Wednesday, 20 October 2021

New stories to buy - Nona, Jalan, Snorri!

 As a consequence of my hard-fought victory over Kindle Direct Publishing, I have two new offerings on Amazon!

The first is a collection called The Devil You Know.

These three stories are bundled together for arcane reasons concerning Amazon's royalties structure - they are not connected. The stories are:
The Devil You Know - A Book of the Ancestor short story that has never appeared before. It's set immediately after the end of book 1, Red Sister.
The Hero of Aral Pass - A Red Queen's War short story that sheds more light on the events in Aral Pass that made Jalan Kendeth into a hero. Primarily focused on events before book 1, Prince of Fools, but the framing story is set after the trilogy concludes. This story first appeared in the anthology Art of War.
A Thousand Years - A Red Queen's War story that concerns Snorri and Tuttugu when they were just starting out as young warriors. The events happened ~20 years before the start of book 1, Prince of Fools. This story first appeared in the anthology Unfettered III.

UK

US

The second item is The Visitor, my first contribution to George RR Martin's Wild Cards universe and appeared in book 26, Knaves Over Queens.
It works well as a stand alone and I'm proud of it for several reasons, not least that it gives some fantasy representation to people like my daughter, Celyn. I wanted it to get a wider readership, and hopefully some of you will follow it into Wild Cards afterwards.
The only thing you need to know is that Wild Cards is set in our world, and an alien virus has been infecting people in rare outbreaks. It kills 90% of victims, makes ugly monsters of 9% (Jokers) and gives 1% random superpowers (Aces).
Note: I'm trying to make this story free and I'll let everyone know if/when that happens (Amazon make this difficult). For the moment it's 99 cents (£0.77).
Goodreads listing
There's a free sequel on Tor.com (see Goodreads listing)

 




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Wednesday, 6 October 2021

My attempts to get sense from KDP

 I have here an email exchange with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) that I find mind-boggling.

Strap in, because this is a ride...

Let me set the stage first.

KDP is what authors use to self-publish books and short stories. A self-published author will use just KDP. A traditionally published author may use KDP to publish additional material. I used it for Road Brothers, the Book of the Ancestor story Bound, and my short story During the Dance.

So, three months ago I hit 'publish' on a collection of three short stories, a Snorri story (Red Queen's War), a Jalan story (Red Queen's War), and a Nona story (Book of the Ancestor). When you publish something it needs to be cleared, and Amazon says that typically takes under 72 hours.

A week later I get this:

We have temporarily suspended your KDP account because you have published titles with intentionally misleading metadata. We don’t accept content that is meant to advertise, promote, or mislead, because such content may lead to inaccurate or overwhelming search results or impair our readers' ability to make good buying decisions.

You can see the violations reflected in the following title(s):

The Devil You Know: 3 short stories - One from The...
Mark Lawrence id XXXX

Before we can reinstate your account, we need you to do the following:

1. Reply to this message with the following declaration: “I confirm that I have read and will comply with the Content Guidelines https://kdp.amazon.com/help/topic/G200672390 and the Metadata Guidelines https://kdp.amazon.com/help/topic/G201097560, and that I will remove any previously published titles that do not meet these guidelines”; and

2. Review your catalog and remove any titles that do not comply with these guidelines

Until we receive a response from you regarding this issue, your account will remain blocked.

As a reminder, violations of our Content Guidelines may negatively impact your account status and you may also lose access to optional KDP services.

If you have questions or believe you've received this email in error, reply to this message.

Regards,
Amazon KDP

So ... immediately they are saying I have to "Review your catalog and remove any titles that do not comply with these guidelines" before they will unblock my account... but I would need access to my account to do that...

The 'crime' they're accusing me of concerns - if you follow the link - 'willfully misleading metadata'. More on that later. 

So I reply:

1. 

I confirm that I have read and will comply with the Content Guidelines https://kdp.amazon.com/help/topic/G200672390 and the Metadata Guidelines https://kdp.amazon.com/help/topic/G201097560, and that I will remove any previously published titles that do not meet these guidelines.

