Tag Archives: amazon

Your Amazon Author Central Page

Amazon is an excellent tool for selling your book, but it isn’t necessarily intuitive. There are completely different sites for print books (createspace.com) and ebooks (kdp.amazon.com), and then there is a different site to craft your author tools. It took me six months to realize I wasn’t using their author tools! I figured I’d write it up to save y’all the same embarrassment.

Amazon Author page interface

Amazon Author page interface

First, find the site. I had to Google it. You can also click through one of your favorite books, and click on the author name, then scroll down to find the “are you an author?” link. You’re looking for https://authorcentral.amazon.com.

If you are already selling your books through an Amazon platform, it should be easy to connect your name to your book. It’s an easy-to-follow interface, and won’t take very long.

You’ll fill in a short biography, and it’s a good idea to add your author photo. Bonus points if you have other photos or videos that will help readers connect with you as a person, but you have to work within your comfort zone. Connect your blog and Twitter* feed, and it’ll give readers just one more chance to follow you. You may need to look up exactly how to find your blog’s RSS feed, but once again Google is your friend there.

This is what it will look like when you’re done (and it’s been approved by Amazon).

amazon author page

As we know, connection with readers is critical! The author page is a fantastic, free way to connect the dots. Don’t make the same mistake I did!

There are a lot of other tools back in there, including a sales chart, your sales rank against all other books in Amazon’s stock, your current author rank, and an easy snapshot of all the Amazon customer reviews of your books. I mean, seriously, how did I miss the memo on these? They’re great to have access to, finally!

Do you use Amazon’s author page tools? What’s your favorite feature?

*Note: Amazon’s having some kind of dispute with their tweet provider, so tweets aren’t currently uploading, but it’ll resolve sooner than later.

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10 Reasons Why You Should Read Undead Rising: Decide Your Destiny

Undead Rising: Decide Your Destiny is now available in print and for Kindle! But why should you, a reader of things, actually buy it or download it or read it? There are lots of choices out there; why this one? I’ve got some ideas.

  • Your choices shape the story. Sure, most of the time as a reader you’re just there passively accepting the story. Well, with Undead Rising, you don’t have to–you decide what happens next. That’s real power.
  • There are 45 different endings. Seriously, how many books can say that?
  • It’s free! Until Saturday, May 9, you can download the Kindle version of the book for exactly $0. So even if you hate it (you won’t), there is absolutely no impact on your wallet.
  • It’s funny. Not many apocalypses make you laugh. This one will warrant a chuckle, though.
  • Survival is hard. Much like a real crisis, not every choice is easily decided. But that’s just a reason to test it out in a safe, written environment.
  • Even when you die, the story continues. Most of the time, the story has to stop when the main character dies. Not so in Undead Rising. You just unlock a whole new range of choices! What will zombie-you do next?
  • You can be a hero. Will you be the salvation of others… or will you be their undoing? Will you be selfish, or selfless? You can get some answers.
  • It doesn’t take much time. You lead a busy life with lots of things demanding your attention. Luckily, with a book like this, you have time. Storylines are short; within 15 minutes you can find a resolution.
  • If you don’t like the ending, just try again. Most books, you don’t like the end, you don’t like the book. This one,  you just try again. It’s that easy.
  • You’ll be able to tell your friends, with certainty, that you survived the zombie apocalypse. Who else can say that?

Undead Rising coverSo what are you waiting for? Get your copy of Undead Rising: Decide Your Destiny today!

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Read ‘Undead Rising’ for Free!

Undead Rising coverThis week only, Undead Rising: Decide Your Destiny is FREE for you, yes, YOU, to download and read on your Kindle device! (That includes all the Kindle products, plus any other things that happen to have the Kindle app.)

Undead Rising is a zombie apocalypse gamebook for adults—at the end of each section, you’ll come to a choice, and your choice will determine where the story goes next. There are more than 45 different outcomes…and if you get bitten by a zombie, you open up a whole new section of choices where YOU are the zombie.

Really, what could be more fun?

Go download it!

(Read it already? Great! Share a review on Amazon or Goodreads, please!)

