Thursday, September 1, 2016

How to Set Up Your Amazon Author Page

My Amazon Author Page at
amazon.com/author/diannebutts
In my July post I wrote:
"Don't have an Amazon author page?! We're going to talk about that next month." 
That would have been August but July got too busy and I didn't get that post done. So let's revisit that idea this month.

I touched on Amazon author pages in my January 2015 post, "25 Free Ways to Market Your Book." (See #2 in that article.) But this month let's go more in depth in how to set up your Amazon author page.


How to Know If an Author has an Amazon Page


When you are looking at books on Amazon, pay attention to the name of the author. Sometimes it's a link. Sometimes it's not. When it is a link, that indicates the author has an Amazon author page set up. Obviously when you click the link, it takes you to the author's page.

When the author's name is not a link, that author has not set up his or her Amazon author page. (Or it's possible they have but that book is not linked to it. If this is the case for you, add that book to your Amazon author page.)


You Must Have a Book on Amazon


Before you may have an Amazon author page, you must have at least one book for sale on Amazon. If you don't, this would be a great time to write an e-book and upload it. See my series of posts "How to Make Your Manuscript Into a Kindle E-book on Amazon (for Free)I posted in February, March, April, and May 2016. (Links are at the bottom of this post.) 

If you have contributed to a compilation book or anthology, such as a Chicken Soup for the Soul book or another independently published compilation, and if it is available on Amazon, that counts and you can create an Author page. (Tweet that! Tweet: If you have contributed to an anthology and it's available on Amazon, you can have an #Author page. Here's how: http://ctt.ec/3OB6b+  ) You may need to contact Amazon and ask them how to set up your page from a compilation. Let me just say...

I set up my Amazon author page about 15 years ago so I don't remember the details of how I did it, and no doubt details have changed. But it should be fairly easy for you to figure out from AuthorCentral.com.

Amazon's Author Central


To get started, go to AuthorCentral.com. Or you can go to your book on Amazon (or other books) and find the small down-pointing arrow next to the author's name which indicates a drop-down menu. Hover over that and you'll see where it asks, "Are you an author? Learn about Author Central."

It's going to take you Amazon's Author Central. This is where you will open your Author Central account with an email address and password.

Once you do that you'll find the "Welcome to Author Central" page with instructions and links to more how-tos. Click the "Help" button in the upper right beside your name to get right to the basics.

Also on this page is "Author Central News" where Amazon posts news and updates about it's programs.

Once you're in your Amazon Author Central account, you can click on four options across the top of the page. Your:
  • Author Page
  • Books
  • Sales Info
  • Customer Reviews.

Click on "Books" to find the books you've authored and connect them to your Amazon author page. Simply click the yellow "Add more books" button, search for you book, and there you go.

The Sales Info tab has sub-menus for your:
  • Sales Rank: Shows each of your books and where they rank on Amazon. This will show green and a rise when you sell a book. That's exciting!
  • Author Rank: Your overall ranking on Amazon. Like a golf score, the lower the number the better. I heard a long time ago if you're under 100,000 that's good. If you're just starting out you won't be that low, but as I've published more e-books that sell regularly I've been in that zone consistently...which is really cool.
  • Nielsen BookScan: Shows when a hard copy of your book sells and in which geographic location. Not all book sales are recorded here since not all bookstores are connected to the Nielsen BookScan. But it gives you a good idea of where sales are taking place. If you advertise in a certain region or hold an author event in a certain location you may see those sales reflected here.
At the Customer Reviews tab you can see all the reviews on your books on Amazon. You can sort them by title, by most recent, etc. It's an easy way to see if you have any new reviews.

Finally, you can click on Author Page and set up many options on your page.


What to Set Up on Your Amazon Author Page


It's pretty easy to figure out what you can do when you get there, but let's just go over what you can set up on your Amazon author page:

Biography

Of course you've seen author's bios on Amazon. This is where the author was able to enter that information. You probably already have a bio you've written for another project (or the back of your book). If not, write one now. 

I think shorter is better. Only a portion will show on your author page before visitors must click to read more. So put the most important info up front. (Tweet that!Tweet: Only a portion of your #AmazonAuthorBio will show on ur #author page so put the most important info up front. More: http://ctt.ec/8o3Cf+) Plan it as if what shows will be all that your readers ever read.

Let your personality shine through. Readers enjoy that.

Whenever you need to update your bio or wish to change it, come back to your Amazon Central account to do so.


Blogs

Are you writing a blog? You can connect it here and your latest posts will automatically show up. Pretty cool huh?

This is a great way to direct your book readers to your blog to read more of what you write. It's also a great way to increase your blog's readership. (Tweet that!) 


Events

Are you planning a booksigning? Putting together a live author event? Attending a writer's conference or book expo? You can enter the location, hours, description of the event, and which book you're featuring here. It's similar to an event on Facebook. (Tweet that!) 

I've used this several times. I have it listed on my "to do" list when setting up an author event. It's hard to gauge whether it brings in a bigger crowd to author events. I wonder how many authors actually use this feature on Amazon ... or even know it's here. If we remember to use this feature perhaps Amazon visitors will become aware of it and check it more often.

