Amazon KDP, Suicidal Thoughts, And Me *Ongoing

❗️Note: This is long and unedited. I’m too weary to go back over it and really just want everyone to know what’s going on and why I feel so ill. I beg that you bear with me during this fiasco and thank you for your continued support.

Kindle Direct Publishing’s Mistreatment of Authors is Killing Me

It’s no secret that I suffer from depression. In fact, I have always been very open about my struggle with mental illness and how it affects both my life and my writing. As an author, I believe I have a duty to be vocal about my journey to wellness and to provide representation for the mental ill in my fiction. That being said, it isn’t always easy to navigate the literary world with the dark cloud of depression and anxiety hanging over your head.

My work is published through Lillium Publishing House LLC and, as the good publishers they are, they pretty much handle every aspect of my writing career, including manuscript uploading and account management. They make it easy on me by removing certain triggers and stresses, such as dealing with Customer Service agents and their fast talking ways. But, like every small company, they are not without fault and sometimes it’s difficult for them to stay on top of every little thing. They are people and they make mistakes.

After the recent release of Dead Like Me, I noticed that there was a significant decrease in my Kindle Unlimited Page reads and eventually realized that all of my Kindle Exclusive titles had been dis-enrolled from the program. This prompted both my publisher and myself to start researching the matter and led us to a dead email address and emails saying that one of my books, What’s Done in the Dark, had repeatedly violated their exclusivity agreement.

But…All of my books are exclusive to Amazon? Or, at least that’s what we thought.

During a change in organization, Lillium Publishing let go of an account manager that negligently handled my accounts and the accounts of other Lillium authors. A person they trusted and paid to do a job made several mistakes, never updated information and left without having properly documented or reported what happened to these accounts and the status they were left in. They were paid for a job they did not do. This resulted in What’s Done in the Dark being listed on iTunes and other retailers without our knowledge via accounts that I don’t even have access to. Which means it was in fact in violation.

And now, my books are banned from KDP Select for a period of twelve months. Because of something I had no control over. My readers, most of which prefer the cost effective Kindle Unlimited to purchasing my books outright, are now unable to enjoy my work. Just the thought of my readers being negatively effected sends me into a tailspin. But it gets a lot worse.

KDP has a rule that, since my name is on the account as the author, only I can contact them in regards to said account. My Publisher, who represents me in all my literary endeavors, is not allowed to contact them to explain the issue. So, putting on my big girl pants, I started the arduous journey of trying to get in contact with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing myself.

Here is what I’ve tried:

❌ Calling. They have no direct customer service phone number.

❌ Every email I send is returned with a generated reply.

❌ When I call Kindle Technical support (an unrelated number) and beg to be transferred to that department, they shoo me away with promised phone calls and follow up emails I never receive.

❌ They’ve ignored my Facebook messages.

❌ They’ve ignored my Tweets.

❌ I’m not entirely sure how to send smoke signals (seriously, tell me how and I’ll try).

I am currently in an infinite auto generated email loop that no real person is reading, trying to explain the situation to a bot to clear my name. I’ve never had any reason to receive a violation and shouldn’t have it held against me when I wasn’t the one in control. I wasn’t in control.

With all of my emotions surmounting and hopelessness settling over my head, I can feel my depression swelling and it is at an all time high. I feel helpless. I feel ineffective. I feel useless. I am powerless against a billion dollar corporation that doesn’t care about me at all.

My friends and family notice the signs. They’re reaching out to me, even as I write this, because they’re worried for my safety. Because they know where my thoughts are and that they aren’t the least bit healthy. Writing. Being an author. These are the only things that have ever given my tiny little life meaning and, even though I’m sure there are other ways, all I see right now is darkness that I don’t have the strength to cope with.

I just want a chance to explain what happened. I just want a real person to look at the account and see that what transpired was done in oversight and not in malicious intent. In any fair and just system there is a chance for appeal. In any other company there is always a department put in place to assist its customers in times like these. Why not Amazon? Why don’t you care that while yes, there are horrible scammers out there who are gaming the system and STILL getting away with it, mindlessly passing judgement without the facts only hurts the people you’re trying to protect.

