I’m absolutely in love with ReaderLinks, a paid service that offers various tools for authors that can help you tremendously in tracking your sales and marketing efforts. I’ve talked about it before and mentioned it in several posts and conversations, but one thing I hear back a lot is that it’s complicated and overwhelming. I;m not gonna lie to you: it is. Or rather, it LOOKS complicated and overwhelming, but it’s wonderfully systematic and a lot that you have to do is a one time thing. After that, it’s just updating.
The how-to and help section on the ReaderLinks website leaves a little to be desired. I’ve actually mentioned this to the owners, and it’s on their list of things to improve. But in the meantime, I’ll do a blog series to help you set up readerLinks if you’re new to the site. I’m gonna assume you don’t have an account yet, so if you do, you can jump ahead and skip the fist few steps. We’re gonna take it step by step so you know exactly how to set up Readerlinks.
Everyone ready? Here we go.
Step 1: Creating a ReaderLinks Account
Head on over to ReaderLinks first. That was easy, right? LOL. You’ll see this option pop up and if you don’t have an account yet, set one up now. The first 30 days are free and you don’t need to put in a credit card number, which I love. That way, you can’t forget to cancel it if you don’t want to keep it. So go ahead and click that orange “Get Started Today” button.
The next step is simple: put in your email address, your name, and create a password.
If you did it right, it will show a message that a confirmation email has been sent to your email address. It can take a few minutes, so have patience. (Grab some coffee and snacks. You’ll need the sustenance!)
Click on the link in the email you received from readerLinks and this screen will pop up (just a quick notice: they do regular updates on the site, so things might look slightly different in terms of wording, colors, or pictograms. You should still be able to follow the steps)
Now, log in and let’s get started on setting up your account.
Step 2: Setting up Income Data for Your ReaderLinks Account
Now that we have our account, let’s go set it up.Login through the orange “Author Login” button.
Here you have to fill out the first initial settings, so let’s make sure you get these right. Start with your author name or pen name and your email address where you want to receive notifications. You can click on the question marks for more info on these.
The fallback URL is an important one. Once you get the hang of ReaderLinks, you’ll start using their links everywhere to link to your books. But what happens if you mistype the link or something goes wrong? Where do you want readers to end up then? That’s your fallback URL. This can be your Amazon author page (usually not a bad idea since most links you use will be to your books) or to you book page on your own author website.
Make sure the Help Icons are set to yes so you can use those if necessary (once you know how everything works, you cam turn those off), and set your timezone, date format, and currency. Lastly, indicate if you want to receive notifications from ReaderLinks on your email or not. Then hit Update Account Setting.
Step 2A: Grab Data With Chrome Booklet
ReaderLinks will now prompt you to head over to your KDP Dashboard and download a 90-day report for your historical data.
However, if you have Google Chrome, you can install a little booklet called the ReaderLinks KDP Tool that will grab the data from KDP automatically every 15 minutes. Let’s show you how to do that first. Click on the “settings” tab in the menu.
One of the options is “ReaderLinks KDP Tool” and that’s the one you want to click on. This should pop up, which shows you the further instructions. That’s it.
Now, head on over to your KDP Dashboard, click on “Bookshelf”, and then click on the little booklet you just installed. A pop up should appear that tells you your data has been sent off to readerLinks. If that’s the case, you can now go to step 3.
Step 2B: Grab Data Manually
If you don’t have Chrome or want to do it manually for other reasons, this is how you do it. Head on over to your KDP Dashboard and log in. Click on Reports at the top. Make sure to select “Last 90 Days” as the time period. The click on the “Generate Report” button on the lower left. Give it a filename you can find back, because we’ll upload this report to ReaderLinks next.
In this case, you should automatically see a screen with an orange button that says “Upload Income Report” but if you don’t, simply click on the “Home” button at the top left of the ReaderLinks menu and two orange buttons will appear: Upload Income Report and Upload Ad Report. For now, we want the income report. Click on it.
Upload the file you just downloaded from KDP. If you haven’t set up anything in ReaderLinks yet, this screen will pop up. Click on “Show new books”. ReaderLinks has recognized your books from your KDP report and will not automatically create book files for each of them.
It will now show you a list of the books it has found. Make sure to uncheck any books you don’t want included in your report. usually, you should want all books there, but you can exclude out of print books, for example.
Click on Import Books…and watch the magic happen, haha. You should now get a screen that looks like this, and I’ll explain what each of the items mean. (please note that they did an update literally minutes after I made these screenshots, so the menu items look slightly different now)
Home button: pretty self explanatory, but just wanted to point out the location
That green banner at the top is to remind you of your 30-day free trial. That will go away as soon as you switch you the paid version.
The upper right should show you your author name (this is the account for my co-written books with K.M. Neuhold, hence the Nora and Kyleen name)
“Toggle the help system”: you can click this to make that whole gray explanation box disappear, but in the beginning, it may be useful to keep it there to help you
Those two big orange buttons are gonna be used often. The left is to upload income reports from KDP or Audible (KDP only if you don’t install the Google Chrome booklet), the right to upload ad reports from Amazon Ads or facebook Ads. More about that later.
So far, so good? Below those two orange buttons is where the fun stuff begins, so let’s have a look. If you’ve uploaded your 90 days KDP report or have connected to KDP through the booklet, you should see some numbers here. Let’s have a look.
The big, fat, black dollar number is your expected sales income for the selected period at the top. In this screenshot, it says “today”, but you can change that to yesterday, this month, etc. If you have that Chrome booklet running throughout the day, this will update each time you click on the home button. Very addictive, especially on release days, haha.
