Best-selling author Shiloh Walker pens this bi-weekly column of online advice for writers. Walker is a full-time author who is published in both e-book and traditional print formats. Now she shares her experience and advice to help aspiring and published authors figure out the "Writes and Wrongs" of the digital world.

Author Central on Amazon … What is it?

Basically it’s just another platform to use to get the word out there. Previously I didn’t think it was that big a deal, and I’m still not overly convinced it is, but I do see the potential for it to get bigger in the future as e-books become a larger part of the market share.

For me, the two main things with the Author Central program are the ability to set up an author page where you have all of your books together (along with your bio) and the ability to import your blog.

There are a few other things and if you set up an account with Author Central, you can fiddle around and see what else is offered—there was a big brouhaha not long ago about the ability to take a peek at Bookscan figures through Author Central, but I suspect it was a very limited peek and knowing me, I’d spaz over those numbers so bad, I haven’t even taken a glimpse.

How do I do it?

First set up the account. You can either google Amazon Author Central or just go here https://authorcentral.amazon.com/.

Once you’ve set up the account, you’ll be at a page that looks like this…

You can work on your profile, add a bio and import your blog via this page. Importing the blog basically is just using the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds, but I’m not a tech type so you need to talk to a web person for info on that. You can also add bio pics, although I hate pics and just use a cover for mine.

Another thing you can do here—see where it says view and edit your list of books? Ever notice how on Amazon if you’re checking out your books you’ll see books that aren’t…well…yours listed? Once you create an author page at Amazon, when readers search for your books, they’ll have the option of going to your page and it will be only your books on it.

Once you’re done, you’ll have an Amazon Author page that looks roughly like this…

Except with your stuff, instead of mine, with your bio, your bio pic or cover, your books and your blog feed below, if you have one to import.

There are some kinks and quirks. Sometimes I’ll have a cover that is sooooo not mine. 

Other times marketplace sellers will list books in a weird way and I’ll try to put them in my ‘list’ and because they didn’t list the book in the standard way, I can’t do it without emailing Amazon Author Central. 

For example, some of my books are listed “WALKER, SHILOH”—I don’t know if it’s the caps throwing things off, if it’s the last name first or what, but something keeps me from ‘claiming’ thing and I’ve got too many things on my plate to worry about all of those. A standardized way of requiring sellers to list books would solve this problem.

But for the most part, it’s pretty easy. Viola…Amazon Author Central in a nutshell. 

- Shiloh Walker

Check back for the next installment of Shiloh Walker's column in two weeks. Seeking more specific advice? You can ask the author any questions about the "writes and wrongs" of online behavior here. Your question might even get featured in an upcoming article. And of course, you can also follow the Shiloh Walker online daily at her website, on her Facebook page and via Twitter.

Tags: Aspiring Authors, RT Daily Blog
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