Amazon Suspends Authors! Promo Sites Closing Down! How to Deal With These Calamities

Dont-Panic1A couple of major and somewhat jarring events took place in our self-publishing community recently. An author had her books banned because Amazon detected a one day increase of her page-views from a couple of hundred to 25,000. They’re investigating the situation, but the author’s books have been withdrawn for sale and her agreement with KDP has been terminated.

In other news, Pixel of Ink, one of the major eBook promotion sites, shut its virtual doors. Many of the promotion sites we use have been in contravention of Amazon’s terms of service for some time. Amazon is now taking measures to make them comply or they’ll cease doing affiliate business with them.

Tons of bandwidth has been devoted to discussing these two topics. Authors, readers, and promoters all have opinions. I’ve put together a list of things you should be doing to deal with these situations.

Keep Writing.

You know what? It doesn’t matter. At the end of the day nothing matters except the work. As self-publishers, we have to be aware of what’s happening in the publishing world but we can’t let it hold us back, and we should never let it detract from our primary purpose –producing great content for our readers. Keep your ears to the ground but instead of following and liking and tweeting every bit of information, look for commentators that summarize what’s happening and then get back to creating your masterpiece.

Examine Your Network or Support Group.

Are you all on the same page or is it time to spend less time lamenting with other authors and more time with those who are on the same page as you are? I’ve been criticized and labeled as a drive-by commenter. There’s some truth in that. I write slowly. I don’t produce books as quickly as some other authors. So, if I have an opinion that I want to express I’m going to drop by, let you know what I think, and unless there is something epiphanous conveyed in the comment thread that follows, I’m probably out of there. I need to keep writing. If there are other authors in your immediate group who are burning your time up by regurgitating the same Amazophobias over and over again and not looking for solutions, perhaps it’s time to break up with them.

Continue Building your Audience.

Our personal mailing list of readers is extremely important. We don’t know who purchased our books. We’re not given that information, but by engaging in social media, blogging, attending local writing events, and helping other authors, we can add subscribers to our mailing list. Schedule time for this task so that it’s not infringing on your writing time. If we have our own list of readers (customers) that we nurture and grow, then the world can turn any way it likes. We’ll always have access to readers who will check out our work.

We have a responsibility to ourselves to take the best shot we can at building and maintaining a career as a writer, and we have a responsibility to our readers to produce great content. Don’t let yourself or your readers down. Don’t worry. It’s still a great time to be a writer. Your audience is closer than it’s been since the days of sitting around the campfire listening to the elders tell stories. It just might be time to make some tough decisions. Remember, if you draw yourself away from the crowd you’re more likely to be noticed. Good luck!

Author: Martin Crosbie

Martin Crosbie is the administrator of and writer of seven published novels. His self-publishing journey has been mentioned in Publisher’s Weekly, Forbes Online Magazine, and Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper. You can learn more about Martin on his Amazon author page.

27 thoughts on “Amazon Suspends Authors! Promo Sites Closing Down! How to Deal With These Calamities”

  1. Jeez, being “a drive-by commenter” is a thing? I’m sure I’m guilty. In fact, I’ve stopped entering online comment contests because I can never remember to go back and see if I won.

    I was reviewing some KDP guidelines recently and saw a note about being wary of any service that guarantees results. I’m wondering if that was always there, or if that’s Amazon’s new way of saying those are the ones that will get you into trouble. Then I was wondering who that really included. Books Butterfly, for example, which I haven’t tried yet? (But isn’t their guarantee more in the nature of a refund if they can’t deliver?) BookBub, which I only wish I could try again? One could wish that Amazon would be a teeny bit more specific sometimes.

    1. Sandra,

      That’s my understanding with Books Butterfly also. Amazon have actually become better at getting back to me over the years so you could always message them if you had a specific question.

  2. Excellent post, Martin. The industry has clearly changed from the slow-as-molasses behemoth it was with trad only to a constantly moving barrage of fireworks, with new pop-up companies flashing, blinking, dying. You’re absolutely right about not getting mired in the day-to-day drama. The one thing that is constant is story-telling. All the rest is small stuff. We have already survived countless changes to our industry; we will survive these as well.

    1. I speak at writer’s events from time to time and unfortunately I’m speaking on self-publishing and promotion. I’d much rather be talking about my books. That’s what I’d like to be known for, so yes the work is the important part to me too. Thanks Melissa.

  3. Book promoters who guarantee a great outcome for free Kindle books have nothing to lose and everything to gain – they download a great number themselves, is my guess, to ramp up the download figures. This is cheating, because those books are never read, and the practice completely distorts and nullifies Amazon’s Free Kindle rankings. Who hasn’t seen some really dreary books (including cookbooks and how-to manuals) occupying the first ten spots in some categories, wondering why so many readers are interested in such dubious publications? It spoils the game for the rest of us, who want genuine interest, real readers, not just figures and stats. So yes, one must tread carefully and question all claims. Keeping Amazon great means having a marketplace, a level playing field, a retailer where everyone goes for books.

  4. I do a lot of “drive-bys” myself. Like you, I can do better by writing than by being a social media groupie. I’m picky about the sites I attend regularly, (Indies Unlimited, of course) and sample the rest, depending on recommendations from other IU writers and the Book Designer.

  5. Martin, no one says it better or sums it up better than you do! I’m a “drive-by commenter,” too. Yes, I like to keep informed and be involved, but not to the point where my writing suffers.

    Thanks for the cogent post and the prudent advice. Pinned & shared.:)

  6. Right on Martin! Recently, I contacted the Kindle Support Team about the fact that non-US residents can not participate in a Kindle giveaway. As a member of the US Kindle team, I thought this appallingly unfair. I received within a day a sympathetic reply that their policies are always developing, and they would take this up at the next meeting. Who knows? But maybe we’ll see some action. Makes financial sense to give all their authors equal marketing opportunities. But while hoping for change, our value is our work and to keep writing!

    1. I’m glad to hear you got such a quick response Jeanne. And yes, we have to keep writing and trying to become better writers. Thanks for commenting!

  7. Thank you Martin for the great reminder to keep our head in the game and not worry about the flashy lights going on in the stadium. I hope you have a great week writing.

  8. A similar conversation came up recently within my writing group. You can spend your energy trying to utilize the trend/scheme that keeps you one step ahead of the Amazon crackdown police, or you can focus on writing quality books that will solidly build your brand and fanbase. Thanks for the reminder to concentrate on what matters and just write!

  9. I couldn’t agree more. I often feel like there is much ado about nothing. Do these things have an effect? Sure, but writing and finding an audience allows you to rise above it. I think a newsletter with a list of subscribers is key to that end. That said, I’m still trying to build mine and if you have any articles on that I would appreciate you pointing me to them.

  10. ‘Believing Again’ is one of a half-dozen such that I re-read portions many times. Love lost and then love found again by deserving protagonists appeal strongly. Most LLLF stories, however, are of unlikables. Thank you for being different, Mr. Crosiers.

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