Terminated by Amazon KDP: Gathering Stories and Seeking Answers

Terminated by Amazon KFP

Terminated by Amazon KDP

If you’ve been terminated by Amazon KDP, I offer my condolences, and please know that today’s post is especially for you.

First, let’s start off with a definition – because every day I meet people who have never heard of it. From the official Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) website: “KDP allows you to self-publish eBooks, paperbacks, and hardcover books for free.

As a result, KDP is a major force in the self-publishing world – probably the #1 place to publish your books. It’s helped countless authors and creators share their works, solidifying its position as the top self-publishing platform.

Spoiler alert: that wonderful opportunity also comes at a hefty cost – namely complete loss of control. The following words are all about surviving an Amazon KDP Termination.

Why this post now?

As a Canva Verified Expert based in Glasgow, Scotland, I’ve been creating books to sell on Amazon KDP since January 2019. Additionally, I’ve also spent the last several years guiding others through the steps to design books with Canva and publishing them on KDP (all in less than three hours). A bit more on the stark irony and devastation of the timing in a moment…

Email Termination by Amazon pictured on a laptop screen.

After all that dedication and effort, in a cruel twist of fate, I was blindsided by the abrupt termination of my KDP account. The stated reason? A vague reference to a violation of their Terms and Conditions.

During a recent audit of your account, we found content and/or activities that are in violation of our Terms and Conditions.

Um,…Huh?

So naturally I immediately replied to get further clarity. Even after a few messages back and forth, I’m none the wiser of what my crimes are.

The last one was just yesterday:

As we previously stated, we detected activity on your account  attempting to manipulate Kindle services, violating our Terms and Conditions. We cannot offer details of our investigations.

That last line is priceless isn’t it? You’re guilty but we’re not going to tell you what you did wrong. So again, I am still utterly unclear, and they haven’t “previously stated” anything that makes any sense to me. Call it an unsolved mystery, but I am done fighting it. F**k ’em. Onwards forward…

KDP Termination: My Career’s Unexpected Twist

With over 220 uploads under my belt and a reputation meticulously crafted, the sudden termination was more than just a shock. It felt like the rug was pulled out from under me. As a pioneering trainer in the Canva/KDP niche, I’d just resolved to fully embrace and champion this unique global offering. Clients were lined up, some had paid, and my future was mapped out. Then, in a jarring twist, my newfound path seemed to disintegrate – and so did my self-confidence!

Yet, from such profound pain, purpose often emerges.

My ordeal underscores that regardless of expertise or dedication, no one is safe from these unforeseen upheavals.

Navigating the Uncharted Waters of KDP Termination

This post is both a raw, personal reflection and an urgent cautionary tale. If you’re an existing KDP author or publisher, consider this a wake-up call to scrutinize your uploads and ensure they align with Amazon’s ever-stringent terms. And for those blindsided by an Amazon KDP termination, you’re not alone in the whirlwind of shock, confusion, and frustration.

In my quest for clarity, I’ve devoured countless blogs, videos, Reddit threads, and Facebook group posts. My aim here is twofold: to understand the often opaque reasons for these sudden terminations and to provide guidance and solidarity for others in the same boat.

By pooling our experiences and insights, I hope to illuminate the murky waters of KDP terminations and offer a lifeline to others caught in the treacherous currents of KDP publishing.

Reasons for Amazon KDP Terminations

Account terminations can be due to a range of reasons, often stemming from Amazon’s efforts to maintain a level of quality and integrity on their platform. From what I’ve read, here are (some of the) common scenarios that have led to Amazon KDP account terminations:

Content Issues

  • Plagiarism: If your content closely mirrors someone else’s work, it could be flagged as plagiarism.
  • Copyright Violations: Publishing content you don’t own rights to, including images and illustrations, can lead to immediate termination.
  • Quality Issues: Books with numerous complaints about errors or misleading content can be deemed as having quality issues.
  • Misleading Metadata: Misuse of titles, subtitles, keywords, or categories can be grounds for termination.
  • Content Mismatch and Mis-categorization: If a book’s content doesn’t align with its description or preview, it can be flagged. Incorrect category selection can exacerbate this issue.

