As mentioned last week, I’m slowly working my way through the most dreaded of my writing chores: The Web Check. The Web Check involves proofreading, revising and link checking every me-related page across the Interwebs that I have control over. One of the final stops on this horrible journey was my Amazon Author Central page, which got me thinking that there are some secrets that author’s should be aware of when keeping their author pages up to date. So, this blog post is going to delve into a handful of those secrets.
What is Amazon Author Central?
Amazon’s Author Central is a place where you can post your bio, author events, blog feeds, book trailer videos and highlight information about your books. Whenever someone comes across your book on Amazon they can either click on your name to bring up all the fascinating details about your writing world or, in the book description, they can get a more in-depth look at your book.
When you load a book on Amazon via KDP, Createspace or through a publisher, your book listing will get the basic description (blurb) you provide. Through your Amazon Author Central pages you can add reviews/awards the book has earned, a more thorough description, behind the book tidbits and your bio (where you should most definitely list your other books!). Amazon Author Central is a great way to connect with your readers, if you know how to use it.
Getting Started On Author Central
There’s tons of tutorials on Amazon and the Web explaining how to set up your Author Central page, so I won’t go into lengthy detail here. Basically, you’ll sign in with your Amazon ID (the one you use for shopping and probably the same one you use for KDP login) and then you’ll start filling in the blanks.
If you look at the tabs at the top of the screen, you’ll see one that says “Books.” Click on that. If your books don’t show up, you can search for your books using the Add More Books button. When you find one of yours that isn’t already added, click This is My Book and there you go. You should check your Books tab whenever you add a new book to your line up because sometimes the Amazon gods and the Author Central gods don’t communicate well.
Under your books, click on a title and you’ll see all kinds of stuff to fill out including reviews, description, author notes, bio, etc. Fill those blanks in as completely as possible and all that info will soon appear in your book’s listing when someone looks up your books on Amazon. Cool, huh? But wait, there’s more work to do (sigh)…
The Secret World of Amazon Author Central Part One
Okay, let me start by saying this isn’t a fun secret world with friendly unicorns and fairies. It’s an annoying world with plenty of copying and pasting. And here is Part One of that world….
If you publish both e-books and print books, you must fill in all that information (reviews, description, bio, etc.) for both versions of the book. Author Central does not do it for you. Sigh. Over at the right side of the screen within each book’s info page you’ll see “Editions” where there will be links for the e-book, audiobook (if you have one) and paperback. Both of those need to be filled out in their entirety to show up on each version of the book’s Amazon page.
If you only fill out the paperback edition, the e-book version will only have the basic description you provided when you uploaded your book via KDP or Createspace. So, take the time going back and forth between the versions, make use of Copy and Paste, and get all those blanks filled in for every version. It’s a nit-picky chore, but it does give your book a more professional and engaging listing on Amazon.
The Secret World of Amazon Author Central Part Two
Part Two of the annoying world of Amazon Author Central is that you must fill in your Author page for every Amazon across the globe. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration because not every Amazon across the world offers Author Central, but you will need to create an Author page for the British, French and German Amazons. There are probably others; I know Japan has one (which I haven’t gotten to), but so far I haven’t found one for the Italian, Indian or Canadian Amazons.
The good news about this secret is you only need to fill in your main Author Central page with your bio. The book listings appear to be handled by the Amazon gods.
Completing your other Author Central pages is pretty straightforward. Go to whichever Amazon Author Central you’re working on (links above), enter your Amazon ID (use the link in the upper right corner, not the big yellow Sign Up button mid-screen), and follow the links to fill in your bio. And don’t worry if you don’t speak French or German, all the links and buttons are in the exact same place as in the American/British Amazon sites.
The Secret World of Amazon Author Central Part Three
Okay, this isn’t so secret and is something I don’t waste much time on, but via Author Central, you can also look up all kinds of stats about your books such as weekly sales, where your buyers are located, your Amazon ranking and all kinds of stats-nerd goodness. If you love the numbers side of marketing your books, this is a great place to hang out for a while.
Amazon Author Central does have some quirks, but it’s a great tool that you should be taking advantage of to connect with your readers and to promote your work. Just remember, Copy and Paste are your allies in this secret world!
Have you set up your Amazon Author Central pages? Got any secrets to share that I may have missed? I’d love to hear from you!