Your Amazon Author Page

An often overlooked, but important part of Indie Publishing on Amazon, is the Author Page. It’s up to you as the author to fill it in, put a photo, a bio, links to Twitter and your blog, and also videos if you wish. It’s free to have one, and it makes sense to take the time to fill it out because it’s another platform for people to discover you.

To fill it in, you have to visit a different website – Amazon Author Central. Unfortunately, you have to fill out the US page and the UK page separately, because they’re not linked! So here it is, step by step:

UK:

Visit authorcentral.amazon.co.uk and sign in using your Amazon account.

author central uk

Click on Author Page, where you can upload photos, videos (unfortunately they don’t allow links to YouTube, you have to upload the original video from your computer) and a biography and your Twitter feed. You can also add upcoming events too.

author central uk 1

Your behind the scenes will look like this when you’re done:

author central uk 2

Then your page on Amazon will look like this (depending on how many books you have of course!)

author central uk 4

author central uk 5

From the main menu, you can then go to Books, and if Amazon hasn’t already assigned your books to you, you can add them here.

author central uk 3

Then you can check your sales stats and see all your customer reviews by clicking on the other two buttons on the menu.

US:

Visit authorcentral.amazon.com and sign in using your Amazon account.

author central us

Then click on the Author Page:

author central us 1

It’s very similar to the UK page, except that you can add a feed to your blog as well. And you can choose a custom URL for your page. But I would recommend getting a Universal link from Booklinker for your author page.

The behind the scenes will look like this:

author central us 2

And then your page on Amazon will look like this:

author central us 3

author central us 4

A feature I love about the US page is the Follow button. This means readers get a message when the author releases a new book, which is a handy little tool.

 

I hope you found that helpful, it’s very simple and straightforward, but definitely worth doing!

 

 


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Michelle is the author and publisher of 10 Visionary Fiction novels, all available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. She spends her days helping Indie Authors to publish their books, taking photographs of mushrooms and making gluten-free cakes.

If you need any help with your publishing journey, please do get in touch with her by emailing theamethystangel@hotmail.co.uk. You can book a Skype session or a phone call with her, or ask questions via email. Please do follow this blog to receive more posts on Indie Publishing.


Disclaimer:All views, ideas and tips presented on this website are my own, based on my own experience and the experience of my clients. It is by no means the only way to do it, or the right way to do it, but it is the way that works for me. Please take what helps you and makes sense to you, and don’t worry about the rest for now. Please know that I take no responsibility for anything that happens as a result of you following my advice. I have created this blog as a resource for Indie Authors to help them make the publishing journey a little easier. I am not affiliated with any of the companies I mention, other than the fact that I use their services myself.

Universal Book Links – Part 2

I wanted to write a short follow-up to my original post on Universal Book Links, to explain how to use the links with Amazon Associate links.

I signed up to be an Amazon Associate a long time ago, and have never made money through it, because I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with them. Then after a conversation with Lynn Serafinn on Facebook last night, I realised that I should look into them again, because I had noticed that you can use them with the universal book links from BookLinker.

So, I sent BookLinker and email to ask for their help in setting it all up, and received a very helpful response, within minutes!

You can find the right page by logging into BookLinker, then click on My Account. Underneath your information, you will see boxes to fill in your ‘tag’ for each country. You have to set up a separate account with each country, and apparently to have accounts in India, Brazil and China you must have local bank accounts in those countries, so you may want to not bother with those. I have set up a US account, and to do so, I had to go through a US Tax Interview, similar to what you have to fill out for Createspace and KDP. If you are not in the US, they will only pay you your earnings in Amazon gift cards, but that’s fine by me!

Once I went through the process, which was quite easy, I was given a ‘tag’ which is created from your name and has ’20’ or ’21’ on the end of it. Then I entered the tags into the US and UK boxes on BookLinker and updated my information.

associate

 

And that’s it! Now, when someone clicks on my universal links, I will earn a small commission when they buy my book from Amazon. Although I had put off doing anything about this for a long time, in reality, it took no time at all to sort it out and from now on, I won’t have to do anything else!

If you have any trouble at all with the universal links, please do contact them for assistance, they are super helpful and very prompt with their responses!

