If you are like me, I use my “Legal Name” when registering for events or accounts (such as Amazon). But many use their “nickname” for authorship. While that is fine in the real world, it doesn’t fly with Author Central and your Author Page.
The following is a real example of how it is easy to make mistakes. I am using what happened to a client, Pat Wiley. Understand that he did not make the mistake – – I did. And it was easy to do. But it is also easy to correct, though may be a little confusing trying to explain. So if you have questions, please feel free to comment.
The Author Page Name
First, you need to understand what an author page is. It is a free page Amazon offers that will list all your books, your bio and even links to your blog feed and your latest twitter tweets. It is a page just for your books — no ads, no distractions. It is a perfect marketing tool.
An example is author Pat Wiley. Just as we did when purchasing ISBN numbers we used Pat’s legal name, Patrick Wiley, when setting up his Author Page through Author Central. And even though his ebook covers clearly show “Pat Wiley” as the author, KDP allowed us to list “Patrick Wiley” in the meta data information when publishing, thus allowing the ebook to link to the Patrick Wiley author page.
After a year, Pat added printed versions of his books. Create Space is more particular on the author name use, as they should be. The name listed on the book must match exactly the contributor name assigned. Since the cover art was Pat Wiley the author name Pat Wiley was used.
And here is where it got interesting.
From Product Page to Author Page
Under the title of a book is a hyperlinked author name. When you mouseover the Author Name link a popup window will appear if the author has an author page. This popup displays the profile information set up through Author Central: the author’s bio picture, a link to the Author’s page, a link to search results for the Author and a link to learn about Author Central.
When you click the author name, you are taken to the AUTHOR PAGE which displays all the authors works. The author connects to these books through Author Central. But in the case of Pat Wiley versus Patrick Wiley, Patrick Wiley has an Author Page, and Pat Wiley did not — even if the books are claimed in Author Central.
However, if the Author of a book does not have an Author Page, then the hyperlinked name, when clicked, will display results in Amazon for the search term “Pat Wiley” or whatever the author name may be.
The author hyperlink (under the title) “Pat Wiley” does not take you to the “Patrick Wiley” Author Page — EVEN THOUGH the book is displayed ON the Author Page.
Not only will it display the author’s books, it also brings up all relevant search results for the search term, such as, all authors named Pat Wiley, as well as authors with the last name Wiley, or the first name Pat. So in the case of Pat Wiley versus Patrick Wiley, Patrick Wiley has an Author Page, and Pat Wiley did not. So the books with “Pat Wiley” as the author, went to search results and NOT the Author Page.
IN A NUTSHELL: If the author name on a book is not the same as the name you chose for your Author page — then they may not link to your Author page from the books respective Product page. (that’s a mouthful, eh?)
Correcting the Mistake
So, What do you do if your book is not linked properly?
First, Decide on the exact author name you want to use for your books. If your name uses initials, then determine if you want periods, spaces, etc.
Second, change the author contributor name in KDP. Digital books through KDP are easy to correct. Simply login, and change the Contributor name for the Author to what you want and republish.
Third, Print requires a change request. Once you publish the book through Create Space, for example, the main meta data (title, ISBN, Author) are locked. You need to contact Author Central (email or phone) and request the correction.
Lastly, if you are changing your Author Page name (URL), then you need to directly request that from Author Central. If you do change your URL, then be sure to correct this URL change in all your marketing promotions.
I have many names, Suzanne, Susan, Sue and even Sumi (a family nickname). While I answer to any and all, the computer programming for Amazon is a little more particular. If you write under the name Pat Wiley, then you need to use Pat Wiley for the Author Page…Period.
While KDP is not as finicky, allowing you to put one name on the cover and listing another name as the Author (ie/ Sam Smith (cover) versus Samuel Smith (author)), Create Space requires the name on the cover must match the author name listed as contributor.
While you can claim the books through Author Central and all the books WILL display on your Author Page the author hyperlink under the title of your book on the Product Page will not take you to your Author Page if the name is not exactly the same as your Author Page name– the link will only display Amazon search results.
So what’s the fuss about? Well, it comes down to sales and M-O-N-E-Y. Everyone wants to make money on their writing, and if you find any kind of following, no matter how small, you want to make finding and purchasing your work as easy as possible.
If people buy one of your books, and like it, then they are more likely to purchase others. So make the customer experience easy.
On Amazon, the Product Page author hyperlink is a free marketing opportunity you do not want to ignore. It is an automatic way to get people to your books — so you can see how important it is to set it up properly.
A Comment on Pen Names
Pen names are useful to separate your genres. However, as per Amazon, a Pen Name is a separate author, and thus, a separate author page. At least that is what they are telling me.
If you have a pen name or experience with Author Central, please feel free to leave helpful comments for others.