Your Amazon Author Central author page is the gold standard when it comes to creating and managing an author presence on a website that attracts book shoppers.
Author Central is important to authors for three reasons:
1. In the Amazon store, your author name under the title of your book can be linked to your author page created on Author Central. Readers are often interested in an author’s background, accomplishments, and qualifications. The more you can connect with a reader, the greater your chances of selling your book.
Just as importantly, if you have more than one book, readers that click your name will see all your books.
2. Your Author Central author page is indexed by Google. When someone searches for your name, a link to your Author Central bio could be near the top of the list. (Obviously, the more unique your name, the higher the ranking.)
3. Amazon has added social media-like features to author pages to help you connect with your readers. They can follow you, and new for 2023, you can add book recommendations (#3 below) to help your readers learn more about you and your books.
Author Central is free, and it’s easy to set up your page
Prerequisite: You must be a contributor to a book for sale or on pre-order. What’s a contributor? Author, foreword writer, illustrator, and editor are just a few options.
Quick-start guide for a first-book author to create a basic author page via Author Central
Tip: Have your bio and author photo ready before continuing.
1. Visit AuthorCentral.com and register for free. Use your regular Amazon login and password, if you have one.
2. Search for your book. The most direct method is to use the print edition ISBN with no dashes. You can also use the title and/or your name.
3. Once you’ve clicked on the book and confirmed yourself as author when asked, you’ll see the message, “We are reviewing your request. You will get an email notification when your request has been reviewed.”
4. Monitor your email for messages, and log in again to Author Central after approval.
5. Click Profile at the top and enter your author bio. Preview and publish when satisfied.
6. Under the Photos and Videos heading, click Upload Media. This is where you upload your author photo.
That’s it! Now keep reading to learn about all the other things you can (and should) do with Amazon’s Author Central.
Table of contents
1. Author profile—Add or edit your bio, photos, and videos. Connect your blog. Create an author page URL.
2. Your books—Add books; add/edit information about your book, such as the description, editorial reviews, and information found on your book’s back cover and flaps (if your book has flaps).
3. Book recommendations—Share your own book(s), and recommend books by other authors.
4. Sales rank—Check your book’s bestseller rank by marketplace, format, and various time periods.
5. BookScan sales report—Monitor print book sales that happen on Amazon.com and through more than 10,000 other retailers.
6. Customer reviews—Monitor newest to oldest reviews. Sort by marketplace and book.
7. Pen names—List up to three.
8. Languages—Supported languages and country-specific author pages.
9. Amazon Advertising—You don’t have to be the publisher to advertise.
10. Insider tips!—Customer service, duplicate listings, and the follower button.
1. Author profile
The author profile is what customers see when they click your name under your book’s title.
There are two components that make up your profile:
1. A bio of 1,000 characters or less. No rich formatting (e.g., bold, italic, bullets) is allowed.
2. An author photo. It should be at least 300×300 pixels and in one of these formats: JPEG, PNG, GIF.
You can change either the bio or photo as often as you like. Updates appear in one to two days.
- It helps to study a few other author bios before you enter yours.
- Be sure to include contact information such as your website and social media handles. They won’t link, but it’s okay to include them (just don’t add phone numbers or addresses). And like any bio, be sure to mention awards, accomplishments, and other important achievements relevant to you as an author.
- Unlike book descriptions entered through KDP, you cannot use italics, bold, or other formatting enhancements.
Bios cannot include any of the following
- Phone numbers
- Groups of numbers (they must be separated by spaces, dashes, or periods)
- Time-sensitive statements
- Advertisements or promotional material
- Availability, price, or alternative ordering/shipping information
- Profanity or spiteful remarks
- Obscene or distasteful content
URLs (such as your own website) can be added, but they won’t be hyperlinked.
Custom author page URL
Anyone trying to find your book on Amazon using the search bar is going to be bombarded with advertising, may get distracted, and worst, may never find your book. You can solve this problem by creating and sharing a custom, branded link to your author page.
In deciding what name to give the custom link, most people choose their name or add the word “author” to it. Those with more common names will have to be creative.
Instructions: click Profile in the top menu.
Under Author Page URL, click the Create link and type your choice in the pop-up window.
It takes about 30 minutes for the system to process your URL request. You can return to your author page to copy the link, or simply type in your name choice, replacing [name-here], in this URL: “amazon.com/author/[name-here]”; ex., amazon.com/author/wogahn.
This feature is available only on Amazon.com.
