When it comes to social media authors leap onto to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest and a myriad of other social media platforms and often overlook the power and presentation of an Amazon Author Page. Inside Author Central is where all of your books are listed and the place to create your bio. When an author launches a book and begins to promote a title, more often than not, the information on your Amazon Author Page bio is what lands in a promotion highlight. When you guest post on blogs, very often the only link to your name is your Amazon Author Page.
Here’s why: Savvy Bloggers are not going to send their followers to your blog. Yes, a guest blog article will send a viewer to your books’ page because the savvy blogger has installed his/her Amazon Associate’s link to your book ASIN. That is how many if not most blogs earn a few pennies for site maintenance. And almost all promotion sites whether FREE or FEE want those pennies.
I recently read a guest post on Indies Unlimited. It was interesting and I wanted to learn more about the author, I wanted to read more of the author’s blog. The tag at the end of the article sent me to the guest blogger’s Amazon author page. It was a DEAD END. There was nothing in the bio that steered me to the author’s blog, Facebook page or Twitter–all of the SOEs in which I could message the author, or follow. All that was left to me was to Google the author’s name. Guess what? There are nine people with the exact same name as the author. It took me five minutes to click through and check the names until I found the author. What a time waster!
One of the most savvy authors in our indie universe is David Gaughran. Every indie author needs to read his book, Let’s Get Visible. Gaughran puts paid to misinformation and myths floating around in the indie universe such as: “It’s well-known fact that Amazon uses the number of book reviews in rating best seller stats.” Wrong! Gaughran points out book ratings are due to sales. Period. Sales are to Amazon what Reviews are to Readers. Here is Gaughran’s Amazon Author bio…
Sign up to Dave’s New Release Mailing List here: bit.ly/dgmlist (Simply cut-and-paste that address into your browser. Your email will never be shared and you will only be contacted when a new book is out.) David Gaughran is an Irish writer, living in London, who spends most of his time travelling the world, collecting stories. He runs the publishing blog Let’s Get Digital and the South American history site South Americana, has a regular column at Indie Reader, and his work has been featured in the Huffington Post, The Sunday Times, and the Irish Times.
Even this masterful indie author guru didn’t get it right. His first words to the reader are: Sign up for my newsletter. Hey, David! Perhaps I want to know a little more before I add another newsletter to my already crammed inbox. Gaughran mentions his blog and his history site. But, again, to get there, I’d have to Google. Well, I ain’t. And I love the guy.
Amazon will not allow a live link inside an author bio, but you can as David has done, list a cut and paste bit.ly link. That is easy. I wish he’d add the bit.ly links to Let’s Get Visible Blog and the South American history site. I’m a historian and I’ve been visiting South of our Borders for over fifty years. I have an intrepid interest in the S.A. culture, artists and authors. Plus, I love books in those settings.
Some authors use the AZ author bio section for everything going on in their books, when the next in a series is due, the problems with writing it and nothing about themselves that speaks to the reader. Amazon provides a specific place for this data in From the Author: The info can be updated so it is not static. Some authors list every school they have ever attended, all of their degrees up to a Ph.D and every dang job they’ve held in the past twenty years in their author bio. It reads like a resume. Just a reminder. The reader is not hiring you for a job. It’s fine to mention you graduated from Georgia Tech and spent your life building bridges all over the world as long as you finish with, “the bridge I most enjoyed building was from engineer to writing adventure thrillers.” That last bit piques my interest because I know the author has traveled and I’m likely to be taken on a thrill of a ride. He’s been there and prolly not using Google Earth to locate a back alley in Marrakesh. Or make the mistake of having a character toss twenty Euros to a cabbie for a ride to Orly. Last time I was in Paris, a cabbie wanted 130 Euros from hotel to train station. Parisian cabbies ain’t cheap. Take the underground!
The rule of thumb for Amazon bios and back of book bios is: Compose in third person. Here’s a bio I discovered recently on Amazon.
I wrote (title) ten years ago and put it on a shelf in my closet. I decided to publish it on Amazon. I hope you like reading it.
Sure I will, dust bunnies and all.
There are several places where you can speak to readers, followers and fans in first person. One is in interviews. The second is on Facebook and the third, best of all, is at the back of your book in From the Author. Or, in a Note From the Author. You can label it anything you want and you can get a bit more personal.
I’m a romance writer. I use USA Today Best Selling author Donna’s Fasano’s bio on her Amazon Author page as a guide. Donna updates her bio often. I like it and readers and fans like it because we can find her. We can find her blog and her Twitter account. We can message her, tweet we read her book and loved it. We can leave a comment on her Facebook page. Donna’s Amazon Author page is not a Dead End.
Of course, you are reading this and saying to yourself: Hey! I can write what I want in my bio and how I want to. Sure you can. But are you speaking to the reader? Are you speaking to your fans? You can say, “Well, best selling authors write their Amazon bios in first person.” Some do. When your title is #1 on Amazon, NYTs, Kirkus, B&N and iTunes–go for it. But, it is not the Rule of Thumb.
Amazon suggests an author reveal some neat tidbit about yourself. One of the most interesting author tidbits I’ve ever come across is: She’s a three-time winner on“Jeopardy!” Stop right there! I went to Lorrie Farrelly’s book’s page and bought her books. I was not disappointed. The girl can win Jeopardy! and write, too?
She laid words on a page in Terms of Surrender that kept me enthralled. I read it and went back for seconds. I didn’t know Lorrie when I bought her books, but I do now. Had to look her up on Google. She and her books were worth the search. Her bio caught my interest and I bought her books. Her bio works. Here’s the snag: Lorrie has a huge presence in the indie cyberworld and a large following but you can’t tell it from her bio because there isn’t a single SOE link. (Prob’ly will be tomorrow after she reads this!) Or, she might shoot me. Meanwhile, say hello to Lorrie on Facebook.
Here the skinny: You know who you are, your current followers and fans know who you are and most of them will be there for your next book. But one of the most important ways to expand your readership and followers is to create an uncluttered Amazon Author Page that speaks to your readers and makes it easy for them to find you. Update it often to keep your current fans interested and pique the interest of new fans. Do remember your Amazon bio is the bio mostly likely to be quoted and sent out on RSS feeds.
Two last things! Preview your bios for misspelled words and punctuation. Do a trial run: Check that when your links are cut and pasted that they WORK.