Monday, August 5, 2013

ASK PZM: August 2013 Amazon Categories and LIsts



Because today is the first Wednesday of the month, you know what that means -- YES, it's IWSG day, compliments of Alex J. Cavannaugh, our Ninja Captain! 



It's a simple process: 
 
"Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post." Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG 

Now for Phyllis's post...

Q: Can an author have more than one pen name on the same Amazon Author Central account?

This is an excellent question as I have been recently researching this for myself – speaking to representatives at both Amazon Author Central and CreateSpace. (KDP does not have phone contact at this time.)

Let’s start with the basics.


You have one Kindle account in which you can upload any number of ebooks with the names of different authors. The Kindle Direct Publishing platform is exactly that – a publishing dashboard in which you indicate the name of the author or authors of each Kindle ebook you upload.

Once you are an author with a book on Amazon, you should claim (it is free) your Amazon Author Central profile. This is very important – and I go into detail about this in my ebook TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON AND FACEBOOK. (See http://amzn.to/N0vLiF)



Now comes the new part I just learned:

You can have three separate pen names (author names) on each Amazon Author Central account. This means three separate Author Central profiles. And if you have more than three separate pen names, you can get additional Amazon Author Central accounts using the same email and different passwords.



Why would you do this? 

Actually, the first question is why have pen names?

· You may be writing under a pseudonym for security reasons (such as a whistle blowing book).

· You may be using different names for different genres and want to feature separate identities that do not connect to each other.

· You may want to use different names for different genres and publicly acknowledge the connection between your identities.


To make this clearer, let me tell you what I have done:

I had several fiction and nonfiction books on my original Amazon Author Central profile. This meant, for example, that people who read one of my fiction books and then came to my profile to see if I had more fiction books could be confused if they saw several nonfiction books at the top of my book list.


And while they could sort my books on different criteria such as publication date, at this time they cannot sort by genre on Amazon Author Central profiles. 
Huh?

I decided to make it easier for readers of a book of mine in one genre to find more of my books in the same genre. My first step was to ask Author Central if I could control which of my books are seen first on my Amazon Author Central profile. The answer was ...


But, the Author Central rep told me, I could put my plan into action of separating my fiction and nonfiction books into separate Author Central profiles.

Here is what I did (note that the author names are all variations of my own name):

I changed the author name in the KDP dashboard for all my nonfiction ebooks from Phyllis Zimbler Miller to Phyllis Z. Miller. This then gave me the right to have a second Amazon Author Central profile in the name Phyllis Z. Miller.

Next I changed the author name of the YA short story PINKY SWEAR to P. Z. Miller in preparation for the children’s picture books I am starting to write. This gave me the right to have a third Amazon Author Central profile in the name P. Z. Miller.

With the help of an Author Central rep (these steps authors cannot do themselves), I then moved my nonfiction books to the Phyllis Z. Miller profile and PINKY SWEAR to the P. Z. Miller profile, leaving all my other fiction books on the Phyllis Zimbler Miller profile.



I now have these three separate Amazon Author Central profile links:

www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller

www.amazon.com/author/phylliszmiller

www.amazon.com/author/pzmiller




Q: Can you explain the different lists on Amazon such as top rated, best seller and popularity?

The answer to this question is quite complicated and I am not an expert on this subject. I recently read David Gaughran’s ebook LET’S GET VISIBLE: HOW TO GET NOTICED AND SELL MORE BOOKS, and he does a terrific job of explaining the important differences in the various Amazon lists. Equally important, he explains what you can do to legitimately influence your book being included in these lists.



Note: Particularly important to consider are the differences in the best seller and popularity lists. One such difference, according to Gaughran, is that, while these two lists have the same Kindle categories and subcategories – paid and free ebooks are included together in the popularity lists while paid and free ebooks are separated in the best seller lists.

Although I have not yet started to experiment with what I learned from this book, I am looking forward to utilizing some of Gaughran’s information.



