As an independent author, you likely don’t have a huge marketing team to rely on to get the word out about your book. Telling people who you are and what your book is about is your responsibility. That’s why it’s important to have a professional author page in Amazon Author Central.
What is Amazon Author Central?
Amazon Author Central is a hub for authors who have books available on Amazon. It gives you some access to some powerful tools that will help you get your book out there:
- You can track your book sales.
- You can control your book listings.
- You can add editorial reviews of your book.
- You can see and respond to reviews.
- You can chat with your readers, which adds a personal touch.
Most importantly, Amazon Author Central allows you to create and control your author page.
What is your Amazon Author Page?
When someone wants to buy your book on Amazon, they can go to your author page to find out more about you: your background and credentials, what else you’ve written, even links to your blog.
Here is a screen shot from the Amazon product page for my book, One Million Readers. The big red circle with the arrow pointing through it shows you where readers can click to visit your author page when they’re viewing your book’s page. The bottom arrow shows the second place a reader can click to get to your author page.
Your Amazon author page is an invaluable marketing tool and if it looks professional, it will help confer credibility for you as an author.
And here’s a screen shot of my populated Amazon author page to give you an idea what types of information you get to share with readers.
Before you can set up your Amazon author page, you first need to set up your Amazon Author Central account.
How to set up an Amazon Author Central account
To set up an Amazon Author Central account, follow these steps:
- Go to https://authorcentral.amazon.com/ and click on the “Join Now” button.
- Enter your email address and password to sign in, following the prompts.
- Read the Amazon Author Central terms and conditions and then click “Agree” to accept them.
- Select any one of your books available for purchase on Amazon: doing this will create the account. You can search for your books using your pen name, the title or the ISBN.
- Amazon will send you a confirmation email. When you receive this, confirm your email address and identity.
It can take up to seven days for Amazon to complete the verification. They may also contact your publisher, so to avoid delays, be sure to use the email address your publisher is familiar with to sign in. During this waiting period, you won’t be able to use all of Amazon Author Central’s features yet. However, you can start creating your author page.
If you write under different pen names, you can use your Amazon Author Central account to create and manage up to three author pages. If you’ve co-written a book, you can link your co-author’s author page too.
How to set up your Amazon Author Page
Even while you’re still waiting for Amazon to verify your email address and identity, you can start setting up your author page. Here’s how:
Step 1: Add your biography
The most important part of your author page is your biography, where you tell readers about yourself. Look for the “Personal Biography” tab and click on “edit biography” next to it to add your biography. Consider the following:
- Your biography should be at least 100 characters in length.
- You can only use plain text, so no italics, bold, HTML or other formatting.
- You may find it easier to write your biography in your word-processing program first and then to copy and paste it. This way, you won’t have to post the biography until it’s perfect.
- Especially if you’ve written multiple books, consider starting with a catchy author tagline that sums up what your work is about: “Fact is stranger than fiction,” for example, or “Tales from the road” for a travel book.
- Don’t go into irrelevant detail but include information your readers may find interesting.
- Writing in the first person is more personal. However, if you’ve won lots of awards for your work, writing in the more neutral third person may sound less like you’re trying to say, “Look at me; I’ve won all these awards; I’m awesome.”
- Proofread your biography before posting it.
Step 2: Add photographs
Having at least one author photograph on your author page will help readers put a face to the name. It will make them feel like they know you. Use the “Add Photo” and “Browse” buttons to select and upload each picture. You can add up to eight photographs. Here are some things to consider:
- Make your main author photo a professionally taken headshot. The only time a holiday snapshot would give you credibility is if you’re a travel author.
- Add photographs that will resonate with your readers. For example, if your book is a memoir about your family, your readers may like to see a picture of you with the family members you’ve written about. They may be less interested in pictures of your family if you’ve written a business book.
- Make sure you have the rights to use the photograph. Using a picture without the photographer’s permission can land you in legal hot water.
Step 3: Add your blog feed
You can add a blog or RSS feed to link and direct readers to your blog. Your author page will display a blog teaser of your latest blog posts. These get automatically updated within 24 hours of you posting on your blog.
To add your blog feed, look for the “Blogs” tab and then click on “Add Blog”. Enter the feed address, not the blog address. For a WordPress blog, this means simply adding /feed/ to your blog address. Clicking on the RSS icon on your blog will take you to your blog feed address.
Step 4: Add videos
Video can add legitimacy to your author page. They aren’t crucial but they can take things up a notch. You can add up to eight videos. These have to be no more than ten minutes long, no bigger than 500 MB and in avi, wmv, flv, mov or mpg format. Go to “Add Video”, click “Browse” and select the video you want to upload. Consider the following when adding videos:
- Your videos should be relevant to your books or your experiences as an author. They can include interviews or book signings, for instance.
- They may not include contact details, details on price, availability and alternative ordering or shipping information, promotional materials, comments about reviews on Amazon or offensive content.
- You can’t use someone else’s work without their permission.
- You can’t embed videos directly from YouTube.
Step 5: Create your Author Page URL
A great way to steer people to your author page is to share the link in your email signature, your blog posts, your Facebook posts and your Tweets. Your Amazon Author Central account allows you one author page URL. To create this, look for “Author Page URL” and click on “Add Link” next to it. You can choose the suggested URL or create your own, as long as this URL is available. Once you’ve chosen an available URL, click “Save”. The URL will go live an about half an hour.
Step 6: Claim your books
Once you’ve been verified, you can check that all your books, in every edition, are linked to your author page. To do this, go to the “Books” tab and check that all your books that are available on Amazon are listed there. If any edition is missing, click on “Add More Books,” search for the book and claim it.
Once you’ve set up your author page, keep it updated. This will ensure that your readers – as well as journalists, book reviewers, booksellers and the like – have access to the latest, most correct information about you.
And now I’m off to go update mine. Ahem.