Having your Kindle Direct Publishing account suspended or terminated can be dreadful. You can lose outstanding royalties, a lifetime of work, your fan base, and even the chance of ever publishing on Amazon again. For this reason, it’s important to know the rules of the game before you start publishing on the platform.
This guide will teach you the most common reasons for account suspensions and how to avoid them. In addition, you will learn the best practices to recover your account after a suspension. The guide will cover:
- Difference between suspension and termination
- Most common reasons for suspensions and terminations
- How to recover your suspended Amazon KDP account
Account Suspension vs. Termination
Account suspension and termination are widely different outcomes. When Amazon suspends your KDP account, they restrict access until “further review.” The review period can range from a day to a couple of weeks, depending on the issue. You can think of suspensions as a slap on the wrist or some sort of warning against breaking their content guidelines.
Following the suspension of your KDP account, you will receive an email highlighting the reason for the suspension. The team at KDP might ask you to make changes to the cover design, book description, or interior. Your account will remain temporarily closed until you meet their content guidelines.
This means that in most cases, you can regain access to your account by following the given instructions. On the other hand, termination means that you’re no longer able to sell books and have lost your publishing privileges permanently. Unlike a suspension, your account cannot be recovered, regardless of the circumstances.
Most common reasons for Amazon KDP account suspensions
As noted earlier, Amazon can suspend or terminate your KDP account for several reasons. Below, we will break down the most common culprits so you can avoid losing access to your account.
1. Copyright infringement
Copyright infringement refers to the practice of producing or selling copyright-protected material without the owner’s permission. For example, Amazon won’t let you sell Stephen King’s novels on their platform unless you are King himself.
Amazon also regards duplicate content as a form of copyright violation; you can’t just copy cover designs or interior designs from other publishers. Amazon considers copyright infringement cases as very serious violations and will promptly suspend the involved accounts until the issue is resolved.
Another thing: If you are working with ghostwriters or external designers, make sure their work is original. Check for plagiarized content and other forms of copyright or trademark violations. If you don’t, Amazon may flag the content and suspend your KDP account.
2. Trademark infringement
Trademark infringements involve using a brand’s name, logo, or symbol without permission. For instance, you can’t put the McDonald’s logo on the cover of your book; Amazon will flag such behavior because the logo is property of a well-known company.
Trademarks also include slogans like Nike’s Just Do It or Apple’s Think Different. And the trademark doesn’t even have to belong to a major company. Anyone with a registered trademark can sue you for violating their property rights.
Even modifying a trademark can still land you in legal trouble. Major companies have systems to detect trademark violations in marketplaces such as Amazon. They can even put pressure on Amazon to have your KDP account permanently banned.
3. Right of publicity & privacy
The right of publicity protects an individual’s image, voice, and reputation. For instance, you cannot use the likeness of Rihanna to make money or promote your publication without her permission. If you do, KDP will terminate your account immediately, as this is a very serious violation.
4. Offensive content
Publishing offensive material violates KDP’s publishing guidelines. Such material includes hate speech or inflammatory content against a group of people or a person. Pornography is also banned, along with any depictions or glorification of sexual violence.
KDP also censors certain types of political content, such as the promotion of terrorism, misrepresentation of historical facts, and the celebration of human tragedies such as genocides and natural disasters.
5. Multiple KDP accounts
According to Amazon’s terms and conditions, you can only have one KDP account. So, if Amazon identifies multiple profiles with the same personal information, it will usually terminate the accounts immediately. (This does not include accounts owned by family members or roommates.)
6. Ranking manipulation
Ranking manipulation is any activity that’s meant to game the system in order to promote your work. The most common example is buying fake reviews, but it also includes exchanging gift cards for reviews or asking friends or family to buy products and leave reviews. Even unpublishing and republishing identical books is considered ranking manipulation.
7. Misleading meta description
Another common mistake is writing misleading meta descriptions for your books. Metadata is data that describes your book, such as the title, subtitle, author name, description, etc. KDP requires that this data be accurate. For instance, the book title keyword should be exactly as it appears on the cover page. It should also not contain any references to sales rank or promotions (e.g., bestselling, free, etc.).
8. Low-quality content
Finally, low-quality content may result in account suspension or termination. Amazon does not like bad grammar, spelling mistakes, and other forms of substandard writing. In short, if you try to promote junk on Amazon’s platform, they will remove you to preserve the customer experience.
How to recover your Amazon KDP account
We have prepared the following step-by-step guide to help you regain access to your Amazon KDP account after suspension/termination. However, it’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for recovering your account.
Sometimes, KDP’s guidelines for making changes are unclear and the communication erratic. Also, the final decision will always come from KDP. This guide therefore just outlines the best practices for what’s most likely to work.
Step 1: Take action on warnings
If you receive an email from KDP warning you of any violations, act promptly. Clarify any misunderstandings, and stick to the given deadline. You should also check your spam folder regularly for any important emails from the Amazon support team.
Step 2: Contact KDP Support
If your account has been temporarily suspended and you don’t understand why, contact Amazon KDP via the suspension email, live chat, or phone. Your first goal should be to figure out the reason for suspension. Push them to be as clear with you as possible, but always remain professional during the communication process.
Step 3: Offer a solution
Offer to remedy whatever issue resulted in your suspension. It’s important to show KDP that you are willing to work with them to develop a proper solution. In case of suspected copyright or trademark infringement, provide KDP with the necessary documents to prove that you have the rights to whatever media was flagged (licenses, rights of use, etc.).
Amazon KDP Alternatives
There is no magic bullet when it comes to restoring suspended Amazon accounts, and the steps outlined above may not be sufficient. In some cases, you can lose access to your account forever.
For that reason, as a publisher, you should work on establishing yourself on other publishing channels so you aren’t completely reliant on Amazon KDP. In the following guide, you will find an overview of the Best Amazon KDP Alternatives.
These alternative publishing services will give you more independence while acting as additional sources of income.
It’s better to be safe than sorry
Losing access to your Amazon KDP account can have huge repercussions, including loss of income. Therefore, you should always follow the mentioned guidelines to avoid getting into trouble. If you get a warning for whatever reason, take it seriously and try to fix the issue immediately.
In the long run, it is only possible to be a successful publisher on Amazon by following the site’s rules. If you are unsure about certain policies, contact Amazon KDP Support or ask your question in our self-publishing community. After all, it is always better to be safe than sorry.