This article is to share the tale of what happened to me when I decided to start self publishing on the Amazon platform.
In a nutshell, I was enjoying self publishing and had around 20 books in my portfolio. Most of these self published books were knitting pattern leaflets.
My income from self publishing wasn’t massive. However, it was steadily increasing and I could see where I was going wrong and felt that I was at the point where I could move forward and really produce some reasonably good books.
Then bam, out of the blue, Amazon shut it all down. They said that a knitting book I had just submitted contained metadata that was designed to deliberately mislead buyers – that I was trying to sell a book by pretending that it was something other than a book.
Of course this wasn’t true. I was actually hoping to sell a collection of knitting patterns for baby hats which were my own design. I guess the title was quite rubbish and possibly lazy – it was a description of the item that the knitting patterns were for – baby hats. However, there was no intention to mislead buyers whatsoever so I guess I felt a little bit miffed.
Anyway, I have decided to share what happened as it may be of interest to people who already self publish on Amazon, or who may be thinking about doing so. Please read on to find out more.
Anyone can self publish on Amazon
When Amazon brought the Kindle e-book reader to market, they also created the opportunity for independent writers to self publish their work. In theory, anyone who is capable of writing can self publish on Amazon.
You can self publish both e-books and paperbacks on Amazon. In other words, get your writing to market without going through a publisher.
Once you have uploaded your work, Amazon does the rest, meaning that self publishing is an option for making a passive income from your passion of writing.
There are endless books and websites available which explain how to self publish books there. I personally downloaded the Kindle Create software and used that to turn my manuscripts into e-books.
You need an Amazon KDP account to self publish, and this is opened via an Amazon account. It is all very simple really, and once you have sent off a few manuscripts and are used to the workflow, it is also a fairly quick process.
Self publishing on Amazon is a lot of fun, and although I ended up having a bad experience there, I do not regret giving it a go as it is actually a super way to hone your writing skills. Furthermore, when someone leaves great reviews, you get a real confidence boost and a general nice, warm feeling.
Making money by self publishing on Amazon
It is possible to make a good income from self publishing on Amazon. You do, of course, need to have the skills to produce books that people actually want to read, and the quality of your writing needs to be good. It will help massively if you are able to create awesome looking book covers, too.
You may need to advertise your self published works, either directly through Amazon, or via social media or other advertising means. If nobody sees your books, they won’t sell any copies.
I was selling knitting pattern books, and three of these sold on a regular basis. The popular patterns were headbands, and fast, easy knitting patterns. The book that led to the end of my self publishing career was a leaflet containing 6 knitting patterns for baby hats. I wish I had never written it.
What happens when Amazon closes your KDP account
So this is what happened to me when Amazon closed my KDP account (the account where you upload and manage your self published books).
About two days after the book manuscript was accepted and went up for sale on Amazon, I received an email saying they had closed my account for a violation of their terms and conditions. They named the specific book that was in violation of their terms, and named the violation as being intentionally misleading customers.
The email went on to state that all of my books had been removed from sale and that I would not be receiving any monies owed. Furthermore, once your KDP account is closed down you aren’t allowed to ever open another one.
They advised to reply to the email with any questions so I asked if they would reconsider and explained that I hadn’t meant to commit this violation. The answer was, of course, no, and that was that.
No more self publishing on Amazon, ever.
What to bear in mind if you self publish on Amazon
If you decide to go ahead with self publishing, or already do this, it is really important to read the KDP terms and conditions.
Take great care that your book title is nothing that could be construed as something other than a book title. I think that if you are selling items like knitting, crochet or sewing patterns, this is particularly important. For example, it is not advisable to call your book or leaflet something like, ‘Evening Dress’, even if you have a subtitle like ‘Sewing Pattern Leaflet’ (yes my book had such a subtitle). This is because it can be misleading, lead to a bad customer experience, and could get you completely closed down, forever.
To anyone who is thinking this might be obvious and that I am stupid to have been closed down in this way, yes ok this is possible. I guess I thought that adding a subtitle which explained that this was a knitting pattern leaflet was sufficient to enable buyers to see that the item was a book and not some baby hats. The title was badly thought out and I do take on board that getting closed down was probably my own fault.
I wanted to write this article just incase it might help someone and prevent the same thing happening to them one day.
Everything written here is my opinion and a description of what happened to me. Self publishing on Amazon is for some people very rewarding – please do read, understand and stick to the terms and conditions of Amazon KDP – and be aware that it is possible to be shut down on grounds of doing something intentionally that really was not intentional on your part. Links in this article are for informational purposes only and no commissions etc. will be received.
Further information about self publishing on Amazon
Here are some interesting articles and useful information regarding self publishing books on Amazon:
Have you got any questions or thoughts about this topic? Please feel free to leave a comment. Have a great day!