 27, 2013 at 5:29pm

    Great article Jonathan. Thanks. I never thought I’d use my i-Pad for reading but I am now hooked.

    As soon as I find an author I love I immediately click on the link at the back of the book to buy more of their books. Simple yet effective marketing.

    I have my debut e-book coming out in April and I’m excited and totally nervous and learning a lot with your postings.

    Thanks so much,
    Sandii

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 28, 2013 at 12:47am

      Sandii
      Let me know when the book is released.
      And do read this article – just your cup of tea: (Particularly point #1.)
      http://bestsellerlabs.com/7-ways-youre-sabotaging-your-book-sales
      ~Jonathan

      • March 7, 2013 at 11:57am

        Thanks for the articles for writers, especially the one on how we tend to shoot ourselves in the foot. I have a book launch on Sunday and after reading your article, I’ll start to promote my next book at the same time. It’s not finished yet, but I won’t let that get in the way.
        Thanks,
        Deborah

  • February 27, 2013 at 5:39pm

    At the end of my book I include a random chapter from the next book. Something with a lot of action going on. Book 1 has “Wherein a Rugby Match Breaks Out At A Riot” from Book 2 (currently being edited and coming out soon)
    Book 2 has “Semfeld and Liverioso- Fifty Shades of Hopeless” from Book 3
    Book 3 (about 40% done) has “Great Galloping Centaurs!” from book 4 (about 15% done).

    I was definitely going to a hotlink to Book 2 when it is online, but after Mike Hyman’s comments above, I might just make a Books For Sale page on my author site where people can one-click to buy, or follow an Amazon link in a nice simple format.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 27, 2013 at 9:00pm

      Next book or next books – either is fine. It’s what else is available from the author that counts.
      ~Jonathan

  • WriterGuy says:
    February 27, 2013 at 7:26pm

    Great article Jonathan, but I have a question.

    What if your next book isn’t finished yet? I mean, how early before the book is ready can you have an Amazon page? And if it’s not ready, I don’t see the reader preordering since they’re kind of wanting to read now.

    Do you understand my confusion and have any thoughts or system on that?

    Thanks!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 28, 2013 at 12:49am

      Lots of readers pre-order a book – especially if they like the previous one.
      Jonathan

  • [...] and came across an article written by Author/CEO of Bestseller Labs, Jonathan Gunson, titled Goodreads CEO Reveals An Amazingly Easy Way To Sell More Books. Right off the bat, there were three things that caught my attention right [...]

  • Heidi_g says:
    February 27, 2013 at 8:07pm

    Great tip! Simple, and yet I can see how it will be very effective:) Thank you for sharing this with us.

  • February 27, 2013 at 8:37pm

    You had me reading with top speed again. Thanks for this very insightful post. I got links in my first ebook to my homepage and my Facebook author page. That’ll do for now, but the whole idea of “what’s coming up next” inspires me to do more. Basically it’s the old cliffhanger principle – and that’s a good way of thinking. I’ll definitely mark this page for repeated reading!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 28, 2013 at 12:51am

      M.H.V
      ‘Cliffhanger’ is a perfect way to describe your book blurb(s) about what to read next.
      ~Jonathan

  • February 27, 2013 at 8:37pm

    That sounds Very nice but I guess I have the same question as most. How can you put a link to your next book if your next book is not finished. I do put my website on the last page and it does show all the books there. So that will have to do for now :)

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 27, 2013 at 9:03pm

      Lilian – one or all books is equally good- I guess I should have made that clear. “What else can I get from this author?” is the question you’re answering. That can be as many books as you like.
      ~Jonathan

      • February 28, 2013 at 11:47pm

        I have to agree with that statement. Thank you so much!

  • Joe Flood says:
    February 27, 2013 at 8:46pm

    As an author myself, this survey is the most useful bit of advice I’ve seen in months! Incredibly helpful to see actual numbers on how people discover books.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 28, 2013 at 12:54am

      Joe
      Yes, real stats do it for me too. Motivated this article.
      ~Jonathan

  • February 27, 2013 at 10:15pm

    So what about a completely different genre? Anyone have an opinion on that? Something like “More from…” or “Something Completely Different…”

    Or should you keep genres together?

  • February 27, 2013 at 10:18pm

    Hit reply too quickly-
    I understand the “more from the same author thing” but gong from a comedy fantasy fiction to a bloody pirate story- would you think that would jar a reader? Or turn them off your lighter stuff?

