Amazon’s Author Central is an essential tool for managing your books and author information on the site. Every author should take full advantage of the free service because it allows you to update content on your book page, keep author bio information up to date, see your sales data, and more.
Both print and Kindle-only authors can utilize Author Central. Following are some of the benefits, and how to best utilize them.
Claim Your Book
As soon as your book is available on Amazon, (whether self-published or traditionally published, it works the same!), go to AuthorCentral.Amazon.com and login with your existing Amazon user ID and password. (If you aren’t already an Amazon customer, you’ll need to create an account.)
Once there, look for the link to “Add a book to your bibliography” and follow the prompts to claim the book to your author profile.
Add or edit the following elements to your author profile:
- Biography – This should be an overview of your professional experience as it relates to your book(s). One to five paragraphs is fine.
- Blog Feed – If you’re a blogger, be sure to include a link to your blog’s RSS feed. Amazon will automatically feed your newest posts into your Author page. If you don’t know your feed address, try adding “/feed” to the end of your website URL like this: www.mywebsite.com/feed.
- Photo – Upload a professional author photo. This will be featured on your book’s page on Amazon.
- Videos – If you have a video book trailer, a short video of your speaking, or another video under 500 MB in size, you can upload them here. (This is an optional feature.)
- Twitter – If you’re a Twitter user, input your Twitter handle and Amazon will automatically feature your latest tweet on your author page.
- Events – If you’re hosting book signing, speaking, or other events, you can list them here.
- Links – Here you will also find a link to preview your author page, and the link for your author page so you can share it with others.
Here you will see your book(s) listed, including current sales rank and number of reviews for each of your books. Click on the book title to go the Editing page and add the following details (all will appear on the sales page for the book):
- Reviews – Here you can list credible reviews for your book from media sources or from testimonials you’ve gathered.
- Product Description – This is the sales copy for your book, often taken from the back cover. Since Amazon no longer asks for authors to provide keywords related to their books, make sure you incorporate keywords into the description of your book (phrases you think readers would use to search for a book like yours).
- From the Author – Here you can post an announcement or bit of news to potential readers. For example, “I’m honored to announce that XYZ book received a gold book award from ABC Awards.”
- From the Inside Flap – If you have a hardcover book, copy the data from the inside of your jacket here.
- From the Back Cover – If you used your back cover copy for your description, you do not need to repeat it here.
- About the Author – Amazon says this should be the length of a bio you would list on the back cover of your book (one paragraph), however, it’s unclear where this is ever displayed since your author page and your book page will feature the bio you wrote under the Author Tab.
*Important note when updating your book: At the top of the screen, to the right of your book image and publisher data, Amazon will list whether the information below is listed for print edition or Kindle. Changes made to one will not populate to the other so you need to make changes on both.
Here is where you can monitor your book sales history. There are currently three options in the drop-down menu:
- Nielsen BookScan – BookScan tracks sales from sources beyond Amazon, including brick and mortar bookstores—though it admits to only capturing about 70% of print book sales from retailers outside of Amazon. However, we find that their tracking is fairly accurate for authors who sell most of their books online, and it’s a good resource if your book is with a publisher and you want to monitor your sales on a regular basis (most publishers send sales reports just two to four times per year). Here you can also view sales by geography so you can see the cities where you’ve generated the most sales, and see a quick summary in the upper right corner of total sales in the last week.
- Sales Rank – Here you will see the sales rank trends for your book(s) over time (the lower the ranking, the better).
- Author Rank – Amazon calculates and author’s rank, just as it calculates ranking for books. This feature shows your ranking over time.
Customer Reviews Tab
Here you will see a listing of all of your book reviews, which is quite helpful if you’ve authored multiple titles because you can check here to see if new reviews have been posted. You may also want to contact your reviewers in the future when you release your next book and this gives you a handy place to find them. (Click on the reviewer’s name to view their Amazon profile. Many list their contact information as they like to receive free review copies.)
Utilizing Author Central
It’s a good idea to check in on your Author Central account at least once a month since Amazon is constantly making changes and enhancements and you should try to take advantage of every opportunity available. It’s also helpful to monitor your book sales and notice any spikes in activity. Did you have a major media appearance last week? Hopefully you’ll notice a spike in sales data as a result.
If you like this blog post, you’ll love our Author Toolkit with templates, checklists and worksheets for self-publishing. Check it out!