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This article was written by guest contributor and BookBaby author Lexis De Rothschild.

Amazon is the behemoth of online publishing. How you merchandise your book on this formidable website can mean the difference between sales and obscurity.

How do I know?

I followed the exact steps outlined in their super-friendly website, Author Central. My rank went from 501,678 (hideous!) to 47,095 (at the time of writing– Amazon rankings fluctuate) after I implemented the following:

  1. Sign up: https://authorcentral.amazon.com
  2. Don’t rush: Review their instructions for uploading content first. There are great articles from CreateSpace writers with tips and techniques for creating killer copy about you and your book.
  3. Prepare: Write your marketing materials, wait twenty-four hours and revise! It’s easy to post, but very hard to correct. What you write goes global in seconds. Make it great.

Your basic toolkit for optimizing Author Central:

  1. Profile picture: Remember, this is your professional image, not the Facebook tag of you singing “Crazy” at a Karaoke bar. Usually, it’s a shot of your head and shoulders on a great hair day.
  1. Biography: Mine is offbeat because my primary market for “The Cat Letters” is college-educated women, most often cat owners, who have seen their share of troubles in the love department. A book targeted for people who want to get rich on penny stocks has a very different audience than mine. The author biography needs to reflect that.
  1. View and edit your list of books: If your book is on Amazon, it will upload easily. Have the ISBN handy, just in case.
  1. Description: Ever read a list of books described in an author’s group? By the fifth one, all the words blend together. Make yours one or two sentences that introduce the protagonist, his(her) conflict, and tease people to read it. This is where knowing your target audience is essential.
  1. About the author: Who are you and why did you write this book? Do you rock climb, garden or collect vintage postcards? Readers like to buy books written by interesting people.
  1. Front Cover: This is the jpeg of your book cover. Upload. You may need to resize it.
  1. Inside Cover: Even with an eBook, you can create a virtual inside cover. Use a review or the synopsis of your book, without giving away the ending.
  1. Back Cover: A bio with your blog’s name and maybe an excerpt from your next book is one suggestion. Look at some printed books for ideas.
  1. Blog RSS feed: I love blogging. If you do, too, put yours in an rss feed and list it. It will go all over the world (!)
  1. Editorial Reviews: Put book reviews here. Make sure to link and give credit to the blogger or columnist who took the time to support your efforts.

When the above items are assembled, put everything away for twenty-four hours.

Drink, eat, play!

When you’re refreshed and your copy is reviewed:

  1. Go to your author central page and follow the guidelines to update all your promotional copy.
  2. Give yourself a huge high-five.
  3. Unlike Bookbaby and Hostbaby, there’s no phone number for technical support. If you have snags, their email support will have to do.

Optimizing your book’s marketing through Amazon’s Author Central is a fantastic opportunity. For writers interested in the UK market, www.amazon.uk.com stated that they will be adopting the search-inside program for those authors included in www.amazon.com soon.

In “Balancing Act, Pt. 3”, we’ll create a kick-butt marketing blast for garnering reviews of your book.

Lexis De Rothschild, a deft drinker with a writing addiction, is the author of The Cat Letters: A Tale of Longing, Adventure and True Love. In a former life, she was a start-up specialist in the financial and fine arts industries. Lexis loves to blog about the wild ride of independent publishing with her CONFESSIONS OF AN EBOOK VIRGIN.

Chris Robley

About Chris Robley

Chris Robley has written 502 posts in this blog.

is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."

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