Facelift or Botch for Amazon Author Central?

Seems like every time I publish something, like a video training course, the internet gives it a new spin. In this case Amazon Author Central profile pages got a facelift which may be a botched job. It appears an effort was made to have more show at the top of the page at the sacrifice of information about each item. This is the new look and I’ll explain the differences:
Amazon Author Central Oct 2014The biography is a thin column beneath the main photo, which shows less text than the old version (I need to shorten the URLs to appear on one line). Also only two photos display, whereas the old version showed a choice of boxes beneath the main one allowing readers to click on eight options. Just one blog post is listed unless you click the “pan sideways” button, where before several blog headlines were shown prominently. It took me a few minutes to figure that out as I am used to scrolling down, not panning sideways. Fortunately you can still scroll down and find the old information, but it’s not as apparent at first glance since it’s further down from the landing zone. The video area shows higher on the page but only one, where before there was a choice of eight like the photos. “Author Updates” have replaced “Latest Tweet” and “Blog Posts” so that’s kind of a toss-up. The horizontal book presentation has a lack of reviews displayed. This is a bit concerning for books with many good reviews, in the event people don’t scroll down further to see the reviews. Although for books with great covers and few reviews, it might help a bunch.

The image below is from the UK Author Central, which never displayed blog posts and must be next in line for the facelift (France already got hers, Germany and Japan waiting).

Amazon Author Central Oct 2014 2Perhaps it’s just a matter of getting used to the changes, but at first glance I prefer the old version. If they could figure out a way to add the reviews to the horizontal book display, I’d like it better. Plus the photos and video options from before were a nice touch.

What are your thoughts? Please share in the comments. Have you seen your new look and made any changes?


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Amazon Author Central Pages in Foreign Countries

Indie authors need to make the most of their Amazon author pages in foreign countries too. Fortunately, Amazon makes it easy with a consistent layout.

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Amazon Author Central for Indie Authors

amazon author centralAmazon Author Central is a fantastic resource for Indie authors selling ebooks and paperbacks, which makes is surprising to find many writers not utilizing this free warehouse of tools.

If you have ebooks for sale on Amazon and you’re not yet using author central, the first thing to do is to create an author profile. This is what browsers will see when they click the hyperlink of your author name listed under all of your books on the product page. Believe it or not, many Indie authors haven’t filled in this information or have done so sparsely, and thus when someone clicks on their name the search results in either little about the author or, even worse, a list of books written by people with a similar name. By simply creating a profile and matching it to your list of books, any browser can learn so much more about you, which often leads to sales. Many elements can go into your profile: an author biography with website URLs (if you have them), at least one good photo and preferably more, a list of all of your ebooks and paperbacks, updates from your blogs (if applicable), your twitter feed and any related videos you might have.

1. Create a Profile – this will end up being found by many browsers on your book product page as a hyperlink of your author name and will read like this, Visit Amazon’s Jason Matthews Page. Once that’s done, you can Add Books to make the link work for all of them.

2. Now upload some photos, especially a face shot. I prefer doing multiple photos. Amazon prefers the photos are of you, but you can try adding family members or locations and see if it’s accepted.

3. Write a biography. I like keeping it short and sweet, but you can write more. Readers love a little info on the author. What else do you do? What motivates you to write? What issues are you working on? How can people contact you (no HTML but you can leave URLs)?

4. Add the feed to your blog or blogs. This will look something like https://ebooksuccess4free.wordpress.com/feed/ or http://www.thebigbangauthor.com/atom.xml. It will enable Amazon browsers to see your most recent posts and also give them the link to your blog and to subscribe/follow it. (If you don’t have blog, seriously consider getting one, even a free one with WordPress or Blogger.)

5. Add your Twitter account. This will post your latest tweets, so keep them interesting and/or appropriate for book browsers to see.

6. Add video if you have anything related to your book or just something that will allow readers to get to know you better. It could be anything as long as it helps people see the real you and want to check out your book.

7. Set up the Search Inside the Book feature, if it’s not already done.

8. Join Amazon Associates for making money on referral links to Amazon products (depending of which state/country you live in). It’s a great way to create links, banners, favorite badges and custom widgets like this carousel at one of my blogs.

There’s also good data for sales information by geography and a reviews page to quickly find all customer comments. See the FAQ’s page and Help page for more info.

Share your thoughts and comments.

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