Trials of the Ring Bearer

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Where the fuck were you guys two weeks ago?

I’ve got this story hanging from a chain around my neck. There’s a constant temptation to slip it on my finger and get wrapped up in the world I’ve created and forget about this arduous journey. Ignore the trials and tribulation of the “real”. Find an easy way to victory. But lo, that is not to be.

Turns out, one does not simply walk into the gates of Amazon and claim to be an author. Well, actually, they do. It really is that easy. It is also apparently incredibly easy to even skip the whole book writing nonsense and disguise yourself as a DIFFERENT author.

In the past week, I’ve had an interesting back and forth with Amazon Author Central. Half dozen or more emails, a phone call, a half dozen more emails and I think things might have gotten straightened out.

It all started with an innocent mistake. The editor of the latest anthology I’m included in asked someone to step up and help others get their own author accounts arranged. Since I was the first one to link the book to my author page, I volunteered. Everything was going well until for reasons I still don’t understand, a fellow author was given my page.

Yep. I logged into my account and in big bold letters at the top of the page it said “Hello <other author’s name>” (Well, he had a better name than that, but I don’t see the need to bus toss him.)  My bio was gone, photo missing and a few books added that weren’t works I had contributed to.

I was annoyed. Noticed it last Thursday night, fired off unanswered emails to tech support, went to bed pissed, woke up at 5 am and fired off more emails. Around 8 am, I stumbled across the “call me” option and in a reasonable amount of time had Amazon help on the line.

According to the helpdesk guy, an author had claimed my account and they just gave it to him.

Yep. Skip the walk out of the shire. Bypass the trek to Rivendell and over the Misty Mountains and through the Dead Marshes. No, take the giant eagles and come in like a kamikaze. Boom, you’re an author with a half dozen titles on your page. Sure, they belong to someone else, but hey, that’s cool.

Apparently, there’s no verification process. They simply take your word that you, whoever you are, even if your name is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from the author on the page, are telling the truth when you say “oh yeah, all that’s mine.” They then transfer your account to that person straight away.

Now, the sad thing is, this author had absolutely no intention of hijacking my page. And frankly, there isn’t much of note to hijack. All of my credits are in anthologies and ezines and an editor or publisher somewhere else has control over the purse strings. Even so, the fact that they so grossly misinterpreted his request and then so blindly executed it led to me having serious doubts about my upcoming self-publishing plans.

Even after several days, things still hadn’t been sorted out. Works kept disappearing from my page and being placed on his new page. More emails later, a snarky post on the KDP forums and  it has yet to be fully sorted out. My page and book list appears back to normal (I had to re-upload my bio and photo) but the other author’s new page shows a whole list of books from my list which don’t include his stories. Overall, not a big deal for an anthology, but if that happened with a novel – I’d be elbows deep in muck forming a horde of Urak Hai out of the creek behind my house.

So, for any authors, I urge you to contact Amazon and request they revisit their policy on page assignment and creation. At the very least, a confirmation email should be sent to the account email on record to verify that the person making the request is indeed that author.

On a positive note – I have found my editor for Collateral Damage and the quest continues! Any more trials and tribulations, bring ’em on.

2 thoughts on “Trials of the Ring Bearer

  1. Tom Howard

    Wow! Thanks for the heads up and for once again being the guy out in front taking all the orc blows. I feel bad that you had to tangle with dark wraiths to do it, but appreciate the helpful hints. I check mine after I add an anthology, but most times I have to tell them I really, really contributed to it and a couple days later they update my page. I’ll pass this onto my Nano group as I know several of them have pages. Good luck with the editor and let us know how that works out for you.

    • Russell Linton

      Well, I guess if it was easy it wouldn’t be an adventure worth blogging about. Thanks for the share – that’s exactly why I wanted to blog about the experience. In all, it wasn’t a big deal -but- I see how it could cause huge problems, especially once I get a few (hopefully selling) novels up there!

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