…that's my job.
This is a quick update to, first, let everyone know that we're close to having the youngest offspring moved to college (in three weeks!) and I'll have more thinking/writing time in September (I may cry a little, first—my baby's in college!—but writing will happen—both kids are in college!).
Also, I wanted to alert anyone who's looking for Soldier of Fortune, or any of my books on Amazon, that you won't find them, because my Kindle account has been terminated.
Again, don't panic.
Unfortunately, this is the sort of thing that happens to a lot of indie authors. It has even happened to me, once before, when I was enrolled in the Kindle Select program.
For those who don't know, this is the author side of the Kindle Unlimited program, which allows readers to check out and read multiple books for a monthly subscription fee.
Authors in the program are paid for page reads of their books, but in order to participate, the authors must keep their ebooks exclusive to Kindle.
No Kobo, Nook, Apple, or free giveaways.
And while I had been abiding by the terms (I'm one of those paranoid rule-followers), last year a pirate site had uploaded my work for a phishing scheme. Kindle's crawlers took notice and I was shut down.
Once I'd proven my work was stolen, the account was returned as if nothing had happened (though my blood pressure during this affair did not agree).
After realizing that I could, and would, be punished for someone else stealing my work, I decided to opt out of Kindle Select and sell my books on multiple vendors.
Except, while I was out of state last week (for a funeral, no less), I received another of KDPs dreaded, "you are in violation of your terms of service" emails, which was followed within hours by the "your account has been terminated."
So. Here we go again, but with the worst possible timing.
I lived with the dread for the week I was out of town, and when I came home I started going through the cycle of what could have gone wrong.*
I sent proof of my copyright, did an internet search, and found another pirate site (though not being in Kindle Select, this shouldn't have mattered), all to no avail.
At last I thought back, long and hard, and recalled that, before I left down, I updated some front matter in all of the books, and at that time, I accidentally clicked on the page that holds the Kindle Select Opt-in.
Maybe the book was Soldier? And in my rush to get off that page, maybe I clicked the Opt-in button?
Anything's possible, but I can't confirm this because, haha, I can't get into my account.
Because it was terminated.
Which is why no one can find my books on Amazon.
It is also why you can't find Soldier of Fortune anywhere else, at the moment.
Because, on the chance I did click that horrible little button for the Select program, I have removed Soldier of Fortune from all vendors. It is my hope that by doing so, I will be forgiven and allowed back into KDP, where I will, again, get Soldier of Fortune removed from a program it was never supposed to be in.
And, to be clear, it may not work. My latest guess is still just a guess. I have no real way of knowing what set off the Kindle bots. Or if my guess is right, I still may have to appeal. And even then, I may never get my account back.
Bad, yes, but it's not cancer bad. Life—and the writing—go on, and whatever happens with the Big Dog (er, KDP), Soldier will return to Kobo, Apple, Nook, and all the other vendors I can find.
Even better, the tech exists for me to sell directly to all of my readers, whichever device they use—Kindle/Nook/Kobo/Tablet/Computer/PDF readers, etc.
Fact is, I'd been considering a storefront of my own before this little kerfuffle (she says, taking deep breaths and sipping tea), but now it's clear that, if I really want everyone to be able to find my books, I need to take ownership of the process, and not trust outside powers to do the heavy lifting.
Plus, if I'm not gnawing my fingernails over what part of my anatomy the Big Dog is going to bite next, I'll be able to focus more deeply on the thing I want to be focused on in the first place, which is telling stories.
So many stories.
Starting, of course, with wrapping up the last few chapters of The Libra Gambit.
For now, thanks for checking in, and I will let everyone know what's up with KDP as soon as I know.
In the meantime, I invite you to enjoy the first track of what I hope will be The Libra Gambit's full soundtrack.
Titled The VRcade, this piece accompanies the first chapter of the book, and was composed by my daughter (the one who's off to college soon, where she plans to major in music).
*Some may wonder why I'm playing a guessing game at all. Why don't I know which term or condition I may have violated? The answer is, Kindle doesn't tell you. I have asked, during both occasions, and never once received an answer, and I'm not the only one, as Self-Publishing with Dale explains:
I’ve known some people to get suspended twice followed by a third strike resulting in termination.Whereas, other self-publishers get an immediate termination with no exact rhyme or reason. They’ll usually get some canned response stating essentially “you know what you did.”