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 28, 2013 at 12:53am

      Robert. That is a matter of how you position yourself as an author. If you write every book in a different genre it is of course much harder to develop an author brand. But it is still worth linking if you use the same author name.
      ~Jonathan

  • February 27, 2013 at 11:56pm

    I’ve been doing this for myself a while now, but I was just talking to some friends about adding an additional link for other indie writers. Example: If you enjoyed this, you might like…

    Of course I’d only recommend writers that I feel are worth the reader’s time and money. Just a simple way of paying it forward.

    Great article as usual. I’ve found it strange that many writers are not on to this already, but I guess it’s easy to miss the simple things. It took me a while to think of it as well.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 28, 2013 at 2:38am

      Bard

      First priority is to increase your own fan base. It’s very generous linking to other authors instead of your own book. Not entirely sure it’s in your interests to do that. There might be some reciprocal behaviour from other authors which would widen the net. But giving a reader what they are looking for, (more of you) increases their interest and turns them into long term evangelists for your work.

      ~Jonathan

      • March 4, 2013 at 4:03am

        Promoting other authors actually does work. At the end of my book, I have an excerpt for the next book (with buylink.) Then I have one to three short excerpts and buy links from other indie authors (whose books I’ve read.) They have my excerpts in the back of theirs. I’ve had several five star reviews mentioning that the reader found the book by reading an excerpt in the back of another book.

        In addition, I’ve been able to help a financially struggling unknown author achieve success because my readers picked up her stories. Maybe that hasn’t benefited me a lot in sales, but the good feelings are priceless.

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          March 4, 2013 at 8:50pm

          Debra
          Great contribution. Essentially you’re in a type of advertising co-operative. It’s all upside. Many don’t trust sharing others work, but as you’ve discovered, it actually makes more for all.
          ~Jonathan

  • February 28, 2013 at 12:53am

    I have seen other authors do this on Smashwords, but thought it was kind of below the belt, if you know what I mean, especially if I didn’t like the free whatever that I had just read. But I see the reasoning behind it now…

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 28, 2013 at 2:44am

      Faye.
      Interesting. What did you think was particularly ‘below the belt’ about giving readers what they’re looking for? (I may be missing something.)
      ~Jonathan

  • February 28, 2013 at 1:30am

    Another great blog, thanks Jonathan. I will have to use this when I publish my next book. I agree with about the power of e-books too. Their future potential is just mind-blowing. I don’t know how I ever lived without my ipad and its endless library. http://lwwedgwood.authorsxpress.com/?p=38

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 28, 2013 at 2:42am

      L.W.W. The publishing industry has massive inertia and change takes place at glacial speed. But change it will. You’re well ahead.
      ~Jonathan

  • February 28, 2013 at 3:04am

    J
    As always, an excellent post. I’ve come to rely on you for inspiration in this new world of publishing. Even sent the link to this to my current (paper and ebook) publisher. Lights going up there too, I’m sure. Thank you for your helpful suggestions. I have recently added podcasts to my Author Platform and am working on video trailers. Lots of work but fun too, unleashing the creativity across the entire front

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      February 28, 2013 at 3:11am

      Derek
      Podcasts? Trailers? Very enterprising. The more coverage the better obviously, although on the other hand I worry that authors can become spread too thinly. High quality communications in a few channels is far more effective than dashed off content across many channels.

      Re your own publisher: Publishers aren’t going to suddenly disappear and die one day as if a meteor has struck. But they do need to pivot to take account of the digital era. Hopefully your publisher falls into the category of the ‘new breed’ as outlined in this earlier post. If Printed Books Die, Can You Still Get A Publisher?

