Let me start by saying, I’m not affected. Yet.

If you haven’t heard, there’s been a slew of authors having their page counts reduced and in some cases, their author accounts completely banned.

Many LitRPG authors have been affected by this, many of whom have done little to no promotion outside of the Facebook groups and AMS ads. However, they’ve had their page counts reduced and their accounts banned.

Now, for many of these authors, this is their livelihood – or a significant source of income. Unfortunately, because Amazon is (I assume) running programatic sweeps, people are getting caught up who did nothing wrong.

This is causing a few issues:

  • Amazon is not providing any details of how they are finding these bad actors. I can understand why they aren’t providing details of how they are locating ‘bad actors’ because any public information released just lets scammers learn how to cheat the system. The problem is that whatever system they’re using is catching a LOT of good actors.
  • There is no good way to get author to reinstate accounts or work with authors caught in this problem. You just get banned, your page reads stripped and you’re stuck.
  • Amazon is also reducing page counts in previous months. However, there is no indication that they are shifting the money they have clawed back to other authors. For those who don’t know, authors get paid based on page reads – a certain number of cents per page read. The amount per page read is based off the total ‘pool’ of money divided by the page reads. If they are reducing the page reads, theoretically, the cents per page read should go up. However, there’s no indication Amazon is going to return / add this money to authors who aren’t affected. What this really means is that Amazon is keeping the difference.
  • Authors are fast getting scared. A LOT are pulling out of KU because it’s safer to remove your books from KU and just sell books direct rather than risk having your accounts banned. This is a HUGE drop in revenue for many (see the previous posts about how much you make going wide compared to KU for my own experience) but it’s the safer option.
  • As readers, this means you’ll get less books to read and have to pay for your books.

All this is entirely frustrating. It’s scary too because people like me who have just gone all-in with KU are now wondering if we did it right. I’d hate to pull my books out, but if I get a ‘you are getting invalid page reads’ e-mail, I might have to do that. I definitely don’t want / need my accounts being targetted.

What can you do?

  • If you see an author you like pulling out of KU or have their books removed, PLEASE e-mail Amazon. Let them know that you read their books and they are NOT scammers.
  • Support your favorite authors by just buying their books

That’s all I can think of right now.