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Sunday, March 25, 2012


Amazon's Author Central: Keeping Track of Your Books

A dozen years ago, authors had little or no feedback on the sales of their books and no way to find out anything. Today, that has changed because of Amazon's Author Central. It gives you access to sales data, and ways to correct and supplement all sorts of data about your book. If you have a book out, you should be on Author Central.

First, go to and create an account by entering your email and creating a password. For your first book, your publisher may have to verify that you are indeed an author, but after that, you're in. You'll want to bookmark the log-in screen because you'll probably wind up checking this about once a week.

What can you DO at AuthorCentral?

1. Add Books. First, go to Books and Add your books to this account. You can add as many books as you have for sale on Amazon, whether they are traditionally or self-published, whether they are print or Kindle. It may take a day or two to confirm the books, so check back; when they are added, go on to the next step.

When the Books are added, you'll see the cover image, title, current Amazon sales ranking and how many reviews are posted for the book.

2. Edit a Book's Information. Click on the title of any book to go to that book's page. Here, you have access to all the sales data for your book that is displayed on Amazon. Here you can do these things:
  • Upload a cover image.
  • Add or correct editorial reviews
  • Add or correct a product description
  • Add an author's statement
  • Add or correct inside flap information
  • Add or correct back cover information
  • Add or correct About the Author
  • Suggest product information updates
  • Add Book Extras for Kindle or Kindle Apps, or Shelfari (Amazon's social media for booklovers)

That is amazing. Before AuthorCentral, if you had a problem with something--blurry image, name misspelled, wrong information--if was a major ordeal to get it corrected. Here, everything is at your fingertips. You can also link different formats for the book. For example, my book WISDOM, THE MIDWAY ALBATROSS is available as a paperback and Kindle. Through Author Central, the formats were linked within 24 hours: if someone reviews the Kindle version, it now automatically shows up on the paperback version.

3. Profile. Authors now have a Profile Page on Amazon which lists all your available books. It's easy now to create a "pretty link" on this page, so your Profile Page will be something like this: See

You can add any type of bio, bibliography, promo material you want through this page on AuthorCentral. Photos and videos can be uploaded here. You can link your Twitter Account and import feed from your blog. And finally, you can announce Events here, such as book signings or public appearances. In short, you can enhance your Profile in multiple ways.

4. Sales Information. Neilsen BookScan is a service which tracks sales across the U.S. and represents about 75% of all books sold. This data has always been available to publisher, so they can track weekly sales and know exactly what areas of the country are buying your book.

The map will look something like this (I've removed the actual number of sales in this map.)
Now, if you go to San Francisco for a public appearance, the next week, you'll know if that appearance produced any kind of bump in sales.

Data is updated weekly and shows the number of sales for each title. (Actual numbers removed.) Did you do an online promotion last week? You can see how effective it was and how it carried over to other titles.

5. Customer Reviews. Finally, you can see customer reviews for all your books. No longer do you have to obsessively go to each book's page on Amazon to see activity. It is all collected here for you, and updated weekly.

Amazon's AuthorCentral is a great service. The best benefits are the ability to correct any errors or update info as needed. And for the first time, authors can track sales weekly and track where in the U.S. the sales are made. If you have books out, you should sign up today!

Darcy Pattison blogs about how-to-write at Fiction Notes.


Blogger GeminiWriter said...

I agree! I think it's an excellent tool for authors. I'm surprised more don't use it.

7:18 PM  
Blogger Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks Darcy. These are all such great tips that I knew nothing about. I'm definitely bookmarking this for hopefully use someday.

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Kirstie said...

With the map showing where the sales come from in the US, does the service mention anywhere the number of sales generated outside of the US?
Definately sounds like a great service. I like that it enables you to share reviews between different formats of the same book.
Great info, thank-you

7:56 PM  
Blogger Mike Hays said...

Thanks for this information, Darcy. And as I was just getting ready to set up my author page, the timing is perfect. Now I have a tour guide to show me the way!

9:35 AM  
Blogger Darcy Pattison said...

Right now, the sales reported are just for the US because it uses the Nielsen BookScan info.


11:52 AM  
Blogger Angela Ackerman said...

Very helpful--thank you, Darcy! This will help me figure it all out quickly. Woot!

Angela Ackerman

2:57 PM  
Blogger Sara Harricharan said...

Thank you for posting this information!

8:47 PM  

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