Author Central is a free resource available to every published author regardless of whether they have published through Amazon, through a self-publishing company or through a traditional publishing company.
After you sign up and create your free account, you can create a page that allows readers to learn more about you; you have the opportunity to learn more about publishing print books, e-books and audiobooks with Amazon; you can track your nationwide sales through Ingram; and you gain access to a trained author support team.
Even if you are not interested in the opportunity to allow Amazon’s popular website to make your book easier to find on the Internet and allow Amazon shoppers to learn more about you and what you offer, I recommend that you learn more about how to track your nationwide sales.
Nielson BookScan is a huge database that tracks book sales and access is usually reserved for large publishing companies because they are the only ones who can afford the monthly fee. But Amazon’s Author Central allows authors to get access to it for free. Please keep in mind that the report only includes sales from the outlets that report their sales to Neilson.
If the majority of your sales are through outlets that do not report to Neilson, it may not show all the information of your sales, and the sales reports may or may not match the sales report from your publisher. It simply serves as a reference.
What Is Included in the Neilson BookScan Report
- 75% of U.S. print book sales over the past 4 weeks
- Print sales from over 10,000 retailers including Amazon (for those books registered with Ingram), Barnes & Noble, Target and Buy.com
- Book returns from retailers (If a bookstore purchases 25 books and returns 3 books because they did not sell, the report will show a total sales number of 22.)
What Is Not Included in the Neilson BookScan Report
According to the Amazon Author Central website, sales from the following outlets are not included in the report:
- Sales from Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club
- Sales to libraries
- Purchases by wholesalers such as Ingram
- Sales of used books
- Books published through CreateSpace
- Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) sales
- Pre-orders—orders for a book before the book is released
How You Can Use the Report Results
- Find the geographic areas where you can focus your marketing efforts. Your sales report can show you the geographic areas where your book sales are concentrated. Once you know where the majority of your buyers are, you will have a better idea of where you can focus your publicity and advertising efforts. You may be surprised by the areas where you are popular, and by the areas where you are not popular.
- Review the effectiveness of previous sales promotions. Did your radio show tour in Chicago raise your sales? Did you blog tour last month help introduce your book to new cities? Was your holiday promotion effective?
What do you think Amazon has to gain by making this type of information available for free to authors?