Dear Author friends (those in particular who have published books using Kindle Direct Publishing).
I want to pass on this information to you so hopefully you can avoid the distress I have experienced over the past week.
On Friday the 22nd of December, I received the email that no Kindle author wants to receive:
My. Heart. Dropped.
Hours, days, months spent learning about how to use Amazon’s publishing tools, and then the time spent publishing my books, down the drain.
And of course, this all had to unfold right before I left for work for the day, AND three days out from Christmas!
My Kindle Direct Publishing account had all but disappeared. I could not log on, and couldn’t even access the ‘Contact Us’ page on the KDP website. Despite the email, my CreateSpace account was still active and accessible, and my four print books remained available on Amazon. So all was not lost, thank goodness.
That evening, through my utter distraught state, I managed to compose this email to the email address provided:
I received an email response overnight, from a human being it would appear, from Amazon who has said the matter would be investigated, that I would hear back within five days, and apologies for any inconvenience caused (only a significant chunk of my published work suddenly becoming unavailable right before Christmas, and significant mental an emotional stress about being locked out of Kindle, part of the world biggest online retailer).
I’ve been talking to a lady in a business group on Facebook, and from what I’ve read up on the issue, lots of other authors have reported having their Kindle Direct Publishing account terminated under similar circumstances.
The problem may have stemmed from my books being enrolled in KDP Select and subsequently being included in Kindle Unlimited.
Apparently, people can create false figures through KU by driving up page reads by employing services to bulk buy books. Scammers can also get on and do the same thing. What enjoyment they get out of it is beyond me. But as authors are paid per page read, this would appear to Amazon that you are intentionally driving false numbers in order to be paid, which is against their terms and conditions.
I am still waiting for to hear back from Amazon/Kindle regarding the reinstatement of my Kindle Direct Publishing account, and being Christmas/New Year, I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t hear back until next week.
Fingers crossed my account will be reinstated, and if so, I will not be enrolling my books in the Kindle Select program anymore. It would appear Kindle Unlimited is vulnerable to manipulative activity, for which the author is laid with the punishment without warning.
From this experience and conversing with others in the know about Amazon publishing, I would HIGHLY recommend my author friends reconsider using KDP Select, so as to avoid similar unnecessary headache and distress! KDP Select is an entirely optional feature of Kindle Direct Publishing, so you can still publish with the service without enrolling in the program.
Hopefully one day Amazon will implement a system to filter out the true wrongdoers instead of blanket punishing everyone!