      ~Jonathan

  • Elisabeth says:
    February 28, 2013 at 9:29pm

    Jonathan what a wonderful post. I like this idea and planning on using links and also pictures at the end of my ebook… real estate for books! Use every place that makes sense for the customer, because it’s all about them :)

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      March 1, 2013 at 1:59am

      Elizabeth
      Standing by this year for your debut novel – ‘Breaking Cursed Bonds’.
      ~Jonathan

  • March 1, 2013 at 1:34am

    That’s interesting, but it doesn’t quite work for debut novels, like my “Depraved Blood: The Young Bloodsuckers Series.” :(

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      March 1, 2013 at 1:57am

      True enough PJ D. That first novel is the hardest in so many ways. However, seeing the word ‘series’ in your title, the immediate upside that comes to mind is that once you’re into your second and third books, a series allows not only this opportunity, but many more that one-off books will never have:
      http://bestsellerlabs.com/the-hottest-tip-no-fiction-writer-can-afford-to-ignore/
      ~Jonathan

  • March 1, 2013 at 6:07pm

    Hi Jonathan – simple but effective tip, the best kind!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      March 1, 2013 at 10:11pm

      Thanks Laura. Bite sized tips are often the most useful for authors.
      ~Jonathan

  • Hannah says:
    March 1, 2013 at 10:20pm

    Hi Jonathan, great post as always it got me thinking. I’m currently finishing book one, so clearly there is no other book to link to. Should I publish book one now or wait til I’ve finished book two as well, allowing me to link?

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      March 1, 2013 at 10:27pm

      Hannah
      Exciting that you’re finishing the first eBook. It’s best to publish that now. Don’t wait just for this single linking strategy. You can go back and update the first book later. (Add a link and blurb.)
      ~Jonathan

  • J.L. Bond says:
    March 2, 2013 at 5:32am

    Jonathan, Do you think it’s a good idea to offer the first book in a series free through Kindle select (and include the link) once the second book is ready for launch? That’s the plan for The Primortus Chronicles at this point. But I’m a little apprehensive about how readers will perceive being drawn in with a freebie and then asked to pay for the next part. Thanks for all you do to help and encourage new authors! J.L.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      March 2, 2013 at 9:58pm

      JLB
      Readers won’t mind being asked to pay for the second book in the series. It’ll make perfect sense. Think about it, no-one will expect you to write for nothing. You’re worrying needlessly. All the best with your promotion.
      ~Jonathan

      • April 13, 2013 at 11:52pm

        Totally agree – some of my favorite writers do this, and I might not have taken a chance on them without first reading their freebie story. I think it’s a completely legit and useful strategy.

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          April 14, 2013 at 12:21am

          Aubrey
          Many Romantic Fiction writers think there’s a problem with creating a series, because Romantic Fiction stories always have ‘happy endings’. This means that the lead character and her (often shirtless) lover invariably solve their issues and live happily ever after. So it’s unlikely there would be a sequel using the same characters. (One exception is that within the story there can be a secondary character, such as a younger sister, brother, cousin or discarded lover for example, deliberately planted in the narrative, whose story remains unfulfilled. “But… what happened to Laura?” This character can be the focus of a next book. ‘Laura’s Story…’)
          But, more usefully, Romantic Fiction books need to focus on ‘author name’ for brand recognition and to maintain ‘series’ continuity, book after book. The most famous of the pulp Romantic Fiction authors who successfully achieved this being Barbara Cartland, who wrote over 700 historical Romantic Fiction novels.
          ~Jonathan

  • [...] Goodreads CEO Reveals A Shocking Easy Way To Sell More Books  This post is over at Jonathan Gunson’s Bestseller Labs.com website.  And you should definitely read it.  And more importantly – implement it immediately!  Recommended. [...]

  • March 4, 2013 at 3:51am

    I have excerpts and buy links of the next book at the back of mine. However, I like the idea of a cover and a blurb. Covers on the Kindle Fire really POP! They won’t be as dramatic on other ereaders, although they may on the ipad.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      March 4, 2013 at 4:19am

      Debra.
      Yes, Kindle Fire (or any color tablet such iPad with Kindle app) is perfect for this idea.
      ~ Jonathan

  • March 6, 2013 at 4:34pm

    Great post. I have often included a chapter or a more from the author page at the end or beginning of my books, but never considered a link and images. In this world of ebooks, this is a brilliant idea sans the issue of links. Like someone stated, linking to the author’s website might be the way to go. Also what about the issue of multiple works? A blank page with each separate book, considering that you wish to include a blurb or a page with the covers together? Hmmm. Lots of ideas spring to mind.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      March 6, 2013 at 8:15pm

      TC. Expand the idea, yes, and keep it focused. i.e. a page for each book would be very effective.
      ~Jonathan

  • [...] See on bestsellerlabs.com [...]

