What Happened to ATLANTA BOUND?

I never, ever upload a placeholder file to any digital publishing platform. Ever. I’ve heard too many horror stories of platforms releasing the placeholder instead of the final file.

But even doing everything correctly, it seems, is no guarantee of success when you’re dealing with Amazon.

Despite having a full, complete, and final .mobi of Atlanta Bound from the very beginning1, Amazon sent out a corrupted file (comprising only front and back matter, not the content) to preorder customers. Of course they waited until release day to tell me, and I immediately uploaded another fresh, full, complete .mobi file. (This can be seen in the “look inside” portion of the Amazon detail page.)

You can see it. It’s there. But Amazon won’t take Atlanta Bound out of jail.

After nine emails and four calls to KDP’s “customer service” line (where I get hung up on halfway through the option tree) there is still no move on Amazon’s part to fix their mistake. Unfortunately, Amazon will not condescend to reply to my numerous emails, phone calls, and at least one customer service chat. Atlanta Bound is still listed as “unavailable” a week after release. One of the reviews on the detail page says that Amazon customer service sent her the full, correct file when she gave them her preorder number, so at least there’s that. But the detail page is still locked, and I don’t know if other preorder customers have gotten theirs. There is literally and absolutely nothing else I can do here; Amazon is simply refusing to do their damn job.

I have unpublished the book on KDP and will be shifting it over to Draft2Digital, which holds the distinction of being a company that hasn’t screwed over multiple authors yet. That means it will be on sale through Amazon again, it will just be supplied through a different pathway. Of course the transition will take time.

If you have a Kindle, you can get the .mobi edition through my Gumroad store, and it will play nice with said Kindle in every way.

IF YOU PREORDERED THROUGH AMAZON AND DID NOT GET YOUR COMPLETE DOWNLOAD, please email me through my contact page. Upon verification of purchase, I’ll personally send you the .mobi file. I am very sorry, I did everything I could to make this a better experience for my readers, but when Amazon decides to make their displeasure with a vocal critic of their business practices known, I suppose they go all the way.

I mean, sure, this could be an honest mistake or some form of inefficiency. But I’m not thinking it is, and until something happens to change my mind that’s the assumption I’m operating under. Future books will probably not be released through the KDP interface.

Readers, I apologize. I did everything I could, and it still didn’t work out. Thank you to everyone who’s been supportive through this. Release Day is always a special kind of nerve-wrack hell, and this kind of bullshit makes it even worse.

I’ve short stories to revise and more books to write. Back to work it is.

UPDATE 1/15/19: So I unpublished Atlanta Bound yesterday morning before writing this post. Guess what happened less than two hours later? Go on, guess.

That’s right. Someone at KDP finally wrote back.

 Jan 14, 2019, at 10:58 AM,Amazon.com<[email protected]> wrote:

Hello Lilith,

My name is [[redacted]], one of the Customer Service Supervisors with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Your case has been brought into my attention.

I’m very sorry for the frustration this issue has caused.

I checked your account and see that, your book, “Atlanta Bound” is currently in “Unpublished” status. In this case, I’d request you to republish your book in order for us to investigate further.

In the meantime, I’ll reach out to our quality team to remove the error message from your detail page. I will reach out to you with an update as soon as possible.

Also, once you republished your book, we will be able to push the updated content to the customers who pre-ordered your book.

Thanks for your understanding.

Can you imagine the look on my face when I opened that email? It was somewhat close to this:

Here’s my reply:

Jan 14, 2019, at 11:40 AM, Lilith Saintcrow [[personal email address redacted]] wrote:

Dear Mr [[redacted]],
Yes, after a week of being ignored—of NINE separate emails sent through the KDP Help menu, FOUR phone calls to KDP Customer Service (all of which hung up on me halfway through the option tree), and a Customer Service chat with a very nice young man named Syed who could not fix the problem—I have unpublished Atlanta Bound. I did so, in fact, earlier this very morning. I will be publishing it (and future works) to Amazon through Draft2Digital instead of KDP. I have no desire to have KDP/Amazon continue to ignore me while profiting off my work. You can find more details here: https://www.lilithsaintcrow.com/2019/01/what-happened-to-atlanta-bound/

There are two things you can do right now:

* You can make certain the preorder customers all have the full download. This is non-negotiable. You guys messed up, you need to fix it with the customers. I expect every one of those customers to have the full download and the royalties to be clearly marked on my next statement from KDP.

