Flunking Sainthood

Flunking Sainthood

Authors, Have You Joined Amazon’s Author Central Yet? You Should.

Here’s an email I sent to all my WJK authors today, encouraging them to join Amazon’s free Author Central program. I joined myself earlier this week. One thing I learned is that the state where my books sell best is Utah (!), and that I also do modestly well in California, the D.C. area, and parts of New England. (I can’t sell a book in Kansas for love or money, however.)

Because of its new partnership with Nielsen BookScan, Amazon can offer authors more sales information than ever before–more, even, than their publishers provide in those cryptic biannual royalty statements. Based on information from over 10,000 retailers, it’s far more useful than the old Amazon rankings.


Anyone who has ever published a book should check this out. –JKR


Hello authors,

Please forgive the mass email . . . and the fact that I am writing to give you an assignment! But it is a worthwhile one that will help you.

Some of you may know that in the last few months Amazon has rolled out some rather astonishing services for authors. The “author central” port used to just be a way for you to add comments and links to your Amazon page, but it has evolved into something far more sophisticated and useful, and I would like to see all of my authors take part. It is very easy to register and only takes a few minutes. You can:

  1. Link to your blog or website, so that any additions you make there will automatically upload to your Amazon page. This helps interested readers find your more regular writings and can increase traffic to your own site(s).
  2. Link to your Twitter feed, if you have one.
  3. Add comments in the Kindle versions of your books, if they are on the Kindle. This is “value-added content” for readers who may want the story behind the story.
  4. And the best part . . . Amazon gives you free regular reports about how your books are selling — not just on Amazon itself, but through all the retail outlets canvassed by Nielsen BookScan. BookScan is thought to capture about 70% of total book sales, and this information can be crucial to you as you and WJK strategize how to sell your books. The reports tell you where your books are selling and provide a national map that is color-coded to show the areas where you book is doing well. You can see exactly how many copies have sold, and whether your sales numbers are trending up or down. One of the great things about this is that if you did a radio interview in, say, Nashville, you could look the very next week at Author Central and see how many copies of your book were sold in Nashville after that interview. Or if you did a speaking engagement in a particular city, you can follow up by seeing how many copies of your book were sold after your appearance.

Publishers pay a boatload of money to have access to all of the info on BookScan. Amazon gives authors this information (only their own, not for other authors) for free.

Here’s a great overview of why having access to your own sales numbers is so important and useful.




  • Norman Morris

    Whoever can answer the following, pls use this add:
    Our book was published last April by Wiley. I just signed up with Author Central. But to me sure I haven’t a clue how it works and what we can expect to gain from it. For one thing, is it the public has access to? Or only the individual authors? If the public does have access, how do they sign in. We plead ignorance to RSS and how that works. Can anyone explain? Our website gives all the advances and ongoing research on prostate cancer in one place! Yet we do not know how to attract viewers to that site. It’s on Google, of course, but too far down on the list for people to notice. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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