Is it November already? Wow, where did the time go? It seems like we were just discussing marketing strategies for the holidays. November is a great month to market your work. Why? Because of that awesome day that comes right after Thanksgiving and that other awesome day that comes that following Monday. I’m talking about Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Although many of you have already started your holiday shopping, these two shopping days are two of the biggest of the year and are officially the start of the Holiday Shopping Season. There is still time to plan how you will market and ultimately sell more books during this time.
Are you using Author Central? Many of you are probably thinking, “What is Author Central?” While some of you are aware of what it is and don’t use it, many of you may already be using it. To those of you who are not using it, I ask why not? Author Central is a tool created by Amazon. Many times an author has asked me to purchase their book and sent me to a link to make that purchase. Later, after receiving and reading the book, I realize that in the back of the book there is an advertisement for the other twelve books that the author has written over the years. Now don’t get me wrong, many of you may have all of your books listed on your website, but many of you don’t. We are entering the highest grossing sales season of the year and I don’t want to see you miss out on any unnecessary book sales.
In comes Author Central. Author Central is a free tool from Amazon that allows you to display your books (as long as your books are accessible through a major distributor such as Ingram, Baker and Taylor or Amazon), and give visitors a little information about you, the author. Below you will find some components of an Author Page on Author Central:
· Author Profile
· Author Biography
· Author Titles
· Author Photos
· Author Videos
· Author Events
· Author Blog Feed
· Author Twitter Feed
· Author Website URLs
If you ask me, that’s a whole lot for FREE. I’ve listed below brief descriptions and a few guidelines of each of the points above. Please note that your login will be the same login you use for your general Amazon.com account.
Author Profile – This houses all the above items on one page.
Author Biography – Although, Amazon does not give a limit on the word count for your biography, it has to be at LEAST ten (10) characters. That’s fairly easy right? Your biography has to be in plain text, meaning no bold, italics or other fancy shmancy characters.
Author Titles – Instead of giving a would-be buyer several links to your books, you can give them your Amazon profile URL and all your titles will be listed on this one page. You may be asked to verify if the book you are adding is indeed your book. You may see this, especially, in instances where you are a co-author or a contributing author on a title. If the person who published the book did not include all the authors on the title information when publishing, you may need to get permission from them to add your name to the book as a contributing author and to have it added to your author page. For those of you using pen names, Amazon does allow you to use a separate author page for each pen name. It also allows you to manage up to three pen names with a single account.
Author Photos – In addition to potential buyers being able to view your books, it’s good that they can see a visual of the author they are considering buying from. Amazon allows you to add up eight (8) photos (in addition to your title covers) to your profile. They should be of .JPGs format. The most recent uploaded photo is the cover photo that will show on your Author Page. However, you will have the capability to log into your profile and move a few things around.
Author Videos – You can also add up to eight videos. Please use common sense when uploading videos. You know, the regular legalities, make sure it’s your original content, specific to your writing and make sure it’s not offensive—you know, common sense stuff. You will find a link at the end of this article that will lead you to the full list of guidelines for Author Central. Remember, when in doubt, keep it out. Acceptable formats are AVI, WMV, FLV, MOV or MPG. They can be no longer than ten (10) minutes in length and no more than five hundred (500) MG in size.
Author Events – This is pretty much self-explanatory. Authors can add their upcoming events to a schedule of sorts. Previously Author Central took this a step forward and promoted your events through BookTour.com, but at least check, this site has been parked.
Author Blog Feed – You can integrate your blog post into your Author Page, or implement your RSS Feeds from your blog to show up on your Author Page. It is integratable with services like Feedburner. Feeds will show up, up to twenty-four (24) hours after your blog post has been published.
Author Twitter Feed – This, too, is self-explanatory. Be careful what you post on the associated Twitter account, because it will post on your Amazon Author Page. Tweets show up minutes after being tweeted. If you have a personal Twitter account that is an all-purpose account, you may want to create a Twitter account for just your books. You really don’t want to post a suggestive or offensive post on your personal page and have it damage your reputation with potential buyers.
Author URL or Website – Lastly, you can attach your website URL to your web page. Please note that if your URL contains any type of profanity, Amazon will reject it.
In addition, Amazon will provide you with a vanity URL to your Author Page. For example, my Author Page URL is: amazon.com/author/yolandajohnsonbryant. You can use your brand name or your branding handle, but keep in mind that Amazon reserves the right to reject any name. Another thing to consider, if you are an author and your name is Stephen King, you may want to get a little creative, because I can guarantee you that the name Stephen King has already been taken.
I’ve given you a few tools to creating an Author Page, but you’ll find that once you visit authorcentral.amazon.com/, you’ll find that there are more benefits to creating one than not.
Creating an author page will come in handy when promoting your books for the holidays. Now in addition to visiting your website, potential buyers can visit a point of sale point on your Author Page where they can view all of your titles at once and purchase one or all in one place. I hope that this helps you during this holiday season. Happy Sales!
Amazon Author Page - https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/home