* You can let me know where to send an invoice for the working time I lost while attempting numerous times to get KDP to fix their error. I bill $75/hr for freelance work; emails and the like are automatically billed at a minimum of a quarter-hour apiece.

As you can no doubt tell, I am extremely frustrated with Amazon’s lack of attention to this matter, and furthermore I am insulted that it took unpublishing the book to get any sort of response. You can, no doubt, see that I am a prolific author; KDP is well on its way to losing my future business for good.

I look forward to your prompt reply.

I don’t think I’ll get a prompt reply.

Update 1/21/19: Amazon now tells me that all preorder customers should have the full download. If you do not, please email [email protected]. The book is now listed on Amazon as well, but the reviews seem to have not come through.

They’re still refusing to pay the invoice, which lengthens every time I have to email them about this damn matter. But I didn’t really expect much else.

Making a Virtue

Amazon’s still bollixed up about the Atlanta Bound release. Ah well, all other distribution platforms are doing well, and you can get the .mobi edition through Gumroad. So if Amazon’s jackassery is getting you down and you need your final fix of Ginny, Juju, Lee, and the gang, head on over.

Yesterday was a Very Good Writing Day. I tossed out a whole scene in The Poison Prince, but at least that wrong scene had shown me what the right one needed to look like, and said right scene consequently came out with little trouble. Then I switched to HOOD and a ball; there was dancing and intrigue, all leading up to a scene change and a seedy bar brawl. I suspect this is the first of many; what is a Robin Hood story without them?

Today I have to write the actual bar fight, and figure out if the next scene in Poison Prince is the bedridden Emperor or something else. I suspect I’ll need more coffee for the latter. Epic fantasy is slow to get out the gate, and finishing the massive revise on Book 1 almost broke me. I’m pretty sure the reason I’m tearing my hair out over Poison Prince is that I want to avoid Revision Hell, but I’m not sure it’s possible. Epic fantasies, when they break out of the egg, require a certain amount of effort to train their beaks and claws. Robbing them of the exercise might make them faint, or I might just be making a virtue out of a difficult part of a process.

I also might make lasagna today, because clearly I am a glutton for punishment. Though if I’m going to do that, I should stop blogging and get started, because of course lasagna requires proper bread to go with it, and proper bread does not make itself.

I hope your week has been calmer than mine, dear Readers. We’re almost to the weekend, but for now I’m putting on my Menstrual Rage Hat and rolling up my sleeves. Let us take no prisoners and reach the weekend all in one piece.

Or, at least, in a minimum of pieces…

RELEASE DAY: Atlanta Bound

That’s right, my friends–the fourth and final season of Roadtrip Z is now making its way in the world!


Nothing matters to the walking dead but finding live flesh to chew on, and nothing matters to Ginny Mills except getting back to her family. Nothing matters to Lee Quartine but keeping his small band of survivors–including Ginny–alive. Upstate New York is overrun, other survivors are more of a danger than a help, and the rumors have begun. There’s a place where organization and government still exists, a place where a cure for the zombie virus is underway.

The problem is, that place is Atlanta, and there’s a hell of a lot of road to cover to get there. Hopefully, Ginny’s family is safe. With a little luck, Lee can get them all south without anyone else dying.

But in the middle of a winter wasteland full of chewing, shuffling undead, hope–and luck–are in short supply…

Now available in ebook directly, through Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and independent distributors. The paperback edition is here. The Kindle edition is available here, because–well, keep reading.

ETA: After six emails and four calls to KDP’s “customer service” line (where I get hung up on halfway through the option tree) there is still no move on Amazon’s part to fix their mistake. Despite having a full, complete, and final .mobi, they sent out a corrupted file to preorder customers. Of course they waited until release day to tell me, and I immediately uploaded another fresh, full, complete .mobi file. (This can be seen in the “look inside” portion of the Amazon detail page.)

