What to Do If You Get Banned by Amazon KDP and They Won’t Let You Back In, No Matter What

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Apologies for the insanely long article, but I think this is important to discuss. If you see anything here that needs correcting, adding, subtracting, etc. you will NOT hurt my feelings. I just want to help. Feel free to give any feedback to anything you see here that needs tweaking.



Okay, so the conventional wisdom is that once Amazon gives you one of its nearly ubiquitous lifetime bans for something dumb, untrue, or irrelevant, you’re done. There’s nothing you can do. You can’t sneak back in. They will find you. You can’t make money anywhere else because they have monopolized the publishing industry at a rate of 90% or so.



That is total nonsense. While Amazon is certainly a brilliant company with whom many people can make their supplemental incomes of $500 - $10,000 a month or so, that company is also childish and a bit insane.



That said, no hard feelings against them. After all, when you’re the 800-pound gorilla in the room, no one is going to criticize you for being about as intelligent as one.



So if you were banned for… let’s say… offensive content or doing something else that Amazon doesn’t like, here are some things to do to get your account back. (You need to do all of them).



First of all, this is a game of Where’s Waldo. You hide in the crowd. Just like if you go out in public and wear a disguise, it’s harder to recognize you. If you go to a parade in New York City wearing a disguise, even harder. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to hide in the crowd and never get caught. So how do you do that?



First things first.



1. Learn to follow Amazon’s rules. For offensive content, Amazon just doesn’t like certain things. They don’t read your books, and I don’t even think they have AI technology to read your books (for now), but they do read your synopsis. Make sure it’s not too racy. No curse words. No overtly explicit sexual descriptions. Nothing about nonconsensual or dubious consent, bestiality, etc, even if these things occur in your book for purposes of titillation. No nudity in your book cover (shirtless men are fine. Scantily clad women are fine. No nipples. No private parts. Nothing you could find on a pay porn site. Absolutely no one who looks like they could be underage. You see my point here).



2. As of the writing of this post in late 2019, it is my humble opinion that while Amazon can catch a LOT of things, they actually don’t have the ability to determine which books were written by authors they have banned. So if you happen to get your account back by following these steps, you can safely use the same books. If, however, you’re paranoid about it, just change the title and the cover, but be sure to note the original title in your blurb so as to avoid reader complaints who buy your book a second time and didn’t know they were doing so. Something like, now with a new title and cover, previous title was X, is good enough.



3. Amazon is flakey, crazy, and inconsistent in following its own sparsely written policies. If you get your account back by following these steps and they happen to ban one of your books again, let it go. Don’t resubmit it. Don’t try to fix it. Write another one and try again. Do NOT argue with Amazon. Never send them an even slightly curt email. Never be anything but nice.



4. If you get your account back by following these steps, keep your communication with Amazon to a minimum. Write them with their contact form if you absolutely need to, but don’t sign the email, don’t say thank you when they respond, keep it business and let that be it. You don’t want to draw too much attention to yourself.



So how do you get your account back? This is mainly for US citizens, but you may be able at least to apply these concepts in your own country if not the US.



Change Everything



1. Different tax ID number.



When you sign up for Amazon, you have to fill out a tax form. Most small time authors use their social security numbers. If you got banned, do not use the same tax ID number (social security number). You can go on the IRS website and apply for an EIN (which is just another number you can use for a sole proprietorship) which they will give you ONE for your lifetime, even if you have more than one business. I’m not going to get into how to do that. If it’s too much to understand, call your accountant and they can help you.



But I was already using my EIN, you might say. Then set up an S corp LLC. Your accountant can definitely do that for you. It costs a few hundred dollars to set up, and then a little less of a few hundred dollars per year, which you have to pay to the Department of State where the LLC is registered. But if you were earning $500 a month or more, it’s probably worth it. Call the LLC anything you like. If you’re name is Tina, call it Tina’s Book Sellers, LLC. The name is not important.



2. Different mailing address



Whether you set up an LLC or not, you have to give Amazon a mailing address. DO NOT use the same mailing address you used for your banned account. If you set up an LLC you’ll need a mailing address anyway.



But I don’t have another address, you might say. Go to http://www.anytimemailbox.com/ (I receive absolutely nothing for putting that link, and if there are services you would rather use, I encourage you to do so). They will give you a physical mailing address you can use for Amazon and for your LLC if you need to set one up (so do this first). If you’re setting up an LLC, use this new address for your LLC as well. It costs a monthly fee of a little more than $10, and then there are some other occasional fees, but depending on your earnings from KDP, it can be worth it.



