Young adult author Julia Crane just released a new book in her Keegan’s Chronicles, entitled, “Conflicted.” Over email we were discussing her plan to use her free Google adwords credits to post some ads for the launch to help get the word out. One question she asked is should the link in her ad send traffic to amazon where they could buy the book or to her site. With her permission I’ve copied my response email to her here for everyone to read.
When we first started in January we put Lizzy’s book (Yes, there was only one then!) on smashwords. A day or two later I went around googling for sites that had free ebooks, and then submitting her book to them using smashwords as the link or uploading a file. This worked ok but after about a week her book was doing ok on smashwords but our website had no visitors. I know at the end of the day it’s all about the books but I really wanted to build Lizzy as a brand.
It was also maddening to me that I couldn’t track what was working for us as well as I would of liked. I’m not smart enough to be a scientist but I use their methodology every day. I form theories (aka guesses) about what might work, perform experiments, monitor results, try to tweak for different results and publish my findings here for our peers to read. The “sit around and watch the total downloads” approach was
not working for me. Lizzy realizing her life long dream of becoming an author was and is far too important to leave to chance.
In a stroke of common sense, I decided to play middle man. For the next book she wrote I made a “splash page” like the one here for Keira’s Moon.
I have a picture of the cover, description of the book and a link to
download it for free at smashwords. Short, simple and easy. I didn’t use popups or anything else I thought might offend visitors. Is it possible that someone will not want to click one more time and will leave in disgust? It’s possible. Even if I knew for a fact that it was costing me 1 out of every 100 visitors I would still do it, beacuse I’m more concerned about the long term then the short term.
Almost all of the traffic The Kiera’s Moon splash page gets is from from free eBook sites and the page has a “bounce rate” of 46%. That means 46% of enter into our site on that page leave without going to another page. Some people would say that a 46% bounce rate is alarming, that I needed to change
that page beacuse it is driving away almost half our visitors to it. Those people would be wrong. I made the page to make it easy to click the link and go to smashwords where they can download her book. I’m fine with that, I just want to play middle man so I can track where readers are coming from so I know where to focus my effort.
What’s REALLY cool about the 46% bounce rate though is that 54% of the people who land on that page from another site VISIT OTHER PAGES ON OUR SITE BEFORE THEY LEAVE. That’s huge. All I try to do is funnel traffic from A to B as easily as possible but I still get over half of them checking out our site, looking at Lizzy’s other books etc. We convert people looking for a free book into Lizzy Ford fans. They realize she has other books which they download, they sign up for the
mailing list so they can be notified when she writes other books. The whole system is so beautiful I’m starting to tear up as I write it.
Not playing middle man was the biggest mistake I’ve made with the site, fortunately I realized it almost instantly. I would set-up a nice looking simple page with a picture of the cover, description, a nice review if you have one and buttons to send them to buy it on amazon. I would have your ads go there instead of straight to amazon. Could this cost you a
sale or two? Possibly, but it will expose people interested enough in an eBook to click on your ad to the awesome brand that is Julia Crane, young adult author!
What are your thoughts on this? Anyone find success one way or another?