ASK PZM: August 2013 Amazon Categories and LIsts

Because today is the first Wednesday of the month, you know what that means — YES, it’s IWSG day, compliments of Alex J. Cavannaugh, our Ninja Captain! 
It’s a simple process: 
“Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.” Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG 
Now for Phyllis’s post…

Q: Can an author have more than one pen name on the same Amazon Author Central account?

This is an excellent question as I have been recently researching this for myself – speaking to representatives at both Amazon Author Central and CreateSpace. (KDP does not have phone contact at this time.)

Let’s start with the basics.

You have one Kindle account in which you can upload any number of ebooks with the names of different authors. The Kindle Direct Publishing platform is exactly that – a publishing dashboard in which you indicate the name of the author or authors of each Kindle ebook you upload.
Once you are an author with a book on Amazon, you should claim (it is free) your Amazon Author Central profile. This is very important – and I go into detail about this in my ebook TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON AND FACEBOOK. (See

Now comes the new part I just learned:

You can have three separate pen names (author names) on each Amazon Author Central account. This means three separate Author Central profiles. And if you have more than three separate pen names, you can get additional Amazon Author Central accounts using the same email and different passwords.

Why would you do this? 

Actually, the first question is why have pen names?

· You may be writing under a pseudonym for security reasons (such as a whistle blowing book).

· You may be using different names for different genres and want to feature separate identities that do not connect to each other.

· You may want to use different names for different genres and publicly acknowledge the connection between your identities.

To make this clearer, let me tell you what I have done:
I had several fiction and nonfiction books on my original Amazon Author Central profile. This meant, for example, that people who read one of my fiction books and then came to my profile to see if I had more fiction books could be confused if they saw several nonfiction books at the top of my book list.

And while they could sort my books on different criteria such as publication date, at this time they cannot sort by genre on Amazon Author Central profiles. 

I decided to make it easier for readers of a book of mine in one genre to find more of my books in the same genre. My first step was to ask Author Central if I could control which of my books are seen first on my Amazon Author Central profile. The answer was …
But, the Author Central rep told me, I could put my plan into action of separating my fiction and nonfiction books into separate Author Central profiles.
Here is what I did (note that the author names are all variations of my own name):
I changed the author name in the KDP dashboard for all my nonfiction ebooks from Phyllis Zimbler Miller to Phyllis Z. Miller. This then gave me the right to have a second Amazon Author Central profile in the name Phyllis Z. Miller.
Next I changed the author name of the YA short story PINKY SWEAR to P. Z. Miller in preparation for the children’s picture books I am starting to write. This gave me the right to have a third Amazon Author Central profile in the name P. Z. Miller.
With the help of an Author Central rep (these steps authors cannot do themselves), I then moved my nonfiction books to the Phyllis Z. Miller profile and PINKY SWEAR to the P. Z. Miller profile, leaving all my other fiction books on the Phyllis Zimbler Miller profile.

I now have these three separate Amazon Author Central profile links:

Q: Can you explain the different lists on Amazon such as top rated, best seller and popularity?

The answer to this question is quite complicated and I am not an expert on this subject. I recently read David Gaughran’s ebook LET’S GET VISIBLE: HOW TO GET NOTICED AND SELL MORE BOOKS, and he does a terrific job of explaining the important differences in the various Amazon lists. Equally important, he explains what you can do to legitimately influence your book being included in these lists.

Note: Particularly important to consider are the differences in the best seller and popularity lists. One such difference, according to Gaughran, is that, while these two lists have the same Kindle categories and subcategories – paid and free ebooks are included together in the popularity lists while paid and free ebooks are separated in the best seller lists.
Although I have not yet started to experiment with what I learned from this book, I am looking forward to utilizing some of Gaughran’s information.

Personal book marketing notes:

In conclusion, I’d like to share info on something I have added to my Wattpad experiment.
If you read the July Ask PZM, you learned that I am experimenting with writing THE MOTHER SIEGE: A DYSTOPIAN THRILLER entirely on Wattpad. (I would appreciate it if you would click on the Wattpad dropdown table of contents to read the first short chapters published so far –- – as the number of “reads” may help the story get noticed.)

Because this dystopian thriller takes place only 36 years from now and because it deals with some important current topics such as privacy issues and genetic control, I wanted to write commentary along with the writing of the novel.
While I can add comments to my own published chapters on the Wattpad site, I decided to add to this overall experiment by starting a “Mother Siege” blog on Tumblr. (While it is taking me time to get comfortable with this particular hosted blogging site, Tumbler is an interesting site, and it was recently acquired by Yahoo.)
To see my blog on Tumbler, click on for both the commentary posts I write in connection with THE MOTHER SIEGE and the automatic posts that I “share” from Wattpad each time I post a new chapter there.

BONUS: August 6-8 you can get my romantic suspense spy thriller CIA FALL GUY for FREE on Kindle. This URL is good for eight different Amazon country sites:

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books, including TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO PUBLISH AND MARKET YOUR BOOK IN THE AGE OF AMAZON. You can see all her books at her author blog and find her on Goodreads at
She is also the co-founder of the online marketing company

If you have a question for Phyllis, contact me at cluculzwriter at yahoo dot ca and I’ll be sure to pass it along. 


“Why have Pen Names?” (click to Tweet)

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