Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Amazon KDP Select Shut Me Down with No Warning!

I've been shut down.
No warnings. No hints. Nothing.
Yesterday, I received this email from Amazon KDP Select.


Due to repeated violations of the KDP Select exclusivity requirement, the following books and the rest of your catalog will be removed from KDP Select within five days of receiving this message and you will be suspended from enrollment in KDP Select for a period of 12 months. Should you enroll books into KDP Select in the future, they will be subject to immediate removal from the program....

...You may reply to if you have any questions regarding this email or believe this decision has been made in error.

Best regards,
Amazon KDP

Now, I've always been a champion of KDP. I'm a hybrid author who publishes traditionally and independently. I'm also prolific, which means I write more than any one publisher can handle. I also don't believe in placing all your literary eggs in one basket. That said, I began my own imprint. Bear Media, to handle the overflow. Normally I might go wide with my indie books, publishing them at Kobo, Nook, and other online platforms. But lately I've been enjoying the KDP Select platform a little more exclusively than usual, since my page reads were on the rise. I was also taking advantage of their Kindle Countdown Deals and Free days.

All seemed to be going swimmingly until this email showed up like a bullet to the brain. The email is in the wrong. No dispute about that. I was never warned about violating any exclusivity rule. From my understanding, real scammers get three warnings before the plug gets pulled. Then, a fellow author showed me this recent blog post by Adam Dreece: A Vengeful, Simple God?

It was like being smacked upside the head, because the same exact thing happened to me, without warning. It was guilt before proving my innocence.

Now I've gone to bat for Amazon in the past. Check out this article from 2014 from The New York Times and check out this video from Fox News. But when I asked my publishing partners at Amazon Publishing, the traditional arm of Amazon, they said they can't help since KDP doesn't fall under their umbrella. I guess I have no choice but to take that as gospel.

How is it that I'm nixed from KDP Select for the next 12 months? Word up is that it could be the handy work of a jealous author, or former publisher, or just some total vengeful asshole. Or hell, it could be a glitch in the Amazon AI.Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but it's interesting to note that I'm coming off a very successful Book Bub Promo on March 20. On March 21, I received the email.

But one thing is for sure, I'm not APs or KDPs top author by any means, but I have done very well, hitting the overall Top Ten on a half dozen different occasions, plus the number 1 overall spot with The Remains and Everything Burns. Like I said, I've publicly gone to bat for Amazon Publishing. And I enjoy my relationship with them. I would expect them to assist me in clearing this matter up, as soon as possible. But thus far, it's pretty much been total radio silence. That's disconcerting.

Oh, and I also learned this: never store all your eggs in one basket. Go wide, hybrid author. Go wide with Amazon KDP, Kobo, Nook, etc. Or suffer the consequences.

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  1. As an update, I just received this message from KDP:


    Thank you for your message.

    As stated in the KDP Select Terms and Conditions, you give us the exclusive right to sell and distribute the content of your digital book in digital format while your book is in KDP Select. During this period of exclusivity, you cannot sell or distribute, or give anyone else the right to sell or distribute, the content of your book (or a book that is substantially similar) in digital format.

    Our records indicate that we previously informed you that submitting non-exclusive content to KDP Select is not acceptable and may result in loss of KDP Select benefits.

    Due to repeated violations of the KDP Select exclusivity requirement, we have removed all of your books from KDP Select and have suspended the enrollment in KDP Select for a period of 12 months. Please note that all titles remain available in the Kindle Store.

    We’ll be upholding our previous decision regarding the eligibility of your book(s) for KDP Select. I'm sorry, but we can't offer any additional insight or action on this matter.

    Be sure to look at the KDP Select Guidelines here:

    Thank you for publishing with Amazon KDP.

    Best regards,

    Kristoff S.

  2. Update 2: I heard from the Editor in Chief at T&M of AP, and they are indeed working on my behalf to resolve the situation...That's very good news no matter the outcome...Thanks T&M!

  3. Thank you for blogging about this, Vince! :)

    I so agree with that advice!

    1. Thanks Debbi, what's also ironic about this, is that Amazon is hurting readers here. Plenty of my fans use KU.

  4. I'm sorry this happened, Vin. It speaks volumes about the power Amazon has over your income and ability to self-sustain as an independent author. Having had a similar SNAFU once (back when I did Select, which I no longer do other than with my T&M title), it is hard to get an answer of when they told you what, and what exactly you did wrong (which book didn't meet exclusivity? did you post too big an excerpt somewhere online like WattPad?). It's easier to get an absolute answer. No, we won't change our minds. Hang in there, buddy.

    1. Thanks B...I'm sure it will get resolved one way or another...But I',m never going to allow myself to be caught with my guard down again...I got lazy and complacent...Lesson learned.

  5. Hey Vin,
    So sorry to hear this happened to you as well.

    If you aren't safe, none of us are!

    I really don't like the "you know what you did" attitude Amazon takes when dropping the hammer. It's like being arrested but never told what the charges are so you can't defend yourself with the truth.

    Best of luck this is resolved to your satisfaction and "lesson learned".

    Steve DW

    1. Thanks Steve...Like I've mentioned several times, it's not me they're hurting by this policy of lumping decent authors into the scammer pile. I will just go wide and probably earn more. But it hurts readers who are enrolled in KDP Select...

  6. Did you publish any KU boxed sets that included material available elsewhere, by any chance, even for a short time? I have heard they are cracking down hard on that now. I know lots of people have gotten away with it in the past, but that's the problem with Amazon--they let things go for a while, but they have a tendency to catch up.

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