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Rise From The Grave (Without Actually Being a Zombie)

What if I told you there really is a way for you to be un-dead, in a very literal, and very helpful way? To be gone from this life and yet still helping people.

No, not as a zombie—they mostly just chase you for your brains. But in a way that will allow you to save someone’s life.

You can: sign up to be an organ donor.

I just recommitted to organ donation last week, when I renewed my request to be an organ donor. Here in Texas, you can do it through the DMV.

I’m an organ donor because of my friend David. David was my high school theater teacher, and he had to miss our actual performance of Romeo & Juliet because he was coughing too much to sit through the show. David has cystic fibrosis. It’s a disease where phlegm builds up in the lungs. Over time, David’s body was literally suffocating, drowning him from the inside out. He lost most of his weight, coughed so hard he broke ribs, and was on a first-name basis with the hospital staff.

But David is alive today because he was able to get brand-new lungs; well, lightly-used, or at least in better shape than the lungs he was born with. Now David celebrates a new birthday every year—the day he received the gift of a lifetime, new lungs.

Before his operation, David’s lung capacity was down to 7%. This year, it was at 110%.

Unfortunately, here in the U.S. and in most other places, essential organs like David’s new lungs are lost forever because organ donation is an opt-in rather than an opt-out. So you have to actually think about it, check the box, and make the commitment. Even when you’re gone, you could save someone’s life. What an incredible opportunity.

Go sign up to be an organ donor today and save a life sometime in your future.


Undead Rising coverNot enough zombies in this post? Why don’t you go buy my novel, Undead Rising: Decide Your Destiny, available in print and on Kindle. Much like with organ donation, there’s an afterlife: when you die in the book, sometimes you rise again as a zombie, unlocking new adventures.

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Zombies and Adventure! ‘Undead Rising’ Now On Amazon

Undead Rising: Decide Your Destiny is now available for purchase on Amazon for Kindle and in print! This zombie adventure is not for the faint of heart–or the humorless.

Undead Rising: Decide Your Destiny is available RIGHT NOW on Amazon for Kindle and in print!

Don’t you want to know—would you survive the zombie apocalypse? Undead Rising: Decide Your Destiny slams you into New York City just as it is struck by a zombie outbreak, leaving you to decide how to survive when your friends, neighbors, coworkers, and strangers join the undead. With more than 45 different scenarios, it’s tough to survive, but even when you die, sometimes you become a zombie—opening up new, monstrous options, including eating celebrities, being used as a genetic experiment, and exploring the Mariana trench. Every time you read “Undead Rising” you have the chance to change your destiny—but every scenario will leave you flipping pages to try again.

Note: This isn’t a kids’ adventure. I recommend it for older teens and adults who need a dose of nostalgia, a little bit of creepiness, and some laughs.

Undead Rising coverAw yeah, look at that awesome book cover! Zombies are coming for YOU!

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How to Publish Via CreateSpace and KDP

I thought I was prepared for the self-publishing process; I’ve read just about everything I could get my hands on about how and why and where, etc. But I still found myself flabbergasted when I actually sat down to do it. While I think Amazon’s process is incredibly easy and user-friendly, it still is a bit opaque until you actually get into the system and start doing it. So I thought I’d lay out the steps I needed to take:

