For those of you who didn't notice the refund notification in your inbox, I was forced to cancel and refund everyone's Amazon.com orders in full. Why? Well, here's the whole headache—I mean story...
Long before the party and the amazon.com explosion, I sent an email to Amazon support, asking them if I could sell pre-orders with an FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) Merchant Account. The response was, "If a book it posted as pre-order and it Merchant fulfilled, it would work as intended. If you would want to use FBA for the same, it would not work at all."
So I followed that advice. I set up a Merchant Account (in which I fulfill the orders) listed Kestrel's Midnight Song for sale, and sold pre-orders on the party day. (Thanks everyone!)
Amazon.com has a policy for its sellers that states all products must be shipped within two business days of the order.Obviously, since I sold pre-orders, fulfilling that policy was not going to be possible. But I didn't think that was a big deal.
I was wrong.
There's a nice shiny button you get to press that "confirms shipment." I thought the button sends a message to the buyer notifying them that the order had been shipped and sends a green light to the Amazon.com people watching to make sure I don't steal everyone's money. So I figured if I pressed it, and then sent a message to everyone letting them know that the pre-orders would be delivered on schedule—months from then—everything would be fine.
I was wrong.
A couple days later I got an email from Amazon stating my account was being reviewed. My profits were being temporarily withheld.
I sent them an email stating what happened and that it was all a small misunderstanding.
The response was that my account was now being suspended, and that I'd committed a serious offense.
I'll spare you the details of the back and forth. It all concluded with Amazon telling me to refund everyone's orders. So I did.
I'm not sure what the original amazon.com support person was thinking, but I'm at least partially to blame. My biggest mistake was my false presupposition that the deal-making would take place between me and the customers. I saw Amazon Marketplace as resembling a real marketplace. Amazon.com provides the location; I set up shop and sell stuff. As it turns out, it's nothing like that. Amazon closely monitors and surveys and regulates all transactions.
So, I'm very sorry for the hassle and confusion, everyone. I appreciate the support you showed in ordering lots of copies of Kestrel's Midnight Song. However, there is a bright side in all of this!
As of today, you can re-pre-order Kestrel's Midnight Song straight from my website (done securely through PayPal.) The good part about that is there's no restrictive Amazon.com shipping policy (in which every copy sold must include a $3.99 shipping charge) or fees. So that means the pre-order is now cheaper! $9.95 with a flat shipping charge of $2.38, no matter how many copies you order. So go re-pre-order your signed copies now! And if any new people want to join in, feel free. ;)
All original transaction deals will be honored. So, for instance, if you ordered five copies the first time, and you order at least 5 copies this second time, you still get all the free stuff you would have gotten before.
Please note that the pre-order price is temporary. The low pre-order price on Amazon was intended to be a short-time thing, and this is too.
And... oh, right. The party reschedule! It will be in July. That much is certain. I'm still waiting to hear from someone who—I just discovered—has been on vacation for a month. If you don't know what party I'm talking about, check this out. Mwahaha.
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