Amazon needs to treat its authors better. I’m not the only one out there dealing with this and I’m far from the only one with mental illness feeling the way I feel right now. Something desperately needs to change. Before the unthinkable happens.

❗️❗️If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 800-273-TALK (8255) or through chat available 24/7. https://www.usa.gov/features/recognize-the-signs-of-suicide-and-find-help

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An Open Letter to Readers who use Reviews as Punishment

Let me start off by saying that I adore my readers. I am in love with any person who takes time out of their schedule to pick up one of my stories and spend even the shortest amount of time in my worlds with my characters. As an author I love reviews, I love hearing about what you liked and even what you didn’t like about my stories, because most of the time we’re on the same page. But when your reviews become punishments for your personal preferences (the story wasn’t long enough, it wasn’t written in a style I liked, the woman on the cover is too light-skinned etc), they become a problem that affect me as an author and you as a reader of my future work.

Reviews are lifeblood for authors. They effect algorithms that put our books in front of more people and they give you, the reader, a voice when it comes to our work. But in this age of social media and being able to anonymously vomit opinions onto the internet, it’s becoming a trend to mindlessly bash, attack and demean authors and their work via “reviews”. Which is not okay, especially if you LIKE said work.

Yes, a review, whether positive or negative is your right as a reader to leave. But not reading descriptions and going on to leave off-base negative reviews on work that someone slaved over is just plain wrong. If you’re going to leave a review, at least have an informed opinion about the product. Because while it may have taken you ten seconds in a fit of anger to write, it will haunt and affect that authors career and future work for a lifetime. Let’s put it this way: if you worked hard on building a toaster and I told people not to buy it (by leaving a one star review) because it wasn’t a refrigerator, you would probably be upset.

Take for example my most recent Dragon God Erotic series. It’s my first real foray into the erotic short hemisphere and I genuinely enjoyed writing these four short stories. That being said, plenty of people are responding positively to them as well. Like all erotic stories they are meant to tease, to stir up emotion and get the blood pumping. They’re not really something you sink your teeth into story wise. But I pride myself on my world building and my character creation which means you’re going to get a bit of both in anything I write. Even if it’s only 8k words. And most of my readers new and old understand that.

Except for a few reviewers who don’t seem to get that they are not full length novels. I use the description and the “from the author” section of the amazon page to explain that they are indeed short stories. Amazon even has a handy little section beneath the description that tells you the page length of kindle books. You have plenty of warning before you buy and start reading the work. You even have the option of refunding the title.

That being said, why leave a negative review behind on a story that you admittedly like but want to see more of? That’s really not going to make me, or any author want to keep putting themselves in a position to be exposed to such devastation. And it’s not going to help the stories you love see continuations or expansion either. Quite the opposite, actually.

I said all of this to say that, reviews are wonderful things, ESPECIALLY when they are scathing and pointing out every plothole, annoying character, flaw and instance of purple prose. But when they are used simply to lash out at an author, to punish them because something didn’t go your way, they’re really affecting us both negatively. So I implore you, be constructive, but think before you review.

Thank you,

A.C. Greenlee

2 Quick and Effortless Tips for Easily Distracted Writers

1: Build a Writing Bible

My number one tip for writers who want to spend less time slacking off on the internet; build a bible. Create a folder on your computer that has links or downloads of all the information you’re going to google or go looking for online. This includes:
 
  • Story templates
  • Settings (You can’t have every location in the world stored on your computer but a direct link to Wikipedia is a good idea)
  • Conflict types
  • Photo reference (either downloaded images or direct links to Flicker but not Pinterest because that is where time goes to die)
  • Music (itunes, Spotify etc. Build playlists. Searching endlessly for Youtube videos to listen to is a great time waster)
  • Other useful links

 

Wrap them all up in a specific folder and every time you feel like opening your browser “just for a sec” you’ll find everything you need there.