2.
I will remove any titles that do not comply with these guidelines. 

Currently I'm locked out of the account and cannot review or remove anything.


Without acknowledging the stupidity of their request they unblocked my account. But since the only item they had complained about was still 'in review' and you can't alter anything on a book in review, I had to email them again. I'm telling them that I think they're complaining about me referencing books I didn't write & I'm telling them that I did write those books:

Dear XXXX,
                          I’m writing regarding Case #XXX where you suspended my account because of “intentionally misleading metadata”. And cited 

The Devil You Know: 3 short stories - One from The...
Mark Lawrence id XXXX

as the offending item and said that before you reinstated my account you required me to remove any titles that didn’t comply with metadata guidelines.

I replied by email saying that I didn’t understand how I could remove any titles before you reinstated my account because I would need access to my account to remove them.

Since then you have reinstated my account.

However – the title you alerted me to “The Devil You Know: 3 short stories…” is still marked as “in review” after more than a month, and since it’s in review I’m unable (as far as I can tell) to remove it, edit any of its information, or even see what the metadata is.

Having looked at the guidelines and pondered the reason for being told that the metadata is “intentionally misleading” my best guess (while being unable to see the metadata) is that someone believes I have included
Unauthorized reference to other titles or authors

And I would guess that this is because the title references “The Book of The Ancestor” and “The Red Queen’s War”.
Looking at my KDP bookshelf you would see that neither of those series are there.

**However** I am the author of both those series and I don’t feel that my reference to series written by me, under the same name, is unauthorised just because they are not published through KDP.

If I am incorrect, and cannot authorise myself to make that reference then please tell me what form of authorisation you require and how to communicate it to you.

In any case – I believe the title in review will need to be taken out of review before I can do anything with it. If that could be done, or you could let me know how to edit it while it is in review, I would be very grateful. 


To which I got the following reply which confirms the block is over those book references and explains how I can prove I wrote them:

During our review, we found that the following book(s) may cause a misleading customer experience because the title and/or author listed in the book details closely matches another known work and/or author. The similarity between your work and the other work/author could impair a customers' ability to make good buying decisions.

The Devil You Know: 3 short stories - One from The Book of the Ancestor, two from The Red Queen's War
Lawrence, Mark (AUTHOR) : XXXX

Items that can cause a misleading customer experience include:
• Similarity of the contributor name to another author
• Similarity of the title to a previously published book
• Similarity of the cover to a previously published book

To publish the book(s), review Amazon for works with similar title and/or author information and follow one or both of the options below:

Option 1: Similar Book Title
If your book title is similar to another known work, then you will need to confirm that your book is sufficiently differentiated from the known work.

Sufficient differentiation may include one or more of the following:
• Your work is in a different category/genre than the known work
• The book cover design of your book is significantly different than the known work
• The main title is a short phrase or common term
• The book subtitle and/or description is significantly different than the known work

Reply to this message with confirmation of how your book(s) is sufficiently differentiated or how you plan to differentiate your work from the other known work.

Option 2: Similar Author Name
If you are the known author or authorized to publish their work(s), reply to this email and provide us with further documentation and/or verification.

Acceptable documentation/verification may include:
• A signed copy of the agreement between the author and the previous publisher
• A successful claim of the Amazon Author Central page for the known author using the same KDP account where the book(s) is being published

If you are not the known author, then you will need to confirm that your book is sufficiently differentiated from the known author.

Reply to this message to verify that you are the known author or to confirm how your author name is sufficiently differentiated or how you plan to differentiate your work from the other known author.

For more details about KDPs eBook metadata guidelines, visit Help:
https://kdp.amazon.com/help/topic/G201097560


OK, so we've taken a step forward. They're telling me the problem definitely is that the metadata (which I can't change because the book's in review) mention Red Queen's War & Book of the Ancestor, and that's the problem, because they don't think I wrote those. 

I reply to say that I've already taken the action they're asking me to do - claim the Author Central page for those books - and I did it years ago:

Dear XXXX - as I've said in a number of previous emails, I am the same Mark Lawrence who wrote the books that your review is objecting to me referencing.


