Amazon Author Pages

Amazon Author Pages: Should you have one? Yes, if you are a published author, whether published through an established publishing house or self-published, and your book is available for sale on Amazon. This blog post will tell you how to do it and why it is beneficial.

What is an Amazon Author Page?

An Amazon Author Page is like a mini-website within Amazon.com. It includes not only the titles of all the books you have for sale on Amazon, but also your photograph, your biography, a link to your blog (if you have one), and a place to list any events you are planning (such as book signings or author appearances). There is also a place where your readers can start a discussion of one of your books. If there are reviews of your book posted on Amazon, there are links to the reviews.

An Author Page is especially helpful if you do not have a personal website for your books. You will be assigned a URL specifically targetting your Author Page (http://amazon.com/author/yourname) that you can share on social media or put on your business cards and use in place of a website to promote your books and help market them. Keep in mind that your Amazon Author Page will only include the books that are available for sale on Amazon. If you have other books you have self-published but that are not for sale on Amazon, you will not be able to include them on your Author Page.

Will my publisher set up an Author Page for me?

No. Author pages must be set up by authors, using their personal Amazon accounts, although Amazon may communicate with your publisher to verify your identity.

I contributed work to an anthology available for sale on Amazon. Can I create an Author Page?

Yes, if you are listed as an author of the book. For example, each of the contributors to White Lightning and Other Stories from The Writers in Group, published by Selkirk Stories, is listed as an author. That means that each of those individuals could create an Amazon Author Page.

How do I create my Author Page?

The first step in creating an Amazon author page is to go to Author Central at Amazon.com. You will see a screen like this one:

Amazon Author Central

If you already have an Amazon account, sign in to it. If you do not have an account, you will have to create one before proceeding any further. (See my previous blog post for step-by-step instructions on how to do this.) Click on “Join Now.” The only personal information you need divulge to create an Amazon account is your name and your e-mail address (or phone number if you are using the mobile version of the website). No purchase is required to have an account.

The next step is to begin to populate your Author Page with the information you want readers to know about you. It is probably useful to have these assembled in a file on your computer before you begin. These include:

  • A good photograph of professional quality is very helpful, but if you do not have one, see if you can get a photographer friend to take a good head shot and edit it a bit in Photo Shop or another editing program to make it look as glamorous as possible.
  • A short professional biography listing your education, experience, publications and accomplishments. This is not the place to be modest—but also not the place to be too long-winded. Remember that people’s attention spans are short, especially on the Internet, so you want to catch their attention and communicate interesting facts about you and your achievements.
  • If you have a blog, include the RSS feed to the blog. Readers can follow your Author Page, which is another avenue for them to get regular updates when you post something on your blog. This is another advantage of having an author page.
  • The dates, times and places of an upcoming appearances, book signings, and other public activities you are engaged in. Readers who follow your page will also learn about these events, helping you publicize them.

You will have to add each of the books you have available on Amazon by adding them to your bibliography. Amazon will quiz you about the book and ask if you are the author. (The answer, of course, is “yes.”) Your selections will be reviewed by Amazon to ensure that you are in fact the author of the book, then an image of the book cover, with a link to its sale page on Amazon and links to reviews, will appear on your Author Page.

Now that I have an Author Page, what should I do?

Publicize the fact that you have an author page by sharing the news on social media. Ask your friends to go to Amazon.com and “follow” your author page. Use the URL of your author page in all your communications (such as in your e-mail signature) to encourage people to look at it, especially if you do not have a website. There are also plenty of additional marketing suggestions available at Author Central on Amazon.

Amazon Reviews: a Step by Step Guide to Posting on Amazon

“Amazon reviews: How do I post them?” Authors and their readers often ask me this question. Today I will walk you through the process step by step and offer a few suggestions on writing a good review, as well as a warning.

