Technology now allows us writers to offer our books and stories to the world. Through Amazon, Smashwords, and such, indie writers can now sell their stuff to virtually anyone with access to a computer, ereader, or smart phone. As artists, we willingly check the accept box to whatever agreement these epublishers throw out there without really understanding the implications of the contract.
Case in point, I was recently banned from my Google + account because they thought I might be spamming. I set up a community as an extension of my blog and to showcase my books. Before I knew it, I was banned with no way to reinstate the account. I cannot delete the community from which I got banned because my account is suspended… catch 22.
I understand why these parameters are set up, but Google does not give detailed specifics on what is acceptable and what is not directly up front, while making it exceedingly easy to start a community and seems to encourage users to do so. Had I been warned before that a community can’t have your own name as a title, I wouldn’t have hit ‘create a community’. A pop-up notice would have been nice. This appears to be the case with most of these sites that seek to enhance their user-ship.
I also recently had an experience where I was nearly banned from KDP because some book selling website had listed my book DROP OUT for less than what KDP was charging. I had no knowledge of this and when I was informed that my nine published books were about to be banned I nearly went into hysterics. Image the God-like power of this company. A single computer assessment could have destroyed what’s taken me years to build. Just like that, my writing career could have been nearly over.
What I’m trying to say is don’t jump into these threads and communities without first reading the guidelines very carefully. I doubt there is a real human judging what’s spam and what’s legitimate information and the system works by recognizing keywords and algorithms. As of right now I am still banned from Google + and me interacting with more than 700 people in my circles. I have tried without success to lift the ban and I am now contemplating shutting down the profile entirely and starting over.
Let this be a warning to those authors looking for ways to get your books noticed. Do not blindly market without first reading the guidelines. No author should ever feel the panic I felt when I thought my publisher Amazon was about to shut me down. Until something greater in the world of selling books comes along, we are all just vulnerable pawns in this new world publishing game.
To read more about me and my books please check out my blog: ALWAYS WRITING http://www.neilostroff.blogspot.com