In case you haven’t noticed, Amazon Author Central went through a huge overhaul in late December of 2022.
Gone are the blog updates (which I really loved), gone are the images you could add, or video. Though I believe these still show up on your international pages.
Given that, I thought it was a good time to dig into some of these changes to see how it impacts your book and author brand.
If you haven’t already done so, head on over to your Author Central page and check out what it looks like now.
Here is what mine looked like before:
Here is what it looks like now:
Amazon Author Central pages get upwards of two million hits per year, so when Amazon makes changes to their author-related benefits it can be great – but other times it’s not so great.
I expect that Amazon got rid of the option to add your blog because too few authors actually. used it, which is unfortunate since it’s essentially free promotion. Or perhaps authors were adding it but not keeping their blogs up to date, which reflects poorly on the author, but also on the user experience, and Amazon wants things to add to their bottom line.
The other piece Amazon got rid of was the ability to add images, which I really liked because it was a great way to set yourself apart and create a unique presence for potential buyers.
But there’s a lot of vetting with both blog feeds and images, and I expect that Amazon just found that vetting got too challenging.
Because we live in an age where anyone can say anything, the Internet is like the Wild West, and perhaps Amazon just got tired of trying to prevent issues that caused on their site.
Still, I wish they would have kept these and kept up the vetting effort.
I think it really added a lot of “flavor” to Amazon Author Central page, and it gave readers a more options to get to know you, which I know for a fact contributes to whether or not they decide to buy.
Maybe at some point Amazon will add these options back (and like I said, they’re still on the Amazon international author pages) but for now, let’s explore one of the newest features that’s been added to Amazon Author Central.
Book Recommendations are a Worthwhile Addition to Author Central
Book recommendations popped up the first week of January I believe, at least from what my team was able to track. It’s a cool idea, too – being able to push your own books as well as recommend someone else’s.
Here’s what it looks like on the backend of Amazon Author Central:
And once it’s filled in, here’s what it looks like
This is a good opportunity to highlight a book that’s not getting enough play, but keep in mind how it shows up on your Amazon Author Central page, because that could influence which of your own books you decide to recommend.
Here is how it shows up on your Amazon Author Central page:
The first book on this list is someone else’s title. You must scroll to get to my other recommendations.
This is what you see when you scroll:
I love the idea of recommending other authors’ books.
To start, it’s an effective way to align yourself with a particular topic or sub-genre, just keep in mind that your book recommendations do reflect on your brand, so be mindful that you’re recommending books that will benefit your reader market.
In short, this isn’t a diary or personal TBR list, this is a sales strategy, even when you’re listing titles that aren’t yours.
The other benefit is that it’s a nice networking opportunity, too.
If you’re in a group with other/similar authors, or if you have authors you’re already networking with, swapping out recommendations and keeping the list updated consistently is a nice way to give each other a little extra clout.
It’s also a nice way to thank someone or show them support. Here are some examples of reasons you may want to thank or show support:
- They provided you with a forward
- They provided you with an advance review or blurb
- They inspired you in your industry or in your chosen area of expertise
- They write on a complimentary topic that would be useful to your buyer market
I think at some point more features will be added to Amazon Author Central, I hope so in any case, because as is, they’re kind of bleak compared to the prior format.
In the meantime, keep in mind that you can always add video to your individual book pages via the Amazon upload feature. You can do this from your desktop or phone. And you’ll have to manage each retail page separately, you can’t upload a single video to every book page.
You Should Customize your Sharable URL
This isn’t a new feature but something you’ll want to check out if you haven’t already done so.
Head on over to author.amazon.com and click on “edit profile” which takes you to the page where you can upload your author photo and bio. It’s also the place where you can customize your sharable URL. Just click “edit” and create it.
It’s a really smart way to create something that looks better on your website, on social, in your newsletter, etc.
What the Latest Author Central Changes Mean
With the changes, when you first land on the page it puts the author bio front and center, which wasn’t the case on the older pages.
This means that your bio (and your author photo) are more important than ever.
If you haven’t spent time refining your author bio or added a strategic author photo, now is a good time to do that.
And by strategic, I mean your photo should be appropriate for your topic or genre. A professional headshot is often best for anything non-fiction. If you write fiction you can have a bit more fun with it, in terms of setting or styling, but please don’t make it a cropped photo from social media, just because your hair looks good. Any corners you cut, will be felt by potential buyers in some way.
The other element of this is how the books are staged on Amazon Author Central, leading with your most popular book right up front, other titles can be sorted by number of reviews, price, release dates and several other parameters.
Don’t Forget Your International Sales Potential
Be sure to grab your international pages as well. you can do so by heading over to these links. The login is the same across all Amazon platforms so this makes it easy to get on and grab your profile. Your Author Central details will get migrated over, so you don’t have to keep adding this information each time you grab an author page, which makes it easy.
Here are the links:
- United Kingdom: https://author.amazon.co.uk
- Germany: https://author.amazon.de
- Japan: https://author.amazon.co.jp
- France: https://author.amazon.fr
Author pages are created by default for the following countries if your books are available there:
And while you can’t customize the above pages, they will automatically reflect whatever you have on Amazon.com, so that’s another reason to stay on top of things
Whatever free tools Amazon offers authors, you need to use them.
And I encourage you to stay on top of new features and opportunities, so if you’re already following this blog you’re set!
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Thanks for the news. I didn’t know about the changes. Wow. My page looks kind of stark and impersonal. That’s a shame.
I know it, I dislike this new update. The other one just seemed more interesting.
Like Anna, My page also looks kind of stark and impersonal.
I have become your groupie after watching your recent ASJA presentation 4/19/23 and I get what you say about the Author Page. I want my most recent book Francis and Clare The Struggles of the Saints of Assisi to appear at the top of my list of books. Sorting by Customer Review would do this, but I can’t make the edit “stick.” There’s no way to save it. Will Amazon allow me to make this change? Thank you!
Kathleen right now they’re sticking with Popularity as the default, but I like to give shoppers credit for being pretty savvy, so don’t stress too much, if you’ve already gotten them to your Author Central page they’ll likely do a little digging, sort by Publication Date, etc.