CENSORED: Artificial Intelligence as Judge, Jury, and Executioner…


The email from KDP/Amazon opened cordially.

Hello,  We hope this email finds you well.

We are terminating your account effective immediately because you have multiple accounts, which is a violation of our Terms and Conditions. 

WTF! Cancelled! An author’s worst nightmare.

Apparently, some authors try to game the system by opening multiple accounts to exaggerate sales, create hundreds of fake reviews, sell old content as new with a new cover, and other transgressions. But not me. I  wrote back to protest that I have always had only one account as per terms of service. Please explain how, why, when? Please provide evidence.

As per our policy,  we reserve the right to disclose any type of information we
consider sensitive data and we’re unable to elaborate further on specific
details regarding our terms and conditions…

Surely “the right not to disclose information” was what was intended by the boilerplate deflection of a reasonable request?  I kept pressing for details. Each time a different content review staff member would either stonewall or come back with a new definition of the offense: Guilt by association.

We are confident that your account is related to an account that has already been terminated due to violations of our Content Guidelines. As a result, we will not be reinstating your account.

This provided a clue. Amazon also cancelled the account of my layout & cover designer, himself an author, and several of his clients for whom he had uploaded large book files when their internet connection kept failing. He did this for my 580 page ADVENTURES. It seems an Amazon Bot, tracking IP address and accounts, in a crackdown on TOC violators, had identified one of his clients, not me, as having more than one account.

Therefore all  his clients, for whom – with permission – he provided this upload service, they must be violators too. Their accounts must be cancelled and their books removed from Amazon’s site. Providing proof of actual multiple accounts is unnecessary.  The Algorithm has spoken. And Algorithms are never wrong. Right?

So I provided my explanation as to how data might have been been misinterpreted. My “violation” had occurred at a time when KDP allowed an employee of the author to help manage files. Eight months after ADVENTURES was published, KDP changed this in new terms of service.  Six months later the newly activated Bot applied the updated TOC  retro-actively regardless of original publication date. A human response from a publisher to an author’s problems was deserved; instead, the cold implacable logic of A I.

Upon further review, we are upholding our previous decision to terminate your
account and remove all your books from sale on Amazon.

This includes my time-twisting paranormal thriller ALICE THROUGH THE MULTIVERSE, uploaded solely by myself from my computer in 2018.  Gone, Baby, Gone.


I kept appealing. But computer programs are blind to nuance, indifferent to explanation. Techno-solutionism rules. And call centre employees who want to keep their jobs must not override an Algorithm. It is Math, impervious to error.

Beware of the increasing power and authority of Artificial Intelligence.

Please be advised that this is our final decision and we won’t be offering further insight or action on this matter. You are not permitted to open new accounts and will not receive future royalty payments from additional accounts created.  – Amazon Content Review Team

Case  closed. Catch 22 meets Kafka. Will an Algorithm have the power one day to ban books from schools? How easy will that be to reverse?


Needless to say, there were a host of authors victimized in this data misinterpretation. And a host of lawyers on-line ready to right their wrongs.

For a fee.

We’re All Ex-Amazonians. We’ll Reinstate Your Seller Accounts Suspension The Right Way!  Amazon Sellers Attorney 10:19

It can only be solved by appeal. We write the appeal for you, with any amendments required by the lower levels and Amazon and include an escalation to higher management if your appeal is denied. You copy and paste our work into an email to Amazon. In most cases Amazon insists that any and all related accounts are reactivated. We offer our services for a fixed, non-refundable fee of $1750.

I chose not to go this route. It would be a Pyrrhic victory at best. I have republished ADVENTURES through Ingram Spark, the second largest distributor of books after Amazon. It is available to be ordered at Barnes & Noble, and other book sellers. Ingram Spark has outlets in the UK, ( inc: Foyles, Gardners) and in  Australia (inc: Booktopia, Fishpond) ALICE THROUGH THE MULTIVERSE will follow.

ADVENTURES had over 70 x 5 STAR reviews on Amazon, now all wiped. Reviews are vital to an author. There are  still reviews on Goodreads. Here’s one:

Jon Hewitt’s review Nov 20, 2020

“Fabulous read, particularly the early years! BTS is a very rare breed (outside of a studio system) – a feature film director with a very long career and heaps of credits, including all the sploitations from oz to god! Revealing and funny. Highly recommended.”

Christopher rated – it it was amazing
“Let’s get my biases out of the way first.

First, Brian wrote a funny, terrific foreword to my book, Mine’s Bigger Than Yours! The 100 Wackiest Action Movies. And he’s a really good Mensch.

Second, as a genre film-obsessed Canadian, I feel a kind of kinship with our pals Down Under. Much like our Tax Shelter era horror films of the 70s, a bunch of plucky action films helped get Aussie films noticed abroad. And two geographic neologisms were coined: Canuxploitation and Ozploitation.

The latter is thanks in large part to Trenchard-Smith, with his unabashedly fun (and action-packed) efforts like Turkey Shoot, Stunt Rock, and my personal favorite, Strike of the Panther.
The Man from Hong Kong is accurately described by Film Ink as “about as good as an Australian riff on James Bond that you were ever likely to see at that time.”

As a bonus: BTS helped launch Nicole Kidman’s career too, putting the at the time curly-haired young actress into his charming action/kids movie, BMX Bandits.

Anyway, I’m the perfect audience for Adventures in the B Movie Trade.

There are lots of terrific behind the scenes insights about the shoots and Trenchard-Smith’s somewhat unlikely rise to prominence and a fellow whom Tarantino would eventually cite as an inspiration.

Luckily for the reader, he’s as good a craftsman on the page as he is a film director.

If you order a paperback copy of ADVENTURES IN THE B MOVIE TRADE from Barnes & Noble, please give it a review. In a few weeks, I will publish a hardcover edition with 200 pictures in color.