An Open Letter To:

Mr. Jeff Bezos
Founder & CEO

Dear Mr. Bezos, 

I am a writer with several novels for sale on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Several issues have been reported over the last while about alleged sales inaccuracies, "stuttering" book rankings and inaccessible web reports on the Amazon KDP web site. I have experienced those same problems myself. 

I went onto the Amazon KDP community forums to get information and see hundreds of posts from other writers. I gave up reading after a half dozen pages because of the vitriol and invectives being flung around. Authors are frustrated because they are getting contradictory, vague and generic responses from your support teams. There is no information out there describing what the issue(s) are, their cause or how long it will take to fix them. 

I don't make my primary income from my book sales, but many authors do. When there are issues with royalty payments (real or perceived) it directly affects the income they use to feed their families, pay the heating bill, etc. The poor state of the global economy at the moment does not help either. 

Amazon is a phenomenal platform for independent authors to utilize, dare I say the best in the world. I doubt there are many writers out there who expect you to be perfect 100% of the time. With the complex infrastructure Amazon maintains globally, things will occasionally go wrong. We understand that and know you make your best effort to keep systems operational / accurate. Those of us who live in the real world know "stuff happens" on occasion. All I request is that you keep us in the loop. A simple one paragraph statement letting us know what is going on and roughly when we can expect a resolution. That will end the speculation along with the dramatic posts on KDP and reassure people simultaneously.  

Could you have someone on your KDP team post some sort of update to answer the above concerns with solid information please? I don't think it’s too much to ask to keep your suppliers up to date.  


SJ Parkinson

October 4-5 saw the second promotion for Predation on Amazon's KDP Select program. The first promotion in August had just over 500 free downloads. The second promo was over 5300 and got me some decent exposure on several high profile websites and blogs. When Predation reached #5 in the Amazon Science Fiction rankings I was thrilled. When it reached #2 and stayed there for the better part of a day, I started to get a little anxious. I was refreshing the rankings page every fifteen minutes. Then, wonder of wonders, I moved into the #1 spot and stayed there until the end of the promotion. 

It was then that I looked below to see which books were below me in the top five. Jules Verne's Mysterious Island was at #3. I remember reading that novel when I was a teenager. It is one of my favorite books from someone I consider a master of the genre. Seeing that was humbling indeed. Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, etc. (as any reader of Predation will acknowledge) were my after school mentors in fiction. They shouldered the heavy load and inspired those who followed. They were the pathfinders and my inspiration. They showed me that it was possible. For that, I am eternally thankful. 

To take sole credit for placing in the #1 sci-fi book slot would be arrogance personified. Lynn, Christine, Imogen and Predation editor Rosemary all assisted me with advice or assistance. There were many others in the various writing groups I subscribe to as well. When you are starting out, you blindly stumble until you come upon a friendly hand who steadies you. The path becomes easier after that.  

To paraphrase Rockefeller; If I seem to be a big man, it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants. 
Thanks to everyone for their support and encouragement.