If you are not on Amazon Author Central or Goodreads as an author, you need to be. For reference, here are the two sites:
Why does this matter? Amazon is the largest book retailer in the world. Your Author Central Page functionality provides a platform for Amazon readers to interact with you. You can do more than just list your books and bio. You can link your blog and list your events. You can also upload videos if you have them. When there is a new blog post on your site, your Amazon followers will be notified. When you have a new release listed in your bibliography, your followers will also be notified. So it is a way to automatically contact your readers. And don’t forget to claim your sites in other countries on Amazon. No, the US site is not the only one — you need to claim them all!
The UK site is probably second in importance. There is not an Australian site yet. Also note, the US site is the only one to integrate blogs. And, if you use Google Chrome, you are easily able to translate the foreign languages, if you cannot read them.
Here is a quick checklist for Amazon Author Central:
- Claim your site by clicking on the link.
- Click on the books that are yours. You might need to click through quite a few if your name is similar to someone else.
- Add your bio
- Add your photo — or photos
- Link your blog
- Enter your upcoming events
- Upload your videos
- Repeat these steps for each country site (except the blog)
- Keep these updated from time to time — especially when you have a new release.
- You might also consider making these country-specific if you have content related to that country.
So what about Goodreads? It is one of the top book review places on the Internet. You can interact with lots of readers here. You can also run giveaways and interact with your readers via Q&A. Note that Goodreads is now owned by Amazon, but they have not integrated this with Author Central — yet.
To claim your Goodreads page, do the following:
- Sign in or create an account, and then search for your most popular book via ISBN, ASIN, or title.
- On the book, click on your author name. Scroll to the bottom of your author profile page.
- Click “Is this you?”
In the drop down, click on Account Settings and make sure you’ve done the following:
- Add your biography
- On the right, click on Videos to add videos
- On the right, click on Events to add events
- On the right, click on Edit Blog. Here you can add a Goodreads blog or link your existing blog. To link existing you need to enter the Existing Blog Feed URL.
In the drop down, click on Profile and do the following:
- Add your website URL
- Add your Twitter handle
- Add the genres you write within
- You can update your bio here
- You can also add books and combine editions
If you set all of this up, your existing blog will feed both of these sites automatically and will reach your followers. Which brings me to one of the most important points. Besides trying to capture their emails and getting them to post your reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, ask your readers to follow you on both sites. Provide links to your author pages — and with Goodreads you can even include buttons (for those of you who are web savvy).
Long-time readers of this newsletter know we’ve been concerned about the viability of Barnes and Noble as other big box retailers meet their demise and Amazon gobbles up their customers.
Barnes has also struggled with their executive leadership and appear (to us) to be mostly disorganized and rudderless. While we greatly value them as a means to get to our customers — they are the largest brick and mortar book retailer after all — we have realized we need to part ways in a couple of key ways:
1) We had taken advantage of Barnes & Nobles direct distribution model which permitted them to print books for us for their online customers and, in theory, provide a direct means to print and distribute to their stores. You might recall some of the early problems with them rejecting our content for being labeled “Made in the USA” and for them clamping down too hard on intellectual property — in effect locking up dozens of our titles for no valid reason. After these issues were resolved, we gave them another chance, but three times now they have held book signings with our authors who had books in their direct supply chain. Three times they called us directly to place an order. In other words, their store managers have no idea they had a print and distribution option internally and that the books they were calling about were set up. “Oh, that’s corporate” or “Oh, that’s the e-Commerce department” were typical excuses. Realizing this was not likely to be corrected any time soon, we moved all of this business over to Ingram. While we pay more per book, at least we know the stores are looking here for them. Ingram was more than happy to oblige and set up a slick automated way to move them over. We are now working on this. You should know the metadata about your books at B&N is only about 20% of what is available at Ingram. And here is what else we learned — corporate was only giving a 35% discount to their stores! Ingram gives them a better deal — no wonder they were ignoring it!
2) Sales on the NOOK platform have been sliding for many months. During December we sold only one NOOK eBook despite having many dozens listed on the platform. This was the end of the rope for us. Being on the NOOK platform prevented us from getting full access to Amazon Kindle promotions and opportunities. While I firmly believe this is monopoly-like behavior on Amazon’s part and should be looked at by the FTC, we are now able to switch on all of our eBooks on Amazon without limitations. What does this mean? We can now run promotions and giveaways for you on Amazon. We also will receive funds for Kindle Unlimited. Bear in mind, they are paying (gross) about four tenths of a cent per page. This means we are receiving about $1 for a 250 page book — the typical size of most books. In other words, Amazon, by default, is paying us like every book is on sale for 99 cents. Again — another monopoly-like example that needs to be looked at. But we were not fully participating in this in the past. When we did, we just lumped the pennies on to your ebook sales rather than listing it separately. Now, we will be listing it separately on royalty reports so you can see the impact. We think you will see a modest increase in the coming months.
How will that look on your royalty reports? We will be reporting to you in 1000 page units. So if you “sold” 1542 pages, your quantity would be 1.542. The price is then normalized to 1000 page units. So the price of .00446 per page will be expressed as $4.46 per 1000 page units. This is closer to the typical full price paid for an ebook.