Account Practices

  • Multiple KDP Accounts: Amazon’s policy mandates one KDP account per individual or entity.
  • Manipulating Reviews: Attempts to artificially boost book reviews can result in termination.
  • Pre-Order Violations: Failing to upload final content for a pre-order by the deadline can lead to penalties.

Other Violations

  • Public Domain Content: Trying to profit from public domain content without adding significant original value can be a red flag.
  • Bonus Content Issues: If bonus content in eBooks seems to inflate the page count or mislead readers, it can be grounds for termination.

Did I miss any? Do let me know! Amazon’s categories can sometimes be confusing, leading authors to unintentionally select incorrect categories for their content. Such mismatches, even if unintentional, can have repercussions. It highlights the importance of careful category selection, especially when choices seem ambiguous.

Read Amazon’s Terms & Conditions

Being terminated by Amazon KDP is harrowing. If you’ve experienced it, you understand its weight. Indie authors and publishers must know Amazon’s guidelines inside out and follow each update they make to them closely. This helps avoid missteps. I confess I didn’t dissect Amazon KDPs Ts and Cs as I should have. That was my biggest mistake. I own that fact.

At times, the rationale behind these terminations remains shrouded in ambiguity. This only underscores the crucial need for a community-driven discussion where we can pool our experiences and insights, lending clarity and support to one another in these testing times.

Amazon’s Vague Communication

Despite my best efforts to understand the exact nature of my alleged infractions, Amazon’s responses have been frustratingly vague. Their support emails provided no clear insight into which book or books might have caused the termination. This lack of transparency is not just disheartening, but it also leaves authors in the dark, unsure of how to rectify issues or avoid them in the future.

I am left contemplating whether I should revamp some of my titles, covers, and author names, especially for my more prominent activity books, and republish them on alternative platforms.

Share Your KDP Termination Story

While I’ve laid bare my own experience and the perplexing phrases Amazon used to terminate my account, I know I’m not alone in this. If you’ve found yourself in a similar situation, please share. What were the words Amazon used when they delivered the fatal blow to your KDP account?

By pooling our stories and those all-too-familiar, generic, and frustratingly vague reasons, we can create a collective record. Together, we can shed light on the murky waters of KDP terminations, offering support, insight, and perhaps even a roadmap for others. Your story matters—let’s ensure it’s heard. Thank you for joining me on this journey. By sharing and supporting one another, we can navigate the challenges of the publishing world together.

Going Forward

Amazon KDP, while dominant, isn’t the only game in town. There are numerous other platforms where authors can publish their works. If you, like me, are considering branching out, stay tuned. I’ll be delving into alternatives to KDP in an upcoming post, exploring the pros and cons of each platform. Some even allow you to publish on Amazon through them – but be careful about that if you’ve been terminated!

Until next time, I’m Thea, saying “see ya”.

 

6 thoughts on “Terminated by Amazon KDP: Gathering Stories and Seeking Answers

  1. Hello there I have been thinking of making a KDP account with Amazon but was researching the pro’s and the con’s online when I came across your message here. See I have already written a couple of books to be honest, but I don’t know what else to do with them. One is a religious book and the other is well………….a bit of trouble if I don’t handle it right. See…….. I read the whole”Twilight” series of books and saw all the movies. I loved them all but there’s two unanswered questions in those books that just left me hanging. 1. Why was there only one female werewolf? What happened to this poor unwanted female? Why did she stop having her period (blood flow) upon turning into a shape shifter? Will she ever be allowed to find happiness, love, and children? 2. How did a human and a vampire have a baby? The witnesses that the Valtori brought to the fight with them that day will leave and go tell every vamp they know two things. A. The Valtori got stopped in there tracks by a bunch of newbie vampires in that new country called America. B. That now all vampires can have their own hybrid babies also. They just have to get Bella and Edward to tell them how it’s done. But guess what it will not happen for others like it did for Edward. Why not? I guess you will have to read my continuing story line if you want to know that answer.