One of the reviews on the detail page says that Amazon customer service sent her the full, correct file when she gave them her preorder number, so at least there’s that. But the detail page is still locked, and I don’t know if other preorder customers have gotten theirs. There is literally and absolutely nothing else I can do here; Amazon is simply refusing to do their job.


It’s been a heckuva ride; huge thanks to my subscribers on Gumroad and Patreon for being a part of it. I’m sad to say goodbye to Ginny, Juju, Lee, and the gang, and maybe someday I’ll do the story of Kasie Frank, Mandy, Carline, and Shura Halloran’s little group coming together and fighting their way to safety.

But that’s sometime in the future, if it arrives at all. In the meantime, the story rests at equilibrium, in a cafeteria. Thank you ALL for being a part of it.

The next serial is HOOD, and you can read all about it here. (You can also read the first episode for free over on my Patreon!)

And now I’m going to go put my head in a bucket, as is my wont on release days. See you in a little while…

Back to the Grind

Roadtrip Z

The last season of Roadtrip Z has ended. I’ll be sad to say goodbye to Ginny, Lee, and the gang–heaven knows they have a great deal of work ahead of them–but it’ll be nice to get into a new story. Robin Hood in Space is about to hit the ground running, and I’m pretty thrilled about it.

I took a great deal of the holidays off, with very little access to social media. Cleaning out the internal pipes, so to speak. I only finished a single short story between Yule and New Year’s, but I think it’s a good one; the Hansel & Gretel Kung Fu vibe was fun to play with.

I did get my office cleaned and reorganized. There was a lot of dusting, and a lot of getting rid of old cords and plugs. The big cabinet of school supplies is also organized; it’s strange to have only one kid in school now. Of course, I tend to overbuy office supplies, so I won’t have to get pencils again until my grandkids are in school.

May that day be far away though. I’m not ready.

What I am ready for is more work. There’s the Roadtrip Z box set to finalize, HOOD‘s first season zero draft to gear up on, another short story (Alice in Wonderland with cyborgs and dici-plagues) to trace the skeleton of, and book two of the Five Winds to begin serious work on. I also want to play with the storm-god-and-witch story, subverting a few paranormal romance tropes.

I’m starting 2019 right where I like to be: with a whole lot of work in front of me and dogs snoring in my office. Of course I’m going to roust them and go for a run as soon as I finish the morning’s built-up correspondence, and Sir Boxnoggin for one will be thrilled. Running is one of the highlights of his day.

I hope you have something you love as much today too, dear Readers. I believe we shall kick 2019 in the pants, and am already stretching out.

Let’s do this.

A Heckin Good Protec

The dogs want a run this morning. They won’t get one, mostly because my ankle is still tender. Maybe some walkies, if I can get enough coffee in me. As it is, I’m staring at the screen while sucking down as much caffeine as practicably possible, and wondering, as I perennially do after a release or a revision, why recovery takes so goddamn long. 

Even when I force myself into a couple days of doing absolutely nothing that can be considered work (I’m only allowed two hundred fresh words on such a day) it STILL takes longer than I think, and I inevitably try to go back to work, have a spasm of productivity, and then sit, staring and blinking, for about three days.

You’d think I’d have this down by now, but I don’t.

The dogs, meanwhile, are ecstatic. I cook a lot while in recovery, which means the kitchen is full of dropped scraps and lovely smells. There is much snuggling and rolling about on the floor, much playing with toys, and much repeating of “you are a GOOD dog, yes you are!”

The spasm of productivity was getting Atlanta Bound all prepped for preorder and the final chapters of Roadtrip Z prepped and scheduled for patrons and subscribers. That takes a significant load off my diminished capabilities until after the first of the year, which is welcome. It’d be nice to get the box set (all four Roadtrip Z seasons, paper costs may mean that comes out only in e-format, which would be a shame) all settled and ready to be put in the preorder pipe in January, but that’s a pretty high bar, especially if I want to re-edit the whole thing.

