Indie Publishing – Amazon’s Dashboard & Author Central

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With Amazon KDP Dashboard you can access lots of tools; there are links to advice on formatting/merchandising your work which are worth reading through.

 Log in and you will see various options across the top of the page: click on them to see them – easy!

{remember this from last week?} Bookshelf

This displays your books, images and shows if the item is LIVE or DRAFT. Here is where you can edit any part of your book: cover, content, price, title. You can also link to the KDP promotion options of ‘free’ or ‘discounted deals’ (you get 5 days in every 90 days – use wisely). For more – see last week’s post.

 

REPORTS

Here you also see how your sales are doing. It can be like ripping off the proverbial plaster! At first you may be disappointed if figures are low, or zero. But this is where you start, it will improve.

I started with a payment of £0.85 and was ecstatic – my first official earnings as a writer!  🙂  yeah! That is a special feeling – don’t take it for granted.

In an easy graphic display you can see how many books or ‘units’ you sold:

Paid (red)

‘free’ offer (green)

or borrowed (blue).

You want a mix. Of course sales = money but you also need to build up an audience, a fan-base that will want to buy future books too. You can reach these customers with offers and by letting them borrow the book through the Lending Library [see the KDP Select for how this works].

You can see if there are trends: do you get better sales at weekends? Holiday seasons? Or do your promos work? If you use Social Media to promote – can you see any connections? Did you generate more sales when you posted? And who buys, you can see the currency, indicating the country: do you sell better in US or UK?

Oh! You could spend hours analysing this data – consider what’s important right now: another book? Promoting this one? Download numbers (reaching an audience rather than money)?

   Make sure you focus on what’s important/relevant to you.

This data doesn’t disappear, so you can go back later (you may want to download your own copies and there is an Excel spreadsheet available for you to save).

‘show me the money!’ ~ You always get an email before a payment with a link back to your Reports Page to show the amount. Then a second email confirms payment has been sent, it may take a few days to clear your account. After the first payment which can take up to 60 days, future payments are monthly, even if just £0.85 or $0.82 (my first US sale in 2014!).

COMMUNITY – here you can chat to other authors.

Post questions, read, ignore – it’s your choice. At the beginning of your self-publishing journey this section could answer any little niggle you can’t figure out. Also you can see KDP’s own info posts / to the right.

A word of warning here! It is your decision but you can easily get tangled in people’s debates (Translation: silly pedantic arguments) – it is just like any other chat format. Amazon will take down anything offensive and they don’t mess about.

PS: you are talking to fellow writers here. Once upon a time authors were allowed out of the castle to frolic in the meadows with the readers – not allowed now! You can post in other chat-rooms within Amazon as a reader but don’t try sneak in any self-promo – you’ll end up in Ye Olde Stock.

**PPS** by the way ~ KDP will email you a monthly Newsletter full of their latest information. It is very useful. If features any changes, focuses on successful authors and provides tips from published writers & media bloggers. Watch out for this & read it!

Author pages @ AUTHOR CENTRAL

There are   .co.uk &   .com versions. Use both!

 This is all about YOU!

 I am not sure how often customers may look at your ‘bio’ first but they may click the link to you when looking at a potential download. Your name is shown beside the book cover image and it links to your Author Page.

This is all free so worth using.

Add pictures, a bio and you can link Social Media like Twitter and your blog. You can even add videos and future events (book launches or appearances).

Don’t feel you have to complete every option straight away. Take your time. Do a basic bio and upload a clear picture of yourself – you want a headshot.

You can amend it very easily. Look at other writers’ pages and see what you like or don’t – get some inspiration!

Note: Twitter links to .co.uk & .com but blogs only appear on the .com page. [keep checking as they are always updating options].

/ there are other Author Central sites, India, Japan – check out your options before using these, do you sell in these countries? Consider language – is there a large English-speaking population? And what styles/genres sell there? ~ you can easily research this. I will cover other sites later – when I have done my research 😉

 Now: Can you can see your book cover/s?

Click on Books at the top and check.

If it is not showing you need to add it. Most of the time the books will appear in a few days but you can link them very easily yourself if not showing. Just search for the title or your name and click ADD.

You can see Reviews and Rankings here too. Don’t worry about them. Every book starts at the bottom and a healthy rise up the numbers is nice but not essential. Right now, I have one item ‘unknown’ that’s like it’s so far down the rankings we’ve lost sight of it, it’s probably underwater. My highest is …. #426,943 – wow! In the Sales Rank I see it has gone down LoL 😦 But I have a plan – promoting! (more on that in the future…).

And, you can see Customer Reviews here too. Again do not stress about lack of entries. Sometimes you have to remind/ask people to add them. Full disclosure here: one of my books has 4 star reviews – these are genuine but I do know these people. I do not ‘buy’ reviews/likes. Be careful of people making friends then trying to sell/promise you 100s of Likes or 4-5 Star Reviews.

So to summarise…

1. It is worth making a regular check on your Author Page maybe every few months (depending on how many books you publish) to make sure it is updated. Also watch if any Social Media feeds ‘stick’ – it happened to me! My Twitter stuck and was months behind, I deleted the link and added it back & sorted.

2. Watch for KDP emails & read them.

3. Take a tour around Your Dashboard, maybe pay it a visit every 2 weeks and make sure it’s ok.

~~~ well that’s it for today folks! I need lunch  🙂

next week: ways to promote: free, paid-for & Social Media

Lizzie HW

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