One of the online tools I use weekly is AuthorCentral.com, which is an Amazon site with a backend for authors. It gives authors access to the listings about your book, statistics about sales, reviews of all your books on a single page and access to Amazon for correcting mistakes.
Typical page from AuthorCentral. I’ve just “claimed” by Aliens, Inc. Series which will be out in August, 2014.
When you log onto AuthorCentral, the first thing to do is claim your books. Click on the Books tab at the top, and then ADD BOOKS. Once the process is completed, you’ll have access to the book listing, book details and book extras. These shouldn’t be changed willy-nilly, as your publisher has likely spent time in honing the description. But you do have access to change anything that is wrong, to add good news about awards and such, and to tweak as needed. Indeed, there is a space for “FROM THE AUTHOR” which gives you the perfect place to add information. The Book Extras are primarily intended for Shelfari, which isn’t one of the most popular sites; often, I don’t bother to do anything here. But it’s available if you like.
Profile. The profile tab offers simple access to your Amazon Author page, something you want to update a couple times a year, or as new information is available. Included are you bio, bibliography, photos, videos, blog feeds and the ability to list events.
Sales Info. This includes sales data over time and by geographic region, as reported by BookScan. That is important: this only includes sales data from BOOKSCAN. Still, this is important and helpful. Say you visited California and wanted to know the effect of that visit on sales. You could check the sales data the next week. The information is also broken down book by book.
Author Rank. Just like Amazon gives your books a sales rank, it also gives YOU a sales rank. For a certain time period, how did your sales stack up against other authors in your category? I tend to ignore this one.
Customer Reviews. On the other hand, I check my customer reviews about once a week. It’s convenient to have all reviews from all your books in one central location. Otherwise, I’d have to visit each book listing on Amazon to see new reviews. It’s a bit slow (24-48 hours) pulling in a review. When a friend emails to say s/he has posted a review, I can check the book page and see it immediately; however, it doesn’t show up on AuthorCentral for a day or two.
Overall, these tools allow writers to keep a pulse on their book sales. It’s been a valuable addition to my set of online marketing and promotional tools. Thanks, AuthorCentral.