As a destination that reflects your career as a writer, Amazon Author Central should have as clear a view of your persona as possible.
Great care should be taken to make sure the information about you is accurate and complete. Your Amazon Author Central profile is an important feature within your account.
If you’re someone who has multiple pen names, you want them all represented.
The question, of course, is what does Amazon allow. Amazon’s ecosystem has always permitted pen names, but is there a limit to how many?
The simple answer is yes, there are restrictions. These limits may not put a ceiling on the actual number of pen names per se, but they do regulate the way they are organized.
Does Your Author Central Profile Need A Pen Name?
Whether it be George Sand or James Tiptree Jr., or whatever, pen names have been a way for authors to lead literary double lives since charcoal scribblings first wrote human signatures on cave walls.
A pen name is a pseudonym an author uses to remain anonymous. There are many reasons why an author might sign another name to their work, but they all ultimately come down to branding.
The author doesn’t want people to know they are the creator of the work.
The pen name can be a closely guarded secret or a matter of simple convenience. It is almost never done flippantly, especially in modern times, when clear identification is the only way an author receives credit or payment.
Pen names are used to protect the author from stereotyping, discrimination, and/or undue criticism. Maybe the writer is known for creating non-fiction, but wants to try their hand at mysteries.
The author may have a reputation that runs counter to the subject matter they want to write about. They may believe they won’t be taken seriously, and hiding their identity gives them power over the restrictions.
One famous science fiction author (the aforementioned James Tiptree Jr.) actually wrote to a publisher to support getting another author published. The publishing house agreed and signed on the new writer, never realizing Tiptree Jr. was actually writing on behalf of one of her own pen names!
How Does Amazon Feel About You Adding Multiple Pen Names?
At one time, it seemed Amazon restricted the addition of pen names to only three per listings. A pen name doesn’t create a new account, it merely allows the Amazon Author Central profile to know your pen name is one under which you also publish.
Since Amazon has extended the number of pen names per profile to seven, it seems they don’t actually mind the tactic.
Moreover, the use of pen names is one of the rare instances in which society doesn’t frown upon using a false identity.
Pseudonyms, stage names, and pen names are a common part of the creative world. From actors named John Wayne to world-renowned authors called Mark Twain, it’s accepted that artists may use aliases.
The only restriction seems to be that artists not be duplicitous when it comes to paying taxes or taking responsibility. It’s likely Amazon enjoys providing a mechanism where authors can show they’re not avoiding their obligations.
The Amazon Author Central profile lets writers address their professional duties while managing their work in the marketplace.
What Is Amazon Author Central?
The profile is only a part of Amazon Author Central. The service itself is a centralized place to manage your author brand. Within Amazon Author Central you can list titles and upload media. The service is free, though it isn’t available outside Amazon’s U.S. territory.
How Do You Add Multiple Pen Names To Your Amazon Author Central Profile?
Adding a pen name is simple.
Log into Amazon Author Central and click the Books tab in the upper left.
Click Add It Now in the message at the top of the page.
Type in the author’s name, ISBN, or title of your book that has the pen name.
Amazon will find the book and display it.
Click Add This Book.
A dialogue box will appear stating that it doesn’t appear you are the author of the book. You will see the pen name and a message asking if the pen name is your name.
Click the radio button next to the pen name to claim it.
Once Amazon has verified the name belongs to you, it will be listed from now on as part of a drop-down list in the upper right of Amazon Author Central.
As mentioned before, you can do this for seven pen names per Amazon Author Central profiles. Welcome to the world of multiple pen names!