I frequently have issues with Amazon flagging my indie books because I have the same pen name as another author, but this latest time takes the cake. The last ten months has been a near constant battle with Amazon, and I have honestly never wanted to stop publishing more because of it. But I do want to publish. I want people to be able to read my books and enjoy them, but times like these make it so tough.
Below is my latest battle with Amazon in screenshot form…It’s a long journey that lasted from August 30th when I submitted the paperback for Indigo: Storm to September 26th when they finally “passed” the paperback.
Shall we begin?
Now, this is what I frequently get flagged on, so I wasn’t super surprised to see this email, aside from the fact that it’s only on the paperback version of the book. The eBook version remained untouched throughout this entire ordeal. Here is my initial response to them on August 31st.
On September 1st, I received an email stating they needed more time and would be back with me in 5 business days.
The eBook of Indigo: Storm went live on KDP with no issues and no proof of who I am.
On September 8th, I received this email…
To which I replied 5 hours later…
And then I got this…do you see why this is so frustrating? Usually when you receive an email stating “we need 5 business days” that means you have successfully gotten past the bots. I’m not sure if I did this go around, so perhaps their systems are changing.
I responded to this email two days later because I needed a breather from my frustration levels, otherwise I run the risk of getting snarky with a computer, and it’s just not as fun with Amazon as it was in War Games.
Also, I took extra time because this time they weren’t asking for me to prove how I’m different than the other individual who shares my pen name. They were looking for rights that I have to prove I can publish this book. I remind you, the eBook was published on KDP, and used their system, and had been live on KDP since September 6th.
At this point I filed copyright with the Library of Congress, which is not something I typically do and have never actually done before. LOC takes up to two months to respond, as of this date (Sep 26), I still haven’t heard from them.
On September 11th, only a few hours later, I received a response from KDP.
So again I’m back to the “wait five days” and we’ll see. However, it does seem that I was through the bot barricade at least. I suspect when the name is normal and not all caps that it is a person. But two days later, I received this email…
September 14th – where the story gets INTERESTING!
On the 14th, I received a response from KDP that I have never received before. See below.
So now they think, for some reason BEYOND my understanding, that TEG previously published the book. TEG has not done this. I worked with TEG through their imprint Pride Publishing on my book Love Burns, and I continue to work with them for books under my other pen name. But this was an uhhhh what even?! moment for me. I still to this day have no idea where they came up with this idea.
That very same day I sent along my response along with my contract from TEG which was solely for Love Burns. I can’t provide another contract because there isn’t one in existence.
Hours later…I received this email…
Again, at this point, I was completely baffled. I did not want to file copyright infringement on my publisher because they didn’t do anything wrong! You can tell in my responses that I’m getting frustrated and rightfully so.
The next email from KDP content review team…
So at this point, I’m looking at my computer, reading these emails, going what the ever-living …
The link to the “live product page” is a link solely to the eBook, which has been live since September 6th, now 11 days prior to this email and arguing with the content review team.
This is when I decided to open a second case, which I have done before to get around the bots, to see if that can help me figure some things out. I contacted regular KDP help and they pushed through my request for assistance to the KDP Content Review Team, who would contact me within 72 hours. This started a whole new case file.
I also responded to this very odd email…
I received this email back from the original case that was flagged on my account.
These are form emails at this point. It is telling me nothing new, and it’s as if I haven’t even emailed them at all. At this point, I stopped emailing the original case and started a new one with KDP Content Review Team. Here’s my initial email to them when they requested I provide more information on the issue.
At this point, I’m hopeful a new case will push me through to a person who can read and comprehend and not just a bot. The same day, I receive this response, which now gives me 5 days to respond and work on fixing the issue otherwise I risk further issues with my book and my account.
At this point, I start panicking. I’m also supposed to leave for a work trip on the 19th, a retreat, where I really don’t want to be dealing with this issue while trying to rest, relax, and restore my mind, soul, and spirit. I respond immediately.