Looking at your "Option 2" I choose: "A successful claim of the Amazon Author Central page for the known author 
using the same KDP account where the book(s) is being published"


And I do that knowing that I *already own* the Mark Lawrence Amazon.com Author Central account that has those books that your review objects to listed against it.


Moreover, my KDP account *takes me to* that Author Central account where I am fully logged on and able to access all features.


So I am at a complete loss as to how you want me to 'successfully claim' an Author Central account that I successfully claimed many years ago under the same Amazon account as my KDP account and using the same email address...


My only guess as to the source of your confusion is that the Author Central account is on Amazon.com and the KDP account was set up whilst I was living in the UK and may be associated with Amazon.co.uk.  But one leads to the other through the KDP account, both use the same email address, and I'm not sure what more you want from me.

So, now things start to get FRUSTRATING. They reply with basically a cut & paste to say they are UPHOLDING their decision and if I want to change their mind I can ... claim my Author Central page :

Thanks for your message regarding the following book(s):

The Devil You Know: 3 short stories - One from The Book of the Ancestor, two from The Red Queen's War
Lawrence, Mark (AUTHOR) : XXXX

We've reviewed your book(s) and are upholding our previous decision. The book(s) impairs customers' ability to make good buying decisions because of the following:

• Similarity of the contributor name to another author

To have your book(s) reconsidered for publication, reply to this message with
confirmation of how your book(s) is sufficiently differentiated or how you plan
to differentiate your work from the other known work.

If you are the known author or authorized to publish their work(s), provide documentation and/or verification.

Acceptable documentation/verification may include:
• A signed copy of the agreement between the author and the previous publisher
• A successful claim of the Amazon Author Central page for the known author using the same KDP account where the book(s) is being published

If you are not the known author, then you will need to confirm that your book is sufficiently differentiated from the known author.

Sufficient differentiation may include one or more of the following:
• Your work is in a different category/genre than the known author
• You are using your real/legal name and including a middle name or initial
• The book description clearly indicates that the work is from an author other than the known author
• The cover design of your book is significantly different than the work(s) of the known author


I reply (& bear in mind - they take up to 5 working days to consider each of my emails):


Dear XXX,                 

 I am bewildered by your reply and feel that you have missed vital components of the email you are replying to.


You tell me I need to "A successful claim of the Amazon Author Central page for the known author using the same KDP account where the book(s) is being published"


I have already told you that I have a successful claim on the Author Central page - it's mine, I claimed it years ago, I have used it, it is registered using the same email / Amazon account as my KDP account.


You reply telling me exactly the same thing you told me in the first place, i.e that I need to make "A successful claim of the Amazon Author Central page for the known author using the same KDP account where the book(s) is being published".

You don't deny that I have already done that (though by repeating yourself you imply such a denial). You don't suggest a method to prove my already established ownership, or resolve this apparent difference of opinion over something that should be easily verifiable fact.

A great first step would be for you to acknowledge that I am telling you I own the author central page for the Mark Lawrence who wrote the books referenced in the short story I'm attempting to publish on KDP. You don't have to admit this is true (it is) but please at least indicate that you have seen me say this.

Then check if it is true and come back with either "it looks as if someone else controls it" (they don't) or "oh, yes, so you do".

I feel that if I could actually talk to someone, this matter could be resolved very quickly. I've asked repeatedly to be called about it but just get these emails.

I've been told that attempts were made to call me but I have no missed calls and my phone works.

Could you, or someone else, please call me on (UK) XXXX

In the mean time I finally got in contact with KDP by phone. When you click the "call us" button, this pops up


BUT, despite asking you for the number to call you on ... they do not call you on that number ... they call the number listed on your account. So ... why the FUCK ask for a number? In my case the account phone number was out of date. When I finally figured this out, I updated it.

Now ... it turns out that the people dealing this issues like mine are not contactable by phone in any way. And the people who are contactable by phone don't know anything about it. However, by persisting I was put through to a tier 2 staff member who was able to at least see that I owned the Author Central page as well, to put a message through to the team I've been dealing with, and to say he saw no problem and that the book/stories should be published very soon.