Change an author page URL
To change your URL, go to the Help page and click the Contact Us link at the bottom of the topics, tell them you’d like to change your author page URL, and include your desired URL. Once this link is changed, the old link will no longer work, so you’ll need to update your audience accordingly.
More photos, video, a blog
You can add additional photos and videos and connect your blog to your author page, but this content will be displayed only to customers in Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
The ability to post videos, connect your blog, or add more photos was a part of Amazon.com (US) up until December 2022, when the functionality was removed. Even though it still works in the other listed countries, we can’t recommend it as worth the effort. Who knows if it might be taken down for one or more of these marketplaces in the future?
The first time you use your Author Central account, you’ll select your book to be part of your profile. Once your first book is added, subsequent books may appear automatically. If not, you can use the search feature to find the book and request it be added to your account.
Important things to know
- Only authors can add books to their account. As noted earlier, a foreword writer can have an Author Central account, but they cannot manage the book’s page.
- Books cannot be removed. So, if you wrote a book years ago, and you prefer not to be associated with it, do not add it to your Author Central account. However, if someone lists a used copy for sale, it may automatically show up as one of your books.
- Each book has a page for each format—hardcover, paperback, Kindle, audiobook—so you will see, in the example below, four clickable book icons: one for Kindle, one for hardcover, one for paperback, one for Audible.
- Much of what you can manage yourself is limited to Amazon.com. Some updates will need to be made by Author Central staff, while others are not available at all.
- Not all formats have pages that can be managed. The most common format you cannot manage is audiobook. Your ability to manage your book’s information depends on how a book’s format was listed for sale on Amazon. For example, you cannot manage an audiobook’s details if it was distributed by Findaway Voices instead of Amazon’s Audible.
Adding/updating editorial reviews
Being able to add editorial reviews (a.k.a. blurbs or testimonials) to your book’s page is one of the most important features available to you. Here you can add review excerpts or complete reviews from services such as Kirkus Reviews.
The Author Central Help page has detailed how-to information—an HTML formatting guide, space limits, guidelines—so we’ll share our experiences managing this for our clients:
- We rarely paste in an entire review. Instead, we create excerpts. There are four reasons for this:
1. The space is limited to 3,000 characters. A review of 200 to 500 words will use up much of the space.
2. Let’s face it, cherry-picking the positive bits of a long review makes your book look better. And in our experience, most reviews include a summary of the book, which is already on the book’s page in the form of the book’s description.
3. Do shoppers want to read one long review, or highlights of several? We feel several is more effective.
4. Related to number three, most people reading online—especially those shopping—like to skim. Short, pithy blurbs grab these readers’ attention.
- There are two sections for editorial reviews. The ones you enter in Your Editorial Reviews will appear in the All Editorial Reviews section. The former will allow you to edit the blurbs, but the latter can be edited only by the Author Central team. Our advice is to do your own editing by entering them in the Your Editorial Reviews section. If you enter them in the All Editorial Reviews section, Amazon will have to make any corrections. Sometimes this can’t be avoided, but you’ll save time if you try to refrain from asking them for help.
- Unlike on the author profile, rich text is allowed on book pages. We suggest using HTML to format the blurbs, and be consistent. For example, make the blurb regular text and bold the person’s name. Use italics for book titles. If you make the whole thing bold, it will be hard to read.
When it comes to blurbs, the name of the blurber or their qualifications can be as important as, or more important than, what they say.
Adding/updating other information about your book
In addition to being able to add editorial reviews, you can add additional information about your book. This appears under the following headings on your book’s product page.
1. From the Author: Up to about 1600 words for you to tell readers about your experience writing the book and how it might relate to other books you’ve written.
2. From the Inside Flap: If your book has a dust jacket, this should match it exactly. Up to about 1600 words.
3. From the Back Cover: This should match the back cover text exactly. But do not repeat the book’s description! Up to about 1600 words.
4. About the Author: This should be the same or similar to the biography in your book. Up to about 400 words.
Look Inside the Book (LITB)
You’re probably familiar with this feature as an Amazon shopper—the ability to see the first 10 percent or so of a book—so here are a few things to know as an author:
1. If you publish through KDP, LITB happens automatically.
2. You can control the amount that is shown. The minimum and maximum depend on the format.
3. You can remove the LITB sample from appearing for your book.
4. If your book was submitted to Amazon in a way other than KDP and you’d like to have the LITB feature, see the Help page on Author Central. Before contacting them, however, check with your publisher or distributor, because many will handle this for you.
3. Book recommendations
This is a new feature of Author Central as of December 2022. It has sort of a social media feel to it, in that Amazon is trying to get authors to share more about what books they like, with the hope that this will help them connect with readers.
