A lot of my author clients aren’t fans of Amazon. I get it—the advent of Amazon has threatened the existence of indie bookstores and irrevocably changed the way people buy and read books.
But when it comes to participating in Amazon’s AuthorCentral program, in my opinion, this is a case of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” You may never end up loving Amazon, or choose to be their customer. But when you create an author profile through AuthorCentral, you will be helping to promote yourself and your books in the world’s largest bookstore, and for free. One of the things I consistently drill into the heads of my clients is that they need to control their message online. Because if they don’t do this, someone else will do it for them. This is a great way to own your property on Amazon (which already exists if your book is published) and manage the content associated with your name. Plus, creating an AuthorCentral page is just another opportunity to juice up your SEO results.
Start by going to the main Author Central site. If you have one, you can sign in with your existing Amazon account, but if you don’t, you’ll need to set up a new one. Once you verify your account, you will be taken to a page that invites you to build your page in three steps.
Start by building your Author Profile. Your biography is the most important piece of this page. Craft it so it ably highlights your background and achievements, but does so succinctly so the main points can be digested upon first glance. (Remember, people read differently online than they do in print.)
Next, add the RSS to your blog, and Amazon will automatically import your blog posts into your Author Page within 24 hours of posting. What? No blog? You might want to change your mind about that. Rachel wrote this excellent post on why blogging is key for authors.
The next step is to add upcoming events. This is a great way to pull together all your events surrounding an upcoming book launch or even just let people when you will be traveling to upcoming trade shows or other event. Amazon makes it easy to add and edit these, and even archives them when the dates pass.
To embellish the content further, Amazon offers the ability to share up to eight personal photos. You can also share links to videos that are less than 10 minutes long and smaller than 500MB—these include video interviews, press appearances, book signings or book trailers. Lastly, you can pull your Twitter feed into your page as well. What, no Twitter feed? C’mon now!
When your Author Page launches, it will pull together all your books together on a page that integrates all the information you provided. It also allows visitors to start a discussion on your page—ask questions about your books, share opinions, etc. Plus, visitors can also click a link to be notified whenever you have new releases.
And yes, I do have my own Amazon Author Page. (Thanks for asking.) Please share your own page in the comments below. Or share your feelings about Amazon and their AuthorCentral program.