The three tabs are your key data. The first is a quick summary of how you’re doing on that time period, the second shows you more sales details per book, and the last tab shows you how often your ReaderLink links were clicked. We’ll get to those later. Below, it will show your five bestselling books in order of sales for that period with the sales numbers below. Head up: audio book sales are not automatically downloaded from ACX/Amazon/Audible, so if you want to see those, you’ll have to upload income reports from Audible. We’ll get to those later.
“Data last pulled” tells you when the latest pull was from KDP through the booklet.
The blue graph will give you a quick overview of your sales numbers for today, yesterday, and the month to date, as well as an estimated income for the whole month. Obviously, this will not be accurate if you’re doing a release later in the month. If you track your ad spend, promo spend, and expenses in ReaderLinks as well, this will show you your net profit.
Step 3: Setting Up Book data for your ReaderLinks Account
We’re not done yet, and the next step is a hassle. The good news is that you only have to do it once per book, and that’s it. The downside is that you’re gonna need a lot of info from various sources, and it’s a bit of work. But: if you do this part, you’ll see the magic of ReaderLinks happen, I promise. What we’re going to do is set up all the data on your books. The more books you have, the more info this is…
First, click on the tab Books in the menu.
Because we’ve already uploaded our KDP report, ReaderLinks already has our books in the database. We just need to make it more organized and add all the missing data so we can use all of ReaderLinks’ tools. As you can see, ReaderLinks recognized the books Kyleen and I have published. The first thing you want to do, if applicable, is create a series so you can add each book to the correct series. This matters because that means you’ll also get links to the series page on Amazon, for example, and you can track sales per series rather than per individual book. So, if you have books that are part of a series, click on the blue button “Add New Series”.
It will now ask for the series name, for example “Ballsy Boys”, and for the ASIN/ID on all sites where it’s for sale. Since Kyleen and I are only on Amazon, this one is easy for me. If you can’t find your series’ ASIN, go to your series page on Amazon (if you don’t have one, create that first), then check for the first code (will have letters and numbers) in the link. That’s your ASIN.
So for example, this is the link to the Ballsy Boys series: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TZDHXRB?ref_=dbs_s_ks_series_rwt
The code after /dp is our series ASIN: B07TZDHXRB
Hit save and that’s done for now. Do this with all series you have. If you have stand alones, don’t add those into a series. Or create a series called “Stand alones” so they’re grouped together, but for obvious reasons you won’t be able to use any series-links.
Once you’ve done that, it’s time for the tedious work of collecting all the data for each of your books. Click on the “Books” tab at the top menu again. Select one of your books. Now go to the tab that says “Book Details”. You’ll see something like this appear. Take a deep breath, make some more coffee or tea, promise yourself some chocolate when you’re done, and let’s go.
The top data is the most important stuff. For each book, you’ll need to fill out:
- Title: should be automatically filled out
- Amazon ASIN: this is the ASIN for the ebook
- Show on MyBooks page: this is the page on your ReaderLinks where all your books are displayed. Unless you have a reason to keep that book secret, hit yes
- KDP Sale Price: how much the book costs on Amazon (ebook)
- KDP delivery fee: I’ll explain this below
- KENPC pages: this is the number of pages according to Amazon for your KU reads. This has nothing to do with how many pages your paperback has. I’ll explain below where to find this.
DO NOT FORGET TO CLICK UPDATE BOOK WHEN YOU’RE DONE! I made that mistake once or twice, ugh.
KDP Delivery fee: Amazon charges us a fee for every time they deliver an ebook to a reader. Usually, this is between 6 and 8 cents, but it can be lower for shorter books and higher for longer books or books with lots of extras, like special chapter headings, drawings, illustrations, etc.
You can find your KDP delivery fee in your KDP dashboard. Go to the book and click on the three little dots to the right.
Now choose “Royalty and Pricing” from the options.If you look at where you set the sales price, that’s where you’ll find your delivery fee. This is different for each book, so you’ll have to look this up for each of your books.
the next bit of information we need is the KENCP, which stands for the Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count. You’re gonna hit those same three dots next to your book again in your KDP Dashboard, but now choose “KDP Select Info”. This will tell you when your current period of Kindle Unlimited ends, for example. But it will also show you your KENCP rate. In case you wonder why you need this: ReaderLinks uses this amongst others to calculate your read through rate for each of your series, and your buys/sales to KU reads ratio.
Anyway, that’s the number you need. For Rebel, this is 350, but again, this will differ per book, so you’ll need to look it up for each.
Fill out this info on the “Book details” page and now work down the list. If your book is only on Amazon, skip everything for other retailers. Don’t forget to tell ReaderLinks which series this book is a part of. Now go down the list. I told you, this isn’t fun. Sorry. But you’ll be SO freaking happy once you did this.
Most of the times, the ASIN will be in the URL just like I showed you earlier, and unfortunately, this is different for each Amazon store, so you’ll have to visit them all to get this data. The same is true for the Audible IDs, which are not the same as the ASIN for the audiobook on Amazon (because why make it easy) and which are also different for each store. I bet that chocolate is starting to sound good, right?
You can find your bounty URLs in your ACX dashboard and if you put those in, ReaderLinks will use those automatically.
User-Defined-Tags: I would skip this for now and revisit this later once you understand how ReaderLinks works.
Use Amazon affiliate tags: if you’re part of the Amazon affiliate program, you can fill our your affiliate codes on readerLinks so it can use these in links automatically for you, where allowed. We’ll talk more about that when we cover custom links and especially core links. But sometimes, you don’t want affiliate tags at all used on a book for example on a permafreebie. If that’s the case, set this to no.
Now rinse and repeat for each of your books. Trust me, I have over 25 books out. I feel your pain. But it’s a one-time thing. Once ReaderLinks has this data, it will show you some amazing analytical tools. We’ll look at those next time.