Universal Book Links

**UPDATED POST – Booklinker have just given the site a makeover, so I have changed the screenshots. All the info is the same**

This post is about how to make your book as accessible as possible to everyone online. I found out about the website I am going to talk about from someone on Facebook, some time ago. I had posted a link to my new book, and they had clicked on the link, hoping to purchase it. The link I had posted was for the book on Amazon.co.uk. But the person was in America. So they were taken to the UK site, but of course they couldn’t order the book from there. So then they went to Amazon.com, and had to search for my book, which all took time.

Luckily, they were determined enough to buy the book, that they took the trouble to find it. But what about people who aren’t quite so motivated to search it out? The person sent me a message saying –

Get a universal book link so you don’t lose customers!

Intrigued, I checked out BookLinker. It’s a free to use website, that creates universal book links out of your Amazon product URL. You customise the URL, so it looks good too. When someone clicks on the link, they are taken to the Amazon of their own country, where they can buy the book!

booklinker new

 

You can choose the prefix (there’s a couple available) and you can also create a link for your Amazon Author page too.

Enter the URL of your book on Amazon in the box on the home page, then click Create universal link. If you haven’t got an account, you have to set one up (only basic info needed) and then when you start using the link (I use these links everywhere, I never use country-specific links anymore) you can then see the stats by logging into BookLinker and clicking on ‘My Links’. You will see your author link first –

booklinker new1

Then you can choose Books from the drop drown list and see your book stats:

booklinker new2

Because Amazon doesn’t give you any stats on how often your books are viewed, this at least gives you some idea of where your audience is from and may help you with the marketing of your books.

It can also help you see how effective your book cover/blurb is, because if you’re getting thousands of clicks on the link but no sales – then perhaps you need to tweak things.

 


IMG_5734_2Michelle is the author and publisher of 8 Visionary Fiction novels, all available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. She spends her days helping Indie Authors to publish their books, taking photographs and making gluten-free cakes.

If you need any help with your publishing journey, please do get in touch with her by emailing theamethystangel@hotmail.co.uk. You can book a Skype session or a phone call with her, or ask questions via email. Please do follow this blog to receive more posts on Indie Publishing.


 

 Disclaimer:All views, ideas and tips presented on this website are my own, based on my own experience and the experience of my clients. It is by no means the only way to do it, or the right way to do it, but it is the way that works for me. Please take what helps you and makes sense to you, and don’t worry about the rest for now. Please know that I take no responsibility for anything that happens as a result of you following my advice. I have created this blog as a resource for Indie Authors to help them make the publishing journey a little easier. I am not affiliated with any of the companies I mention, other than the fact that I use their services myself.

 

Self-Publishing on Kindle – Part 5

To see the beginning of this process, click on the following – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

The next part is the final part of Step 1. (Publishing on Kindle is a two-step process)

#6. Upload Your Book File

At this point in time, unless you are setting this up for pre-orders, you should have a completed, properly edited, proofread and formatted manuscript file to upload. If you haven’t then you can always save what you have done so far, and come back to it when your file is ready. I will go through how to format for Kindle in another post.

The first thing you want to do, is to choose whether or not to turn on DRM. There’s been a lot of debate over DRM, which stands for Digital Rights Management. The idea behind it is to stop the book from being pirated, by making it difficult to copy. But here’s the thing – people who pirate stuff can strip DRM from files easily. But people who have purchased the book properly, but want to move it to another device, will have trouble. So having DRM on your book does not really protect it, it just annoys genuine readers.

My advice? Don’t switch it on. As someone wise once said (cannot remember who they were now) an Indie authors biggest problem is not piracy, it’s obscurity.

So, click on ‘Browse‘ to find your file on your computer and upload it. You’ll see this:

kdp20

Then hopefully you will see this:

kdp21

If there are any spelling errors listed, you can see what they are, then go back to your original file, make changes, then re-upload the file again.

