Down with friction!

I just wanted to point out just as Amazon is successful in no small part because it makes it easy for people to buy books, authors need to think that way, too.

Someone is trying to give you their money! Don't make it difficult!

Even removing small barriers can make a big difference, which again, is something I think Amazon gets better than most other retailers--you want to make your books easy to find and easy to buy.

That can take some thinking. For example, when Brian S. Pratt began marketing his book:

I first looked around for a good place to advertise and found Project Wonderful. They suited my needs perfectly; ads would run on websites for pennies a day. I then created a coupon code that would discount my first book for free. I then created a series of ads stating that a free copy was available, all they had to do was copy down the code and go to Smashwords for their free copy. Well, that bombed and bombed badly. Came to realize that I was asking way too much of customer. In order to get my book, they had to go to Smashwords, create an account, put in the code, then download.

People are inherently lazy about shopping, especially in this world where everything is a click away. I pondered on the lack of success with my coupon code, then realized that if I just made the book free, they would only have to click the link in the ad, then download a free copy. Simple. (Keep it Simple-Stupid) I made it so easy for people to download my book, that downloads jumped. Subsequently, sales for books 2-7 jumped as well.

If it’s free and downloading is just a click away, people will do it.

Is it hard to redeem a Smashwords coupon? No. But that doesn't matter. You can't fall into the trap of thinking that people "ought" to be smart enough and diligent enough to figure out how to buy your book. They're looking for entertainment, not another hassle in their life.

That's why when I do back matter for my books, I link to the next book at the retailer where the first book was bought (although if the book is distributed through Smashwords, I don't know where it was bought, and I have to link back to Smashwords itself instead of the retailer--this is one reason I'll probably work with more retailers directly once I'm out of KDP Select). I don't link to the book pages on this Web site, even though I've got sample chapters and whatnot--I want the person to be able to go click, click and have their copy of Book 2 without having to think about it.

Likewise with advertisements--I mean, right now, that's a no-brainer because Trang is in KDP Select, and I'll be advertising the free days there. But even if that wasn't the case, I'd rather run multiple campaigns (TRANG FOR KINDLE! TRANG FOR NOOK! TRANG FOR KOBO!) than have one campaign (which isn't any cheaper if it's pay-per-click) that sends them to a page here, and then they have to find the links, and then figure out what edition they want, and then go over--oh, hey, Joe e-mailed me back! Yeah, Joe, I'd love to go for coffee! I'm heading out right now!

Oops. Bye-bye sale, have fun with Joe!

And while I just complained about how unrealistic it is for retailers to expect people to hack Amazon's cloud service, guess what? If ever I do wind up selling e-books on this Web site, I'm going to include instructions about how to do that, with them and with whoever else offers that kind of service.

Whatever it takes to make it easy to buy.