There are two sets of questions you can answer. All of this is optional, and you can skip questions.
Group one questions are about your own books
Amazon says: “Use this section to tell your readers more about your books. These can help readers learn what makes these books special and help them decide what to read next.”
1. My most talked about book is. . .
2. My book I wish more readers knew about is. . .
3. If you are new to my work, I recommend starting with my book. . .
4. If you want to get lost in a story, I recommend my book. . .
Group two questions are about your recommended books
Amazon says: “Use this section to share book recommendations to your readers for other books. These recommendations can be of books you think readers will like or books that have your stamp of approval.”
1. If you like my work, I think you’ll like. . .
2. A book I couldn’t put down was. . .
3. A book that left an impression on me was. . .
How to use Author Central’s book recommendations feature
- You do not have to answer all questions, or any, for that matter. You can also change your answers by returning to the questions page.
- If you are completing group one, you’ll see a list of your books. Pick what you want to share with readers.
- Group two may require more thought. Choose books that are relevant to your book. This is another example of why it is helpful to know about and read books in the genre you write in.
Each time you select a book—for either group—you get this pop-up message:
Your book recommendation has been added and will appear on your author page within one day.
Submit at least three new book recommendations, your books or books by other authors, and we will consider sending your recommendations via email.
Obviously, this is a great marketing opportunity!
Where book recommendations appear on your Author Central author page
After about a day’s wait, visit your author page as a reader (click your name under your book’s title) and scroll down. Sandwiched between your book(s) and “Customers Also Bought Items By” are your recommendations. In my case, I answered six of the seven questions, so they are displayed in a three-page carousel.
4. Sales Rank
This is also known as the Amazon Best Sellers Rank (BSR) and the number is how well your book—in a specific format—is selling, relative to all other books in a particular Amazon store (Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, etc.).
- In Author Central, click Reports + Marketing in the top menu, then Sales Rank
- The smaller the number, the better it is selling
- The overall sales rank of your book is in comparison to all books (in this format) in the store
- Your book can also rank in up to three other categories, regardless of the number of categories you may have assigned to it
- Each format and edition of your book has a ranking
- See your book’s sales rankings over time and time periods
Tip: if you want to raise your ranking, try to have your book listed in a relevant category with less competition (this AuthorPro newsletter covers Amazon categories), and put your eBook on sale using a price-drop promotion.
5. What is BookScan in Author Central?
BookScan is an independent service that tracks print-books sales across about 85% of all retailers—not just Amazon.com—in the United States. This includes your book’s sales in stores such as Amazon, B&N, Target, Walmart, and Costco, about 10,000 retailers in all.
Amazon provides your BookScan sales report for free. Find yours under Reports + Marketing in the top menu of Author Central, then click View Report under BookScan Weekly Sales Report.
What does BookScan not track?
BookScan doesn’t track eBook sales, library sales, used-book sales, pre-orders, and a few other sources (see Author Central’s Help page).
How relevant is BookScan to you?
If most of your sales are through Amazon, and especially if most sales are eBooks, BookScan’s report isn’t very helpful. (They used to include a map of the US that showed print sales by region, but this is no longer available.)
6. Customer reviews
All your customer reviews can also be found on the Reports + Marketing page, and you can filter them to show reviews by marketplace (country) and book.
Honestly, if you have a single book, visiting your book’s page on Amazon.com to monitor reviews is probably easier than having to log in to Author Central to do so. But if you have several books, having all the reviews in one place makes viewing them much easier, especially if you also want to see your book’s reviews by marketplace.
Unlike editorial reviews, the content of which you can generally control, the only control you have over what customers say about your book is to report violations of Amazon’s guidelines. How to report this is in the Help section at the end of this article. Violations that can result in a review being removed include these:
- Obscene or profane comments
- Promotional content
- Inappropriate content
- Off-topic information
Again, visit Author Central’s Help page for this topic to see details, and do not hesitate to contact Amazon if a customer review violates the guidelines. In our experience, Amazon does take action.
7. Can you add pen names to Author Central?
Yes, you can list up to three pen names within a single account and then switch between them, using the drop-down next to your name in the upper right corner of Amazon Author Central.
Adding a pen name is like adding your first author bio. Start by clicking the Books tab in the top menu.
1. In the text above your book(s), click where it says “. . . add it now.”
2. Enter the title, ISBN, or author name of the book you have written with the pen name you want to add and click Add this book.
3. You will see [author name] is my pen name.
4. Click Continue.
Amazon now needs to verify that you’re the author for the selected book(s). Once verified, an additional author page will be available for you to maintain, and the pen name will appear in the drop-down menu next to your name in the upper right corner.
