Indie Author Self-Preservation: Brush Up On The Rules

Indie Author Self-Preservation: Brush Up On The Rules

You’re an indie author. Your ebooks and books are selling well. Unfortunately, your business can go from success to failure in the blink of an eye if you’re not aware of the rules. Amazon KDP’s rules, that is.

And the rules can change at any time.

On one of the forums I visit, an author was in a panic about the “bestseller” label on her book’s cover.

Indie author hiccups: beware of overly-promotional tactics

According to New at KDP & Amazon: “Bestseller” Authors Need to Prove Their Status (or risk getting pulled), Amazon’s cracking down on highly promotional content on covers:

Extra descriptive content in your book’s cover field that is not part of your book’s actual title can be distracting or misleading to our customers. Examples of items that are prohibited in the title field and cover image include but are not limited to unauthorized reference to other authors or titles, advertisements, or reference to sales rank (bestselling).

I’m sure you’ve seen examples of covers on the Kindle Store which look more like advertisements than book covers. That’s a no-no.

A roundup of KDP rules you may not be aware of as an indie author

When was the last time you read Amazon’s Terms of Service and Help files? I have to admit, it’s been a while for me, so I was grateful to find John Doppler’s KDP Rules Roundup, so I could take a quick look and remind myself of the important rules.

A friend recently told me that mailing list links were verboten, and I found this in John’s roundup — “In summary: links to mailing list signups are fine. Requiring the reader to complete a form in order to read their ebook is not.”

Good to know.

Beware of “hacks” you find in online forums and groups

A friend implemented a “hack” which she found on a mailing list. She received an email message from Amazon asking her to fix it, or her books would be removed from sale.

Before you use any self-publishing or book promotion idea which you’ve found somewhere online, look up Amazon’s Help files to make sure that the hack isn’t forbidden. If you can’t find anything mentioning it, don’t automatically assume that it must be OK. Contact Amazon and ask whether they allow it.

As an indie author, you’re busy, and you’re looking for shortcuts. All indies try things which seem like a great idea at the time, but that great idea may be against Amazon’s rules. Keep up to date with Amazon’s TOS, and if you’re not sure whether something is legitimate or not, ask Amazon.

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