Amazon is a company that never sits still. They are constantly experimenting, pioneering, and creating new features for customers to enjoy. Their innovation also applies to authors.
Amazon recently launched numerous updates that benefit authors in the following three areas:
1. Amazon Advertising
2. Author Central account
3. KDP Self-publishing system
Here’s a rundown of the 10 most important updates you need to know:
New features for Amazon Ads:
1. The release of Sponsored Brand Ads
Have you seen the special advertising box that appears at the very top of Amazon search results? It’s called a Sponsored Brand Ad, and it represents some of the most coveted and powerful space on their website.
For years, this exclusive ad space was reserved for publishing houses and authors with a vendor account. But, Amazon recently made Sponsored Brand Ads available to authors who self-publish with KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). This ad feature levels the playing field between self-publishing and traditional publishing.
There is a caveat, though. You must have at least 3 books published and be willing to pay top dollar for this ad space. But, any author with a reasonable ad budget can promote their books alongside the top publishing houses, including HarperCollins and Penguin Random House.
2. Negative Product Keywords
Amazon added another great feature within their advertising system called “Negative Product Targeting.” This option was sorely needed, because Amazon’s “automatic” targeting function sometimes wastes money by showing ads on irrelevant book detail pages.
Fortunately, the addition of Negative Product Targeting gives greater control to limit losses from Amazon’s automatic targeting algorithms. This feature helps improve profitability for author ad campaigns. Nice work, Amazon!
3. Buy international ads in 8 countries
Can you say “Buy my book” in French or Spanish? Amazon makes it possible by offering new ad capabilities on their international websites, including the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Canada, and Australia. More countries will be added soon.
It’s never been easier for authors and publishers to reach readers around the globe. In addition, there’s less competition for ad space on Amazon’s international sites. Those who act quickly can sell more books at a lower advertising cost.
4. KENP reads and royalties results from ads
If you self-published a book using Amazon’s KDP service and enrolled your e-book into KDP Select, now Amazon shows how your ads drive KENP page reads and royalties.
If you’re unfamiliar with KDP Select, it’s the option to sell an e-book exclusively on Amazon in exchange for extra income based on the “page reads.” Amazon currently pays around $.0045 per page. So, an e-book that’s equivalent to a 300-page paperback would yield $1.35 of royalties.
Until now, Amazon’s system didn’t measure the performance of Amazon ads on e-book page reads and royalties. But, they figured out how to make it happen, which is an impressive feature for KDP Select authors to enjoy.
New features for Author Central:
1. Author Central gets a makeover
Every author should create a free Author Central account, regardless if you’re self-published or traditionally-published. But, Author Central looked woefully outdated until a beautiful redesign was released last month.
Now, Author Central offers an intuitive interface and easier navigation to find your books, update your author profile, and review helpful reports. If you haven’t visited Author Central, see the new look at:
2. Easily update multiple formats
The old Author Central version had a major flaw. You couldn’t easily locate every format of your book to update the product descriptions. Amazon addressed this problem by making each book format visually stand out when a title is selected in your account, including Kindle and paperback versions. It’s a much-needed improvement. Nice work, Lord Bezos!
3. Create international author pages
Earlier, I mentioned that Amazon offers multinational advertising in numerous countries. Author Central matched this global update by enabling authors to create “Author Pages” in the US, UK, Germany, France, Japan, and Brazil. Authors can also add bios using multiple foreign languages. Below is my Amazon Author Page in France:
It’s a big world out there. If you’re only focused on selling books in America, Amazon wants to help you think internationally.
Updates to KDP Self-Publishing Service
1. New version of KDP Reports
If you’ve self-published a book using Amazon KDP, you’ll love the new beta reporting features. It’s easier than ever to gauge real-time book sales, compare title performance, and estimate monthly royalties. KENP page reads are also included along with an updated payment history section.
To access the beta reports version, click on the “Reports” tab within your KDP account. Then, look for the link that says, “Try the new KDP Reports beta.”
2. Nominate your e-book for a Kindle Deal
KDP added a new section labelled “Marketing” that acts as one-stop-shop for all of the book promotion tools. There are quick links to KDP Select, Amazon Advertising, Author Central, and Price Promotions.
But, KDP also added a new marketing tool in beta version called “Kindle Deal Nomination.” Kindle Deals are limited-time discounts on e-books typically priced at $.99 – $2.99. If Amazon accepts your nomination, your e-book could be featured on their website for a day and even possibly multiple weeks.
You can nominate up to two eligible e-books at a time. If a book nomination isn’t accepted, you can automatically renew it every 90 days. This is a great opportunity to gain prime promotional access to thousands of Amazon shoppers.
3. Create and manage a book series
Writing books in a series is the smartest way to build your author career. But, arranging a series within KDP used to require reaching out to Amazon’s customer service team. Now, you can create and manage a series on your own directly within KDP. This is a great time-saving feature that makes it easier to cross-promote related books to avid readers. Once again, Amazon did authors a huge favor. Bravo!
In my 14 years as a book marketing consultant, I’ve never seen Amazon release so many updates in such a short period. These 10 upgrades are good news for authors, because they provide more control over your success.
If you still haven’t made Amazon your top priority for selling books, now is the time to get on board.
All of these updates are included in my online course, Mastering Amazon for Authors. Enrollment reopens on Wednesday, October 27th and closes on Thursday, November 18th.
Amazon is leading the way with new innovation. I’m here to help you stay on top of all the changes.
Together, let’s make 2021 the best year ever for you and your books!
Anita Dow says
Thanks so much for this important update, Rob. I’ve been reading up on Book Bub Deals and Amazon Kindle Deals look similar. All good news for authors.
Gary D. Collier says
Thanks for the update, Rob. I appreciate this article. Very useful. You are obviously focused a good bit, here, on KDP here (not a complaint). I’m curious about non-KDP books. I published several biblical-text study books via Create Space, but when they changed to KDP, they stopped supporting Greek and Hebrew fonts. That forced me away from KDP, and I have not checked lately. I have ended up going to Ingram Spark and using Amazon’s Look Inside the Book (LITB) system. Sounds good in theory. But I have personally found this route extremely time consuming, unreliable, and (in the end) totally frustrating. For example, because I don’t have a Vendor Central account (I’m told I need an invitation for this) I don’t have direct access through my Author Central or Seller Central account to the LITB system. This past summer, when I sent a support request, I continually (over and over) got replies that I needed to log in to my Vendor Central account to see replies and get help. I never got any help after weeks of asking. Also, in the past, Amazon would not allow me to limit access to my Intro and 1st chapter only–or anything specific like this. I can only choose a percentage (the lowest I can request is 10% of the book), and it has happened several times that once I finally (like pulling teeth) got this set at 10%, they would come back without warning and change it back to 20% again! One time I discovered my entire book was available to view!
I’m saying all of this to ask: (1) Has KDP upgraded language limits? (2) Has the LITB system received any upgrades with this latest round? Do you have anything written on this already?
Rob Eagar says
According to KDP’s Help section, they support over 40 different languages. However, Greek is not included and Hebrew is only available for paperback books, not e-books.
I’m not sure about the LITB system. I do know that if you self-publish using KDP, then the LITB feature is automatically included.
You might need to consider self-publishing with KDP and then using IngramSpark to retail distribution outside of Amazon. That’s the preferred the path by a lot of indie authors.
Kelly Fordyce Martindale says
Thank you so much!
David Hooper says
Great update. Thanks! The “Prime Reading” option also looks interesting. Looking into that now…
Sylvia Durant says
Great Gift To Authors… Thank You.
Ron May says
Thanks Rob for this very thorough update.