Setting up as a self-published author on Amazon (Part 4)

Intro and disclaimer: I am a UK-based writer. I signed up to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service during September 2012 with an aim to publish a selection of stories on Kindle and Kindle apps. These posts are aimed to describe the process I went through and shouldn’t be considered professional advice. This is the internet after all. Still, I hope you find it of use. Okay, let’s get stuck in.

Part 4 – About Amazon’s Author Central

In Part 3 I discussed the process you would undertake to build and publish an eBook on Amazon. In this final part I’ll give you an overview of Amazon’s Author Central profiles, and some of the things you ought to keep in mind.

When someone views a book on Amazon and scrolls down around halfway they will often see a link that reads something like “Visit Amazon’s Lucian Poll Page”. This link takes browsers to the author’s profile so they can see all of his or her books in one place, and perhaps read a few words of their bio too.

Said profiles are maintained within Amazon’s Author Central service and you’ll be glad to hear that registering is fairly painless. You can use your existing Amazon account to register. You will then be asked to identify the books you wrote (a button is provided if you write under a pseudonym) and, following activation via a confirmation email, you’re in. Job done.

…ish.

It must be said at this point that each Amazon marketplace is separate. That is to say Amazon US differs from Amazon UK differs from Amazon DE and so on. The upshot of this is you will need to consider creating profiles for each Amazon marketplace. This has caught out a few authors who have focused on a profile for one marketplace, thinking it was universal.

You do not need to create Amazon accounts in each marketplace in order to register with Author Central. Your regular Amazon account should suffice for all. (It did for me anyway.)

The functionality across each Amazon marketplace differs slightly. Amazon.com’s Author Central, for example, is more fully-featured than Amazon.co.uk’s, with lots of lovely stats, but only if some or all of your work is in print. (Kindle sales data doesn’t show here. You will need to see your KDP dashboard for that, under “Reports”.)

There is a standardised bunch of things you complete in across all Author Central profiles, such as a bio, author photos, videos, links to your Twitter feed, and any events you want to organise with your readers.

Each Author Central profile also comes with its own forum. I haven’t really explored this feature, if I’m honest, so I can’t say how much control you have over it, if any. As I’m only just starting out in this writing lark I haven’t exactly got what you could call a broad readership!

The US version of Author Central allows you to input more information about each of your books, for example if you would like to draw the reader’s attention to a particularly glowing review of your book (preferably not written by a sockpuppet). You can also add a feed from your blog through RSS or Atom.

(WordPress hint: You can use your regular blog URL suffixed with “/?feed=rss” to make this work on assorted websites, e.g. https://lucianpoll.com/?feed=rss. See here for more info on the other standards supported. I can confirm this works for Author Central US, Smashwords and Goodreads.)

In short, each Amazon marketplace offers its own promotional tools. You’ll have to explore the tools offered in each one to get the most out of them.

So that’s it for my whistlestop tour of setting yourself up on Amazon, Kindle and Author Central as a self-published author. I hope some of the info presented here has been of some use. You can lurk on the KDP forums for other tasty nuggets of information.

And now to find something else to yak about. Laters ‘taters!

Final note: If you see anything that is incorrect in any of these pages please let me know. It’s not my intention to misinform!

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