While at ConQuest last weekend, one of the panels I attended focused largely on ‘Navigating the Amazon.’ One of the points the panelists made is that sometimes the best way to make Amazon work for you is by not focusing too much on how to make Amazon work. Essentially– don’t get caught up in the minute details of using the algorithm to push books to the top or mass produce downloads. The algorithm changes constantly, and really, if we spend our time writing the next book, that will help us increase our sales– since we can’t sell something we don’t have. That being said, there were a couple important Amazon tips that the panel offered: the use of Author Central and a note about Kindle keywords.
First– Author Central. It’s a handy tool Amazon uses to collect all the work of one author into one spot. You’ll need to set this up yourself, but it’s ridiculously easy. The landing site can be found here: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/ You log in using the Amazon account you have, confirm your email address, then fill in the extra information about yourself as desired. I added an author photo and bio, and connected my twitter feed and WordPress blog. For the blog, it asks for an RSS feed. I copied my WordPress blog address and added /feed at the end of the URL, and it appears to be working. I then added my books, which was as simple as typing in my name and clicking on the button that said ‘this is my book.’ I was even able to add 1000 Words, which is under my maiden name. Both books are now connected to my author page, which means that anyone who likes one story can easily find the others. It’s a really great way to make it easy for potential readers to find your books. No hassle.
The panelists pointed out that the nice thing about Author Central is that once you set it up, you can pretty much leave it alone. The caveat is that you may need to add each new book to your page when you release the book, but it’s super easy to do, and takes hardly any time at all. And since you can connect the author page to your blog and twitter, it’s really easy to drive readers to your other sites.
I hadn’t realized Author Central would be this easy to set up, but I’m glad I heard about it. Plus, it looks kind of cool seeing the page with all your info. Makes it feel more ‘official.’ When I signed up, Amazon said the page could take up to a week to go live, but the page was up within a few minutes for me. Not bad.
If you want to see an example of an author page, you can see mine here: http://www.amazon.com/author/stephanieflint Or you can look up your favorite authors and see if they have a clickable name under their book title. If so, they might have an author’s page. :-)
As a side note, Author Central offers you the option of creating a short URL for your author page. You only get to choose the URL once, so you might not want to rush, but I went ahead and selected my name since I don’t plan to use a pen name or nickname. (See above for example link).
Now, I’m not sure how pen names would work, but I’ve heard there are ways to separate pen names in Author Central. Might be worth looking into if you plan to use more than one name.
Author Central not only organizes your information for readers, but also provides information to you as the author, in regards to how and where their print books are selling, sales rank, author rank, and recent reviews. You do have to set up your author page separately for each of the different countries available, if you want the page available in more than one area. I’ve created the page for the UK, but I haven’t tried the other ones. Not sure I want to accept the terms of service without at least skimming the contract, and while I can recognize a few words in French, I don’t even no where to begin on the other languages.
As for keywords, the panelists brought up something else I hadn’t paid attention to. In regards to uploading a Kindle ebook via KDP (Kindle Direct), you have the option of including seven keywords. I knew that, but here’s the kicker. You have the option to include seven keywords… including phrases. Since Ashes, my YA sci-fi romance, hasn’t really recieved much interest through Kindle, I decided to swap out the single keywords with mostly phrases. Each relate to the book, but since my main keywords were already included in a phrase, I tried out a few combinations I wouldn’t have tried before. It may not do anything helpful, but it’s worth a shot.
Which is the other important thing the panelists said. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If it doesn’t work, well… try something different.
And that’s what I plan to do. Hopefully this post was helpful, and please let me know if you want to see more of this kind of information. :-)