Preliminary Steps

To post a review on Amazon, you must first have an account with Amazon (which may mean you must open one) and make at least one purchase from Amazon using that account. Without an account and a purchase, you cannot post a review. The purchase does not have to be the book you wish to review: it can be any item sold by Amazon. And your review does not have to be of a book: you can review any product you purchased (such as an electric razor). If you review a product you have purchased, the words “verified purchase” will appear with the review, which serve as a validation to others that the review was written by someone who actually bought and used (or read) the product.

Opening an Account with Amazon

If you live in Canada, and search for the home page of Amazon, you will be directed to Amazon.ca, the Amazon site for Canada. If you live in another country, you will be directed to the appropriate national Amazon, such as Amazon.com (USA), Amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom), Amazon.es (Spain), Amazon.fr (France), Amazon.jp (Japan), and so on. To open an account you will see a screen like this one:

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Since you have no Amazon account, you will click on “Create your Amazon account,” which will bring you to a screen like this one. You fill it out (as I have, with an imaginary name and e-mail account), then click on “Create account.”

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You now have an account with Amazon! Up to this point you have not disclosed any personal information other than your name and e-mail address. But if you wish to post a review, you will have to make a purchase, and this means providing further information (such as your mailing and billing addresses, credit card number, and other information used in making online purchases). If you are not willing to do this for the sake of posting an Amazon review, then there is little point taking the initial step of opening an account.

Posting a Book Review

Posting a review is quite easy, once you have an Amazon account and have made at least one purchase. Find the sales page of the book you wish to review.

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Scroll down the page until you find “Product Description.” Just below that you will find customer reviews. There may already be reviews, or you may be invited to be the first person to post a review.

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Click on “Write a customer review.” You will be taken to a screen that looks like this. This screen shows the title you just selected at the top, with other purchases you have made below.

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Note that you can elect to post the review under your name, or you can select a pseudonym of some kind if you prefer to keep some anonymity. Choose and click on one of the five stars (which range from “I hate it” [one star] to “I love it” [five]) and a text box will appear in which you will write your review.

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There is also a place for you to give a title to your review. Once you are satisfied with your review, click on “Submit.” Your review will be screened for offensive language and content, and (presuming it passes the review), it will appear on Amazon along with the rating (one to five stars) you assigned.

What constitutes a good review?

A good review tells the reader what the book is about (genre, characters, setting) and may briefly summarize the plot. It offers a thoughtful opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of the novel: “The vivid descriptions of the natural world captured my attention … The dialogue is sometimes stilted, and there are occasional anachronisms.” Amazon reviews often offer personal reactions: “I read before going to sleep at night and found I could not put this book down.”

How long should my review be?

One sentence is far too short, while 600 words is probably too long for the context. A good Amazon review is probably around 200 words. It should be long enough to provide a thoughtful evaluation and short enough to be read without having to click on “read more” links to expand the page.

Disclosures

If you received a complimentary copy of the book with the expectation that you reciprocate with a review, it is important that you disclose this in your review. This is often done at the end of the review. “The author provided me with an advance copy of this book [a PDF copy of this book, a complimentary copy of this book] in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for this review.”

What are your questions?

Now it’s your turn! If there are questions you would like answered in this blog, leave a comment below, or use the Contact page of the website and leave your question.

From the Publisher’s Desk

Authors’ questions: they are many and never wrong. Greetings from the publisher of Selkirk Stories. In upcoming blog posts, I will address some questions I am commonly asked by new or independently published authors. These include:

  • How do I post a review on Amazon? How can my friends or readers post reviews?

  • What is an Amazon Author Page? How can I create one? Can my publisher do it for me?

  • What is Goodreads? Why should I be on it?

  • What is a Goodreads Author Page? What are its benefits for me?

  • Should I organize a give away of my books to promote them?

  • What is the best way to use social media, such as Facebook?

  • How should I format my manuscript for publication?

Stay tuned for weekly posts addressing all of these questions plus some others you may not have thought of.