As an author, you have more control than you might think over how your book appears on Amazon. By setting up an “Amazon Author Central” account, both self-published and traditionally published authors alike can get control over their Amazon book listings and present the best product possible to potential buyers.
Before we get into the “how” of optimizing your Amazon Author Central page, I want to discuss why it’s so important that you do.
Your book page acts as the sales page of your website (even if you don’t have your own website). It’s the final phase in the reader’s journey, from first hearing about your book, to learning more about it, and ultimately deciding if they want to buy. There might be many steps in this process, and likely, those steps cost you money. If you’ve paid for advertising, or ran an outreach campaign, or even went on an author tour, you’ve invested a lot of time and money to convince people to buy your book. In short, you’ve done a lot of hard work to get them all the way to the final step in the process — your Amazon sales page — and it’s crucial that the page closes the deal.
You’d think that the publishing platform you’re using would do a good job of making sure your book looks good on Amazon. But the interface on most self-publishing platforms doesn’t translate well to Amazon. And even traditional publishers often end up creating Amazon listings that are less than ideal.
The risk of an unoptimized page means going through all of that effort only to have readers change their mind at the last second. They could choose to hit the “x” at the top of the screen for any number of reasons, and it’s your job to make sure they don’t have a reason. If your page isn’t in top-notch shape, it could set off a red flag that makes them not want to buy. For example, if your copy has typos or is poorly formatted, it might show them they can expect the same attention to detail, or lack thereof, in the actual book. It might scream “self-published”, which can turn many people away. Or perhaps the copy doesn’t accurately describe the book. If all of this time they thought the book was about one thing, and they get to your book page and it appears to be about something different, they’re likely not going to buy it.
But it’s about so much more than just the book description. Here are all the factors you’ll want to consider when optimizing your Amazon Author Central page:
How to Optimize Your Amazon Author Central Page
1. Make sure all formats are linked
If you’ve published a paperback, hardcover, ebooks and/or audiobooks, make sure they’re all linked on your author page so readers can easily navigate between all of the available versions and prices before choosing which one they want to buy. Sometimes this happens automatically, and sometimes you need to do it manually.
2. Make sure your other books are linked
If you’ve written more than one book, make sure they’re all connected to the same author page so readers can find your other works easily. If you published under different accounts, you’ll probably need to call Author Central to have them help you. If you published all your books under the same Amazon login, you can usually do this yourself by claiming each of your books in the backend.
3. Have a compelling and relevant book description
It should go without saying, but the book description should be clear, compelling and relevant. It should describe what the book is about, why readers should care / how it relates to them, and why you’re the one who wrote it. It should entice the reader to want to learn more. Many authors fear giving away too much information here, but it’s best to err on too much than not enough.
4. Make sure the book description is formatted professionally
It can be challenging to format your book description in a way that’s clean and professional because the platform isn’t very user-friendly in this arena, but it’s worth the temporary frustration to make sure it’s perfect. If the spacing is weird, or there’s bold or italic text where it shouldn’t be, then you’ll risk scaring readers away with your lack of attention to detail. In Author Central, you can manipulate the code with very little knowledge of coding, or use this free tool from Kindlepreneur to format your text and then copy and paste the HTML into the text box.
5. Complete your author profile
Part of your book page is your author image and a short biography, and you should definitely add both. Use a professional headshot if you can, and write a professional bio that pertains to your book. If you used a short version on your cover or inside your book, you can use the same one here. A good tip is to also include your website at the end of this bio so people can easily learn more about you if they want to.
There is also a place to upload extra photos and/or videos, so if you have a book trailer or any relevant videos on the topic of your book, adding them here will help make your page stand out.
6. Include endorsements
If you have any good endorsements from your book, be sure to include them in the separate section for endorsements so they’ll stand out. You may also want to put one in bold or italics above your book description, but include the others in the specific section so people know where to find them. Keep in mind, endorsements are promotional blurbs from people with a lot of authority on the topic or in a related field to your book, and they differ from customer reviews. Read our post on how to secure endorsements for your book.
7. Get more customer reviews
These are absolutely crucial on Amazon, and the more 5-star reviews you can get, the better. As you know, your book is up against a lot of competition, and one of the ways readers choose which one to buy is based not only on quality of reviews, but how many. If you were looking at two relatively similar books and one had one good review and the other had ten good ones, which do you think you would choose?
8. Add each format into 10 total categories
This one is a little known secret. When you publish your book on Amazon KDP, you’re only allowed to select up to three categories for it (ie business books, nonfiction, autobiography, etc.), but if you call Author Central and ask them to add it to more categories, they’ll add each format of your book into a total of ten categories. They do need to be relevant, but the more categories you’re listed in, the easier it will be for readers to stumble upon your book.
So how do you actually get control over these factors?
If it isn’t clear by now, Amazon has a separate platform called Author Central, just for authors like you. You can navigate to author.amazon.com and create an account with the same Amazon credentials you used to publish your book (if you did it yourself on KDP), or that you use to shop with on Amazon.com.
Once logged in, navigate to “Profile.” Here, you can upload your headshot and include your bio, plus any other photos and videos you’d like to add.
Next, you’ll want to search for your book and claim it as yours. You may need to search with the ISBN number if the title doesn’t pop up. If you have more than one book, be sure to claim them all.
Then, navigate to the bookshelf, click on the format you want to update first, and click “edit book details.” Here, you can edit the description of the book. Repeat for each format.
Note: You cannot update your audiobook here.
When you’re ready to call, click “Help” in the top right corner, and then “contact us” to enter your phone number and receive an instant call back. Ask them to help you add your book(s) to relevant categories and anything else you might need a hand with!
Now it’s time to sell more books!
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