3. Different telephone number



Do not use the same telephone number you used for your banned account. Go to a website that will give you a throwaway number that you can use. http://www.tossabledigits.com/ is a good place to go, but there are others, so take your pick. Set up your phone number to forward to your cell phone, and be sure to choose one from a large city, as those often have text messaging services built into them as well. When you first sign up for an Amazon KDP account as of now, they will text you a verification code to the phone number you give them, so you need to have this set up correctly so you can get the text message and verify your new KDP account through your throwaway number. As for taking calls, feel free just to select never forward calls (which means you won’t get spam calls), as the chances that Amazon will call you for anything are almost zero. You can even want them to call you, and they won’t do it. That might be changing, but for now, that’s how it is. Use this telephone number for your LLC as well if you are setting one up.



4. Different email address



Don’t be lazy. If you signed up with a banned email address, obviously you can’t use that one again. It’s simple and free to set up a new email address. Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, whatever. Just use a different one. You’ll need to input your email address when you sign up for your new KDP account.



5. Different password



This is one no one thinks about, and maybe Amazon doesn’t think about it either, but I advise against using the same password you used for your banned account and your new account. Choose something else, keep it noted somewhere, and you’ll never forget it. I believe Amazon probably has the capability of tracking the same password, with a human being investigating if that happens, so avoid that by simply choosing a different password.



6. Different IP address



Yes, Amazon can tell if you log in from the same place you always have. So you need a different IP address. You can do this by going somewhere like http://www.hidemyass.com/ and they will help you to log in from a different IP address. I recommend logging in from a city in the country where you are registered, but that is different than your own, if possible. If you’re in the US, you’re in luck, because HMA has IP addresses from many different cities in the US.



7. No cookies



This one trips people up. You need to clear ALL your cookies, because even if Amazon can’t tell you’re logging in from the same place (by using a different IP address), it can tell if you’re using the same computer. For the tech non-savvy among us, it’s worth it to take the computer to your local tech shop and simply tell them to do this for you and pay them. If they ask why, tell them. It’s not their business anyway. If you use Internet Explorer, you can also Google how to have your cookies deleted every time you close your browser. While this can be annoying for those that don’t like to sign in to their accounts every single time, it is worth it. Cookies are a big NO NO for Amazon. Delete them and keep them as little as possible.



8. Name change



This one is not entirely necessary, but it may help. For example, if you’re name is Robert Smith and that was the name you used to sign up for your banned KDP account, try using Bob Smith for your new one. If you don’t have a name that has a natural diminutive, then just use your initials. This may not be possible when you sign your tax form, but it’s not likely Amazon will be able to compare names like that, so you should be fine.



9. Different bank account



If you use a large bank, go online and set up a new savings account. There is often a minimum threshold where you don’t have to pay a monthly fee (which is why it is better than checking). Amazon sends payments via ACH to bank accounts, and it can track the same number and thus find your new account and ban it again. You need a new bank account with a new number. If you have a small bank, just stop by and tell them you want to open a new account. They will do that for you no problem. When you sign up to be paid with KDP, just use your new bank account information, and Amazon will not be able to link the account to your banned account this way.



10. Wait six months



Even if you do all of the above, I suppose it is possible that some employee at Amazon will see your books, recognize them, and ban your new account. The simple way to avoid this is to wait six months. It’s well known that Amazon is highly abusive to its employees, and eventually they inevitably get tired of it and leave. That is especially true in their book review department. Wait six months till 90% of their employees are new and the other 10% has had time to forget about you, and then you should be fine.



Once you set up your new account, what do you do?



1. Set up the new KDP account with all the NEW information above, from the new IP address, no cookies, and let it sit for a week or two. Waiting that long may not be necessary, but I do recommend it because I think you can never be too careful.



2. After a week or so, put up a few books every day or two. If you’ve written 100 books, you want to take your time submitting them to Amazon, as submitting them all the same day or week will alert the bots of unusual activity. Put up four or five books, wait for them to be approved, and once they are live put up four or five more. Do this until you have all your books up.



A Few Things to Remember



Use this new account for your purchases as well (but don’t buy with the same credit card number you had on file for your banned account!). See if you can google how to close your old account. I believe Amazon can catch you by the fact that you log into your old account. Using a different IP address to log into your old purchasing account than you use to log into your new KPD account should be fine, but please remember to set up your browser to ALWAYS delete cookies when you close your browser.



As of 2019, it is not necessary to change your pen name or to throw out your old work. You can still use what you have written, but you want to be smart. Don’t run afoul of Amazon’s unwritten, unfair, unclear, inconsistently enforced, and insane rules, and you should be fine.



Please note, this information may not be true forever, but from what I can tell, it is now. I believe Amazon will eventually have the technology to compare new submissions with banned book material to catch people who have tried to set up a new account, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for now.

Have you done this before?

No comment. :)
 

dhanikq

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Is it recquire to use the another device? Recently got banned from KDP . And there is any way to use same PC - Using different telephone, tax, bank account?
 
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