I’m going to talk about something that has affected a lot of LitRPG / GameLit authors. To do that, I need to set the scene.
Over the past few months, Amazon has accused and taken action against authors who they suspect of abusing Kindle Unlimited. This includes a group of LitRPG / GameLit authors who have insisted they’ve done nothing wrong. In the last few weeks, two high profile authors were banned – J.A. Cipriano and Michael Scott Earle.
Some facts as known:
- Neither party indicates they’ve been informed about any untoward behavior before they were banned / suspended respectively
- Both of them have lost their (very large) accounts including all the books and audiobooks on these accounts and are unable to sell any books on Amazon
- No one (including the authors) know exactly why they’ve been banned beyond accusations of manipulating Kindle Unlimited
- The best way to help is to e-mail Jeff Bezos (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request reinstatement for these authors
Many authors have received letters accusing them of manipulation in the last couple of months. Rather than lose their accounts, many have dropped out of Kindle Unlimited and gone wide. These include mid-list authors like Ramon Meija and Dawn Champan.
The recent banning of the above two authors have scared LitRPG authors greatly, even those of us who have not had any such correspondence. The scariest part is the lack of warning. A warning or decreasing page reads is at least an easy guide that for some reason, Amazon is taking notice of you. The sudden bannings though and deletion of all books is something else entirely.
Understand this – Amazon makes up at least 99% of the market for LitRPG. This isn’t hearsay or guesses, it’s solid data from my Adventures on Brad series that was wide. I made the vast, vast majority of sales on Amazon. Losing Amazon means you lose your market.
Right now, Kindle Unlimited makes up about 2/3 of my recent income with all my books in KU. When I had the Adventures on Brad wide, it was more like 50%.
Simply put, after some consideration, I’m going to continue to risk getting banned entirely by staying in KU. However, I’m going to hedge this slightly by doing two things:
- Going Wide again with non System Apocalypse series
The first part doesn’t require explanation. The second does a little. SA is by far my most successful series. I’m talking 70% of all the books read under my name comes from that series. Of that, 50-60% of it is from Kindle Unlimited. Pulling out would be a significant loss in income.
In addition, I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ll continue doing nothing wrong. I have to assume that Amazon isn’t entirely off their knockers, so once they realise they’re doing something wrong, they’ll eventually stop. Which means I just have to hope I don’t get shot accidentally.