2. Reconnect With Your Goals

The only thing standing between you and your success is you. And that’s true for any industry, career or creative path you’re going to go down. Reconnecting with your personal goals is a sure fire way to get your procrastination under control. Why are you doing this? Why do you want to write that novel? Why is being successful important to you? Why do you want to be an author? List these reasons down and really reflect on why you started your journey as a writer in the first place.
For more tips, tricks and sneak peaks into the life of an author battling the endless distractions that come along with having internet access visit acgreenlee.com. And don’t forget to check out the Dragon God Erotic Series exclusively at Amazon!

What if I’m NOT a good WRITER? 🌟 Guest post by Margaret Cremer! 🌟

Words that have plagued writers since the first one decided to put pen to paper.  I struggle with enormous self-doubt.  I’ve yet to get paid for a piece I’ve written.  I’ve been published which is a huge accomplishment but not if you want to make a living at it.  I’m currently writing a romance/suspense novel and I know that first drafts are mostly crap but I still wonder will anyone want to read this?  Will the finished product be good enough?  I’ve had enough people tell me I’m a talented writer and I’ve also gotten rejection e-mails and letters.  So yes, I know what that feels like to be on the end of you’re not good enough spectrum.  

I read something today that said, “it’s not the fear of writing that writers are afraid of.  It’s the fear of writing bad.”  I find these words to be very true.  No one wants to be categorized as a “bad” writer.  But what makes someone a “bad” writer?  Critics?  If no one buys your book?  I can think of writers who have written poorly and sold millions of copies and writers whose books were brilliant and whose sales were not so great.  I guess what it depends on is if your happy with your work.  If you go out there and write your absolute very best then it doesn’t matter how many books you sell.  Hopefully you do sell a lot.  

I read something else today that said, “Self-doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”  These words too, I think, are very true.  You can’t let yourself get in the way of your writing.  You must set aside those thoughts of self-doubt and self-criticism.  

I guess the very best advice I can give you is to ignore the voices in your head that say Am I good enough?  Is my writing good enough?  Will this sell.  And just write.  

Thanks again for stopping by, Margaret!

Check out Margaret’s writing at the link below! 


https://scriggler.com/Profile/margaret_cremer

 

I Won an Award! … Last Year! Literary Erotica Mag Contest Winner!

I am still at a complete and utter loss for words. I’ve attached the email sent by Mrs. Kim Burrows below because I am still firmly unable to process this. I was so worried when I released What’s Done in the Dark, because it was my first formal erotica effort. And it won a freaking award! I didn’t get first place, but that never matters to me. I am so completely honored and humbled that my work was even considered. I want to extend a big thank you to Literary Erotica Mag and a formal congratulations on opening their new website and having the courage to do so. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for remembering me!

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An Author’s Thank You Letter to all her Readers

In light of recent world events I thought it pertinent to reach out to you, my family of readers, whose opinions I find absolutely invaluable.

I’ve written in the past that a community of writers can, has been, and in certain aspects always will be, a place of joy, happiness and support. Every writer needs their team. Their support system. The people who are meant to catch them when they inevitably stumble and need help finding their light again. That being said, there are unfortunately a lot of people I simply can’t associate within my community.

In the circles that I follow, and once fervently participated in, all I see are issues that cause me to grow increasingly disheartened. Every day I see posts that are blatantly racist. Posts that are blatantly sexist. Entire books built on played out stereotypes and tired tropes about people of color; the timid, shy Asian woman or the loud, ghetto black woman, or the spicy sex-crazed Latina…And it needs to stop. Things need to change. I am completely for writing what you want, but when you fail to realize how these microagressions give people the wrong idea, which negatively impacts the demographics you so carelessly write about, I can’t willingly be a part of it. That is to say, that for my own mental well-being, I can’t allow myself to be around it nor play a part in ignoring or supporting it.

As a person of color who writes fantasy, I’m a rare sight. And in a world where the characters, subject matter, and authors themselves are dominated by a primarily white demographic who are uncomfortable speaking about race, privilege, sex, class, and having conversations that would change their unknowingly insensitive, oppressive behavior, I’m obviously not welcome. And that’s fine by me. Because I don’t do what I do for other writers. I do it for my readers.

