Amazon’s Author Central is the gold standard when it comes to creating and managing an author presence on a third-party website. In fact, some budget-conscious authors could even use it as their primary author presence on the Internet (although not recommended as an author website substitute). Consider these capabilities:
- Branded website link to take someone to your Amazon author page: Check.
- Display bio and contact information: Check.
- Display photos: Check.
- Show videos: Check.
- Enable fans to stay in contact (follow you): Check.
But in fact, it is even more powerful than simply the ability to manage an author profile. It's also a dashboard to your entire author experience on Amazon. It gives you the ability to review and manage reviews, monitor sales and edit certain book details.
- See Customer Reviews for your titles. Search and filter for specific books and marketplaces.
- See your titles’ Amazon Best Seller Rank.
- Bookscan reports for US retail sales of your paperback books. Bookscan is an independent service of NPD.
One of our favorite Author Central benefits? Customer support.
- Need to add additional categories for a print book published through KDP Print? Use Author Central to contact customer support.
- Are multiple listings of your book showing up? Ask an Author Central rep to remove the duplicate listing.
Author Central in other countries
Before we delve into creating your profile it’s worth mentioning that Author Central is also available for several of Amazon’s country-specific websites. Not all the features are available in every store, 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.
At a minimum we recommend U.S. authors establish an Author Central profile in the UK, and UK authors should do the same for the U.S. market. Update: you used to have to setup separate accounts. As of 2020 this is done within your US Author Central account.
- Visit authorcentral.com: the place to manage author profiles for all Amazon stores.
- Click the Join Now button: use your regular Amazon email and password to establish an account. They send you an email to confirm your account.
- Click Author Page at the top, or the link in the first bullet: “Amazon Author Page.”
Add your bio
It helps to look at a few other author bios before you enter yours and Amazon provides a link to a representative sample, here.
We’ve seen many authors reference their website address (although you can’t link it) and other contact information. Like any bio, mention awards and accomplishments—information relevant to you as an author.
Unlike book descriptions entered through KDP, you cannot use italics, bold and other HTML formatting.
Author Page URL
Create a short, memorable link to your author profile. This is a one-time choice and cannot be changed so give it careful consideration. It is also subject to availability.
Most people choose their name, and those with more common names will have to be creative. Mine is my last name which translates to: Amazon.com/author/wogahn. (One of the few times an unusual last name is beneficial!)
You can include book trailers, interviews, or any other video that helps present you as an author. The file size limit is 500MB and allowable formats are AVI, FLV, MOV, MPG, WMV, MP4.
Now add at least one photo—this is the main image that sits above your bio. You can actually enter up to eight images. Don’t worry about the order because they have a drag and drop sorter you can use to move them around or delete the ones you no longer want to use.
Files upload requirements:
- JPEG, PNG or GIF
- Less than 4MB in size
- Between 300 and 2500 pixels in width and height.
NOTE: The help section says that PNG and GIF are not allowable formats for photos, while the instructions where you upload photos say they are allowable. PNG and GIF are allowable formats. Amazon does not update their help pages very frequently.
Now link your website's blog feed to your author profile so that every time you post a blog on your website, it automatically appears on your author profile page via what is called an RSS feed—Really Simple Syndication. In fact, you can enter more than one blog feed. For example, we connect both AuthorImprints.com and DavidWogahn.com blogs.
This is yet another way to help new readers discover your writing, and your website. Hopefully they will visit and join your mailing list.
Adding this may be a little trickier for some of us so you might need to test links or ask your webmaster. It is usually, but not always, your website address with some additional information appended to the end. Amazon shares several examples, such as:
However, ours is http://feeds.feedburner.com/sellbox/FQSn and I’ve seen WordPress-based blogs formatted like this: http://www.joyofactiveliving.com/feed/ where “joyofactiveliving.com” is your website address.
You might try adding “feed” first if you have a WordPress-based website (not to be confused with WordPress.com).
Now promote it
One feature we did not mention, because it is not something you can formally control, is the ability for readers to “follow” you, just like someone can follow you on Twitter. And you do not need to approve each follower like you do with LinkedIn.
Under every author photo and above the bio is a “+Follow” button. Readers can click it and be notified of new book releases and other author updates. Unfortunately, Amazon won’t tell you how many followers you have, who they are, nor will they allow you to contact them directly.
And please note, those readers are Amazon’s customers, not yours, as painful as that reality might be. It’s also a privacy matter.
TIP: 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 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.
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.
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