8. Languages and country-specific author pages
Author Central author pages are also available for several of Amazon’s country-specific websites, referred to as marketplaces. Not all the features are available in every marketplace, and you might need to get your profile information translated, but it is still a cost-effective way for authors to connect with readers in foreign countries.
What Amazon marketplaces have their own author pages?
**Author Pages are automatically created if you have books available in those marketplaces. The information that will display is collected from the US marketplace and cannot currently be edited.
What languages are supported?
English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish
9. Amazon Advertising
If you are a traditionally published author and meet the eligibility criteria—which begin with having an Author Central account—you can use Amazon Advertising. You simply need to apply by following the directions below.
(Authors that have books in KDP automatically qualify and do not need to apply.)
Here are Amazon’s eligibility requirements:
- For traditionally published titles, you must claim at least one pen name and at least one book before you can start advertising (a pen name in this case being your name or a fictitious name you’ve published under).
- To create Sponsored Brand ads for traditionally published or KDP titles, you must claim at least one pen name with three unique titles.
Once you meet the criteria, you can apply for an account and can run ads in the United States as well as the marketplaces for France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
How to apply
First, make sure you have claimed your Author Central profile and have at least one book in your account. Then click Reports + Marketing in the top menu.
Under Amazon Advertising, select the first country in which you want to create your ads, then click Go to ads console. You’ll be redirected to Amazon Ads to set up an account.
You will use Amazon Advertising to create and manage your ads. This will not affect your Author Central page; Author Central does not offer advertising management.
10. Insider tips! Contacting customer service, duplicate listings, the Follower button
Contacting customer service
In our experience, the people who work at Author Central Help are prompt, competent, and courteous, but you also need to remember that there are some bad actors who try to impersonate authors and/or take control over books they did not write. Consequently, it’s possible that you might be pressed by Author Central for more information, or worse, before they will proceed with you and your issue.
Also, not all Author Central services are available to all authors. For example, authors that are traditionally published may need to contact their publisher regarding certain changes they wish to make, like updating information about their book. And KDP authors will need to contact KDP customer service about certain changes, such as updating the categories where your book is placed.
Usually, some up-front planning and gathering of information is all that’s needed to help this process go more smoothly. For example, if the rights to your book have been reverted to you, we recommend you insist on getting that in writing from your former publisher. Do not accept an email from them. Get it on company letterhead with a signature and their title. Emails can be spoofed.
Another example of planning before contacting: before asking Author Central to add your book to a new category, gather those categories by book format and marketplace. The Kindle categories are different from the print categories. Categories for books in the UK can be different from those in the US or Canada.
Amazon calls the category location where your book is sold a browse path, and you can learn more in their help topics, found under Amazon Store & Detail Page.
How to remove or merge duplicate or rogue book listings on Amazon
Sometimes you’ll come across what we call an unofficial listing of your book. This is a listing that is in addition to your book’s regular listing. Here are the two most common cases and what to do about them.
1. Case one: a used copy of your book on a page by itself. Scroll down and look under Product Details and you’ll see an ASIN but no ISBN (they are labeled this way). Note the ASIN and ask Author Central to merge it with the official ISBN of your book. (Give them both numbers.)
2. Case two: an author proof of a print book printed by KDP. This will be obvious because it’s the image of your book with Amazon’s gray “Not for Resale” band around the cover. Note the ISBN and notify support, using the Contact Us link of Amazon Central’s Help section.
+ Follow button
Although it isn’t a feature you can control, having an Author Central author page means your readers can follow you, just like someone can follow you on social media with a click of the button. The follow button appears:
- At the top of your author page
- At the bottom of your author page
- And most importantly, under your book
Readers can click it and be notified of new book releases and other author updates such as your Book Recommendations.
We suggest you follow yourself. This way you’ll know when Amazon is promoting you. We also suggest you follow a “comp author,” a popular author that writes books like yours. It’s a good way to learn from others.
The point is that the +Follow button on your Amazon Author Central author profile is yet another way for you to reach readers, and for them to connect with you. Some readers won’t take the time to follow you on social media or join your mailing list, but they just might click this button.
Think of this as one of those retailer loyalty programs, only in this case the prospective buyer is telling their retailer that they want to hear news only about YOU.
By the way, Amazon will tell you how many followers you have. But they won't tell you who they are, nor will they allow you to contact them directly. Those readers are Amazon’s customers, and Amazon wants to protect their privacy. To check your follower count, click Reports + Marketing in the top menu.