Indie authors know the pressure of having to set up profiles on every new platform that pops up, promising to help you market and sell your books: Goodreads, Facebook, BookBub, oh my! It definitely adds up. But there’s one major tool that — if you haven’t already signed up for — you absolutely shouldn’t overlook: Amazon Author Central.
What is Amazon Author Central?
Amazon Author Central is a free tool that authors who have published a book through Amazon can sign up for — whether they’ve published in print or ebook through Kindle Direct Publishing, or an audiobook through ACX. You can think of an Author Central account as your own private headquarters at today’s largest book retailer.
While the Author Central dashboard can be used to track the sales of your books and to manage and respond to customer reviews, its primary purpose is to personalize your Amazon Author Page.
What is an Amazon Author Page?
Your Amazon Author Page is a public profile where readers can learn more about you and your publications. Using the Author Central dashboard, you can update your Author Page to include your bio, your bibliography, pictures, videos, blog posts, and events. You should use your Author Page as an opportunity to brand yourself.
Check out a few great examples of Author Pages you might recognize here: Maya Angelou, Ray Bradbury, J.K. Rowling
If you’re ready to get started, sign up here: authorcentral.amazon.com. Then head back to this page and we’ll walk you through the process of optimizing your new headquarters.
How to set up your Amazon Author Central account
The most important thing to remember when it comes to using Author Central to manage your Author Page is to update, update, update. Consistently update your bio and add new books, reviews, blog posts, and events. Remove anything that has become outdated. Ensure your Author Page feels current whenever potential readers land there.
Here’s how to set up your Amazon Author Page in 3 steps:
Step 1: Set up your Amazon Author Page
If your Author Central account acts as your own Amazon HQ, your Author Page is your business’s primary landing page. You want it to look clean, professional, and to offer potential readers concise and compelling information.
We’ll break down the steps to achieving all of this. To start, these are the elements of your Author Page that you absolutely should personalize.
Add your author bio
- Select “Biography” on the Author Page tab.
- Ensure your biography is at least 100 characters to comply with Amazon’s rules. (HTML is not allowed in your bio, so if you need to bullet, use dashes or asterisks).
- When you’re done, hit “add biography” to save.
A great author bio is comprised of an opening byline that hooks readers in, a description of the theme of your title, a statement of the credentials that make you a writer people should pay attention to, and personal touches that help you stand out as an individual.
If you haven’t already perfected it, check out our comprehensive guide to writing an author bio — or these excellent examples of existing author bios. Also, if you’re typing out your bio for the first time, we encourage you to do it in a word processor, and not right into your Author Page itself as this could lead to lost work (and hair-pulling frustration).
Ensure you leave a way for people to find out more if they want, whether with links to your social media, author website, or contact information.
- Select “Photos” on the Author Page tab.
- Click “Browse” and select the picture you want to use. (Ensure it’s a photo you own the rights to!)
- Confirm you own the rights to the picture and select “Upload photo.”
- If you are adding multiple pictures, select “Manage” and drag the photos into your prefered order.
Including a profile picture is a great way to make your Author Page more personal. It’s also a smart idea to include multiple photos that in some way relate to the theme of your books or your author brand. For instance, if you write non-fiction, you could include a picture of yourself speaking at an event related to your topic. If you’ve written a story steeped in Celtic mythology, attach a picture of yourself in the Scottish Moors.
Customize your Author Page URL
- Select “Author Page URL” on the Author Page tab.
- There will be an auto-generated URL, but you can enter your own.
- Amazon will let you know if your desired URL is available. If it is, save it. If it’s not, keep trying.
It goes without saying that an address such as www.amazon.com/author/reedsy-author will look much more professional than one like www.amazon.com/author/reedsy-author/k/G6A4B/c?Y_7T/5l-8 (which is the kind of URL Amazon will provide you with if you don’t create your own).
Kick your Author Page up a notch by also adding…
- Select “Videos” on the Author Page tab.
- Click “Browse” and select the video you want to use. (Ensure you own the rights to it!)
- Confirm you own the rights to the picture and select “Upload video.” Amazon will notify you when the video has finished uploading, as it can take a while.
- Once you’ve been notified, you will be prompted to review your video. Hit “Approve” when you’re finished.
Many authors will choose to add a “book trailer” to their Amazon page, public readings, or other things related to their works. Ensure your video is: 1) either mov, mpg, avi, flv, or wmv format, 2) smaller than 500MB, and 3) less than ten minutes long.
Your blog feed
- Select “Blogs” and then “Add blog” on the Author Page tab.
- Enter the RSS address* for your blog (not the actual website URL), then select “Add.”
*There are a number of ways to locate your blog RSS address (or feed address), depending on where your blog is hosted. However, one common way is to:
- Go to your blog.
- Right-click and select “View page source.”
- Pull up the “Find” feature (either command+F for Macs or ctrl+F for Windows).
- In the search bar, enter “RSS” and you should find an altered version of your blog link.
For instance, on WordPress, the RSS address looks like this: http://nameofyourblog.wordpress.com/feed/
Find out more about RSS addresses on Amazon’s support page on the topic.
- Select “Add event” on the Author Page tab.
- Enter your event information and hit save.
Embarking on a blog tour? Doing any public readings? List all relevant events here so that readers can follow along with your publishing journey. Amazon will remove the event from your Author Page when the event date has passed.
Step 2: Claim your books
When you claim your book, it ensures that your publications will appear on your Amazon Author page, so that people who land there can scroll through all your titles. It also links your author name on all of your book pages back to your Amazon Author Page.
To claim your books, here’s what to do:
- Click the “Books” tab.
- Select the “Add more books” option.
- Search using either your author name, the book title, or the ISBN.
- Hit the “This is my book” button.
Don’t forget to…
Add editorial reviews, if you have them!
Word-of-mouth recommendations are one of the best conversion tools for your book! The Editorial Reviews function allows you to add a maximum of five of your best reviews to each of your Amazon book pages. Here’s how to do it:
- Select the “Books” tab.
- Choose the book you want to add reviews to.
- Select “Add” under Editorial Reviews and follow the provided instructions.
- Preview the review and when you’re ready, hit “Save.”
Of course, if you have reviews from notable outlets or recognized publishing figures, feature these. However, your review doesn’t need to be from a bestselling author in your genre in order to be noteworthy. Positive feedback from a reader on Amazon or Goodreads can also work wonders. And for bonus points: if you have a relationship with any reviewers, you can ask them to edit their reviews slightly to include any keywords you’re looking to hit.
Step 3: Update your international accounts
Author Central is available on more versions of Amazon than just the U.S. one. And if you’re already taking the time to iron out one version, you might as well go the extra mile and set up your pages for international markets.
You can sign up to various Amazon sites here (and just follow the above steps for optimizing those pages too):
- United Kingdom: https://authorcentral.amazon.co.uk
- Germany: https://authorcentral.amazon.de
- Japan: https://authorcentral.amazon.co.jp
- France: https://authorcentral.amazon.fr
If you can, try to translate the information into the appropriate language. Of course, just using Google Translate might result in some wonky phrasing, which isn’t a good sign when potential readers are perusing your Author Page. So if you can’t find someone to help you make sure the translation is smooth, sticking to English might be the better bet.
With these three steps, your Author Page should be ready to rock. But it can’t do the whole job of converting potential readers into avid ones on its own. Check out our additional resources to ensure all of your Amazon marketing bases are covered.