Amazon.com is big. Reeeeaallly big—and they account for more than 60% of all other sales combined, for most Indie authors. That said, they want you to succeed (albeit, just so they can make a profit off of you, but that’s how business works.) Amazon wants you to do well (so long as they get their cut—which is why they have virtually zero interest in making your Createspace store a convenient place to shop for customers who will simply order via the regular Amazon system instead, but more on that in a different article.) Amazon has equipped authors with this nifty little tool called Author Central. You can log in or sign up for it here: http://www.authorcentral.com/
If you’ve read my Indie Roadmap, you will see that the list has a special entry for getting into Author Central. You can use this in lieu of a personal website, but it should probably have the same kind of content if you have both.
Author Central allows you to connect with readers because this profile will be crossloaded into all of your books’ sales pages. It’s a good place to put a succinct, strong bio, some catchy images, and even video. Perhaps one good feature that is often overlooked is the Events option where you can list upcoming appearances such as conventions, fairs, festivals, and signings. Another feature, if you have a regular blog, is something called RSS feeds. I specifically chose hosting with WordPress because of the RSS feature. I’m no tech guru, and you may need to turn over a few more stones to properly utilize this option, but it takes the content from my blog and reposts it on my Author Central profile so that it is automatically mirrored with new content every time I post (several times per week)… I do this for my Goodreads account as well. You can also link your social media accounts to your Author Central so make sure to do that—it is always a good idea to be connected to your readers—moreso now than ever before readers want more than a good story: they want relationships with good storytellers!
According to Amazon, getting an account is this easy:
- https://authorcentral.amazon.com/ and click Join Now.
- Enter your e-mail address and password and click Sign in using our secure server.
- If you have an Amazon.com account, sign in with the e-mail address and password you use on that account.
- If you do not have an existing Amazon.com account, select No, I am a new customer. You will be prompted to enter the necessary information.
- Read the Author Central’s Terms and Conditions, and then click Agree to accept them.
- Enter the name your books are written under. A list of possible book matches appears.
- Select any one of your books. If your book is not in the list, you can search for it by title or ISBN. The book you select must be available for purchase on the Amazon.com website…
- When you receive the confirmation e-mail we send, confirm your e-mail address and identity.
That really is about the gist of it. It’s streamlined and easy to use, and is a convenient way to put your greater work in front of shoppers who might want to learn more about an author or check out his or her backlist.
Once you are able to fill out the biography (after step 6) you should remember a few things: write in the third person; use your writing style to show readers your personality; use the bio to establish your credibility; keep it clean, appealing, and readable—you only have a couple paragraphs to “sell yourself,” so be neither boring, nor too short. Also of note is that you can’t use any html or even bold or italic fonts in this bio—words only… but you’re a writer, right? So write.
Something I recently learned was that authors should be sure to sign up for Author Central accounts in both the US market and the UK market. They don’t necessarily mirror each other, but a little copy and pasting can fix that. You can find the UK version at https://authorcentral.amazon.co.uk