Let me start by saying thank you to everyone for trusting me with your stories - I can assure you, none of us are alone. Unfortunate as that is, there is some solace we can take in that.
Throughout the last two weeks countless authors have gone down for reasons both similar to mine, and utterly different. There is still no admittance from Amazon on a bot issue or change in anything regarding rules. There is no admittance of fault, but many apologies.
Now, onto what I've been looking in to. Let me start by saying that I am in no way leading a charge, and I was looking into options so authors as a whole could learn what's going on. There will be no screenshots because this was a call - so apologies for that.
In terms of seeking legal representation: Due to Amazon's ability to terminate essentially on the spot and give no information, there is very little that can be done.
A damages claim can be filed by any author who lost significantly, but keep in mind Amazon knows you're earnings. Someone like me didn't lose a lot on Amazon royalties because they reinstated everything. I lost about $200 in earning on the new release, but it's impossible to calculate the backlist since sales vary so much month over month, plus around $400 in booked promo. It wouldn't be in my favor.
This is not to say it's not the benefit of other authors, but ensure that if you seek legal representation, that all earnings and expenses are on the table before going through with what might cost you instead of earn you (and that's if you get anything because Amazon could win if it goes to court)
In terms of a petition: Petitions are wonderful, but they're just a share of voices. For petitions to work, the entity receiving the petition must care. AKA, authors banding together isn't going to change anything. It would take readers - and millions of them - to maybe, just maybe open any sort of change.
Regarding Class Action Suits: This could not be taken on by any author who received access back into their account and all earnings. This would need to be only by those who've lost their accounts permanently.
The number required for a class action suit is (25 is sufficient), but given our "injuries" are not medical, a larger group would be needed. A lawyer would need to be found, and then the process could begin to see what could occur.
So what can we do now?
This part is easy to say, but of course, not as easy to do.
Authors: Go wide. KU is sexy, I used it for a lot of my earning, but you are beholden to Amazon and this danger then. If you're concerned about making it wide, I understand as I'm terrified.
Start saving. If you say "I can't save any money", then you're likely at a point in your career where Amazon isn't help too much. I say this because I've been there. marketing is essentially and even $50 a book goes a long way.
Begin campaigns - newsletters, blogs, social posts - letting your readers know the end of KU for your books. That will get those who only will read on KU time to read, and prepare them to purchase on other platforms.
Launch slowly, grouping series together as best as you can. Treat it like a new release. Find bloggers, find newsletters, share on social. Getting an entire series up will help with read through.
It will not happen overnight. For most of us, Amazon was not overnight either. It sucks to start over. I've been wide for almost 8 days and I've made 1 sale...1. It's exciting and depressing all at the same time, but it is a start!
Authors with account issues: keep making noise. Focus your efforts on Twitter. No more than 2 hashtags per post to keep their algorithm feed working and tag @amazonpub, @jeffbezos and @Amazonkdp.
I am still working on getting answers and accountability with the nice man who called and emailed me. While I can't reach him via email, I can callback that number and will be doing so weekly. I might not post updates if there's nothing to post, but I am not letting this just vanish into thin air.
Readers and Bloggers: If you are interested in being part of a review team for wide books for me, please fill out this form :) I'm sure other authors will have similar requests.
Readers: While buying outside of KU may not be possible, know that authors understand. We respect this and understand as we're all readers on budgets, too.
If you are in the position to buy new books on a different platform, support your authors and their new releases on other platforms. It will help them build things back up.
If you are super able to help and buy the old books on a new platform, that can help launch algorithms and backend metrics that I won't bore you with.
Lastly, reviews. If you can post reviews to new platforms you would do authors an invaluable service. I know it can be a pain to post in multiple places, but reviews unlock promotions and sales - because most people want to see what they're getting in to :)
Author are you still reading?
If you're still with me, I wanted to let you know there are a lot of fantastic resources for going wide. Admittedly, I do nto have approval to share these, so my apologies to people running these groups if you get an influx of join requests :)
Wide for the Win
Fiction Writing and Book Marketing for a Six Figure Author Career
If anyone is aware of other resources, please share in the comments. I will update as I can!
I will always be here to help in any way I can. What I've learned could be useless in a month, but I will try! We've got this. It's not going to be an easy road for those of us without agents and housing, but we should never give up on our dreams. <3
Stay up to date with any announcements and just general posts here!