Hooray.

And then the reply to my email arrived - the one above where I encourage the person to read the text of my email and if they only did one thing let it be to acknowledge that I am saying I own the author central page that they say will serve as the proof required:

Thanks for your message regarding the following book(s):

The Devil You Know: 3 short stories - One from The Book of the Ancestor, two from The Red Queen's War
Lawrence, Mark (AUTHOR) : XXXX

We've reviewed your book(s) and are upholding our previous decision. The book(s) impairs customers' ability to make good buying decisions because of the following:

• Similarity of the contributor name to another author


To have your book(s) reconsidered for publication, reply to this message with confirmation of how your book(s) is sufficiently differentiated or how you plan to differentiate your work from the other known work.


If you are the known author or authorized to publish their work(s), provide documentation and/or verification.

Acceptable documentation/verification may include:
• A signed copy of the agreement between the author and the previous publisher
• A successful claim of the Amazon Author Central page for the known author using the same KDP account where the book(s) is being published

If you are not the known author, then you will need to confirm that your book is sufficiently differentiated from the known author.

Sufficient differentiation may include one or more of the following:
• Your work is in a different category/genre than the known author
• You are using your real/legal name and including a middle name or initial
• The book description clearly indicates that the work is from an author other than the known author
• The cover design of your book is significantly different than the work(s) of the known author


By this point I feel that either the guy is actively trolling me or I am talking to a bot...

I replied with the following, and that was today:

Dear XXXX – I continue to feel that you are not reading my emails.

I have spoken to the tier 2 KDP team who agree that I do own the Mark Lawrence author central page that lists the books referenced in the story in review on my KDP page. They can see it. They were confused by your objection and very confused that you continue to uphold it. They told me to expect my story to be published within 48 hours.

The only way forwards that I can see is for you to read the points I am making and to respond to them. Let’s start with one simple question:

Do you deny that I own the Mark Lawrence author central page?

Please note that I will be pursuing this matter through multiple other routes and including the record of our transactions in those other communications.

I would also be very grateful if you could pass this matter on to a colleague as we are not making progress.

Many thanks,

                           Mark


SIDE QUEST TIME

I thought I should check that it wasn't just me seeing that I owned the author central page, so I emailed the Author Central help desk to confirm that from their side of the equation they could see that I owned the page and that it was with the same email as I owned my KDP account:

Hi - I am having problems with a team on the KDP site who have for the past 9 weeks been objecting to my publications there referencing the books listed only on my Author Central page.

They keep telling me (in emails) to "claim the Author Central page" - and I keep telling them that I already have, under the same email/account that controls my KDP account (XXXXX@yahoo.com) - they ignore me and repeat themselves.

The KDP team I can speak to on the phone acknowledge that my KDP account and Author Central page are controlled by the same account and don't understand the problem. The KDP team blocking my publication are not contactable by phone or by the other KDP teams...

So, I'm writing to you to confirm that this Author Central page for Mark Lawrence on Amazon.com, which includes the books Prince of Thorns, Prince of Fools, Red Sister etc, has been successfully claimed by me, using the email
address XXXXX@yahoo.com

And further, to ask if there is anything unusual going on that might explain why this team at KDP keep insisting I claim the page when I already have?

Many thanks,
Mark

That all seemed clear enough. Here's the reply.

Hello,

Thank you for your confirmation of your Author Central account.

For your questions related to kindly contact Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), their Customer Service department is in the best position to help you on this matter.

What's this? Author Central help desk have caught the same disease? They're skimming for keywords and brushing me off too? I reply:

Hi XXXXX,                

You'll notice from reading my email that I don't actually ask a single question about KDP and DO ask a direct question about Author Central. I look forward to your reply.