Personal book marketing notes:

In conclusion, I’d like to share info on something I have added to my Wattpad experiment.

If you read the July Ask PZM, you learned that I am experimenting with writing THE MOTHER SIEGE: A DYSTOPIAN THRILLER entirely on Wattpad. (I would appreciate it if you would click on the Wattpad dropdown table of contents to read the first short chapters published so far –- http://budurl.com/MSintro – as the number of “reads” may help the story get noticed.)



Because this dystopian thriller takes place only 36 years from now and because it deals with some important current topics such as privacy issues and genetic control, I wanted to write commentary along with the writing of the novel.

While I can add comments to my own published chapters on the Wattpad site, I decided to add to this overall experiment by starting a “Mother Siege” blog on Tumblr. (While it is taking me time to get comfortable with this particular hosted blogging site, Tumbler is an interesting site, and it was recently acquired by Yahoo.)

To see my blog on Tumbler, click on http://budurl.com/MStumblr for both the commentary posts I write in connection with THE MOTHER SIEGE and the automatic posts that I “share” from Wattpad each time I post a new chapter there.






BONUS: August 6-8 you can get my romantic suspense spy thriller CIA FALL GUY for FREE on Kindle. This URL is good for eight different Amazon country sites: http://smarturl.it/k8641l








Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books, including TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK IN THE AGE OF AMAZON. You can see all her books at her author blog www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com and find her on Goodreads at www.goodreads.com/pzmiller


She is also the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com


If you have a question for Phyllis, contact me at cluculzwriter at yahoo dot ca and I'll be sure to pass it along. 


TWEETABLES

"Why have Pen Names?" (click to Tweet)

54 comments :

  1. If you've commented and you don't see it, sorry. Blogger/Google+ issues have been resolved and hopefully the problem's fixed.

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  2. ....*knock*...*knock*..."Hello? Am I here?"

    Hopefully, I eagerly waited comment will be published. Soon will see.

    A fascinating read. Of course, this stuff is over my head. No, not literally.

    I can understand the various reasons for having different pen names. For all you know, I might be a famous writer going under the pseudonym of "Klahanie". Incidentally, one of my character's names is "Einahalk".

    Excellent info, as per usual, Phyllis.

    And thank you, Joylene. You is da bestest n'stuff.

    Your starstruck fan,

    Gary

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    1. My fine young fellow, you are most welcome. I hope you do become a famous writer who introduces me to his equally famous agent. Grin-grin, wink-wink.

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  3. The idea that you can have more than one account is appealing to me, as I can't see myself publishing my next book, for grown-ups, under my real name.... :0)

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    1. I also like the idea of you publishing grown-up book, Carole. Can't wait in fact. Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. Wow-- such great information here. Sometimes thinking about all of the intricacies and layers of self-pub can overwhelm me. I know I'll just have to take it one step at a time, if and when I go that route. Thank you Phyllis for taking the time to talk about how you've used the profiles. Now... Off to download your book.

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Julie. Have a great day.

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  5. Thanks for sharing..there is so much to learn!

    I recently joined Wattpad, but haven't posted anything there, but now that I see what you've done, I'm thinking of putting a WIP that is ready for publication there. Do you have to have your book cover already?

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    1. Hi Lauren. Phyllis hasn't been able to comment on my blog for over a year, so I'm answering for her. She says a cover isn't necessary. Good luck with Wattpad.

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    2. This is good to know! I appreciate the info, Phyllis. Thanks to you too, Joylene, for being the ever gracious hostess. :)

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    3. Thanks to you, Karen, for all your support. Happy IWSG.

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  6. A lot of information here. I really hope a day comes that I actually NEED it!!! I suspect that as Amazon gets bigger and more people self publish, their site will become even more refined. And user-friendly? One can only hope!!!

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    1. Me too, Robin. I'm hoping they branch out more and make it easier for other countries. Thanks for stopping by.

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  7. I've wondered about this and definitely find this interesting. Now, I'm going to have to go and read it again to make sure I got everything :) Thanks!

