I’m not asking for me, here. I’m pretty sure that ten years, ten novels, and countless short stories into this, I’m an author. No, it’s a question I’m not being asked directly. It’s been a privilege, in doing the anthologies this last year, to include stories from a number of new authors in the mix. I was asked the question ‘should I start an Amazon author page?’ by one of these.
Yes! is the emphatic answer. Any new author should do this. I completely understand not wanting the time and expense of a whole author website if you have just started out and aren’t sure how much you’ll ever write. But if it is more than a one-and-done, you really ought to create an Amazon author page for several reasons. One, it’s free and easy. Two, it gives you a way to link together all you have written, so readers can easily find you. Three, it establishes the author brand at least initially, which is a good way to have your readers answer that question for you. Yes, you are an author.
It’s also a handy way to have a qr code or web-address to send people you meet in real life who are interested in your books. Say, you’re at a con, or a farmer’s market, or handing out a business card… so many ways and places you’ll wind up doing this, take it from me who has done some interesting interactions in my life. If you wind up writing many short stories, and making this into more than a hobby, then you’ll want to not be totally dependent on Amazon. But to start out with? Why not? It’s good practice for later.
First, you want to navigate to the Amazon author central page. This is what mine looks like:
When you click the sign up button, you’ll be prompted to log in with your amazon account. If you aren’t publishing independently, you may not yet have a KDP account, and that’s fine. This won’t link you to your Amazon shopping account, but it can share login details if you like.
Here, you’ll be able to set up your profile. I strongly encourage you to adopt a profile image. Usually this would be a professional headshot (and as an author you can be much more playful than a business formal one) but for those who can’t have their face connected with a penname, you can always use a logo, a pet’s portrait, or what-have-you as long as you keep in mind that it should be sharp-looking and not a blurry crappy image of something.
I’m looking at my biography and noting it needs to be updated. I had a major moment when I realized I had to write a bio… and my First Reader wrote it for me. Which is absolutely a great way to get a bio if you can’t write your own, trade with another author you know well, have your spouse do it for you, or even run it though the comments and we’ll help with shaping it up. I think the key things to touch on are; who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Adding in a fun bit about kids or pets is also cool.
You’ll note that there’s the URL which you can use to share your presence on Amazon, it’s short and sweet which is great if you want to put it on business cards or the like (bookmarks, post cards). I also have my blog linked to feed onto my Amazon page, like so:
And yes, I do get clickthroughs from Amazon to the blog, as well as the other way ’round.
Once you have your profile set up, you’ll want to claim any books you have authored, or anthologies you appear in. Click on the ‘Books’ tab, and you’ll see a box to ‘Add a Book’
Adding books to your bookshelf will enable your Amazon Author page to display them, readers who follow you will get notifications when you add a book here, and it’s useful for you to get an idea of what your bibliography is up to (mine is evidently 54, although I think it’s missing a couple).
The last of the tabs in author central enables you to keep track of your books. This used to be much more useful, but for some reason Amazon took away a lot of the capacity to track rankings, which is a pity. You can safely ignore the Bookscan weekly sales report, this is horribly inaccurate, and does not track all your paper sales, I know this from experience and having ordered copies of my own books that don’t ever show up here and from comparing it to years of royalty statements. However, you will be able to see reviews here, if you so choose. Reading your own reviews isn’t always a good idea if you don’t have a very thick skin, but it can be useful in identifying trends. I used to have a friend take a look at mine, but now I look, shrug, make notes, and move on. Most are lovely, some are lunatic. It’s an author’s life.
This is also where you’d set up Amazon ads, but that’s a bit more than a new author usually wants to tackle at this point. Heck, I don’t want to, although with the help of my daughter (the Ginja Ninja for followers of my blog) we are working on setting some up.
Don’t forget to explore the help section, too. Amazon does well with the helps and FAQs, so may as well take advantage of that! And of course you can always ask in the comments and someone may know an answer for you, hopefully a useful one.
The answer to my title is… yes. You are an author now.