Many thanks,

                     Mark

And ... wow ... a pinch of snark did result in someone actually reading the email, prompting the reply:

You have already claimed the Mark Lawrence Author Page using the Email ID : XXXXX@yahoo.com.
Please view the link below for verification:
https://www.amazon.com/-/e/XXXXXX

Regarding the message "The KDP team I can speak to on the phone acknowledge that my KDP account and Author Central page are controlled by the same account and don't understand the problem" The KDP team is confirming that you have an Author Central account and a KDP account under the email Address "XXXXXX@yahoo.com"

Regarding the KDP Team blocking your publication you will have to contact them directly for assistance.

So yes, confirmation that they can see I own it. And a mysterious "The KDP team is confirming that you have an Author Central account and a KDP account under the email Address "XXXXXX@yahoo.com" ... I mean ... we've been at this 10 weeks and this is an issue so common they have cut and paste links to tell you about it ... but the KDP team is only now moving confirm that the thing they've blocked my publication over is in fact not true?

END OF SIDE QUEST


At this point, having aired the first version of this blog post, I get advice from self-publishing experts. Email Jeff Bezos they say. So I do.

I find his email address and email him, explaining that I understand the email will land with one of his team of assistants but that I would appreciate any help in the issue (which I then lay out).

Additionally, I remember that: hey, I'm actually published by Amazon - my Impossible Times trilogy is published by 47North (there's a story or two in there to be told one day!), one of Amazon's own publishing imprints. So, I also email one of the people involved in the production of those books, and she very kindly agrees to reach out to someone she knows at KDP.

A day later I get an email from the Executive KDP team! This was on October 7th. A phone call from America follows and I get to speak to a human. A charming and helpful American human called Jeremy. He tells me that both my email to Jeff Bezos and to 47North reached his desk and either one would have prompted the call. So, at least you don't have to be published by Amazon and sell 100,000+ books for them before they'll listen.

However - we still had another 13 exciting days to go!

Jeremy doesn't understand what the problem is, but he understands what I'm saying and says he'll speak to the people who are obstructing me.

  

In the meantime I've gone back and emailed one of the people at KDP who answered my emails early on. It should be noted that by the email most recently listed above we had gone through around 4 separate individuals, or at least whatever algorithm was replying had appended 4 separate human names to the end of its replies.

I wrote:

Dear XXXXXX,
                     I'm replying to your email of the 24th of August regarding case Case #XXXXXX. Since then I appear to have become stuck in a loop with a bot that makes the same cut and paste reply whatever I say.

I'm very much hoping someone could call me about this on UK XXXXXXX. The team dealing with this are not available by phone and the KDP team who have called me (at tier 2 level) whilst agreeing that I own the relevant Author Central page as well as my KDP, and not seeing how there can be any problem, cannot speak to that team either.
My book has been held in review for 9 weeks now because the meta data references books that I wrote but are not listed on my KDP page.
The cut and paste replies, that I have been repeatedly sent, ignore me saying that years ago I successfully claimed the Author Central page those books are listed on. And that I still control it. They just repeat that I have to claim the Author Central page. Which is not helpful since I already own it and the KDP team have confirmed that.
Please help.
Sincerely, Mark Lawrence.

To which I got the reply (bolding mine):

I'm sorry we don't offer phone support at this time. We realize there are times when you’d rather speak with us, however, we're dedicated to providing the best customer service possible via email.

Thanks for publishing with Amazon KDP.

Dedicated to providing the best customer service possible. Uh huh.

Having got no response to the email where I asked just one question - did they deny that I owned the Author Central page? I continued to try:

My book "The Devil You Know: 3 short stories" has been 'in review' for 9 weeks.

The objection is that the metadata references books that are not on my KDP account.

Those books are on my Author Central page.

Over the course of many emails I am repeatedly told that the way to resolve this is to claim my Author Central page.

I repeatedly point out that I claimed it years ago and still control it.

My points are ignored, wholly unacknowledged, and I get the same cut & paste reply.

Speaking to KDP on the phone I am told you can see I own the Author Central Page and that you don't understand why there is a problem. I am also told that none of the team blocking my book are contactable by phone by me, or by the people I am speaking to.

I need help.

This seems as if it would be solved within 2 minutes of speaking to a real person who can also undo the block.