Then you will have the opportunity to review your book, to see what it will look like.

kdp22

Personally, I’ve never had much luck with the downloadable previewer, so I always preview online, which looks like this:

kdp23

You can see what your book will look like on different devices, and it’s a good idea to look though, and check things like your table of contents, by clicking on the chapter heading and seeing if it takes you to the right place. (You will have created a clickable table of contents in the formatting stage)

kdp24

When you have looked at it on different devices, and you have tried the links to make sure they work, you can click on the ‘Book Details’ button to go back.

kdp25

Then, if you are happy with it, click ‘save and continue’ at the bottom of the page. If you need to make changes, simply change your original file, then re-upload it, by clicking on the ‘Browse‘ button again.

Otherwise, by clicking on ‘save and continue’ you will proceed to Step 2 of the process, which I will go through in tomorrow’s post.

 

Disclaimer: All views, ideas and tips presented on this website are my own, based on my own experience and the experience of my clients. It is by no means the only way to do it, or the right way to do it, but it is the way that works for me. Please take what helps you and makes sense to you, and don’t worry about the rest for now. Please know that I take no responsibility for anything that happens as a result of you following my advice. I have created this blog as a resource for Indie Authors to help them make the publishing journey a little easier. I am not affiliated with any of the companies I mention, other than the fact that I use their services myself.

6 Tips for Great Author Photos

Years ago, authors were mysterious creatures who were locked away in their offices, writing feverishly all day and night, while their agent and publishers did all the selling and marketing. In those days, unless there was a photo of them on the back jacket of their book, it was common to not know what an author looked like. You could easily pass them on the street and have no idea who they were.

In the age of social media, we have become much more visual, and as authors now have to do much of their own promotion and marketing (that includes traditionally published authors) being visible and recognisable is quite important. Readers no longer want just a good book, they want to connect with the author behind it too.

So having a decent author photograph is actually quite important. I haven’t researched into what makes a good author photo, but I have made a list of what I think makes an author photo a great one. If you have any more tips to add, please do comment below!

Author Photo Tip #1: Look Happy!

I don’t think miserable or serious author photos really sell books, unless of course they are on very serious subjects, in which case I may be wrong.

Author Photo Tip #2: Nice and Bright

Try to have a bright image, if the image is too dark or fuzzy, then it won’t appeal to people as much. Try to wear clothing that contrasts with the background, so that you don’t blend in.

Author Photo Tip #3: Be Relaxed

Just because it’s going in the back of your book, doesn’t mean it has to be overly posed. Try to get your photographer to capture you in a relaxed pose, so that it shows more of who you really are, not the mask you put on when a camera appears. I know that many writers are introverts and don’t like to be in the limelight, but try to have fun with it if you can.

Author Photo Tip #4: Location, location, location

Have photos taken in natural settings if you can, or in a location that you feel shows off who you really are. You could have them taken in a studio, but then that doesn’t tell your reader anything about you.

Author Photo Tip #5: Have a selection

It’s tempting to have just one photo (especially if you’re paying to have them taken) but if you only have one photo for all your social media outlets and for the back matter of your books, after a while, you’re going to get bored with it, and so might your readers.

Author Photo Tip #6: Refresh Often

Try to renew your photos whenever you feel you need an update, or if you get an interesting new haircut or look different. I have made major changes to my author photos four time in the last four years, as I have changed and felt I needed an update. Here is the progression of my photos:

Michelle Gordonme small1Michelle GordonIMG_5729 small

 

As you can see, I’ve progressed from my initial author photo selfie, to having professional photos taken, and I think it does really make a difference.

 

As a fun little exercise, I’ve been googling some of my favourite authors from my childhood and teen years, just to see what they look like, it’s been quite interesting! If you have anything to add, please comment below.

 


IMG_5734_2Michelle is the author and publisher of 8 Visionary Fiction novels, all available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. She spends her days helping Indie Authors to publish their books, taking photographs and making gluten-free cakes.

If you need any help with your publishing journey, please do get in touch with her by emailing theamethystangel@hotmail.co.uk. You can book a Skype session or a phone call with her, or ask questions via email. Please do follow this blog to receive more posts on Indie Publishing.


 

Disclaimer: All views, ideas and tips presented on this website are my own, based on my own experience and the experience of my clients. It is by no means the only way to do it, or the right way to do it, but it is the way that works for me. Please take what helps you and makes sense to you, and don’t worry about the rest for now. Please know that I take no responsibility for anything that happens as a result of you following my advice. I have created this blog as a resource for Indie Authors to help them make the publishing journey a little easier.