  • Create a login at CreateSpace.com and click “Add New Title.”
  • Fill out a basic form for your book’s title, author information, and edition number.
  • Add an ISBN.
    • You can either buy one from Amazon for fairly cheap, or input one you’ve bought previously. You can buy them directly from Bowker. You need a unique ISBN for every edition of your book.
  • Decide how big your book should be, what size paper you’ll use, the color of the paper, and upload your document.
    • CreateSpace provides a nifty template after you pick a size. If you’re like me, you will not at all be ready for this ahead of time and will spend more than a week carefully reformatting every page of your book.
  • After you’ve picked and uploaded the interior pages, you’ll be prompted to review them digitally, in a little in-browser review panel they’ve made. (I found this useful but not as easy to read as a Word document or print page.)
    • They also offer you the option of letting them complete the layout process, for a fee of about $200. Read the reviews, though; not every author is happy with their results (though others are).
  • Upload your cover art and make some decisions, like matte or glossy texture. If you don’t already have cover art, you’ll need to take their specifications/templates at this point and make one or hire a designer. If you’re not sure about hiring someone, you can use their cover designer, too, which is a neat little tool. (However, in my opinion, those look a little cookie-cutter.)
  • Amazon will review the files to make sure everything meets specifications, and will let you know if there are any problems that can be fixed automatically.
  • Then Amazon will send your compiled book for a quick less-than-24-hour review process, to ensure it doesn’t violate any of their standards.
    • I was seriously anxious during this process, but it’s really quick and painless. I just wanted my book!
  • If you’re satisfied after uploading your cover and interior, Amazon will offer a proof version, both digitally (free) and a print copy. You should absolutely order the print copy; some mistakes just don’t jump out at you until you’re actually looking at a print book. I had reviewed it three different times by different editors, and still found things I wanted to change. Plus you get to see how it’ll really look.
    • The downside is you’ll have to wait about a week for the book to be delivered to you (in the continental U.S., at least), and then will need to take additional time to thoroughly review it. You want to put your best work out there, so take your time!
    • If you want any changes, go back to the interior or cover pages and upload a new file. Go back through all the review steps again, as many times as it takes, until you’re really confident in the result.
  • CreateSpace will ask you if you’re really, really sure that you’re happy with what you’ve put together. You say yes, and then your book can be sold! (In…3-5 business days)
  • Make some marketing decisions. How much will your book cost? How much do you want in royalties? Where will it be sold? Will you enroll in any of their special programs?
    • Make sure you also set up the ways you want to be paid. You can do that under your profile.
  • Write the description that will make people want to buy your book! Pick some categories and search terms to help people find it.

Then CreateSpace will offer to help you publish on Kindle and pass you on to KDP. KDP only had three screens to traverse, but that made it more intimidating to me, not less.

  • Fill out your basic details. No need for an ISBN here; Kindle books don’t need them. Add your description, pick some keywords, decide whether to release now or in the future, upload your cover, upload your book file.
  • Verify you have the rights to sell it and pick where and for how much it will sell.
  • Decide whether you want to enroll in the Kindle Select marketing program, which means you can only sell through Amazon for 90 days.

Undead Rising coverOh, and by the way, Undead Rising: Decide Your Destiny is now on sale at CreateSpace, Kindle, and Amazon books!

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Author Hugh Howey Has Good Questions for Amazon

I admit it–because of all the Amazon/publisher tiffs lately, I’ve started to view breakthrough author Hugh Howey as a bit of an Amazon brown-noser; he always seemed quick to defend the ebook giant, even when they made strange choices. But I think maybe that assumption was wrong.

He recently published a long list of questions directed at Amazon, titled simply “Stuff I Want to Know.” Some of his questions seem…trivial:

I would love to know why we don’t have any sort of gamification of writing implemented yet? Writers should receive little congratulatory badges for hitting reasonable sales milestones.

Why don’t you all create a newsletter system for authors?

But he also has some extremely good and pointed questions, and it’s good to see his perspective as a super-producing Amazon insider. For example:

I want to know why you all haven’t come out and explained that the 70% cut we make on ebooks priced in a certain range aren’t really royalties. (See #5 of this list for an example of improper usage of the term). When they’re called royalties, the 70% seems exceedingly generous. Because publishers pay a lot less. But publishers provide other services, like editing and cover art. We are handing you a finished product. As a distribution fee, you taking 30% (plus more for delivery fees) sounds less crazy-generous. It seems downright reasonable, in fact. Or even an area where you all could afford to give a little more.

Or:

I would love to know how many readers borrow a book and then go on to buy a copy of the same book. I’ve done this before, and I tend to doubt my uniqueness. For Prime members especially, who only get one borrow a month, do they ever love an ebook so much that they decide to own a copy for good?

It’s great stuff, providing both a peek behind the curtain and some food for thought. Read the whole post here.

I’m still only gently wading into the publishing world, but do any of you have questions for Amazon or any of the major publishers? What are the things you want to know? So much of the process is cloaked in mystery; there has to be something.

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