Sunday, January 3, 2016

Those Important Author Pages

Ian W. Cooper

The author pages on Amazon, Kobo, Google Play and iTunes can be a bit of a problem for authors if they have a common name.

In the case of Ian Cooper, we were sharing the author pages with at least two or three other authors. This is definitely problematical when we’re writing erotica, and the other authors are writing non-fiction or even scholarly publications.

This is important when we’re promoting a free or paid title. If we promote something free, customers will see other titles that they might want to read. If we’re promoting a paid title, having something free is also good. Readers might download something interesting and give it a read. If they like it, there is a pretty good chance they’ll be back, either for another free title, or to buy a book.

A nice, simple fix is to use our middle initial. In my own case, it’s W., (for Walter).

On Amazon’s Kindle platform, the quick fix was to open up the publish page for each title and simply type a W. into the author name form. It worked very well, the only problem stems from search engine technology. Right now Ian W. Cooper has only one erroneous listing. In this case, the search engine algorithm is picking up on a title that is actually co-written by two individuals. The first name starts with Ian, and the second author’s last name is Cooper. We really don’t know how to defeat this, although we might try contacting Amazon support and asking them about it.

Okay. On Kobo, the same process works fine. The process works just fine on Google Play.

Smashwords, an ebook aggregator, is a different case. They distribute to a slew of other retail distributors. They’re asking us to put the exact same name on the cover, and in the original source document.

This is a bit of a challenge as our computer blew up about a year ago in December, 2014.

That took all of our original documents. Luckily, the solution is right there on Smashwords, where we can download all of our original files, type the W. in there and then all we have to worry about is the cover. When we buy an image from Canstock, there is an option on the download page. You can email the image to yourself. While we really weren’t doing that from day one, we have been able to go back to our email inbox, search emails using the keyword ‘canstock’ and all the images that we do have on hand are right there. So far we’ve located three of them, and there are a few more in there.

We’ve modified two of the three covers and we’ll do the next one shortly.

If someone had spent $35.00 per image, and ran into this problem, I reckon they would have little choice but to go back to their original supplier, or find another one. They would have little choice but to spend the money, or forget the whole project. Yet the author pages are useful and worthwhile sales tools. Once you have a number of titles, it’s a real pain in the ass to tweet out all those titles. Now we can tweet our author page—it’s all there, whether it’s ten or fifteen titles, or even hundreds of titles.

It’s worth doing. It was a couple of years ago, when we set aside an entire month to do a quality-control audit of our whole operation here at Long Cool One Books.

This is very similar to that.

We want to tighten the whole thing up, so that we have professional products and author pages in order to promote the author and their books.

If it takes a day or two, we’ll just stick with it and keep going until we’re done. As for images that we can’t find, we will just have to be a bit philosophical about that, and do the best we can with what we’ve got.

Our credit card is maxed, and after so many years on disability, let’s just say that our investment capital is about the same as it was years ago when we started, that is to say zero.

We’ve read a hundred, maybe a thousand times, ‘get yourself a good book cover’. We’ve never disputed the advice.

It’s just that we’ve never been in a position to do anything about it.

A week from now, we’ll see the exact same thing in somebody’s blog post. There have been times when it felt a bit personal. It can be kind of annoying, that’s for sure.

After a while, it rolls off you like water from a duck’s back.