Take Control Of Your Name And Information Online
In last week's blog post we covered what you’d need to set up a new website, which is the center of your online presence “hub”. In this post we’ll give you a list of other places to get set up in order to maximize your online presence as an author, making sure your information is everywhere it should be for your audience to find you. This applies to both self-published and signed authors. Just because you may have handed off your content for someone else to distribute doesn’t mean you can’t verify that you’re showing up with the proper information everywhere you should be online.
Amazon is the largest online retailer as well as the home to the number one eBook ecosystem, the Kindle, so it should be the first place you visit make sure information is correct. Here’s where you need to go:
Product listing information (new or used books)Do a search for your book and make sure the description, author information and image are as you like it. Amazon allows users to update product info via the “Update Product Info text link at the bottom of the Product Details section.
To get your Kindle book paired with the paperback and hardcover copies in the product purchase options, Amazon tries to match the title, author and ISBN text. If those don’t match exactly, chances are your paperback won’t be listed with the Kindle version as another option to buy, and vise versa. You can request for Amazon’s member support to pair those items manually, which may be easier than trying to alter your product information, since CreateSpace doesn’t allow for you to change anything once it’s published. Kindle information is easier to change yourself if you have access to the Kindle Direct Publishing account that hosts your ebooks.
The key is to make sure you’re consistent up front with your title format, name (include “Dr.” or don’t if you are one), and ISBN numbers (which CAN be the same for print and digital versions of your book).
Goodreads Author Program
Apply for a Goodreads author profile and make sure your information including images are up to date! Make sure to claim your own books that may be listed already in the system.
Goodreads was purchased by Amazon in early 2013, and it’s user base is growing rapidly. Don’t miss out on being a part of the best social media platform for authors and avid readers!
Google Books Partner Program
As part of the best and most widely used search engine on the planet, the Google Books Partner Program is where you can take control of and edit your author information to make sure everything shows up properly when users search for your books and name.
First and foremost, Google is on a mission to catalog and index every word from every book on the planet. So you’ll want to make sure they have the proper edition in their system. Giving them a digital copy of your book also allows you to sell it on Google Play store (once you set up the proper money-making account with them). But if you prefer, you can tell them to keep the information to themselves and not to make it public in any form on their system.
Again, you want to take control of your name and content, so even if you don’t want to sell with Google, make sure they have your work and name listed properly.
If you have any notoriety, you may already have a Wikipedia page. Since their whole purpose is crowd-sourced information (which is both good and bad), you may be able to edit your page directly or submit a request to make a change.
If you don’t have a Wikipedia page, I personally wouldn’t bother creating one since I would want all information about me to come from my own website - where I have full control. The ultimate goal is to get people to your website. Wikipedia can be just another obstacle to that goal - especially if the information is wrong.
Obviously you need to have your own pages/accounts at Goodreads, Facebook (both Profile AND Page), Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Vimeo, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Please make sure all information and images are consistent across all of your accounts! This includes branding images, verbage, and links to your website.
Having a photo from 15 years ago is not helpful and may tell your audience that you don’t care to make sure your information online is current. Don’t let your readers feel neglected. But most importantly, take control of how you as an author are being displayed online. It does take quite a bit of work, but it’s worth it!
If some fans have created their own duplicate Page for you or your book on Facebook, you can request Facebook either merge or take it down once you’ve established with them that you are the owner of the content. Same goes for other social media websites.
So get out there and start searching to see where you show up and how you can take control of your name and work online! Don’t wait until someone unauthorized has done it for you. You probably won’t like how you end up appearing. And remember: the more you can do up front for your next book the easier it will be to manage how you appear online.
Have you run into any problems editing or correcting your information online? Do you have more questions about Amazon or other online stores? Are there other websites you can share with us where authors need to monitor how they appear to readers? Let us know in the comments below!