AUTHOR CENTRAL CHANGES
Have you checked out your Author Central page at Amazon recently?
The layout changed. (Well, every once in a while I see the old layout, but most of the time the new layout shows.)
If the new layout is showing, you’ll see a row of your cover images at the top, your blog or Twitter feeds below that, then your list of books.
You can view my page as an example, if you wish:
(Note the link above. Doesn’t that look better than http://www.amazon.com/Chris-McMullen/e/B002XH39DS? If you print your link on a bookmark, for example, the above format is simpler. The ‘secret’ is to log into Author Central, click Author Page, and follow the instructions where you see Author Page URL.)
Do you see the problem with the new author page layout? Every image is the same aspect ratio. Unfortunately, not all books have the same aspect ratio. So some book covers are getting squeezed at the top of the author page. You can really see it with my astronomy book above: The actual book cover is square, and so it appears noticeably distorted at the top of my author page.
In many ways, a wide image makes for an attractive thumbnail at Amazon, but not at the top of the new author page. Also, a narrower image works better for Kindle e-books when customers shop from a Paperwhite and other devices.
So what aspect ratio works best for the top of the author page? The ‘trick’ is to right-click an image and view the image info. I did this and learned that every image is scaled to 158px × 248px, which is an aspect ratio of 1:1.57. That’s pretty close to the Kindle Fire screen size, 1:1.6. In print, 5.5″ x 8.5″ and 5″ x 8″ are near enough matches, while 6″ x 9″ isn’t bad.
If you use 5″ x 7″, this will get squeezed a bit (since it’s 1:1.4). Large print books like 8″ x 10″ and 8.5″ x 11″ get squeezed significantly (these are less than 1:1.3). Square books, like 8.5″ x 8.5″ look quite distorted. If you have a landscape boxed set, that’s a disaster (unless the only text appears on sides of a box that don’t lie in the plane of the screen, then nobody can tell).
Does it really matter? Probably not too much. This is just an issue on the author page. It doesn’t affect the product page at all. Somebody has to click on your author profile from the product page just to get to your author page. Even then, it’s only the row of books at the top of the author page—the thumbnails that appear below are fine.
Imagine a Black Friday type of event just for book lovers.
You don’t have to imagine it. It’s called Read Tuesday, and it’s free: www.readtuesday.com.
Please support the Read Tuesday Thunderclap. This will help spread awareness on the morning of Read Tuesday (December 9, 2014). It’s easy to help:
- Visit http://thndr.it/1CkO2Bg.
- Click Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr and sign in.
- Customize the message. (Optional.)
- Agree to the terms. All that will happen is that the Thunderclap post about Read Tuesday will go out the morning of December 9.
- (The warning message simply means that Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr need your permission to post the Thunderclap message on December 9. This is the only post that Thunderclap will make.)
Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers
- Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
- Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
- Boxed set (of 4 books for less than the price of 2) now available for Kindle
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