I’ve never been this frustrated with Amazon.com’s Kindle Direct Publishing. In fact, I’ve never been frustrated with KDP at all.
But I am now. As you know if you read this blog regularly, I am having trouble with the Kindle edition of my new novella, Beauty & the Beast: A Modern Fairy Tale. I struggled mightily to get it to upload. No matter what format I sent it in (and KDP accepts several), I kept getting the following message:
Note the error message in red: “We couldn’t process your file. Please try again.”
It’s maddening on a couple of levels. KDP fails to mention what was wrong. It seems to indicate it might work next time — “Please try again.”
This has been happening over and over for a week now on every file type with one exception — .mobi. That’s the file format for Kindle. So the issue appears to be that Amazon is having trouble converting from a Word, HTML, or text file to Kindle format.
I’ve checked my coding. I’ve done everything just as I’ve done for the other five books I’ve published with KDP that all went up without a hitch. My file size isn’t too large. I’m using a file format KDP claims is compatible. My cover image is within their regulations. I even started with a fresh file, taking the base manuscript and completely recoding it from scratch.
But “We couldn’t process your file. Please try again.” Ad infinitum.
Naturally, after doing everything I could to eliminate the problem on my end, I contacted tech support, especially after I heard other authors were having the same problem.
Here’s the thing, though. You can only contact tech support via email. There is no chat service. There is no phone number you can call. If you call KDP’s customer service (which I did), they just tell you have to email tech support about tech problems.
And tech support gets back to you in around 24 hours. That’s right. You send them an email saying you’re having trouble getting your files to upload, and they reply tomorrow.
And what do they write? The first response read,
“I’m sorry about the inconvenience you had when trying to upload your book’s content. We were experiencing an ongoing issue with this matter but I can confirm that the problem has now been corrected.”
They could confirm it was fixed. But it wasn’t. So I emailed them back saying so. I got the following response.
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I apologize for your experience with uploading your book. I’d like to get this issue resolved for you as soon as possible, will it be possible for you to send us a screen shot of the actual message you’re getting during the process? This will be effective for our technical support to troubleshoot it without any delay.
while you’re doing that may I also suggest, if possible, for you to use another machine so that we can eliminate all source of potential problems?
Thanks for your patience while we work on a solution.”
Prior to their suggesting I use another machine, I had done just that. I tried uploading from three different computers at three different locations. The only thing that worked was using Mobipocket Creator to convert the files to .mobi. But that changed the formatting so that the book didn’t look as sharp. Blank lines were stripped out, making the book harder to read.
After I messed around for a couple days trying to fix it myself through the work-around I’d discovered, I gave up and emailed them again, this time attaching the screenshot they’d requested. I got the following reply:
“I’m very sorry for any frustration this issue has caused.
We’ll need a little time to look into the content uploading issue.
We’ll contact you with more information by the end of the day on “Saturday, October 12.”
Thanks for your patience.”
I got that reply 24 hours after I queried them on Friday. So it will take them a week to update me on the problem.
This isn’t technical support. KDP does a lot of things well (and their techs and customer service people are extremely polite — something Amazon should be commended for). But asking me to wait one to seven days while you look into a technical problem is not “support.”
Moreover, each time I received a reply it came from someone different. So, despite my corresponding with KDP three times and my replying to their messages, not starting a new one, I heard from a different tech each time. There does not appear to be a ticket started on my issue. None was referenced in any of the correspondence. So I’ve no guarantee anything is being done about my problem, nor can I expect there is a history that whomever does look into this can look up.
KDP’s customer service is wonderful, and the opportunity Amazon.com provides for indie publishers like me is terrific. But if something goes wrong on a tech issue, they are not equipped to handle it well. They need a tech support phone line. They need a chat service. And they need to respond faster than 24 hours later.
I’ll keep posting in this space about the ongoing saga with KDP’s tech service. I’m hoping to upload a new version of Beauty & the Beast: A Modern Fairy Tale as soon as possible, so I can clean up the formatting issues the work-around caused and add a thank you to Katie Darden for helping me get the book published in the first place.
Whatever’s wrong with Amazon’s platform needs immediate attention. So does KDP’s tech support.