Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Guest star: Amy Atwell

Please welcome author Amy Atwell as my guest star!

Thank you so much to Martha for inviting me today! It’s always fun to write a guest post and meet new people. 

I haven’t done enough of it this past year because I’ve been busy researching and building a new website called Author EMS—a resource library for authors on all sorts of topic related to the business of publishing and being an entrepreneurial author.

Today, I want to give you a sneak peek at the kind of information we’re curating inside our “library.”  Case in point:  Author Central. 

Have you heard of it? Chances are, if you’re a published author with a book for sale on Amazon, you have. If you’re not yet published, file this away for future reference because you’ll want it one day.

If you’re the author of a book for sale on Amazon, you’re recognized as part of the product features. Doesn’t matter whether you’re indie published or commercially published, your name is link on your book’s product page. 

You’re also searchable in Amazon’s data.  On any Amazon page, put your name in the search box.  Your author page should come up as an option.

An author page shares your bio, your blog and/or Twitter feed and links to all your books with Amazon shoppers. But, you may have to add or update this information. You do that through Amazon’s Author Central. 

If you’ve never visited Author Central before, you’ll need to join. It’s free, and you can use the same Amazon login you use as a customer—if you want. I like to keep things simple, so that’s what I do. 

Once inside, there are a number of tabs across the top in a blue navigation bar.

  • HOME has the latest news from Amazon plus some general links that may be helpful to all authors.

  • BOOKS should show a list of all your books. If all your books aren’t there, they offer a link to search through Amazon and add the missing books. This is important, because you want Amazon shoppers to see all your books when they visit your Author Page.
  • Also, when you select a book from this page, you’ll get more specifics on it, including a chance to add an editorial review or a note from the author. 
  • Be sure to click on the BOOK EXTRAS tab that appears under your book cover photo (you’re still on the BOOKS tab in the main navigation). This page is linked to Shelfari, now owned by Amazon. If you follow the link to Shelfari, you can link your Shelfari account to your Author Central account.  Be aware that everyone at Shelfari will now know you’re an author! You or other Shelfari users can add information about your book.  These extras show up on Kindles and in the Safari community. 
  • PROFILE is your chance to add or update your author bio. You can link a blog RSS feed from your blog, add photos, video (do you have a book trailer?), and your Twitter feed. Also, look for information on getting a custom URL for your Author Page.  Mine is  This makes it really easy to use as a link when you’re blogging or tweeting or for your signature line.
  • SALES INFO shares info on your print and digital book sales rank. If you’re indie published, this won’t give nearly as much info as KDP, but the print book sales info from BookScan is helpful.
  • CUSTOMER REVIEWS shows all your reviews for all your books. You can sort by high-low, low-high, new-old, old-new and also filter by book title. 
  • HELP is a thorough section that gives instructions on everything you can do in Author Central.

I continue to be amazed at the number of books I see on Amazon where the author has left the Author Page pretty much blank. Which brings me to my final point:  Amazon has sales outlets in other countries.   

You should be able to login to and follow the same basic instructions to access and update your Author Page on that site.  Right now, it’s a bit of a challenge to get to the Author Pages in Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

Hope that helps a few people out there. If you have questions about Amazon or Author Central regarding book and author listings, feel free to ask. I’ll answer whatever I can. 

And, I hope you’ll also take a few minutes to explore the Author EMS website to see all the information it has to offer.

Amy Atwell worked in professional theater for 15 years before turning from the stage to the page to write fiction. She now gives her imagination free rein in both contemporary and historical stories that combine adventure and romance. 

When not writing, Amy runs the WritingGIAM online community for goal-oriented writers and has recently launched the Author E.M.S. online resource library. An Ohio native, Amy has lived all across the country and now resides on a barrier island in Florida with her husband and two Russian Blues. 


Brenda said...

Oh this is fantastic! Thank you so much. I have an author page, but looks like I can add a few more things to it.

Joan Leacott said...

Everyday I learn something more of the "linkiness" of today's world. I know what my first note-to-self will be when I sign that first contract: Join Author EMS! Thanks, Amy. And thanks, Mart, for hosting this interview.

Melissa Limoges said...

Great interview, ladies! Very informative and quite useful.

Maggie O'Malley said...

I didn't know that Amazon owned Shelfari. Thanks for the info.

Daryl said...

Great post Mart - so much helpful info.

Ella Quinn said...

I'm not published yet, but this is great information. I'll pass it along.

fOIS In The City said...

Martha, thanks for featuring our friend and colleague, Amy.

Amy, your work for other authors continues to be tireless. None of us, published or not, can ever thank you enough for blazing the trail to help us become better at our craft and find our readership. Your hard work is appreciates :)

Wendy S. Marcus said...

Hi Amy!
It's a bit time consumming to create your profile on international Amazons, but not impossible. I found all the Amazons are set up virtually the same. When on an amazon where I don't speak/read the language I went back and forth between UK Amazon and foreign amazon. The prompts/links are pretty much in the same spots.

Amy Atwell said...

Wow--I woke up this morning, cruised by here and see many of you visited late last night. Thank you so much for checking out the blog post and the Author EMS site.

Yes, the "lankiness" of the online world is vital. And you can save a lot of time by allowing one piece of content (a tweet or a blog post) serve other purposes. Link your blog to Facebook, LinkedIn and Amazon. Make sure readers can find you. Visibility for you and your book are key elements to success in selling books today.

Amy Atwell said...

Oh, and Maggie mentioned that she didn't know that Amazon owned Shelfari. That was a fairly recent purchase--in the last two years, I believe. Amazon also owns 40% of LibraryThing. If you're on Goodreads, you know that they recently took a step back from their relationship with Amazon. I think it's smart business, if you want to grow your Amazon sales, to have an author presence on both Shelfari and LibraryThing--in addition to Goodreads.

Carol Kilgore said...

Wonderful post, Amy. I learned a lot. I'm just beginning to learn about Amazon from the author side. It's daunting. Thanks so much for shedding more light on Author Central.

Waving to Mart :)

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Thanks so much for the helpful info, Amy. I'm on author central, but not linked to Shelfari. In fact, I've probably neglected Shelfari. This will help so much to link.

Amy Atwell said...

Thanks for stopping by, Carol and Vicki! So glad when I can shed light on the dark underside of marketing for authors. There are so many details to track in this industry, and things change so rapidly. It's a full time job to keep up.

Toni Kelly said...

Wow, Author EMS, I wish I had known about this before. Can't wait to do some exploring. Thanks for visiting Mart today and thank you Mart for having Amy!

Anya Millar said...

Great information. Heading over to Author EMS now. Thanks!

Stina said...

Thanks for sharing this. All of this is new to me. I don't pay much attention to the author info when I shop on Amazon, but that doesn't mean others don't.

Jessica Aspen said...

Definitely helpful Amy and I'm looking forward to all the info in the library. I know you are working very hard on it. I'm going to see if I can get a page up on Amazon-UK. Wow, I had no idea I could do that!

Sandy said...

Thanks to our wonderful Amy. I hope to utilize all the things you've done for us.

Molly Cannon said...

Great information, Amy! Thanks for sharing it. I'm still learning new things everyday!