The Front Matters

When self-publishing, your most valuable resources for researching how your book should look, is other books. Go to the library or your bookshelf, and look at books in the same genre as your book. Look at how they are set out, what font they use, how each page looks etc. If you want your book to stand out for the quality of the writing, and not for the poor quality of the layout/cover, then learn from those who have published before you.

I can generally tell whether a book has been self-published within about 5 seconds of picking it up. Based on whether or not it has a publishing imprint, the quality of the cover design, and then the way it’s laid out. If you open the front cover and chapter one starts immediately on the first page, then it just screams ‘self-published’. The problem with that, is that readers automatically look at it in a different, and usually more critical way. (I know this, because I have done the same thing).

The front matter is important, as the way it is laid out sets the tone for the rest of the book.  The layout of the front matter is quite different in print books to eBooks, and in this post, I am covering print only. I will cover eBooks in a later post.

So the following is the way I would layout the front matter of my books, in list format and image format. Obviously this needs to be tweaked depending on the book, but it is a good general guideline for fiction. As I’ve said above, the best way to research this is to look at books in the same genre.

Page #1: Blank

I prefer to leave the very first page of my books completely blank. This is because people like to have the signed when I sell them at fairs, and I like to have a whole blank page to write a message on for them. Other publishers use this page for reviews or as a title page.

Page #2: Other Books By…

I like to list my other books available on the second page, as it encourages my readers to pick up my other books if they enjoy this one. It also helps to create the feeling that you are an author the reader can trust, because you haven’t got just one book out. If this is your first book, then you can leave this page blank, or put something about your website or even other products besides your book.

Page #3: Title Page

The title page should have the title of the book, the name of the author (and other contributors if applicable) and the publishing name or website and imprint symbol. Again, check out the title pages of books in similar genres. Some of them have a plain font for the title, others mimic the font on the front cover. 

Page #4: Legal Page

The legal page should contain all the copyright information necessary for your book. The basics should include:

A paragraph starting with ‘all rights reserved’, detailing how your book can be used.

Copyright ©(with the copyright symbol, which can be found in ‘special characters’ in Word) and the date, and your name and publishing imprint name.

An ISBN number. (I will do another post about ISBN numbers soon)

‘The moral rights of the author has been asserted’

A statement about characters being fictitious (for fiction books) and if it is a non-fiction book, you may need a disclaimer or some sort.

The edition number.

Any credits to people/websites whose information you have used.

Page #5: Acknowledgements

On this page, thank everyone who has helped you bring your book to publication. This can include family, friends, beta readers, editors, proofreader etcetera.

Page #6: Blank

Page #7: Dedication

I love to dedicate my books to someone in particular. Either for their support, or for inspiring the book or because I love them so much. 

Page #8: Blank Page

Page #9: Chapter One/Prologue

On page 9, the first actual page of the story, is where your page numbers should begin. Up until then, there should be no page numbers. Getting word to start the page numbers further into a document can be tricky, I will do another post on that in the future.

Here are is the front matter of I’m Here, to illustrate the above list:

Page 1 & 2
Page 1 & 2
Page 3 & 4
Page 3 & 4
Page 5 & 6
Page 5 & 6
Page 7 & 8
Page 7 & 8
Page 9 & 10
Page 9 & 10

Just to clear up any confusion, as you look at the pages above, remember that all of the odd-numbered pages will be the right-hand pages in your printed book, and the even-numbered pages will be on the left-hand side of the book. 

 

Please check back soon for more posts containing tips for Indie Authors, and if you have any questions about the process, please feel free to ask and I will address your question in a post.

 

Disclaimer: All views, ideas and tips presented on this website are my own, based on my own experience and the experience of my clients. It is by no means the only way to do it, or the right way to do it, but it is the way that works for me. Please take what helps you and makes sense to you, and don’t worry about the rest for now. Please know that I take no responsibility for anything that happens as a result of you following my advice. I have created this blog as a resource for Indie Authors to help them make the publishing journey a little easier.