My wonderful, tough as nails, readers. You guys are my stars. You light up all the darkness in my world and chase the shadows away. That’s why I continue to produce content. That’s why I limit my interaction with others who intentionally, and unintentionally, write, do, and say things that affect my people and, by extention, me. Because of you, I don’t care about anything else except for delivering the content you’ve come to know and love. And so, I thank you. Continually. For your support. I can never hope to repay you enough. 

To more books, more conversations, and more love.

-A.C.

🌟Guest Post: Juggling a Day Job and a Full Time Writing Career – A Personal Story by Author Lyzeth Inurrigarro

You know, working is something we usually have to do, whether you’re a published author or just starting out. We start somewhere and sometimes it can be hard to maintain the passion for writing and working full-time; especially when at times you can only think about writing the days you’re working. Which is every day. And sometimes, you can be at a full-time job that tires you mentally; I was in that position a couple months ago. I used to work in a warehouse full-time and it was not the experience I wanted to go through.

Each day when I returned from the job I would be drained mentally from what I would have to go through. It wasn’t fun at all, I felt that my creativeness had completely been sucked out of me. It was hard for me to even write a sentence when I came home from a hard days work and that was every day. There are some things that we may be able to handle but this was not it; I started to become sick after awhile and that’s when I knew I had to officially leave.

And once I did, my mind started to become clearer, unfortunately, I could not take back those moments where I could have written. It was heart wrenching for me to go through something like that and lose my passion at the same time. No one, and I mean no one, should go through something like this. For me, it felt like I lost something within myself; I identify a lot with writing and it had calmed me in times of need when I needed it most. And for that to be taken away, I did feel like I lost my identity. However, once I had left that environment, I started to work in an office again, I could feel my mind dusting away the doors to Morus Academy (my mind palace), and pushing them open.

After a while, I started to reacquaint myself with my characters, but more importantly, I started to write again. I felt myself become happier with what I started to write and it wasn’t just writing Descendant of Aphrodite, but it was writing my short stories and The Journey to Writing blogs. This newer job gave me a sense of hope and now when I get home or I’m on my lunch break I can sit and finally write with a clear mind. When I take my hour bus ride to get to work or back home, I’m sitting there writing, I’m actually writing this whole post on the bus. Yes, working full-time is hard and at times difficult, especially when you’re working in a place that drains you completely.

I do like working full-time and I do love writing, sometimes working full-time and being an Author goes hand in hand. You can’t change that at times, we all go through it when we’re all starting out. We want to shoot for the stars that are litter with Authors but it is a long way to land among them. And sometimes we have to start somewhere, whether we are making a career of writing or if we’re going into our jobs and just writing along the way. We all have ink in our blood and we all know that our lunches and getting off of work is exciting when we can finally break out our phones, tablets or laptops just to write. We set aside our jobs when our hour lunch comes around and we travel into the worlds we create and explore it until its time to set our world aside for work. We always have to remember that we must balance our job and our love for writing.

My only advice to everyone out there working full-time and writing is to never give up, to never lose yourself like I did. It’s not a good feeling and once that comes over you, it is a struggle to understand why it happens. But, we will continue to move forward and that’s what we must do, don’t give up on your dreams and don’t give up on writing. When you start a job it can be hard to get into a rhythm of balancing them out, but you will later down the road. That it will become this lovely routine of working, lunch, write, working, go home and write. We know that at the end of our work day that our characters are waiting, so giving up is not an option for us, especially not for them.

We work both ways whether it is through our passion for writing or through our jobs that we have for ourselves. It may seem impossible to maintain both, but it won’t be in the long run, just remember to breathe and to give yourself time to understand and adapt to your schedule. In the end, you will find a way and your characters will be there waiting for you with open arms and ready for the battles to come. So just breath, you’ll get through this, I did and I know you can.

Connect with Lyzeth at the links below!

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Blog: thedescendantslive.WordPress.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lyzethinurrigarro/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mimilyzeth?s=07