Let me start this post off with the best news - after 8 full days, my account on Amazon has been fully restored. However, for the last 3 days, I've fought an entirely separate battle where Amazon attempted to not pay me after allowing my books back.
My personal fight has not yet ended, as I will not back down, and I have every intention of getting this process fixed, and thankfully, now I have a contact to continue to fight.
Before I get started, I wanted to say thank you for your voices during all of this. You see, it was social media that got an Executive to call me, not my emails and phone calls. It was everyone banding together - in some instances, for someone you don't even know.
A Christmas Gift?
Christmas night, I was checking my email when I saw it, a different subject line from KDP not attached to any case number.
I will not lie. I screamed. I screamed at the top of my lungs and nearly jumped into the air. I was back. My career had come back after 17 total people on the content review team telling me no. What's more - I was answered by an American and not a bot. (I have since confirmed the content review team is overseas so I am not being rude).
I thanked them so quickly and rushed to the next step. I quick search on Amazon did indeed show all my titles.
Being overjoyed, I immediately went to check and see if they truly paid back my royalties as well. Imagine my surprise, when I saw this.
I politely emailed asking if there was a mistake.
Meanwhile, I had two friends buy books - 1 bought ebooks, 1 bought audio. I waited three hours and checked. It hadn't triggered the account reopening in full. I'd already emailed, and I didn't want to piss the nice people off so I waited.
Next day I got this email.
Four three more days I would explain, send my screenshot and get this exact same email back, sometimes from the nice Luis, sometimes from someone else. Each time, I checked my dashboard.
Stressed, I went to Twitter again and tried tweeting about possible stolen royalties.
I also noticed a glaring issue. The book that got me banned had reviews...reviews from January 2021. Had the backend crossed their wires and the content really appeared misleading? I thought so, but wouldn't know until I could speak to someone.
Today, while on a work call, a strange number called. My jaw dropped when I saw the "voice to text" of the voicemail. Which I was also able to confirm with an email check moments later.
I emailed back (notice they still don't give you a way to get to them?) and got a call within a few short minutes.
Tony was wonderful. He assured me nothing was taken from me, and even agreed that there was no suspicious content, but that he has no access to the content team notes. He told me I was back in full and I confirmed with a quick check into my dashboard - I was also surprised to see I somehow made sales three of the days I was totally missing.
What did I learn from the call?
To everyone who has sent messages, left comments, and shared their stories. Thank you. This has been nothing short of the week from hell. I am not backing down. I have this man's direct phone number because he used a phone registered with CallerID. I will be following up. I will be consulting law professionals on the best next steps for us all.
As you've probably imagined, not only have I not stopped trying just because it's the holidays, I've also had a bit of a strained holiday because my dream and career are in tatters. If you're seeing this first, part 1 is here.
That said, I will not be kept down, and I've got a few updates in the case and what comes next to share with you. While I'm not trying to cram information at people, I do want to share timely updates as timelines and to keep things from snowballing into giant updates.
At last count last night, I had 17 different "we're not telling you more, your count is over, bye" emails from 6 people total. All overseas, no supervisor, and none responding to my request for a phone call.
Last night, it also occurred to me that with them completely locking me out of my account, I've lost access to my 1099 - which, with my earnings, would put me in legal trouble in about 30 days when it's time to file. Keep in mind, it's possible they will automatically send me it versus the standard "1099's are in your account" email that is standard. I'm not certain, since it wasn't stated, so I'm not condemning them for that just yet.
Thanks to someone's suggestion, I was able to back door into the extinct author central going through the old link - which was supposedly no longer useable per an email from KDP awhile ago. The better news? When I hit "contact us" the ability to call comes up! I haven't tried it because it was the middle of the night and I truly want to speak to someone stateside with a firm grasp on what I'm trying to explain and why I care so deeply. That is in no way meant to be rude. I managed an overseas team for 5 years, I love the working around the clock method, but know first hand how tricky communication can be since I'm not cool enough to be bilingual any longer (not important but I was in Spanish for a few years until I stopped using it in college).
So, starting on 12.27, I'm going to see if that button works and if I can't back my way into a phone call. I truly feel with a phone call, the error will be obvious. Regardless of whether I will or won't use KDP again, my larger dream of finding an agent and joining a publishing house is likely impossible without an amazon presence and I still don't know if I can upload new titles through a third party or not.
Today, around 3pm, I received two more rejections for more information, both slightly polieter and from the same person (though this was a brand new person in general).
To which, I'm taking a slightly harsher response because now it's been going on for ages with my request for more information and a phone call not working. Did I get a little emotional? I did, but I remained polite and relevant. Some people won't agree with what I did, but this is my journey and I'm sure I'll make mistakes.
All drama aside, I'm going to keep fighting for my backlist, but begin to move forward with new releases. First, I want to share my very first published novel with everyone as a thank you. This book was wide to be permafree on Amazon, but I doubt anyone knew that, so here's a link to all retailers! *note it is not free on audible, but I have gift codes should someone be interested.
