A crisis: KDP account terminated *UPDATE*
This past month there’s been a massive spike in sales and page reads – which I put it down to Kindle Scout win – but it also sent up red flags. And as of last night, my Amazon KDP account has been terminated.
This is a long story, anyone just here for books should probably ignore it, but if you’re a KDP author you DEFINITELY want to read on.
Over this past year of self-publishing, I’ve been selling a decent amount of books, one or two a day if I was lucky, and I was happy that anyone was reading them at all. That all changed in December, when I won a publishing contract for my book Touch Sensitive with Kindle Scout.
Suddenly my sales and page views shot through the roof. We’re talking a 1000% increase. It was amazing… until I Googled for “KDP spikes” and “massive Amazon page read increases” and so on, discovering a litany of horrifying stories of other people experiencing this and having their accounts shut down.
I freaked out, emailed KDP something like three times in a week to find out what was going on, alerting them to my fears brought on by the articles I read. I heard back from someone at Executive Customer Relations who looked in to the numbers, and assured me they were accurate, natural, and nothing to fear.
So I calmed down. Eventually the numbers dropped. They were still 10x normal every nor and then, but never as insane a spike. I thought this might just be how things were going to be now, Kindle Scout had been some kind of publicity funnel.
Until last night, that is. When I got a form email from KDP telling me that they believe I’ve been using systematically generated accounts to manipulate their system. I assume that you, like me, have no idea what ‘systematically generated accounts’ are, let alone how they can be used to manipulate anything… There was no human element to the email, it simply said they were terminating my account instantly, removing all the books. No appeal, no real explanation. The very thing I flagged to them a month previous was finally flagged by their own system.
So here I am, stuck in a limbo without KDP, with no response as of yet from any email address I’ve attempted to contact, foraging to get my books on other platforms as quickly as possible, because I was exclusive to Amazon and now have zero other sales outlets…
I’ll update this if/when I hear back from them – all I can say is be wary of KDP Select. It’s amazing to be able to watch page views go up in real time as people are reading and enjoying your books – but this could very easily happen to you too…
UPDATE: 3pm the day after this went down…
I received another email from Amazon, another form email, this time to a different email address, telling me I’ve violated their T&Cs by having multiple accounts.
Up until now, I had no idea I had any other accounts, certainly none that were active. All I can think is that maybe, years ago, I signed up to KDP and completely forgot about it, because I’ve been using KDP exclusively through the ABAM account for the last 13 months of publishing.
Still no human response, but this latest email feels like I’m under assault.
Further updates when they happen, I guess.
UPDATE: a few days later
Amazon are opening my account again… Kindle books should reappear soon.
No real explanation of what happened, all hidden behind data protection laws, but it’s over, and that’s all that matters.
Makes me think twice about using KDP Select and having my books in KU, that’s for sure… Seems that was the culprit for a bunch of other people who had their accounts terminated this week.
What a damn nightmare…