  • March 8, 2013 at 1:40pm

    This ABSOLUTELY works. At the end of every one of my books, I include a first chapter of another one of my works and there are links to ALL of my other books. I have countless customers who say they buy all of my books in one fatal swoop. This is an incredible way to market and increase sales! I’ve tried it, it’s been proved to work, it’s landed me in the top 100 authors for Religion and Spirituality for Amazon.com
    I HIGHLY recommend this marketing tool!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      March 8, 2013 at 9:47pm

      Cherie
      You’re ‘living proof’ that this pays. Great to hear this ‘no brainer’ tactic is successful for you.
      Jonathan

  • March 9, 2013 at 1:14am

    This is great advice. I had no idea the response would be that high for what readers will do next after ending a book, but it really makes perfect sense. Is the linking process itself something difficult that most people would end up paying someone to do, or is it reasonably figured out by a tech-fluent (but not genius) author?

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      March 9, 2013 at 4:16am

      Alana
      It’s very basic. If your original book document format is word, then just add (type in) the link to your Amazon ‘next book’, and also drop in an image of the cover. Plus any other interesting text you want to use. Make sure the link actually works. You make it ‘live’ in Word by typing a single space after the URL.
      ~ Jonathan

  • March 9, 2013 at 2:24pm

    Jonathan,
    Thank you for all the good advice… I always look forward to your emails.

  • [...] Goodreads CEO Otis Chandler reveals a remarkably easy way to sell more books. [...]

  • [...] a follow-up question was put to readers, another powerful sales strategy for authors emerged. Read More [...]

  • April 13, 2013 at 11:30pm

    As a BBW romance writer and reader, I really like making it easy for readers to continue the series or kind of book they like, especially when it’s a specific genre … So many times when I come to the end of the book, I want to turn the page and have there be more. It’s great that we can do that now! I wish there was a standardized way to do it across all platforms.

  • May 25, 2013 at 7:23am

    I had my book listed on Goodreads and spent money shipping free books all over the world from one of their tools of marketing, the GIVEAWAY. After, I was sent a list of the nearly 800 people that entered. I thought it would be nice to offer them a deep discount since they showed an interest in the book. Some of these people, who only want something for nothing, flagged my offer as spam. I received a notice from Emily at Goodreads advising me that this was a violation of their terms and it was self-promotion. Are they serious? What is a free giveaway? Why do they think authors are there? I am not amused and removed my profile. How misleading and deceptive is this by Goodreads? Tell authors to promote their work by offering a giveaway then slapping them on the wrist for following up with the entrants after the fact.

    FROM EMILY AT GOODREADS
    Hi Hillary,

    Several of your recent messages to Goodreads members have been flagged as self-promotional in nature. Please note that it violates our Terms of Service to send such messages on Goodreads. Nearly all of our members consider unsolicited messages from authors or their representatives to be spam, so not only is it against our rules, it can also be a poor marketing strategy. Please refrain from such activity in the future to avoid being flagged as a spammer.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      May 26, 2013 at 5:37am

      Hillary.

      Honestly, I understand your frustration, but basically those are the rules. Goodreads’ terms of service are quite clear. You see, there is no way they want authors mass-mailing readers. Imagine what would happen if all the authors who gave away books did that? Readers would revolt at being hit with ‘offer’ emails from every author they got a free book from, and Goodreads would be abandoned by all.

      The idea is that if your books are good enough, then it is your books that will do the promotional work. That’s why Goodreads do free offers, so people can discover your books, and if they like them enough, they’ll want more, and also tell their friends. This is the market driven principle by which Goodreads operates.

      This is similar to Twitter. Most authors want to direct message an offer to all of their followers in one hit, but Twitter won’t allow this because it would turn into a giant spam machine overnight, no matter how well-intentioned the senders were.

      Overall, I’ll make a last point: No-one is forcing us to use Goodreads, and were not paying for it either. But if we DO want to use this completely free service, then accordingly it comes with strings attached, it’s ‘the price of free’.

      ~Jonathan

  • January 2, 2014 at 8:20am

    Interesting article. I use Goodreads a lot to connect to readers and also to learn about other books as well. I don’t know how affective their ads are, the groups are worthwhile as are the book giveaways. It is a useful tool. I’m still trying to improve visibility of my new cozy mystery series, ‘Murder in Custer State Park – Playhouse Mystery Series.’ I cannot trace whether sales are derived from Goodreads it is an excellent tool in the kit.

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