Amazon Author Central Accounts? …. Yes Accounts with an s!
Before we get started I would like to say that an author is not just “the” author, they can be the co-author as an illustrator is for a picture book, or a photographer, it may also include the narrator(s) for an audio book, or the translator or any other sort of contributor. I am not sure how Amazon defines an author, however, it is better to ask them the question than assuming that you can’t have an Author Central account. Right, now we have that fixed in our heads let’s get down to business!
I am not totally sure how to explain how this idea helps to maximise your income as it is a bit of a known unknown but definitely a useful exercise that most illustrators, authors, etc. should do just in case, and it can’t hurt to help potential customers find all your books in one place on Amazon.
The idea is, on the surface, quite a simple one, you create accounts as an author with each Amazon Author Central. Once each of your accounts is verified you can write a profile / biography, add pictures, blog and events etc. Your accounts allow you to add any of your books sold on any of the Amazon domains to your profile page for that domain …. Sorry what was that? Accounts? Domains? Page for that domain? …. All will become clear, ish!
If you don’t have Amazon Author Central accounts yet as a writer or an illustrator etc. then time you did! Yes that is right I did say accounts with an s again …. You see there are twelve Amazon domains worldwide and five of them currently have Amazon Author Central accounts available to us. These are Amazon.CO.UK, Amazon.COM, Amazon.FR, Amazon.DE and Amazon.JP. So step one, if you don’t already have accounts, is to follow the links below, get your accounts setup and then come back when they have been verified.
Amazon Author Central for Japan is very difficult to do and they will not provide translation assistance unless you have lots of books being sold on that domain. As such I only started with the other four Amazon Author Central accounts covering .COM, .CO.UK, .DE and .FR. I later got some help from a friend and have now managed to do my Japanese page, however, if you don’t know anyone that can read Japanese then there is always Google Translate …. It’s not perfect but it is better than nothing.
- Author Central Amazon.co.uk covering the UK
- Author Central Amazon.com covering north America
- Author Central Amazon.de covering Germany
- Plate-forme Auteurs Amazon.fr covering France
- 著者セントラル Amazon.co.jp covering Japan
For each account you need to use the add books facility to add all of your books, regardless of language, hardback, paperback etc. sold on that domain individually. Also if you find a book authored or illustrated by you but does not have your name against it on Amazon you can use the contact centre to request for the book to be added to your Author Central page. Fortunately you can use the add books facility to search for books in your name or the authors’ or illustrators’ names that you have worked with on the book so you can add as many as possible to your Amazon pages which I will explain how to do in detail in a moment.
The idea is when someone is shopping online on Amazon for one of your books they can click to see your Amazon Author page and see what other books you have done. They may end up buying more of your books if they, or their little one in the case of children’s picture books, loved the first one they bought. It just makes it easier for the potential customer to see more of your books. All this may increase book sales even by just a tiny bit. There is of course no way of knowing for sure unless there is a sudden jump in books sales immediately afterwards. You’ve got to be in it to win it is my view.
Right we can get started again …. First log into one of your Amazon Author Central accounts. Once you have logged into one of your accounts you should see the welcome page as per the screenshot below from Amazon.CO.UK. The first step is to go to your books by selecting the “Books“ tab from the menu bar as shown in the screenshot.
Once you are on your “Books by you” page click on the “Add more books” button.
This takes you to the “Add books to your bibliography” popup window. In the search box enter your name or the name that you are published against and click the “GO” button.
Or if you are looking for a particular book then you can search on the books ISBN number.
I personally recommend doing an initial search on your name and capture as many books as you can find and then doing a search on all your books’ ISBNs’ to double check you have captured everything. It’s a lot of work and takes time to do yes, however, if you do it in bite size pieces then you’ll be done in no time. There is nothing else I can do to help with the pain!
You should now see all the books available on the Amazon domain you are logged in to under your name (or the ISBN you have searched for).
The books already attributed to your Author Central account will be shown with “Already added” light grey button underneath them. You don’t need to be concerned with these other than to tick them off your list as done and/or collect all available data by clicking on the book cover image to take you to the selling page and gather all the information you need for your book log (please see article on how to create a book log on my website or LinkedIn page).