*sigh*

Sir Boxnoggin is letting out a series of chesty barks at short intervals, summoning me to come peer out windows at neighbors who are doing yard work. If he glimpses movement, or hears a car door slam/tree branch fall, he is ALL OVER THE BORKING. Which means, of course, that Miss B has to be all over the borking as well. After that, there’s nothing for it, Mum has to get up and investigate and make much of Boxnoggin for alerting and Doin A Heckin Good Doggo Protec. Then Miss B has to horn in and get some snuggles and pets because she did a good heckin protec too.

Consequently, I can’t finish a damn thought. Time to wrap this up and get the dogs leashed for walkies. After they stuff a great many scents into their snouts, they’ll have to come home and process, which means napping. Which means some quiet while I figure out omnibus paper costs.

Wish me luck.

Prospective Jacket

Both dogs are exhausted by roughhousing after breakfast. Which is fine by me, it’ll make walking them easier. It’s also chilly today, with a brisk wind, which Sir Boxnoggin does not enjoy. Miss B, thanks to her wonderful Aussie undercoat, is an all-weather dog, but Boxnoggin may need a jacket if it gets much colder.

I have deep philosophical objections to pet costumes, but a little pink plaid jacket to make Boxnoggin feel like a warm boy sounds delightful. I’ll have to take a handful of treats and measure him up.

He will probably try to eat the tape measure, but such is life with canines.

I spent a good seven hours hunched over revisions yesterday, which was at once a vacation–because my work days are generally about ten hours long–and a torment, because my back has decided it doesn’t like the super-fancy office chair at the moment. Time for pillows and other such things until my back decides once more I and the chair can be trusted.

I almost, almost got to the point where I need to shoehorn another scene in. I think the bastard prince needs to be on a caravan heading into the capital city of his country’s greatest enemy, and seeing the sheer size and scope of said city will have a few effects on him. He’s very much a “go big or go home” character, and it’ll be interesting if he decides to do the former in the series.

As it is, though, I just want this goddamn revision over. The book’s crept past 185K, and if one more person says “but it needs more politics!” I am going to scream like a Munch painting. Since a certain game of thrones has become popular, everyone wants to shoehorn similar things into every damn fantasy, losing sight of the fact that it’s characters people care about that drive the whole thing. Publishers are always looking to force the Last Big Thing into the Next Big Thing, whether it wills or no. Fighting that tendency is exhausting sometimes.

All the same, I love my job, and I’m sure when this book achieves its final fighting form I’ll be proud of it. I’m just tired right now, that’s all.

Which means it’s time to get out the door with the dogs. If we keep moving the wind won’t trouble us much. At least, that’s the plan.

Over and out.

COVER REVEAL: Rattlesnake Wind

There are some books that live very close to the writer’s heart, and this is one of mine.

When I was much younger than today, we moved from Great Britain to Wyoming, and the culture shock was immense. The only thing to love about the place was the wind coming over vast sweeps of long grass and whispering secrets into my aching ears. When we left again, this time to move to the Pacific Northwest, I cried as quietly as I could in the car, telling the plains and the wind I’d be back.

It took many a year, but I finally returned. Not physically, but I’m not sure it matters.

Fireside was the only publisher willing to take a chance on this book, for a variety of reasons, and the only publisher I felt comfortable trusting its bloody beating heart to; this beautiful cover was made by Eleanor Chuah. I’m proud and honored to invite you into this book, my dear Readers, and I hope you enjoy it…

The first night we spent in that ancient mobile home, the wind mouthed its corners with a low whispering almost like words from another room.

Desiree Sarpe and her family–minus their domineering, abusive patriarch–have settled on the Wyoming plains, where the wind speaks, the grass whispers, and power comes in the strangest, most ordinary of forms. Unfortunately, the past and its terrors can’t be easily shaken, and Dez is about to find out how brutal, bloody, and costly magic really is…

Coming in December 2018; now available for preorder at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and independent retailers.