Dropping the ball (automatically)

accidental-slip-542551_1280      And the ball was dropped…almost.

There I was, minding my own business when something horrible happened…almost.

I count myself among the lucky few authors who are able to make a living at the authoring game. Don’t get me wrong; my name isn’t Brad Thor or Clive Cussler (or J.K. Rowling or Dan Brown…), but I make a living. Most months it’s a decent living, some months (like the past two) are a little tighter but still, I’m lucky enough to have hit the right niche, at the right time, with the right tools–among them, Amazon KDP Select.

train-wreck-67775_640[cue train wreck noises]

A few months ago, I posted a blog signalling the beginning of my being exclusively published with Amazon.

Oh! Oh no…don’t worry. I’m still madly in love with Amazon. Especially the new Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) Read payment plan with Kindle Unlimited. My problem occurred when I signed up.

Like all cautious spy novelists, I turned off automatic renewal. I figured I’d give it a try first and then decide. Then I forgot.

Imagine waking up one morning, looking at your KENP and seeing you’ve gone from having tens of thousands of pages read per day, to zero pages read per day.

girl-526714_1280I was crushed! Destroyed! The first thought that went through my head was that I was the victim of some sort of bad press. Then panic set in, thinking for a brief instant that my secret identity had been revealed and the whole world had discovered that I am in fact a twelve year old Korean girl who has been writing these novels in secret, hidden from my success obsessed parents who consider fiction to be frivolous! Can you believe that?! They are so frustrating sometimes, it’s all about the cello with them– Er, um… I mean…

It turns out that my KDP Select term HADN’T expired. Amazon had some sort of glitch with their reporting system, but lucky author that I am, when I checked my KDP status (which was my real first thought) I still had one day left on my term. I quickly set all my books to auto renew, my twelve year old heart beating like a humming bird’s over the near miss. Had Amazon not had their little glitch, my books would have dropped off the rolls of KDP select, one by one, day by day, reducing my royalties and leaving me wondering “why? why does the world hate me?!”

falling-99183_1280A simple advanced warning from Amazon would have been nice, but crisis was averted out of sheer luck. A single day of lost royalties could result in having to forgo my sixth or even my fifth latte of the day. Had I not caught the mistake or (perish the thought) not been checking my stats on that particular day, I might have gone an entire week or more without knowing…one fourth of royalties gone in a month would be tragic (even for a twelve year old Korean girl).

The moral of the story: If you go with KDP select as your exclusive publisher (which I wholeheartedly recommend), keep it on auto renew from the beginning. If you decide after the first month or so that it’s not for you, THEN remove it from auto renew. It would be horrible to make your weekly check of royalties and discover that you aren’t getting paid anymore.

S.L. Shelton is the author of an Amazon Bestselling Political Thriller Action Espionage Series, (The Scott Wolfe Series). Check him out on Twitter @SLSheltonAuthor or Facebook



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