Limited by Kindle Unlimited

Good morning. As most of you know, there has been a major upheaval when it comes to Kindle Unlimited and some less than transparent business practices performed by Amazon regarding their Kindle Unlimited authors. It began with a swath of emails last week to legitimate Kindle Unlimited authors, including myself, stating that we were in violation of Kindle Unlimited terms of service by contracting with third parties who were click farming our books and as a result page reads were going to be stripped from our accounts. Additionally, if we were ever caught doing it again, our Amazon author accounts would be terminated.

I received one of these notices and I was very upset as I have not, nor would I ever, attempt to game the system. I had no idea what they were talking about. I emailed them back for clarification, of course, received none, and one step further, I was told in a canned response that they stood by their decision, my page reads from the fraudulent accounts would be stripped, and I’d essentially better not do it again.

I didn’t care about not being paid for the fraudulent activity. I cared about losing my author account and my main source of income altogether. It was a huge emotional blow, as an honest person who had done no wrong, to be threatened in such a manner over something I had absolutely no control over. 

As you all know, Kindle Unlimited hasn’t been very kind to us authors to begin with. Paying out pennies on the dollar for what our books are actually worth in page reads. Again, as you all know, I was slowly working my way out of Kindle Unlimited and placing my books platform-wide as a result. Moving one or two books out every ninety days or so in a controlled roll out to carefully hedge my bets and allow me to build on those other platforms to avoid a direct and crippling hit to my income.

It was my intention to stay the course, even though authors were beginning to have their accounts taken down, through no fault of their own, simply because these third party services, in a bid to disguise their illegitimate page reads as legitimate, were flipping through these author’s books.

Those accounts were reinstated after three days to a week, until yesterday, several of those authors whose accounts had been reinstated, had their accounts permanently closed by Amazon with no warning.

The writing was on the wall.

I had only received one warning letter to date. I could not, as my sole means of income, risk having this happen to me. I contacted Amazon last night and asked to be permanently removed from the Kindle Unlimited platform to save my account from being shut down by any fraudulent activity beyond my control.

As a result, as of this morning, my books, including the upcoming release of A Low Blue Flame, will not be made available through Kindle Unlimited.

If you have one of my books borrowed through Kindle Unlimited at the moment, I fully suggest reading it before returning it. I will get credit towards those page reads, however, once it is returned it will no longer be borrowable through the KU platform.

I am pretty scared about what this is going to do to me financially, and about upsetting you all as my readers, but I felt it was down to a choice between having my books available on Amazon for purchase or not having any books of mine up at all for you to read. In the end, being part of the Kindle Unlimited program was just too great a risk to take for the overall health of my business and I really hope you can understand.

I know there are a lot of you that cannot otherwise afford my books, and that Kindle Unlimited provided you the option to read them at a rate that was cost effective for your fixed incomes and that breaks my heart. I will attempt, going forward, to have regular sales and / or preorders for .99 cents a copy in order to mitigate the damage to your pocketbooks, however, I am not going to be in a position to do much of anything in that direction until I get these books up on all other platforms.

This whole experience has broken my heart, and I really hope that you will stick with me as readers through these trials and tribulations as you have so many times before. I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your readership and hope to continue bringing you fantastic stories.

If you are wondering how you can help, it’s simple. Leave me a short review on one of my books if you haven’t already. Reviews boost visibility. Share my author page posts and let people know that my books are a thing they should be checking out. If you can afford to, and you wish to, buy my books when they come out or when they go up for preorder. Tell your friends and fellow romance readers to check them out.

Part of being Indie and surviving are all of these grassroots efforts on behalf of our readers, something you all have blessed me with for the last four years and I can’t tell you the depth of my gratitude.

I’m looking forward to my fifth year as an author and for many more beyond that, so I am hoping you all will stick with me.

Much love.

XoXo,

A.J.

6 Comments

  1. Hot Reading Mom

    AJ,
    I have been a loyal buyer of all of your books as soon as they are released. I also joined KU which helps to mitigate my book addiction. As I a reader and a small business owner myself I truly understand your position. This is how you support your family.

    I will continue to be a loyal fan and supporter of beautiful imagination. Thanks for the update.

  2. Julieanne

    Hi AJ…. this is so sad to hear. I have been a KU member for a couple of years and for this to happen to authors just does not make sense. I am one of those on a fixed SSI income and being able to enjoy your books has been a God-send for me. In fact KU was how I learned about your books and have read practically all of them.

    Hopefully I will catch your books on sale and still be able to not only enjoy them, but own them. Know that I support your decision, because you have to protect yourself and your financial income.

    Wishing you all the best

  3. KATHLEEN NICHOL

    Will always support your work. Suggest you ask for reviews on Goodreads and Bookbub. I along with many use their reviews on author’s books before buying on a limited budget.

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