What is a Pen Name?
By definition, a Pen Name it is not considered one’s legal name. Rather, it is a fictitious name that can become associated with a real person, but cannot be used for legal purpose.
Keep this in mind when working with Pen Names in Amazon as Amazon applies certain restrictions on what you can do on the Amazon Platform under the guise of your Pen Name.
When Should You Consider Using a Pen Name?
Many well-known authors have used pseudonyms, whether they are writing in a style or genre that they do not wish to associate with their main work, something that is politically sensitive, and sometimes simply to protect their personal privacy, job or real views from associates and peers.
- Retain anonymity
- Protect the author
- If you are publishing for a specific business or website
- Branding niche profiles
Keep in mind the pen name should be used to protect the author and anyone else who may misinterpret the work as alluding to them or others the author may write about or base characters on. I’ve learned that some fictional work can affect employment if it is in any way controversial.
Never underestimate the potential upset your work, particularly fictional writing can cause others.
If you are publishing several books in different niches or genres you may also consider applying a separate pen name for each one.
A tighter knit group of books associated to one Author page can often increase your authority and credibility to your visitors and readers.
Linking Your Pen Name to Amazon Author Central
The proper flow of setting up your Pen Name in Amazon is as follows:
Link Your Pen Name to Your Book
When uploading your book to KDP or listing it for sale on Amazon, enter your pen name as the author name. At this stage you are Linking the Pen Name to the book.
Note that this is done from within your KDP account- you are the publisher and will receive the royalties for sales of your book regardless of the author name.
Once your book is published on Amazon you will be eligible to create an Amazon Author Account for your Pen Name.
Linking the Pen Name to an Amazon Author Central Account
Remember this! You will not create a new account in Amazon Author Central for your pen name, rather you will be associating your Pen Name to Your own account.
To accomplish this you will need to locate the book published under the pen name on Amazon and link it to your author Central Account.
The easiest way to locate your book is by typing the book ASIN or pen name into the book search bar.
Adding a Book to Your Amazon Author Central Account
- Log into your Amazon Author Central account
- Go to the Books tab and then click on the Add More Books button.
- Search for the book that you’ve written under your pen name. And add it.
- Amazon will then pop up a box that says that you are not listed as the author . Select “If you write under a different name, let us know”. Click on the link to inform Amazon your account should be linked to the pen name.
- Amazon will send you an email requesting you confirm your pen name request. Once you confirm your Amazon Author Central Account will contain both names.
- The Amazon interface allows you to toggle between authors when logged in.
For Help on Setting up your pen name check out the Amazon Help
Working With Pen Names – The Small Details
Setting up your Pen Name on Amazon Author Central is simple.
Now you need to understand the limitations of a Pen Name account on Amazon.
Amazon restricts certain actions on Amazon only to accounts with associated payment methods and a completed purchase.
Since you will not be purchasing anything under your pen name (since it is not a legal person) your Amazon Pen Name is prohibited from:
- Tagging and agreeing with Tags
- Providing Verified Amazon Reviews
- Commenting and discussing
In addition, you can only choose one name to represent you in Amazon forums and discussion groups. If you are published under many pen names this can start to get tricky…
Are you ready to take that first step to setting up your author pen name?
To your publishing success,
Have more operational tips about using Amazon Pen Names? Please share them below!
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