This is the third in a series. In part one I showed you how to set up a basic WordPress site. In part two, I explained how to connect your blog with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. In this post, I’m going to cover a few different ways to use widgets to display your books on your WordPress site.
Probably the easiest way to display your books on your site is to use one of the custom widgets offered by one of the major book retailing websites, ie Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Since I sell almost entirely Kindle books, I don’t bother with B&N, but the process is similar.
To use an Amazon widget, you first need to create an Amazon Associates account by going to https://affiliate-program.amazon.com. Once you do that, you can create a variety of widgets to display one or more of your books. Once you have what you want, first copy the Amazon code to your clipboard.
Then go to Appearance => Widgets in WordPress.
Scroll down to the “Text” widget.
Drag it to where you want it to display on your template.
Click on the widget header to expand it. Then paste the Amazon widget code.
Save your changes. Your widget will display on your website. Easy!
The advantages of linking to your books this way are that it’s easy to set up and relatively easy to maintain (once you have it set up, you can add books to the widget on the Amazon site without having to mess around with the widget). It also allows you to make a little extra money on each sale, because you’re using your Amazon affiliate ID in the widget. The disadvantages are that it only allows you to sell books through Amazon, and it doesn’t allow you to create separate pages on your site for each of your books.
Using MyBookTable to create custom book lists and pages
If you want a more robust (but also more maintenance-heavy) option, you can use a WordPress widget called MyBookTable. This is what I’ve done with sfauthor.net.
Install and activate the MyBookTable plugin.
Once you activate the plugin, you’ll see a new menu option in WordPress for MyBookTable. The interface is pretty straightforward. You’ll have to manually add any books that you want to display, along with any purchase links.
You can also enter your Goodreads developer key if you want to be able to display Goodreads reviews for your books. You can get a developer key by logging into Goodreads and going to https://www.goodreads.com/api/keys.
You can specify a specific page on your site to use to display books. Note that MyBookTable won’t let you use your affiliate IDs unless you pay to upgrade the app. Unless you plan on selling a lot of books from your website, it probably isn’t worth it.
If you want to display a widget with your books on your website home page, you can do that with the Featured Books widget. Drag the widget where you want it, configure it to display the books you want, and save the changes.
Whether you want to go with a simple Amazon (or B&N) widget or something like MyBookTable depends on how much control you want over the display of your books and how much effort you want to put into maintaining your links. For most people, the Amazon widget is probably the best bet.