Thursday morning when I published my latest novel, The First Omega, I didn’t plan to spend my Saturday morning writing a blog and refilling my mental energy from constant hassles from Amazon. I imagined this weekend to be one where I laid around reading and maybe caught up no things around the house.
This morning I’m a little less butthurt about the whole situation. I understand that Amazon as a business has a great incentive to ensure those who use their publication platform follow copyright laws. Besides, unless pirates are on ships there is nothing sexy about piracy. Still, my problem wasn’t with them double checking. My problem lays in the fact they claimed my proof wasn’t proof.
Okay, let’s backtrack to see what went on. When I woke up Friday morning and The First Omega was still in review I knew something was funky. On my side of things, nothing was different. I’ve done this for almost four years now and more books than I can count. But it NEVER takes that long.
Around noon it reverts back to draft with NO explanation. So, I put in a ticket and ask what’s up. The ticket response basically said for whatever reason they didn’t know. Thanks, Amazon. You’re really helpful. About an hour after that I got another email from them. Not the same ticket person, but someone in the copyright division.
It has come to our attention that the following book(s) may include one or more images on your book’s cover for which you may not have the necessary rights
At first, I was peeved. It was just a mild inconvenience. I reached out to the folks over at 123rf and within the hour I had what I thought they needed. Didiee the customer service rep who helped me was freaking awesome. No one would be reading The First Omega right now if it weren’t for her.
So, I send the email to Amazon. I forward everything she sent me. Well, nope. A letter and receipt for each of the photos in question wasn’t enough to make Amazon happy.
Thank you for responding to our request to confirm you hold the necessary rights to one or more images on your book(s) cover. The information you submitted for the book(s) is insufficient.
It was at this point I was annoyed. I mean, what more could I do? Did the site not own the right to let me buy the right to use these photos? That wasn’t the case. So, after regrouping I sent an email to Amazon asking what they needed that wasn’t provided. Well, I got a couple stock replies, but I kept emailing them. I had heard horror stories of other authors who battled Amazon for months over this despite doing everything by the book. I considered switching platforms. A platform is only as good as its ability to reach readers. The First Omega is years in the making and readers have been asking for it. So, it’s finished. It’s polished. And now it can’t reach my readers?
Well, eventually, either they grew tired of me emailing them or it came across the desk of an Amazon employee who gave a damn. Who told me what they thought they needed. After that I was able to get back with the awesome Didiee and she was able to help me out with it. Guys, Amazon jerked me around for over 8 hours because 123rfs official licensing statement didn’t have my email address on it. It’s petty. Amazon is petty.
But I’m not here to help Amazon. I’m here to help any author who has bought the right to use stock photos for their book covers. If you get pinged this is the complete list of what Amazon wants you to provide from whoever (photographer or stock photo site).
The image reference number(s)
Your Mailing Address
Your EMAIL Address
The fact you have permission to use this photo
Since I don’t want to spend all day reliving yesterday I’m going to go now. I have a book waiting on me to finish reading and another cup of coffee with my name on it.
P.S. Authors, if Amazon pings you for something and you know they’re wrong don’t let them get away with it. It’s annoying for us, but it also affects our readers.