Guest Post: Amazon Bites Author

July 17, 2016 - Kindle Unlimited

One of my clients, Brad Bayley, has his gawk resolutely bound on quitting a day pursuit for good and has been putting a LOT of time, money, and bid into rising his career. He works unequivocally tough on his graduation and has kept his books in a tip 50 in their difficulty for dual plain months on He’s gaining movement with his paid sales, too. All is going unequivocally well.

…and afterwards Amazon sent him a ‘policy letter’ email revelation him they were about to postpone his Amazon comment and stop offered his books.

What? Why?

Hours of phone time later, 3 opposite Amazon employees had told him they had no suspicion because he had perceived a minute and no, they couldn’t repair it, sorry. That preference lay ‘way adult a food chain’. Wow. Considering that he creates 80% of his sales on Amazon, a cessation there would derail a career lane for a prolonged time. My initial suspicion was that he had run afoul of a Amazon algorithms that are going after a click farmers we described in a previous post, a ones that are scamming a Kindle Unlimited complement by profitable low cost labor to ‘read’ hundreds of long, feeble created or even calculated books by clicking to a final page. A remarkable spike in downloads seems to maybe outing that algorithm, and if we foster effectively, we GET remarkable spikes in downloads when you, say, offer your book giveaway on BookBub.

But Brad isn’t in Select and KU, he has too many readers on other platforms. One chairman he talked to during Amazon, a unequivocally useful associate, suggested that his use of Fiver competence have triggered a letter. The associate pronounced they are ‘looking at’ Fiver ‘because of paid reviews’ and Amazon has also been enormous down on a paid examination thing. The associate also pronounced that profitable for shipping of a giveaway imitation book to a reader or  family members reviewing your bookcould means a ‘paid review’ trip. However, he, as with a others, was scratching his conduct about because Brad got clobbered. The irony is that not usually is Brad not scamming Amazon, he is making them money.

And they’re going to retaliate him for that.

He was told he should do no some-more graduation until this is resolved.

Great! So we can tell on, though if you’re successful they’ll wrench your book? What kind of locate 22 is this? Ah, oh yes, all we authors who are trade reviews?, according to that useful associate Brad spoke to, is ‘looking at’ Goodreads, too. Their possess company! They’re looking during authors who bond adult to barter reviews… If many of your reviews come from other authors, we competence wish to consider about this.

Brad kept trying, and after utterly a few hours on a phone with several Amazon people, a useful and totally sensitive associate who was primarily repelled that he had gotten a cessation notice in a initial place managed to strike a Amazon Investigation Team. Yesterday, Brad got an emailed reparation from them.

They were sorry, it was a sum mistake, he never should have gotten that letter, and his comment was entirely reinstated.

Happily Ever After…NOT!

Happily ever after? Not so fast. There are some things to consider about here. My theory is that, that contingency see hundreds of thousands if not millions of exchange of all forms daily, relies on algorithms to do time immoderate high-volume jobs such as skimming by millions of sales and download exchange to locate scammers who are abusing systems such as KU. That’s fine, a scammers who do that harm us authors, too, and of march Amazon is going to strengthen themselves. HOWEVER, they seem to miss an adequate tellurian slip levelwhere someone can fast demeanour during a sold box and contend ‘yep, he’s fine, he’s usually unequivocally good during offered his books and creation us money’.

That is a bad part. Brad is usually one of a number of authors who have had a same knowledge newly and I’ve listened second palm reports of utterly a few more. we know one other author who has had her comment reinstated, though though an reparation and with a warning to be clever about regulating third celebration promotional firms. we don’t know a outcome of a other people who have run afoul of a algorithm. How many authors weren’t peaceful to put in a hours on a phone, were some-more simply disheartened than Brad, or got a wrong chairman on a other finish of a call, and were erroneously barred from Amazon?

Will They Fix It?

Today, is THE bookstore for tiny press blurb and self published books. If we are barred from offered on, a destiny of your books — and your career — looks flattering grim. needs to repair this, though my theory is that they’ll be unequivocally delayed to do so. (Please infer me wrong, Amazon!)

Why slow? Because a income of a people who will spend hours looking into those cases will cost a lot some-more than a time a programmer spent to write and exam a formula for a algorithm that will dwindle any spike in sales or whatever ‘fraud alert’ they’re using. And when we demeanour during a series of books and authors on a site and theory about a series of cases like Brad’s that are watchful for a ‘yes, scammer’ or ‘no, good salesperson’ decision, we are articulate a LOT of income money.

Be Scared…

Sadly, people are going to keep edition books with ’em, and from a get-go, a association has done income from everybody offered usually a few items. They don’t NEED your book to be a best seller, nonetheless they’ll advantage from your profits. Catching a frauders might be most some-more critical to them, financially, than losing sales deduction from successful authors who get held in a net and kicked off.

That should shock all of us.  A lot! They’ll remove a few bucks from high offered authors they incorrectly flog out, though we gamble it won’t harm their bottom line, and they’ll save a lot of income by not employing a strength and blood people to examine those reports. That is a grave prospect, folks. Let us wish we am wrong.

Meanwhile, I’ve been changing my customer recommendation for career authors per we no longer advise going a Select/KU route. Clearly, Amazon is casting a net for scammers there and if we use book discounters and other promotions well, we might find yourself in Brad’s shoes. You can make your ebook giveaway in other ways. Use a book discounters and giveaway downloads to strech a lot of new readers and stay off a KU system. If your book is good and readers like a freebie, they’ll compensate for a subsequent book and turn constant fans.

Here are my new ‘rules’.  It’s a depressingly prolonged list, isn’t it?

  • Never offer any kind of appreciate we gift, incentive, or what have we for a review.
  • Never post a giveaway book offer on your Facebook page to appeal reviews.
  • Use only a email list you’ve acquired from your website (and this is because that list is SO important) to send an offer of an epub or mobi or pdf duplicate of a new book to those people and ask them to examination a book when it’s out.
  • Never ask for a certain review, usually ask for an honest review.
  • Never let family members examination your book.
  • Never use a paid examination service.
  • Use only honest book discounters such as Fussy Librarian and BookBub.
  • Never barter reviews with other authors.

We have roughly a corner on bookselling by right now. we wish that will change, though for a moment, if we are kicked off of Amazon, your sales are going to take a tough hit. If we get one of these letters and we are innocent, keep calling, be persistent, we CAN get it reversed, though it’s going to take time and bid on your part..

Do let me know if something like this has happened to you.


Mary Rosenblum has won a Compton Cook endowment for Best First Novel, a Sideways Award, and has been a finalist for a Hugo, Nebula, and usually about each other SF award.  She has returned twice to learn during Clarion West and now writes and works with new authors, modifying and charity edition and promotional support during New Writers Interface, where this post initial appeared.

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