How to add a video to your Amazon Author Central account

 If you’re a published author with a book on Amazon, you need to have an Author Central Account.  And if you don’t yet have a published book on Amazon, it’s time to get published.

Here’s how to add a video to your Author Central account:

1. Sign-in or register at

2. Once your are signed-in click on your Profile button.

3. Along the right-hand side under “Photos” is a section headlined “Video.” Click the “Add Video” link and browse the contents of your hard drive to upload a video. It must be under 10 minutes in length and under 500 MB.

In fact, that’s a good rule of thumb for any internet video.  In fact, 10 minutes is a bit too long.

If you don’t have a video to upload, you may be interested in our Book Video and Distribution option, which you can order by clicking here. It’s available to writers and professionals regardless of where you published your book (although you’ll get a substantial discount if you’ve published the book with Outskirts Press).

Book Video Teasers on YouTube

The third option for adding content to your YouTube channel if you are a published author falls under my definition of a “book teaser.”  This option is similar to a book video trailer, although not as long and not as customized.  At Outskirts Press we produce book teasers for our authors for just $99 and provide them with the high-quality MP4 file to help them get their video channel underway.   We also offer the same service for authors who published elsewhere for $109.

Book teasers are short, only 30 seconds or less in length, and in that manner they share some similarities with the first option I discussed, television commercials.   But that is where their similarities end. Commercials typically feature full-motion video and professional voice overs, and as a result, a much higher budget.  Book teasers typically have none of the above.  They serve more as a standardized video announcement that a book is now available.

Nevertheless, for an author seeking content for their YouTube channel and their other online marketing efforts, a $99 book teaser sets them on the right path.  Here’s an example of one.

Outskirts Press published authors can order book teasers within their Publishing Center by clicking here.

If you published elsewhere but still want to learn about (or order) a book teaser, click here.

Creating YouTube Content for Self Publishing Writers

Last time we discussed the first method for adding content to your YouTube Channel — professional video production.  An expensive option and not really an option for most people.

The next option is much more affordable and is the method most authors use. They hire a company to produce a book video trailer for them — or if they have the capability and the software, they create a book video themselves.

Book videos are typically 1-3 minutes in length and their purpose is to generate some excitement about the author and the book, in the name of generating book sales.  The style of book videos vary greatly, as do their production costs, which can range from $300 to $20,000 or more (yes, really).   Some book videos are interviews with the author. Others are static camera shots of the author reading a passage from the book.

At Outskirts Press, our philosophy is that book video trailers should be like movie trailers – fast and exciting.   We produce one minute to 1.5 minute book video trailers for our Outskirts Press published authors for $399 and then distribute those videos to video sites like YouTube, Meta Cafe and others on behalf of our authors.  We also “blast” new videos throughout our social network on our blog, Twitter, and Facebook.  Of course, the author also receives the video file to pursue his/her own video marketing endeavors, too.

With the introduction of our a la carte marketing solutions for writers, we now offer the same book video & distribution service for authors who have published elsewhere, although their cost is higher than it is for our authors. In fact, our authors currently receive a 50% discount for publishing with Outskirts Press when it comes time to order a book video.

Here is an example of a book video trailer we produced for one of our authors recently. And it just won the September “Best Book Video” contest that we ran through our Twitter account (more on that in a future post).

Authors who published elsewhere can order a book video and distribution package from Outskirts Press by clicking here.

Or, Outskirts Press authors can receive a 50% discount by ordering the same service from within their Publishing Center by clicking here.


Advertising on your YouTube channel

If there’s one thing Google knows how to do, it’s make money offering advertising options. And with their acquisition of YouTube, they’ve now “spread the love” to everyone’s favorite video site as well.  Obviously, the easiest way to advertise on YouTube is to upload a video that advertises your book or company.  The only bad thing about that is that videos that play on YouTube are not “clickable” which makes creating a “call to action” all that more difficult.  Sure, your video can feature a call to action — i.e., “visit such and such website today for a 10% savings — but this requires the viewer of your video to remember the webpage URL and then asks that viewer to actually type the webpage address into his or her browser.

We’ve become a society of clickers.  We don’t write freehand anymore and we barely type anymore.  Unless we can “click” from one place to another on the internet or tap our iPhone/iPad screen, the chances of us reacting to your “offer” is decreased exponentially.

Fortunately, adding an “overlay” to your videos on YouTube solves that problem.  Unfortunately, in order for your video to be eligible for an overlay, it needs to be submitted to YouTube’s PPC Promoted Video’s program.  This is where you bid on search terms (in much the same manner online marketers do within Google).  So while the overlay itself doesn’t cost any money, you are committing yourself to some level of advertising cost by submitting your video to their Promoted Video program in order to activate overlays on your video.   

At Outskirts Press, we are just starting to experiment with actively using video for the promotion of our company (we’ve been doing it passively for a number of years).  As we watch the results, and the costs, we will better be able to determine whether this is a marketing option we want to offer for our authors and their book videos as well…

The YouTube Branded Channel for Self Publishing

With my last post I mentioned how productive September was for our social networking tactics. I started with YouTube and I’ll continue with that topic for this post although I first wanted to mention that my general recognition of our strides in the social networking realm also included some improvements we’ve made to our blog and toward our efforts to attract more followers on Twitter. And I’ll discuss those in the coming posts, too.

But back to YouTube, and the branded channel.