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    1. So glad you stopped by T.D. Have a great day.

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  8. Great information. Thanks for sharing :-)

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to stop by, Dahlia. Loved your post.

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  9. I understand why authors want to use pen names for different genres, so much information here :)

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    1. I know it can be mind-blogging, Suzanne. We must be crazy to get into this business, eh! Happy IWSG.

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  10. You are reading my mind. Great questions and answers. I am creating an author site next month after my book is released and this is just the stuff I need to know.

    Thanks!

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  11. Wow, that was a very informative entry. You just answered a big question of mine since I currently write under a pen name but would like to use my real name in the future. Thanks so much, Phyllis.

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  12. Thanks alot for the info. Just grabbed your book over at Amazon.

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    1. Donna, that's awesome. Thanks. Phyllis will be thrilled.

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  13. Yes, having troubles posting all over the place. Hopefully soon they will show up.
    Thank you so much for the information, I had no idea about any of it :)

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    1. I finally had to call the tech guy. The cost was alarming, but it worked; he got me my blog back. Scary thing.

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  14. Sorry I didn't get back here sooner to leave a new comment! Sorry they were eaten.
    I need to learn more about the Amazon lists. Anything to help my books stay near the top for longer next time!

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    1. Always happy to see you, Captain. Come back any time. LOL. The ninja pic I used really is you, right???

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  15. Fascinating information - thank goodness for bookmarks! I'll be back. Actually, I have two author's accounts, but with two different email addresses. Maybe I'd better look into consolidating. Why did I set them up? Well, the second one is a bit of a departure from my 'usual' - because it's older. I wrote it twenty years ago. Things happened and I dropped out of things. Once back, I stumbled across it, read the volumes (a trilogy) and said, "This is pretty good." I've moved beyond that, though, in what I choose to write, so I put it out under another name. One of my 'buddies' on the lists said, "So, which of your books is this?" I replied that it was published under a pen name.

    Now off to read more IWSG...

    Diana at About Myself By Myself

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    1. So glad you stopped by, Diana. Good luck with your trilogy.

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  16. Very useful information about Amazon lists...good tips to put in my back pocket in case I ever need them ;)

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    1. I'm glad you think so, Kimberly. Thanks for stopping by.

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  17. The scooter arrives tomorrow, Joylene, the moment of truth!!

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    1. You're both in for a huge adventure, Carole. Happy for you!

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  18. This was excellent information Joylene! Thanks. I think I'll need to refer back to it someday.

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  19. Thanks, Joylene, very true. I'm feeling like Victor Meldrew, tv star over here, whose catch phrase is 'I don't believe it.' He crept out to try the buggy, the car was in the way, so went up a steep lawn and turned the buggy over. This time, only a plaster.....

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    1. So glad he'll be all right, Carole. Thanks for taking the time to visit.

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  20. Helpful, as always! Thanks, ladies. :D

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    1. You're most welcome, Carrie. Have a great day.

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  21. hey joylene..
    thanks for visiting me and giving me the opportunity to land here :)
    lovely space you have..

    thanks for these lovely tips here.. :)
    see u you more
    till then.. take care

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  22. Shall miss you too. Hope you are working successfully on your next book and are happy and well, Joylene, and shall look out for you on other sites. Carole.

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  23. This is some very good info. Bookmarking the page now.

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  24. Good information to know, although I'm still working on getting that first book out there. So I don't have to worry about multiple author names yet. :)

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  25. Phyllis is a treasure trove of amazing info. Thanks to both of you for switching on a lightbulb in my head! And Joylene, I love your father! What an amazing guy -- after all he went through, he had the good humor to roar off in that jeep. Even if he got into trouble, the story's priceless!

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    1. I thought so too, Kittie, when he finally revealed this story. Glad you're having a great trip.

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  26. That seems a bit complicated. People have their reasons for using pen names. Either way, you want your books out there, and a wide variety of readers.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts on this matter, Mary.

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