While I normally like to give each book it's own "cover reveal" and blurb announcement, I'm going to do things a little differently. So, I'm happy to present 3 of the 12 releases I have planned for 2022! To see the rest, consider joining my street team. Since Christmas & The Lamp was in KDP, I'm afraid to put it up wide presently.
These may end up on amazon via D2D In the future if It turns out I can place new titles I just can't replace or place via KDP. For now, I'm staying away.
The Race 3.3.22
Cover By: The Illustrate Author
Blurb: When all your hopes begin in the sky.
The world is not what it once was, but Rose cannot seem to convince her mother of that. Steam powered airships, mechanical carriages, and a far less constricting type of fashion are not enough to free Rose from her mother's hand. Headed toward London and a suitor she's never met, all Rose wants to do is captain the airship her father left her upon his death. While not impossible in the new world order, it's certainly not fathomable to her antiquated mother. In order to live her dream, Rose will have to take matters into her own hands.
Two tragedies left Wyatt nearly destitute and an emotional rogue. When he hears of the big race that could win him a title and land, he's ready to push life savings on the line. Unfortunately, he had no ship of his own and no way to enter, until he meets the beautiful Rose.
Their only hope of seeing both their dreams become a reality is each other. From London to Paris and more, the duo must trust in one another if they are to win the race. Trust comes with quite a cost as adventure can easily turn deadly and losing the race isn't all they have to worry about.
Slay Bells Ring 7.15.22
Cover by: Fantasia Cover Designs
Blurb: Vampires and Christmas. Not in her city.
Annika James grew up with the weight of the world on her shoulders. As one of the last surviving Vampire Hunters, she's traveled the world to end the lives of all vampires. Spending time home in New Orleans was rare, but Christmas always meant going home.
Connor Logan protected his people. As the elected vampire king, he was judge, jury, and executioner when vampires stepped out of line. When a sect in New Orleans gets too brazen, he travels there only to be attacked and left for dead.
Annika should have staked the pale-white man on sight. Only, something stopped her. Instead, Annika saved him only to find out who he actually was. When he asked for her help, she hesitated. Working with bloodsuckers had never come up, but if the pair worked together to stop the killings in time for Christmas, she'd wait to kill him until after. Too bad Connor's deep gaze and strong moral guidelines send them down a path neither prepared for.
Trapped in Wonder 9.27.22
Cover by KDS Concepts
Blurb: For two years Alyss has searched for her sister for two years. Despite villagers whispering and jeering that Annie ran off with a man, Alyss doesn't believe it. Unfortunately, all leads led to nowhere, and it seemed Annie might have vanished because she wanted to.
That is, until Alyss got a break. Another woman in the village - Scarlett - seemingly runs away as well. Only, Alyss knows the truth. Scarlett didn't run anywhere, she was taken. Just. Like. Annie. Renewed, Alyss sets off down a dangerous course into Under Forest.
In Under Forest, everything is different. Up in down. West is east. Monsters are friends. Everything is dangerous. With help from a man Alyss knows only as Hatter, she plans to find her sister before she becomes lost as well.
While I'm fairly certain an author who has self published for 3 years and been attacked by amazon isn't appealing, if anyone know any wonderful small presses with a focus on romance and unagented submissions I'd be forever grateful for any tips as I've learned being out on my own has some disadvantages.
Let's keep the momentum going - I want this procedure changed so badly for the next author to suffer at the fate of "the content review team". Please comment if you have any suggestions for next steps or contacts you have!
Two edits were made for clarity.
1. I had 700 reviews and ratings, not reviews only. I apologize for not realize you could rate without reviewing on Amazon until it was brought to my attention.
2. updated verbiage on the review notice to avoid semantical conversations or confusion based on policy.
3. A link to part 2 that includes more of the process and my fight.
The last 30ish hours have been very hard for me. Somehow, I offended Amazon's KDP system and my entire career has been taken down. This blog is my attempt to share only the facts, while leaving out any opinions and emotions. At present, 43 books have been unpublished, over $300 in advertising dollars on a new release from 12.20.21 are wasted, and over 700 reviews & ratings are now gone. All of this occurred just 24 hours after my latest release, which was the first release I've had since last Christmas, due to fighting a mystery illness and COVID parenting a toddler - writing took a backseat.
Please consider sharing this blog on your social media. I want to effect change within Amazon more than I want my career back. If enough of us make noise, it's possible this can all be changed.
This post might be lengthy, but I promise, It's not extraneous information.
To set the stage about me for what it might be worth, I am a 2x USA Today Bestselling Author. I began publishing through the fantastic confidence of CHBB Publishing in summer of 2015 before branching out to self publish in summer of 2017. Since 2015, over 54 novels were written and published. Many were shorts in anthologies. Some of those shorts were republished when the anthologies ended and rights returned, but not all. While my review count was a modest total of just over 700, they were still reviews.
I write across the bulk of romance subgenres, with a focus on paranormal romance, steampunk romance and Christmas romance. My works are not all under 18 friendly, but some were.
Stay up to date with any announcements and just general posts here!