This heartfelt plea prompted the following GEM of a reply on October 12th (bolding mine):

Thanks for your message regarding the following book(s):

"The Devil You Know: 3 short stories - One from The Book of the Ancestor, two from The Red Queen's War by Lawrence, Mark (AUTHOR)" ID: XXXXXX

We've reviewed the information you provided. We've decided to uphold our previous decision to block this book from being sold on Amazon.

Please see the message we sent on August 4, 2021 explaining our decision not to publish this book(s).

I'm sorry, but we can't offer any additional insight on this matter.

Best regards, Amazon KDP

XXXXX
Amazon Content Review Team

Jesus. Fucking. Christ. August 4th til October 12th and they haven't answer a single question, acknowledged a single point I've raised, explained themselves in any way whatsoever .... and now ... they can offer no additional insight. Hooray for their dedication to the best possible customer service.

As an extra kick in the teeth, the book moves from "in review" to "blocked".


TIME FOR SIDE QUEST TWO!

Whilst speaking to Jeremy at the Executive KDP thingy there was a moment of confusion when he thought the whole issue was over a second publication that KDP had blocked. That item was a short story called The Visitor that had appeared in George RR Martin's Wild Cards anthology Knaves Over Queens. The contract said that I could publish the story myself 2 years after initial publication - typically the period is 6 months or a year, but I guess in something of this prestige it's longer. Anyway the book came out in 2018 so I thought I was fine publishing my story in 2021. However, the US edition of the book came out nearly a year after the UK one and the timing was from that one, so I was actually a month early. Reminded of my attempt in Jeremy's call I realised that the 2 years was now up, so I decided to revisit the issue now I had Jeremy onboard.

I emailed KDP about it. I sent the contract, signed by me and GRRM and directed them towards paragraph 6 that clearly stated the 2 year period. 

On my KDP account the publication of my short story "The Visitor: A Wild Cards Story By Mark Lawrence" was blocked in June of 2021.

I didn't contest this because the US publication of the anthology where this story first appeared "Knaves Over Queens (Wild Cards) edited by G.R.R Martin" lagged the UK publication by a year and took place on August 13th 2019, meaning that in June of 2021 the 2 year exclusivity claimed by the anthology in the contract I signed was not quite over. It is now over, and I would like the story published.

I attach a copy of the contract.

Page 2, the paragraph numbered 6 states I can publish the story 2 years after original publication without any additional permissions.

This was their reply:

Thanks for your message regarding the following book(s):

"The Visitor: A Wild Cards Story By Mark Lawrence" ID: XXXXX

We've reviewed the information you provided. Based on our review, we're unable to confirm that you hold the necessary publishing rights.

The information you provided is insufficient because of the following concerns:
The document does not include mention of the submitting publisher as listed in the KDP account of the book in question.

In order to publish the book(s), reply to this email within 5 days and provide us with further documentation and/or verification showing you hold rights to the content.

We're unable to accept the following documentation to confirm publishing rights:
• A personal statement by you that you have the publishing rights
• A copyright application for which registration has not been confirmed
• Contracts that have not been signed by all parties
• Ghostwriter agreements or contracts
• Private Label Rights documents

OK.... the contract clearly naming both parties and signed by both parties is not sufficient... I took a deep breath and replied:

Dear XXXXX - I sent you the contract, signed by myself and GEORGE RR MARTIN himself, which clearly states that I can publish my story two years after he publishes the anthology. It has been more than two years.

Please - without giving a list of possibilities - explain your decision.

I am also tackling this matter through Jeremy in KDP Executive Customer Relations and have asked him to look into your responses.

 Many thanks, 

                     Mark

The reply was:

Thanks for your message regarding the following book:

The Visitor: A Wild Cards Story
Lawrence, Mark (AUTHOR)
ID: XXXXXX

We've reviewed the information you provided. Based on our review, we're unable to confirm that you hold the necessary publishing rights.

The information you provided is insufficient because of the following concerns:
• The document does not include mention of the submitting publisher as listed in the KDP account of the book in question.
• The title of the book listed on the document does not match the title you entered in your KDP account

In order to publish the book, reply to this email within 5 days and provide us with further documentation and/or verification showing you hold rights to the content.