At this point I also email my publisher. Since they are claiming that TEG has published this content before, I figure they have some skin in the game too although I fully realized I was asking for a favor. My publisher, unfortunately, was on vacation that Friday and wasn’t able to get back to me until Monday.
On this date, I also finally announced on my social media to my readers some of this drama that was happening. I did not go into full detail by any means, but I wanted them to know I was aware of the issue and working to get it resolved.
One new weird email…this is one I have never gotten before that also left me baffled.
My publisher was not out of compliance, and I didn’t want to file infringement when they did nothing wrong even if it would give me a leg up with Amazon. Add in, anytime you get too close to “Amazon policies and procedures” they get hella defensive. See her comment in there? Yeah, I was really mad at this point. I replied that day.
I was starting to lose hope at this point. No joke. I was also second guessing myself every five seconds as to whether or not I had done something wrong.
I received an email on the 18th, one day before I was set to leave on my trip, that made my week. And no, it wasn’t a “you’re right!” email.
What this did is it too me out of the rush of needing to resolve the issue immediately. It gave me breathing room. I didn’t respond to this email. I checked the file in my KDP dashboard, and it was the correct file.
I heard from my publisher on September 20th, but was unable to respond because I was on my retreat with very limited internet capabilities.
On the 22nd, I finally resubmitted the final to put my paperback into review again. Four days in a retreat was a glorious break from this battle, and so welcome. I received an email from KDP the same day.
I was flagged for the same thing I normally get flagged for, and this is officially the third case number for this issue, but a brand new case is sometimes the way to get around the bots.
I finally responded the next day, with the normal proof that I provide to get around this issue.
A response, but not-so-shockingly, it was another rejection of my appeal.
I took the weekend and finally responded Monday morning, bright and early. I literally just copy and pasted my email from the 23rd with two different screenshots of the covers for me and the other Adrian, which by the way, is the exact same email almost that I sent the first few times when I was arguing with them.
8 hours later, I received this response.
And the book is finally live. The paperback, mind you. The eBook remained untouched throughout this entire ordeal. However, it did slow down my sales, which is incredibly frustrating. I’m not on target to meet my goal for the release, and that’s most because of this because nothing else was different from any of the other releases in this book series.
Oh, and I still haven’t gotten official copyright from the Library of Congress (as of 9/26)
Lessons for dealing with KDP Content Review Team
- You cannot call them. I wish you could. Talking to a live person would have resolved this issue so much faster. But you can’t call the Content Review Team. You can call regular KDP, and they will push cases through, which can sometimes speed up the process.
- Don’t be afraid to open a new case. In my humble opinion, sometimes the more people on the case, the better, and sometimes, one gets through the bots whereas the other didn’t. There isn’t my rhyme or reason to it.
- Be patient. Getting mad at a computer doesn’t accomplish much. This is so hard. I needed to take breaks this time around. This is the longest I’ve argued with them. Prior to this it was about 10-14 days for the longest time.
- Be persistent. Email back quickly and efficiently. They’re going to take their time responding to you.
- Don’t worry about niceties. You’re mostly talking to a computer. It scans key words, not pleasantries.
- Overload it with information. I like to add images with screenshots often as it gets be out of bot hell far more quickly than anything else I’ve tried.
- If you can get hold of an executive, do it. I have never managed to do this. I have tweeted at KDP, I have emailed them, I have tried everything and can never get hold of someone higher up.
- If you need support, ask friends, ask on social media. A lot of us have been through these issues, and we’re here to support you.
One thought on “My latest battle with the ‘Zon #kdp #amazon #amazonkdp #ridiculous”
Good grief! Welcome to the Department of Redundancy Department, Adrian! I bow to your fortitude and perseverance. Many people would have committed hari-kari if they had to go through all that bot bullcrap. Glad to know you managed to soldier through. You are an inspiration!