Now that I've encouraged you to use this Events feature, I want to also caution you. As authors we should think about our personal security and that of our families and homes before we tell the whole world exactly where we will be and when. (Tweet that!) Of course we want to attract as big a crowd of book buyers as we can. But we need to somehow balance that with not telling burglars we're traveling and our home is empty and waiting for their visit. Women traveling alone may not want to let the world know the details of where they'll be and when. In the current climate in our nation, if your book might be controversial, you might want to be cautious about posting the location and hours of your event.

Have you ever thought about this?

I don't know the answers to this dilemma, but part of the solution might be:
  • Don't post that "we" (your whole family) will be traveling to an event. Say "I" will be there and let people think your strong, armed husband / family is at home guarding the house.
  • Booksignings
  • Don't post your travel plans, such as when you're leaving or arriving. 
  • Don't Instagram yourself in the airport or post elsewhere photos, videos, and comments until after you get back home. 
If you'd like to set up a live author event in a bookstore but don't know how, have no idea where to start, or simply want to hear my tips, experiences, and suggestions, check out my e-book Booksignings.

Author Page URL

When your Author Page is created, Amazon will give you a URL here. You can suggest a change if you want to. Make it easy to remember.  (Tweet that!) 

Copy and paste this URL into a place where it is easy for you to access, such as in a Word document or, better I think, an Excel document where you keep all your links (for each of you books, blogs, etc.).

Also keep it written and handy when you do radio interviews so you can state it easily. Keep it simple so people can remember it. The few times I've done TV interviews I've been asked for information to put at the bottom of the screen as I talk. Your Amazon author page is a one-stop shop for all your books (assuming they're all on Amazon) so let your audience know how to find it.

If you wish, create an easy-to-remember short URL on bitly.com

What will you want to do with this URL? If you need ideas, I'll list some below under "What Can You Do With Your Amazon Author Page?"


Photos

Add your author photo of your smiling face. A book sales expert told me a nice photo creates a "relationship" with the reader. Relationships are key to book sales. (Tweet that!) 

This is the same reason you should have your smiling face on the back cover of every print book you produce and in the back matter of your e-books.


Videos

You cannot put a YouTube video on your Amazon page. Plus, Amazon has a lot of rules for what they do not want you to include in your video. Be sure to review those guidelines before you try putting a video on your site.

To find those guidelines, click "add video." A box will open with basic guidelines including this one:


I'm thinking I shouldn't upload my book trailer videos I've made on Animoto.com because the Animoto logo is embedded at the end. Also not allowed are "comments relating to book reviews and content visible on the Author Page and detail pages" on Amazon.

Amazon states:
You can share video interviews, book signing videos, and other videos with readers. Your videos should focus on specific features of your books or your experience as an author. Uploading Videos
I never thought to take a video at an live author event. I may think about staging that (getting permission first) next time I hold one.

Right now I'm thinking we could just talk to our laptop cameras and tell potential readers interesting information about ourselves or our books, why we wrote it, that sort of thing. We could also "stage" an interview: type the question on a slide for the video then look off camera and answer as if we're answering an interviewer.

How to Create a Video for Your Amazon Page

If you want to create such a video, use your laptop camera. Upload the video to YouTube and edit it.

While you cannot upload a YouTube video to your Amazon author page, you can save it in an Amazon-supported format and then upload it! (Tweet that!) To do that go to your Video Manager on YouTube and click the drop down menu arrow next to "Edit." Choose to save your video to your computer as an MP4 file. MP4 is one of the supported files on Amazon so you can then upload your MP4 file from your computer to your Amazon author page.

(Hmm. Now that I've figured all that out, I may have to try it myself and write a whole post on this topic! Wouldn't that be fun?! I'll work on it when I have time.)


What Can You Do With Your Amazon Author Page?


Here are some ways you can use your Amazon author page URL:
  • in your email signature, 
  • in Tweets, 
  • in an occasional Facebook post,
  • in all your social media bios (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.).
  • Link to it on your blogs and web sites. 
  • Be sure to put it at the end of your book trailers.
  • Include it on your business cards. 
  • Put it in your guest posts on other blogs and... 
  • your bio at the end of your magazine articles. 
  • Include it in the back matter of every book you write. 
Anywhere you advertise yourself, your books, or your brand, you should include an easy link to your Amazon author page because your page will list all your books that you have available for sale (on Amazon). With one click visitors can go to the detail page of any of your books and purchase it. (Tweet that!)

One More Tip...


If you're writing under a pseudonym, you can also open an Amazon author page for your pseudonym. (Tweet that!) You can do so from your regular author page; you don't need a separate account. But to everyone viewing your pen name page there will be no connection to who you are unless you put it there.
You can manage up to three Author Pages this way, though they will not be associated in any way on Amazon.com.  Managing Your Bibliography


If you haven't yet set up your Amazon author page, or if there are some steps here you haven't yet completed, why not do so today?

Or if your Amazon author page has been set up for a while, why not schedule some time to update your bio, list an upcoming event, add a new photo, connect a new blog, or create a new video?

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