Please reply to confirm your publishing rights within 5 days. Otherwise, the book will be unavailable for sale on Amazon.

Against which I leveled the awesome power of logic - alternatively known as YOU'VE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME, YOU MORON!

Many thanks for taking the time to respond with more specifics.
You say:


The information you provided is insufficient because of the following concerns:
• The document does not include mention of the submitting publisher as listed in
the KDP account of the book in question.
• The title of the book listed on the document does not match the title you
entered in your KDP account

So let me address those two claims:

"• The document does not include mention of the submitting publisher as listed in the KDP account of the book in question."

The KDP account in question publishes fiction by Mark Lawrence and owns the author central page for Mark Lawrence - it cannot, surely, be a requirement that the Amazon account name also has to be Mark Lawrence?  ... because ... if that's the case, I've just changed it to Mark Lawrence. Are we good now?

• The title of the book listed on the document does not match the title you entered in your KDP account

The book title on KDP is "The Visitor: A Wild Cards Story"
The contract is for a story titled "The Visitor" to be published in a Wild Cards mosaic novel (Knaves Over Queens). And literally the only reason we're having this conversation is that an Amazon algorithm has identified the text of my story "The Visitor: A Wild Cards Story" being identical to that of the story "The Visitor" in the a Wild Cards anthology... 

So either - you're telling me my story "The Visitor: A Wild Cards Story" is the story "The Visitor" in the contract that I have sent you. In which case, we're fine.

Or, you're telling me that it isn't. In which case why are you blocking it and why do you need to see a contract at all?

However, if it would make you happier - then I will change its name to "The Visitor", deleting the words "A Wild Cards Story" ... however, you would need to unblock it first, because I can't edit it while it's blocked. 

If you continue to block this story I would be grateful if you would copy Jeremy from the Executive Customer Relations team into the reply that explains the reasons.

Many thanks,                     Mark

END OF SIDE QUEST TWO


.... anyway ... in the meantime I continued my "behind the scenes" communication with Executive human Jeremy - who continued to be nice, apologetic, and helpful. He asked - although they were never mentioned or requested in any of the emails KDP sent me - for the contracts for the 2 stories in The Devil You Know that had previously appeared in anthologies (many years before on 6 month exclusivity deals). You may remember (and probably don't) that this whole 10 weeks KDP had been saying my story bundle was blocked from publication because of its "willfully misleading metadata" and telling me that I shouldn't have reference The Book of the Ancestor or The Red Queen's War, because those weren't my books... And I kept saying, "yes they are, and I've already done the Author Central thing you keep telling me to do". They never once mentioned or asked for contracts...

So, I scan the contracts in and send them to him.

Days pass. I email with updates in my struggles with the bots and asked if he needs anything else?

Days pass.

Last night I get an email in response to my "logic bomb" (the email above).

Congratulations! The following book(s) you recently submitted have been reviewed and were successfully passed:

We look forward to offering your book to millions of Amazon customers and wish you the best of luck in promoting and selling your work!

Thanks for using Amazon KDP

No ... no thank you, KDP. Thank you. You've been wonderful. No need to apologise for wasting ten of my weeks, making me write dozens of emails, making me roll my eyes so very fucking hard, no need to explain yourselves at any point. No need to reflect over what you might have done better (hint: it is literally EVERYTHING).

I do, however, appreciate the Jeff Bezos lifeline, and the genuinely helpful Jeremy.


The short story bundle contains an entirely new Nona / Book of the Ancestor story (The Devil You Know), a Jalan story (The Hero of Aral Pass), and a Snorri story (A Thousand Years). You can buy it here:

UK

US

And the other story is The Visitor, which I'm rather proud of and I urge you to read

(The only thing you need to know is that Wild Cards is set in our world, and an alien virus has been infecting people in rare outbreaks. It kills 90% of victims, makes ugly monsters of 9% (Jokers) and gives 1% random superpowers (Aces).

You can buy here, though I am trying to make it free - something that Amazon make rather difficult (surprise!).

UK

US






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