Posts Tagged ‘Arghhh’

My Immortals Series Re-Cover Did Not Go Smoothly

Saturday, October 21st, 2023

New Covers!

As previously mentioned, after some market research, I decided the books in the My Immortals series needed new covers. Getting new covers took longer than I liked, but I was extremely budget conscious this time and can’t really complain that each cover was handled as separate project. It got done, and I am very happy with the result. The new covers fit in with the current paranormal romance market.

And Then There Was Amazon

I started uploading at the various vendors, starting with Amazon. I do two print versions through Amazon. One is for Libraries and bookshops. That version is priced very high in order to accommodate the discounting needed and it uses an Amazon supplied ISBN. I do another version using my own ISBN which I price as low as possible so that print readers have the most affordable option. These two versions are identical as to content and cover.

Some additional context: For all of my books, I use a logo for my imprint, cJewel Books, which is registered to me at Bowker and therefore connected to my ISBNS. I commissioned the logo in 2015 and use it on all my books. For print books, the logo appears on the back cover. For EVERY SINGLE BOOK. Here’s the full color logo:

Image that looks like a combination of book pages and a gem. The text cJewel Books appears underneath

The Logo

I love the logo, by the way and I like the continuity it gives. I have been using this logo since 2015. Some more context here. Some of the new covers use the same model as the original cover. Some used new images. All the covers have the same background. I did update some back matter in the eBooks so that the flow was more efficient and more conducive to readers having an easy opportunity to get the next book. There were no changes to the print interiors. The only change was the cover.

For all but two of the books, the uploading went just fine, eBook and print. But for some reason Amazon had a hissy fit about one of the print covers for My Demon Warlord. They started by asking me to prove I had the publishing rights. Even though nothing had changed but the cover and even though the updates were coming from the same account that originally published the book. Amazon “helpfully” has a list of acceptable proof. Unfortunately for self-publishers, none of the acceptable proof applies. My Demon Warlord was never traditionally published. I wrote it my own self for my own publishing career. Amazon explicitly states that it’s not enough to say, but I wrote it! Copyright registration is also not proof they will accept.

At first, I replied that they should be able to tell that the same account was involved in the update and that the only change was the cover. I provided all the ISBNs and pointed out they were registered to me or CreateSpace. This was not sufficient. Then I sent images from my Author Central account showing that both print versions had been verified by Amazon–meaning they agreed that all versions of the book were mine. They cleared the book. Yay, right?


I got another notice asking for the same proof, which I sent. Again. One of the print versions was cleared. Yay! Right?

NOPE Again

I got another notice for the OTHER print version asking for the same proof which I sent again. This was disallowed. WTAF? So I sent the information AGAIN and pointed out the history on this and tried to stay polite. Then I got a notice saying they had cleared the book. Yay! Right?


Yes, they agreed I had the right to publish the book but now they believed I did not have the right to all the images in the cover and to please send proof that the images were properly licensed. Recall that all these books have the same exact background and the they’d cleared an identical version earlier in the day. My Demon Warlord, originally published in 2016, is one of the books where I was using the same model as my original cover. You’d figure this means the problem had to be in the background images  (shared by ALL the covers). Yet all the other books were successfully updated with the new covers. I asked the cover designer to send me the licenses for all the images in that book. I also attached the invoice for my logo, because honestly, I am pretty certain they were having a fit over that. Fortunately, the 2015 invoice was readily available to me because taxes and business expenses.

Meanwhile . . .

Amazon sent me another notice asking me to prove my right to publish My Immortal Assassin. ::Sigh::: All because I updated the cover. Fortunately/Ironically? My Immortal Assassin was traditionally published and I have my reversion letter. I keep all my reversion letters readily available because I have other books where I have been asked 3-4 times to prove my right to publish the book. For some books, I have sent my reversion letter 3-4 times. Anyway, I pointed out the only change was a new cover, same account, blah blah blah, but here is the reversion letter AGAIN. They accepted this proof since a reversion letter is on Amazon’s acceptable proof list.


Anyway, Amazon has finally cleared My Demon Warlord. But is this over? Who knows.

Some Thoughts

I suspect this entire process never once involved a human on Amazon’s side. I suspect I could have sent an image of my cat as proof of my right to publish and their automated system would have said, hey, proof is attached! You’re good. I suspect that once a book is flagged they double down and match book images to images on stock sites and that since my logo is not a stock image, they decided I was stealing.

Several things are obvious to me. Amazon has an unintelligent algorithm that misses some pretty obvious rules. Such as, if they have previously vetted an account’s publishing rights to a book, they do not need to confirm those rights ever again. When the same account updates a previously cleared book, they don’t need to clear it again.

This process is everything that is wrong with Amazon and more. All I did was update covers for books Amazon has already agreed I have the right to publish. How hard it it, really, for them to check that, and what does it say about how bad their backend system is that they don’t/can’t do this?


My Two Vows – A Post About Piracy and some Other Stuff

Friday, August 10th, 2012

I’ve been working on revisions to my historical romance novella Wordless and I’m almost done. I think we’ll see the fork here pretty soon. This means I’ve been madly revising, which is hard work.

The day job is …. interesting, challenging work, that’s all I’ll say.

On the heels of the StopTheGRBullies debacle we now have the LendInk debacle. I watched a part of it play out in a certain arena. Since I had, in that arena, made known my opinions on the subject of piracy, I stayed out of the hysteria. (See below, as I feel a restatement is in order.)

But gee. This is kind of depressing. There were people, a couple of whom are lawyers, who posted very clear statements that LendInk was not a pirate site. I’d like to think that some people’s minds were changed and they stayed out of the matter.

What I have to say about Piracy

If you are an author, you do not currently have proof that piracy harms your sales. No. Proof. There are NO VALID statistics to support a claim that you have lost money through the piracy of your books. Every single “study” that attaches a dollar amount of losses to piracy has been soundly debunked or worse, shown to be based on made up numbers. I used quotes around study because when you make up your facts, they’re not facts and your study is not really a study in the rigorous sense that the word deserves.

I am not saying that there won’t be valid statistics one day. But there are none now.

There is a growing amount of anecdotal evidence that goes like this: I gave my book away for free (either outright or via a pirate site) and I sold more books.

I have never heard any anecdote like this: I send DCMA notices to every pirate site I encounter and I sell more books.

Naturally, anecdotal evidence should be confirmed with a valid, statistically rigorous study to prove the validity of the perception. For example, in the case of statement one, maybe the people who get a book out there for free and then sell FEWER books than before don’t announce that fact. Perhaps we only see the “piracy sells books!” because the people who experience the opposite don’t talk about it. (But then, of course, the few valid statistics strongly suggest statement one is accurate.)

My Vow

Until I have evidence that I should be spending time and money fighting piracy, I will happily continue privately smirking at people who do. Yes. I will smirk. Because while you are organizing your band of anti-pirates and paying companies to send notices, I am writing my next book and investing my money in good editing.

Advantage: Carolyn.

Please carry on!

My other Vow

Publishers are currently taking so many actions that make readers hate them that I’m not going to do one darn thing to support those anti-reader policies:

No Lending
No text-to-voice
Geographical restrictions
Horrible formatting
over priced products

Not one.