Last week I was gearing up for another Kindle Countdown promotion. I always enjoy promotion weeks, but I was particularly excited about this one for a few reasons.
1. It was my first chance to test the power of having a bunch of new subscribers to my newsletter, thanks to the InstaFreebie cross-promotion I recently participated in.
2. The final day of the promotion was scheduled to be on my 40th birthday, and it would have been nice to be able to celebrate with a book at the top spot in its category.
3. The stars were aligned, it seemed, just for me. My promotion was scheduled to begin the morning after news leaked about Donald Trump paying Russian hookers to pee on him.
My stories, at their core, are about both making fun of people like Donald Trump and those who support him, and fantasy creatures pissing on themselves and one another. The gods had truly smiled upon me that day. I was in my element.
Advertising on Facebook has always been a struggle for me. Finding just the right image and ad copy that would entice new readers to want to take a chance on my books. But this time was different. Facebook was rife with lackluster pee jokes, and I was ready to pick up the slack.
I ran my ad, emailed my newsletter, and sat back to enjoy seven days' worth of promotional bliss.
"Nonsense, you fool!" I shouted at my chat window. But just to be on the safe side, I zipped up my pants, changed browser tabs, and refreshed my Amazon author page.
Strangely, Drew appeared to be correct. Not only were my books not on sale, but they had been removed entirely from KDP Select. Every. Goddamn. One.
For more than three years, I've faithfully kept my books exclusive to Amazon in order to keep them enrolled in the KDP Select program. My whole marketing strategy has been built around the benefits it provides. The loss of Kindle Unlimited money alone was going was going to cost me thousands of dollars a month. And I'd spent so much time and thought honing my Kindle Countdown strategies to pull in as many new readers as possible once every three months.
What had I done to piss off Amazon to the extent that they would take so severe a disciplinary measure as to yank my entire catalog of books out of the program during a motherfucking promotion?
Turn back the clock to last week when I was scheduling this promotion. Because I had not followed my own advice about making sure all of my books' KDP Select cycles were synchronized, I found that two of my titles, Probing the Annis and Wight Trash, would not be able to be included in this Kindle Countdown.
It wasn't a huge deal, but I thought it was worth sending an inquiry to Amazon to see if there was any way to re-sync my KDP Select cycles aside from letting them all expire, and then re-enrolling all of my books at the same time, which could cost me money and potential new readers. In the meantime, I scheduled the rest of my books for the promotion.
A couple of days later, I received a response to my inquiry stating that "It's not currently possible to cancel according to our enrollment policy."
Not only had I not expressed any interest in canceling. I had explicitly stated in my initial email that I did NOT want to cancel. Figuring I'd hit a dead end, I decided to just forget about it and go on as normal.
Then yesterday morning, after having talked on the phone to a couple of Amazon representatives who were as puzzled as I was as to why all of my books had been pulled from KDP Select, I received another email about last week's inquiry.
It turned out that they hadn't closed the case after having someone send me a nonsensical response. This new email explained that they had removed all of my books from the program so that they could then re-enroll them at the same time. To their credit, that's precisely what I had asked about. But it would have been nice to get a heads up about it.
I breathed easily once again, knowing my books were back in KDP Select, but still a little bummed at not being able to continue my promotion while pee jokes were still hot. (A book needs to be enrolled in KDP Select for at least 30 days before they're eligible for a Kindle Countdown Deal.) But whatever. I was back in Select, and all my cycles were synced. The situation was resolved.
Shortly thereafter, I received another email from Amazon. This one claimed that they had determined that my recent problems had been the result of me having multiple Amazon accounts with multiple email addresses.
What the fuck was that all about? Not only was it untrue, but it failed to address any issue that I had brought up.
Back to the phone. I re-explained my entire situation to another representative, and she listened patiently while looking over the correspondence emails in my case file. After a bit of research, she said she had no idea why anyone sent me that last email, and assured me that everything was as it should be, and that I wouldn't be getting anymore of these strange emails.
Fellow authors, listen up. The lesson I learned from this experience is as follows...
If you have a publishing question, concern, or problem, you'll get a lot further with a phone call than you will with an email.
Add this link to your bookmarks: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/help/contact-us
After logging in to your Author Central account, you should come to a screen like this:
Simply select the issue which most closely matches yours, choose the phone option, and type in your phone number.
Now, for those of you who clicked on the links in my newsletter or my Facebook ad only to find that my books weren't on sale, I ask two things of you.
1. Please understand and accept this apology.
2. Keep pee jokes relevant for at least another month.