CHANGES AT AUTHOR CENTRAL
If you haven’t already done so, when you next visit Author Central, it will ask you to sign up (even if you are already signed up). This part should be easy. It found my previous information and quickly transferred it over. I checked my biography and author photos, which were the same (although I noticed a couple of duplicate photos and deleted the duplicates). At first, it seemed like my blog feeds were missing, but when I proceeded to add them, I saw that they were still there.
The way that books, reviews, and sales ranks are displayed has changed, and it is not as clear how to edit a book’s information.
(With thousands of authors currently checking out the new Author Central, it’s possible that you will experience delays or that the site will appear to be temporarily down when you visit. This happened to me briefly once, but was working again just a few minutes later. The other times I visited this morning, it was working fine.)
I like the Sales Rank report (but see the Minuses below) and Customer Reviews report. It’s basically the same information that we have seen before, presented in a new way.
Visually, these appear nice, in my opinion.
I also like that I can scroll down to see more ranks; I don’t need to paginate my way back and forth through all of my books.
The sales ranks are displayed according to popularity.
You can also change the marketplace to see how your books are selling in other countries, or to see recent reviews in other countries.
If you are looking for a specific book, the search tool (accessible by clicking All Books) makes it easy to search for one.
Back under Profile, it is easy to visit Author Central in other countries where it is available. You can also add a biography in a new language.
The Sales Rank report and Customer Reviews report can only be sorted by popularity.
In contrast, when you go to the Books page, you can change the sorting to alphabetical, newest to oldest, etc. It seem an obvious “oversight” that you can’t similarly change the sorting of the Sales Rank and Customer Reviews reports. Very often, I like to see how my most recent books are doing (sales rank or reviews), without having to search for each book specifically, so such sorting options would have been useful.
The Books page has changed. I see all of my titles (without having to paginate, which is nice), but with the old Author Central, we used to be able to see the total number of reviews/ratings and the average star value next to each book. Now we just see the book covers, nothing else (without additional clicks). I liked being able to monitor review totals and averages for several books on the page without having to click on one book at a time to access this information.
When I do click on a book from the Books page, with the first click it only pulls up a minimum of information, and it may not be immediately obvious to all authors that they can click again to see more information and get more options. It is necessary to click on one of the thumbnails if you wish to edit your book description or access other fields like From the Author or Editorial Reviews. Most authors will have two thumbnails (one for paperback, one for Kindle). After you click the thumbnail (really, the second time you click on a thumbnail), you will see slightly more information: the full title, the review tally (finally), and a little product information. You will also see an Edit Book Details button. Currently, this takes you to the classic editor. Beware that if you edit your book description, you need to copy/paste the HTML of the description into the book description field at KDP, otherwise the next time you republish your book (even just to change the price or keywords) it will revert to the old description (as KDP now overwrites the Author Central description).
On Home page or the bottom of other pages, you can find a quick Survey.
There was only one place to enter a comment, and it was a small box. It reminded me of the joke where an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper has a tiny rectangle drawn on it, with text above it stating, “Enter your complaint in the space provided.” I partly understand that if they allow thousands of authors to submit comments, they will be overwhelmed with an encyclopedic amount of feedback. Writers love to write, after all. But if they really want to know what needs to be improved and why, the survey really needs more than the few questions it asked.
If you have specific feedback that you would like to offer, there is a Contact Us button at the bottom of the Author Central page.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Do you like the new Author Central better, or the classic one?
What do you like about it? What do you dislike?
Write Happy, Be Happy
Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides