Friday, March 15, 2013

Technical Error

Since publishing Balor Reborn in August (through my website, Smashwords, and Amazon), I haven't had any problems with its availability. Until now. Amazon let me down.

Now, I will add: this wasn't a case of Amazon sweeping in with a mighty iron fist and stamping out my rights to publish my own books. This was something much less interesting: an unexplained technical error that cleared my books from the search function of Amazon, and made them unavailable to purchase even through a direct link.

You can see my predicament.

Amazon is the site through which I sell most of my books. At the start of the month, I noticed that neither Balor Reborn nor Writing Gifts, on a Shoestring were visible. Both were still visible through Kindle Direct Publishing, and set to Live, but that meant nothing in the real world. I was down two books, one of which was fairly new, the other of which has sold more copies than any of my other books.

Not good. And worse still: I was due to publish Planning Before Writing at the end of the week.

I decided not to get disheartened or bloodthirsty. I contacted Amazon, explained the problem, and they got back to me fairly swiftly. I confirmed that though they had managed to turn the books up in searches of their own (as my friend Ian managed, too), they were not showing up for me, and when I went through KDP to access them, they weren't available.

Planning Before Writing was still published, as planned, last Sunday. It listed live and was available, though my two vanishing acts failed to showed up.

Today, things picked up. I checked KDP to see if there were any updates on sales figures. This is something I do regularly, sometimes to feel like I'm doing work, mostly out of curiosity. That was when I found out that Amazon had solved the technical error that they had gotten some people working on. I knew, because Balor Reborn had sold a copy. It's been a long time since I was so happy to sell a copy of that book!

Why am I telling you this story? To put it simply, I think Amazon did something right, and to point out that these things can happen easily. It wasn't a malicious assault by Amazon, though they sometimes pick up bad press with Indie authors, and they fixed it. It took a while, but I imagine their servers are fairly busy.

Plus, I mentioned this on a couple of social networking sites, and I think it's only fair to make it official: everything's sorted now. I'm back in action, and my author page on Amazon has never been more pleased. Four books with my name on them are now floating around the wonderful land of online publishing. Setbacks  like this aside, I think things are going quite well.

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