If you’re a self-published author, chances are you’ll be offering your books for sale on Amazon.com. Whether or not you currently have an account, there are a few things you should know about navigating Amazon’s Kindle platform most effectively as a published author, particularly if you choose to use one or more pen names.
However, before we dive into the meat of the matter, let’s go over why and when you would want to use a pen name, how using one affects your publishing accounts, how to approach social media and other important considerations for using a pen name.
Why and when to use a pen name?
A “pen name” or pseudonym, is an assumed name that many writers choose to use instead of their real name. But why would anyone, especially you, want to do that?
There are a gamut of reasons that many authors give for why they use a pen name at some point in their career. However, some of the most common are:
- To safeguard their real identity.
- To not be restricted by using their real name.
- To distinguish between the different kinds of books they write.
These are all excellent reasons to decide on a pen name and then use it to set up your author account.
How does using a pen name affect your publishing accounts?
Once you make the decision to use a pen name instead of your actual name, there are a few restrictions you’ll have to deal with as a publisher on Amazon’s platform.
- You can’t use your pen name to create verified reviews.
- You can’t comment or use the discussion boards with the pen name.
- You are restricted to using a single name in Amazon discussion groups.
This is because Amazon has strict rules that only allow accounts with verified payment methods to complete certain actions. This leaves you very limited in certain respects if you use one or more pen names.
How should you deal with social media when using a pen name?
It is one thing to use your pen name to set up an author account and on the cover of your book, but how do you use it for other areas of book publishing and promotion, such as with social media?
- Facebook – You can only set up one main Facebook page using your real name. However, you can set up single pages to promote your books using each one of your pen names.
- Twitter – It’s easy to set up several Twitter accounts for each of your pen names so you can keep your book promotions separate.
- Goodreads – This platform only allows one main profile for each author, so if you want to promote using different pen names, you’ll have to set up several individual accounts using different emails.
How to Set Up Your Author Page with a Pen Name
Here are the steps you should take to set up your Amazon Author Page with a pen name.
In order to set up your Author Page you must already have a main Amazon account and at least one book already listed and available for purchase on Amazon.com.
If you don’t already have a main Amazon account, select the sign-in option that says “No, I am a new customer” and follow the instructions to set up a new account.
If you don’t already have a book listed on Amazon, use the Kindle Direct Publishing page to upload your first book.
Once you have your Amazon account created and your book uploaded, use the following steps to set up your account with your pen name.
- Copy and paste the following link into your browser: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/
- Click “Join Now”.
- Input your Amazon sign-in email address and password and press enter.
- Read through the Terms and Conditions in Author Central and click “Agree” to accept them and move forward.
- Once your Author Page opens up, navigate to the “Books” tab and click the “Add More Books” button.
- Do a search for the name of the book you wrote using your pen name and add the selection. If you cannot find the book by Title, try searching for it by ISBN number.
- A pop-up box will appear stating that “You are not listed as the author… ” An option at the bottom of the pop-up box will state “If you write under a different name, let us know”. Click that link.
- An email confirmation will be sent to your associated Amazon account. Find the email and click the confirmation link to verify that you are the author of the book and it is your pen name.
- Once your identity is verified, that pen name will now be associated with your Author Central account.
- Repeat steps six to nine for up to three (3) pen names on a single account.
Switching Between Pen Names in Your Amazon Author Account
If you have more than one pen name associated with your Amazon Author account, here is how to switch between each one.
- Navigate to your Author account page and click the drop down menu beside your name at the top of the page.
- Select the pen name you want to use from the list.
It’s a simple as that! You are free to switch back and forth at any time depending on how and when you want to use a particular pen name.
What do you do if you have more than three (3) pen names?
If you’ll be writing up a storm and need more than 3 pen names, there is a simple way around the 3 name limitation on your Amazon author account.
You’ll have to open a second Amazon Author account with a different email address and follow the steps outlined above to add up to three additional pen names that will be associated with that account.
If necessary, you can repeat this process as many times as you’d like to set up more pen names.
Keep in mind that even though you may set up several Author Accounts and associated pen names, you can have only one Kindle Direct Publishing account per person no matter how many pen names you choose to have.
Note: Always remember to log out of your secondary, tertiary, etc. Author accounts and back into your primary account before logging into your Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing account to be able to see all of your listed books.
Important Considerations When Using Pen Names on Amazon
If you plan to write and self-publish books on an international scale (that is outside of the main Amazon.com store) you’ll have to set up accounts on each international Amazon site that you want your books to be available on.
While it sounds intimidating, the process is actually quite simple.
- Go to your browser and enter the URL associated with the Amazon Author central for the country you are targeting. So for example, http://authorcentral.amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom)
- When the page opens, create your author profile and add your books using the same steps you would on the main Amazon.com site.
Depending on the types of books you plan to write, using pen names may be an important part of your book creation and branding strategy. Use these simple steps to set up your Amazon Author Pages and pen names and you’ll have all of the flexibility and anonymity you need to self-publish with confidence.