For the purpose of adding your books to your Amazon Author Central account we are only interested in the books that have a “This is my book” yellow button underneath them. Click on any that are actually your books, as Amazon does get it wrong sometimes. Also, and I think this is very very important from bitter experience, make a note of which book you are about to add to your account, including the search page it is on, so you can get back to that point ready to add the next one at the end of this process as the system will not update / show the book as already added to your account until your request has been actioned by Amazon. This normally takes a few days.
Once you have clicked the button to claim this is your book you will be redirected to popup stating that “you are not listed as the author of this book” giving you options on how you can correct this. As can be seen in the screenshot below, the first question I am being asked is do I see my name below with a suggestion of who I might be and a “This is me” button. If it is actually you then press that button and you are done. However, my name has never come up so I have always used the next option which is in the “need your name added?” section. Click the “contact us” link.
You should now be on the “Contact us” page. Select from the “Select an issue” drop-down menu “Author missing from book” and then I would normally add in the “Question / Feedback” section some standard text that I have saved to my clipboard such as “Please add my name as the illustrator of this book so I can add it to my Amazon Author Central page. Thank you.”
Or for a box set that includes one of my books I would say “Please add my name as one of the illustrators of the books in this box set so I can add it to my Amazon Author Central page. Thank you.”
Then click the “Send email” button.
Once your email has been sent you should find yourself on the “Book correction sent” page which completes the process for one book. Yes all that for just one book! …. We now need to go back to the “My books” page and start the process all over again to capture all your books. Do you remember what I said earlier about making sure you make a note of which book you are about to add to your account, including the search page it was on, so you can get back to that point as the system will not update / show the book as already added to your account until your request has been actioned by Amazon? …. Well you know why now so please, please, please don’t forget to do this because I always did when I started and it becomes painful when trying to remember which book you have just added and where did you get to etc. …. I am only trying to help so do it for you not because I asked you to :-).
Go through this process as many times as you need to capture all your books and request them all to be added to your accounts. It pains me to inform you at this point that your accounts are not linked so you have to log into each one separately and do it all again for each account.
You will get an email from Amazon once your book(s) have been added, or informing you of any issue etc. There have been a couple of times where I have had to provide details of my publisher to confirm that I am the illustrator etc. but nothing too complicated or stressful so far …. I’d better check my inbox before posting this!
Now for the extra twist ….. four of the five Amazon domains that allow Author Central accounts follow the same pattern as above so you don’t need to know the language to be able to add your books. I even sometimes use Google translate to send my standard message in English and the language of the domain to show intent and to be respectful etc. or even to give them something to laugh at and hopefully make their day! The one domain that is that is different is Amazon.COM ….. yes our friends in North America. It’s not that much different and no big deal.
If I pick things up from the point where you click on the “This is my book” button then you are redirected to the “Contact us” page which looks like the screenshot below. I simply select from the “Select an issue” drop-down menu “Update something else” and then from the “Select details” drop-down menu I select “Other”, followed by E-mail as the method of contacting Amazon and then do the same message etc. as above.
Naturally now that I have written all of this the format will probably change over Christmas and there will be a new look for the new year, but I am sure it will not be so much different that the above wouldn’t be useful in some way so happy adding, and if you get stuck please do drop me a line as I would be more than happy to help where I can.
I fully appreciate that you might think that this is just hours and hours of time dedicated to doing something that only ‘might’ increase your income. However, you just never know, once done on a global scale who knows what affect it will have on your royalties, hence income. Even just a small increase in sales could convert into a few extra pounds into your pocket. Your publishers might just thank you for it as it will reflect in their cash flow too!!! So get talking with each other to see if there is anyway of to make it easier for you both.
Personally I have seen an increase in my books rankings on Amazon which suggests to me that my efforts (well you should all know by now that I am lucky enough for my husband, now my PA, does it all for me, he thinks that he has never done anything as stupid as I have because I married him, but then again who’s the one doing my boring work while I stick to illustrating! …… stupid is as stupid does! ;-p) have been worth it. I can’t tell you how much it has increased my income by, if at all, but I can tell you it definitely has not decreased it. Plus, if nothing else, it helps potential customers know a little bit more about you through your profile and expose them to more of your work which surely must be a good thing.
I (well not actually me!) do check each of my Amazon Author Central accounts every three months to be sure that all my listed books by various sellers are linked to my accounts. An hour every three months is nothing once all the initial hard work is done.
One last thing before I stop, if you come across anything that I haven’t covered here please do contact me as I have come across different issues over the years that are somewhere in the back of my head hidden away in a dark place in a file called bitter memories!