Links in Back Matter That Can Be Re-Directed – No More Re-Uploading!

Formatting for publication can be a lot of organizing, planning, and figuring out what comes next. When writing a series, this gets even more complicated, as you want to put links in your books for the next books, but those links are often not yet available. The solution I first heard about was simply uploading all new book files for each previous book, each time you published a new book in a particular series.

This frustrated me. And I’ve heard the frustration from other independent authors before. Until now, though, I didn’t have a solution.

Thanks to kindly rant in Self Publishing Un-Boxed by Patty Jansen about landing pages and forms, I decided to figure out a link that could be redirected without being changed. Took me a little work to figure out, but after a few hours, here’s what I put into place.

Say you have a book 1 you’re publishing and you know there will be a book 2 but you don’t have the pre-order up yet.

1. Go to LinkSplit or a similar service, (Linksplit has it for free for what appears most uses and I’ll just use it here as my example, as it’s what I ended up using). Create a link pointing to your webpage, perhaps a Coming Soon post.

2. Put that LinkSplit link in your book as you compile the files (for me that’s right at the end of the last chapter). Now, at least when excited readers click, they’ll land on that Coming Soon post, which, you could leave a link to you newsletter on, just to be helpful.

3. Now, moving into the future, you have Book 2 on pre-order or published. You know have a live link! Grab that now available link.

4. Go back to LinkSplit.io, log into your account, and edit the URL destination of the link you previously made, which is formatted into book 1.

Whalla, Magic! Now, without you needing to touch your already uploaded and formatted Book 1 file, anyone who buys Book 1 going forward, AND anyone who has ALREADY BOUGHT book 1 before, will be taken to the buy page for Book 2 if they click that link. But you didn’t have to reformat or re-upload anything.

You can do this for lot of different kinds of links. Now your links don’t have to go dead, and you don’t have to keep reformatting the books just to update links.

Make sure you keep a file of the links, where they’re located, and what they are currently pointing at, because LinkSplit doesn’t really let you add meta data to the account.

ARC Services and Giving Away Books for Email Sign-ups and Reviews

Here’s my recent research on finding ways to give away a book for reviews. My research is focused on fiction, but to the best of my knowledge, none of this is exclusive to fiction and can also be used for non-fiction. 

Voracious Readers Only | Connecting Readers with Authors 

The site collects readers who are happy to pick up free books and then, often times, review them. The good thing is that they DO NOT guarantee reviews. This is still the same as if you personally offered an ARC copy to someone and then crossed your fingers that they would review. VoraciousReaders do email their subscribers and remind them to read and then review, once they’ve picked up a book, but they don’t make reviewing conditional for getting books and they do not pay for reviews. 

But, and here’s an important thing, each reader who requests a copy of your book, even if they don’t review, gives you their email, so you’re building your email list, too. 

The first 20 books you give away are free to you to give away. After that, they have a $10/month plan and a $20/month plan. I’ve read at least three happy authors who have used this service. So far, I haven’t heard them mentioned on any of the half a dozen podcasts I follow. 

Prolific Works (also known as InstaFreebie) 

Little pricier and if you don’t pay at least $20/month, you don’t collect email addresses for your giveaway. It is another ready made set of potential ARC readers. I haven’t dug as deeply into them, but for $20, I think I can try one month at least, give away a book one and see about collecting some email addresses. It’s helpful if you promote the InstaFreebie giveaway yourself, but…. You can promote it places where you don’t know everyone, and then capture that newsletter op-in for the future, something you didn’t have before. For example, I think I’ll use this in connection with Instagram posts and/or Facebook posts to promote giving away book 1 while gaining that connection. This is different from Voracious REader because you do help with the promotion, and if you’re getting traction, then Prolific Works seems to step in and also promote the InstaFreebie page themselves. 

Book Sprout 

This seems to be really focused on managing ARC teams with automation. For example, you can see who has reviewed your book or not, and remove people from your ARC team for the future, who don’t review, etc. Book Sprout uses an automated email sequence to prompt reviewers to post their review and reminds them when an ARC is coming, as well as other important reminders, like when to review. They also have introduced a feature for blocking book pirates. I don’t entirely understand that, but it seems like a useful feature if that’s a concern. The cost is $0 for the Free plan, $10/month for up to 50 reviewers, and $20 for the full professional plan with unlimited reviewers.