The Only Rule Amazon Truly Cares About

I don’t post a great deal about self-publishing, but David Gaughran’s experience with Amazon sent a real chill down my spine. David is very well known in self-publishing circles and has been a tireless champion of self-published authors for a long time. For this to happen to someone like him highlights the precariousness that we all face. All Indies that is.

If you have self-published anything at all, this is an article you cannot afford to miss. And if you feel as worried by it as I do, you might want to spread the news to other Indies.

We have the power to make Amazon listen, but only if we work together.

David Gaughran

On Monday, I found out that some bug hit a German e-book site causing the reactivation of long-dead listings, including one of mine, putting myself and some other authors in breach of KDP Select’s exclusivity rule.

Amazon pounced into action and cancelled my Countdown deal which was scheduled for this week, screwing up a carefully planned promotion. And despite pledging to resolve the matter and restore the promo, Amazon has not done so.

I’m going to go through what happened in detail so you can be sure that I acted correctly at all points – because there is a lot of shadiness going on at the moment – but feel free to skim some of the details if you wish.

Let’s Get Digital and Let’s Get Visible had never been in Select, so I decided to throw them in for one term as an experiment at the start of July…

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About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

10 responses to “The Only Rule Amazon Truly Cares About

  • Candy Korman

    Thanks for letting us know. Writers have to stick together when it comes to the whale that is Amazon, we are all minnows.


  • Elizabeth Drake

    Really awful treatment. I haven’t self-pubbed yet, but it does seem as if Amazon is hurting itself. If authors can’t trust you to behave properly, they’ll go elsewhere.


    • acflory

      Yeah, it’s starting to seem that way. Unfortunately, Amazon is the biggest game in town so we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Elizabeth Drake

        Wondering if it’s worth being Amazon exclusive. Wondering if KU is worth it if after hearing about the spammers and click farmers.

        So much to think about.


        • acflory

          I’m still Amazon exclusive, but that’s mostly laziness. If I go wide with my distribution, I’ll face the 30% withholding tax nightmare with every company I sign with. [As an Australian author that means the potential of being taxed for each sale twice].
          At the moment, Amazon is the only company I know of that provides an online and /easy/ way of getting an exemption from that US tax.
          I do, however, steer clear of KU. To me, it’s always felt like a paid library subscription. 😦

          Liked by 1 person

          • Elizabeth Drake

            Interesting. I’m in the US, so hopefully no double taxation. I know we have treaties with Australia, but the company would have to go through the effort to file the paperwork with the IRS. Can be quite the undertaking!

            I’ve contemplated KU, but it seems so riddled with scamming that I’m not sure it’d be worth it. Yet, I know it’s big with romance readers who read a lot of books a month.

            Maybe, once I have a backlist, a compromise. Do the first book as KU but keep the rest out of the program.


          • acflory

            No, no double tax for you, and yes, the paperwork must be substantial, which is one reason I feel as if I owe a debt of gratitude to Amazon.
            KU however…I did try it when I first published Innerscape but it was not exactly successful. I don’t think sci-fi fares so well. But KU could definitely be a good ‘introduction’ to your work in the romance genre.

            Liked by 1 person

  • DawnGillDesigns

    blimey, that sounds appalling. Thank you for sharing this. I’ve retweeted your tweet in an attempt to further the health warning!


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