As you can see from the screen shot below, a branded channel provides a lot more control and functionality, as displayed by the buttons along the top which read, respectively:  Post Bulletin, Settings, Themes and Colors, Modules, Video and Playlists, and Branding Options. And through these six buttons, you can control many elements of the appearance and functionality of your channel.  Ours admittedly has a ways to go.  The banner for example, was not designed for the size of the banner YouTube required, so for the sake of immediacy, we took a pre-existing banner (I think the same one we used for our blog) and artificially enlarged it.  That works on a short-term basis, but the fact is that doing graphic manipulation like that “stretches” our logo and causes the whole thing to look just a little bit fuzzy.  We also have an opportunity with the background that we’re currently not taking advantage of, so until we can devote time to do that “right” – we’re sticking with a “blue” background. At least it comes close to matching our color scheme.


Much of the additional functionality is largely the same as a “normal” YouTube channel. The spotlight video box plays a pre-selected video, and new videos are listed in chronological order in which they are uploaded.  Not shown in the screen shot is a branded advertising box the “branded channel” affords us along the left-hand column lower down on the page.  

Across the bottom of the video that is playing in this screen shot is a reference to the promotion we were running in September (when this screen shot was taken). This one is for 30 free books, which was our September promotion for the Diamond publishing package.   This is called an “advertising overlay” and I’ll talk about this next time.

If you don’t yet have a channel on YouTube, you should start one to promote yourself, your company, your book, or whatever. And then, see if you can get a Branded Channel.  I’m not personally familiar with how that happened for us, but I think it was the result of Google recognizing how much we spend on advertising and setting it up for us, either out of a) customer courtesy or b) their desire to get us to spend more.

Outskirts Press Direct Bookstore

The solution to the wholesale/retail bookstore issue I discussed in the last posting was to combine both bookstores into one single store, and that is what we did with the launch of Version 4.0 of the Outskirts Press website.  We retained both URL links to the store but focus mostly on just promoting a single one:

For example, this is the URL that appears at the end of most of our book videos, driving potential customers to the online store where they can get the book from the video they just watched on YouTube.

Now the retail store and wholesale store act in concert with one another seamlessly, by offering a tiered discount structure to the customer depending upon the quantity of books he/she buys.   In fact, even retail orders of just 1 book receive a discount. After all, we save money by not having to sell that book through Ingram & Amazon; why not pass that savings on to the book buyer?  The author still receives their full royalty in any case.

Retail orders are defined by quantity purchases of 1-9 copies of a single book.  For those purchases, the bookstore automatically applies a 10% discount to the retail price.  I discussed a bit about this and the reasoning behind it in some of my June posts.

Wholesale orders are defined by quantity purchases of 10 copies or more.  For those purchases, the bookstore automatically applies whatever trade discount the author set during their publishing process.  The majority of our discounts range between 25% – 50%, but in some cases authors elect to set a 55% trade discount on their book. Whatever price plan the author selected is the discount available to retailers, wholesalers, or customers who purchase those books direct from Outskirts Press at in quantities of 10 or more.   

This is advantageous to everyone involved. The retailer gets a better margin than if they ordered from Ingram and the author still gets their full royalty.   In fact, at industry-standard 55% trade discounts, retailers are accustomed to just 40% margins, since Ingram often takes 15%.  But by removing Ingram from the equation, our authors can offer retailers a better deal, which incentivizes more retailers into ordering our authors’ books.

These discounts are reflected dynamically on the bookstore detail pages for every book in an effort to incentivize customers to order more quantities, too. In fact, we’ve had authors order OTHER authors’ books at wholesale prices when they knew they were going to be attending a major book event, because anytime you buy low and sell high you have a profit-generating opportunity.

The changes worked. Both retail and wholesale bookstore orders increased substantially with the introduction of the new Outskirts Press direct bookstore.

In fact, the downside is that some of our authors became a little confused.  Getting up to a 55% discount on books ordered through the Outskirts Press bookstore sounds so good, some of our authors have purchased their own copies from the store when, in fact, they get an even better discount within their own publishing center.  As a result, our IT department added an “alert” that triggers if the bookstore recognizes an author purchasing their own book from the bookstore instead of from their Publishing Center. 

We’re using similar alerts to notify authors and potential authors of the discounts they can receive on our a la carte writing and marketing services if they elect to publish with Outskirts Press. But that’s a topic for a future post.

Adding your blog to Amazon

Yesterday’s blog posting was the first one I scheduled to appear on my Amazon Author Page, and I’m happy to report it appeared their automatically via RSS without a hitch, so now I’m going to test whether or not I can embed a video into this WordPress blog from YouTube — which I know works fine on WordPress — to see if the Amazon blog accepts the video. I’m doing this for a number of reasons:

1) If it works, I’ll want to advise our authors how to “get around” the one-video limitation imposed by Amazon’s own Author Central functionality.

2) Not only do they limit the video uploads through their “Video” tab to one, but they prohibit .mp4 files entirely, which is the high-quality, high-def format that we use to provide our book video trailers and teasers to our authors. I guess it’s our fault for being MORE high-quality than Amazon allows. But if our authors can embed their videos into their blog, and then feed their blog into their Amazon Author Page via RSS, there’s the perfect solution. So, let’s see if it works…

So when this posting appears on my Amazon Author Page, we can see if the video appears.

I’m also doing this — and in such detail — because I’m nearly done with the Second Edition of Sell Your Book on Amazon – Newly Revised for 2010!  My current Kindle edition has some formatting editions (Kindles don’t take too kindly to drop caps, sidebars, and the like), so rather than reformat the first edition, which was somewhat out of date, given that it was published in 2007, I just decided to crack out the new edition and then correct the Kindle edition all at the same time.

So, if you’re looking for instructions about HOW to create a blog post on Amazon, or how to pick up an RSS Feed from elsewhere so that is appears on Amazon, or how to upload a video, or book video trailer to your Amazon Author Page, the Second Edition of Sell Your Book on Amazon reveals it all.  But here’s a hint: It all begins at