    Honestly I don’t know if I can print a book off of another author’s character’s without getting into trouble for it. Can I if it is based in the future for all characters involved in the original books? I mean I have waited and waited for Stephanie to write some more about these characters but nothing has come of it. I wanted more so I have written my own future version of what is unfolding in the life of the “Twilight” characters. The grown up version not the milk toast version like Stephanie did. Why? Because all those kids who fell in love with the book’s are now grown ups in the real world and play time is over for our world.

    I would like to know if you could help me with any advice you can give to another book writer. Please and thank you. Mary C

    1. I would definitely not recommend going straight to KDP but use another service that allows you to publish TO KDP. Think something like Draft to Digital, Book Vault, etc.

      To the second point, I would steer clear of using anyone else’s characters or names etc. Find a way to make them your own. I am not a lawyer, but my gut instinct is “be careful”. I could see getting into trouble unless maybe it’s done in a “fan fiction” sort of way? That may be legal but again I am not a lawyer. Maybe speak to an IP lawyer? Some will give you free initial chats! Good luck!

  2. Hello from New York! I was standing in line at the grocery store the day after christmas when I got the email on my phone from Amazon terminating my account because of details on my three best sellers — two original coloring books and one book about ways to save the planet! I was as careful as I could be to understand and apply terms and conditions. Replying, appealing, well you know, no use whatsoever. I’m now thinking it was a gift for about a dozen reasons. I like your idea of tracking and compiling terminations. We simply have no real insight into why this seemingly arbitrary, capricious and punishing stuff happens, and there’s no recourse unless you want to get into a legal battle (hell no). Having done FBA, Merch and KDP I can tell you the seller/publisher experience can be very, very rough while the buyer side is a picnic. Needless to say, I’ll be cancelling Prime, ridding my psyche of Amazon forever, and serving as a warning to my smart, savvy, articulate self publishing friends everywhere and forever. Take that Amazon!

    1. OMG I feel you so much right now Nancy! I got dumped on Merch, too. That was my fault. I had made a Ted Lasso shirt for a friend (unlisted) so that’s on me.

      The KDP, thing after THREE attempts to get feedback, like you, I thought “screw them”. I can’t bring myself to cancel Prime UK, but it’s amazing how I’ve barely done any Amazon shopping since this happened October 5th.

      What I feel they should do is 1) Issue a warning 2) Suspend the account if no action taken 3) Terminate. Not jump straight to Terminate.

      For me that’s where they jumped – straight to terminate and whooosh went 4.5 years and 221 books (not just my books either! Other collabs!). Arseholes.

      It’s put me off re-publishing some of my “Best Sellers” as I am still kinda licking my wounds still, but I probably will do them again via BookVault. I’d also probably never recommend people self-publish straight to KDP – even though it’s the easiest and fastest route to publish a book.

  3. The same happened to me. I started in 2021; I had about 50 books, but one sold really well! In May of 2023, I got the dreaded email. Since then, I’ve tried to appeal and received the same response you did or just a ‘thank you for your time.’ I can’t understand why they don’t treat the appeals more responsibly! If someone takes the time to appeal, the least they can do is say, ‘we are reinforcing our decision’ or ‘we’ve decided to reinstate your account.’ Ignoring or sending generic emails is unhelpful. I found your post because I am writing a short book and mentioned that KDP account terminations are common, but I wanted to truly verify that. Thanks for sharing your story. I have shared mine on YouTube: Shanice DK Designs. Best of luck to you!

    1. So sorry to hear that. When it happened to me, I went to Google, Youtube, Reddit, Facebook, and Linkedin – to search “KDP Terminated” and found tons of stories. I felt less like an arse to be honest. Your channel and story was one of the first I watched with keen interest and empathy!!

      I still have no idea what my actual infraction was, but after three attempts to get an answer, I thought, “Screw it” and have barely shopped on Amazon, cancelled my Prime and got on with my life. I am sure it’s no big deal to them losing me as an avid Prime customer (both UK and US) but it makes me feel better having less to do with them. I will get around to republishing my best books via BookVault (with a cover/name/author change in some cases to get back on KDP) but it’s just soured my joy of publishing so much that I still can’t think about it. This was way back on October 5th! Will have to watch some of your more recent videos. Great to hear from you, Shanice. xoxo from Glasgow.

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