Last week, I realized my book had been labelled "ADULT" by Amazon.
That means it was not showing up in any search for "Invisible Ink" or the site. It also wasn't able to show up as a suggested title for anyone that had bought a similar book.
If you want to know if you're in the dungeon too, go to http://salesrankexpress.com and see if you get the ADULT in red next to your title.
After figuring this out, I nearly had a heart attack. Some other author friends of mine have reassured me the ADULT label isn't that big of a deal. After all, readers can still find a book through social media interactions, ads on Facebook and Twitter, and the book is for sale on other sites like Smashwords and All Romance Ebooks, anyway.
So who really cares about Amazon, right?
Well, I don't need to tell you that the world of book marketing is tough for a newbie like me. I'm pretty much winging it every day, figuring things out as I go along. Hosting Facebook parties, planning out Tweets, blogging whenever I think of anything to blog about.
All of these things are the better ways to reach readers than a stupid Amazon search. After all, as someone pointed out to me today, the chances of my book rising above the sea of crappy erotica out there in a suggested title list is slim to none.
Also, who really cares because the content of books like Invisible Ink IS ADULT CONTENT. It is full of sex. So, if Amazon wants to stop kids from being able to search for it, that's their right. I understand that argument in theory, but in practice, it's ridiculous, because books like 50 Shades of Grey are NOT under the ADULT filter, despite the fact the content is just as dirty as an indie book like mine.
Therefore, getting out of the ADULT dungeon does matter to me as a matter of principle. There is nothing about my book that is dirtier than erotica that DOESN'T have the adult label. I honestly am not even sure why the adult filter exists if it's not applied to ALL EROTICA on Amazon's site.
Instead, it's applied completely subjectively, title by title, mostly to indie publications, not traditionally published books. And it seems that my book was put into the dungeon because of its cover. Thanks to Amber Lea Easton, I was able to put a NEW cover on the book and cross my fingers I would get out of the dungeon.
Then this morning, I received this email from Amazon in response to my request to be removed from the dungeon:
I read this and about fell over. This was seemingly in reference to my NEW cover, which is not explicit at all.
Here are the two covers, side by side.
As you can see, Amber added a ton of shadows to obscure any female nudity on the new cover. The hint of nipple is no longer visible.
I actually LOVE this new cover even more than the old one.
But I was beyond confused why the NEW cover would still be considered "ADULT." And yet here was an email telling me it was.
Most annoying part? You can't just call up Amazon and talk to them about an issue like this. Your only recourse as an author is to continue to email, email, email, until you get an answer.
I was beyond frustrated. How could I tone this cover down even MORE to please Amazon? Do I really care? Does escaping the ADULT dungeon matter to me that much?
Then, a few people I know searched for the book on Amazon's web site.
AND IT WAS THERE.
So, I am in fact OUT of the dungeon, despite the email from Amazon I got this morning.
Does that really make sense? No. But do I care? NO, because I'm out of the dungeon and that's all that matters!
I still think Amazon's policies are beyond confusing and that there should be a way to talk to a human if you are placed in the ADULT category and shouldn't be there.
In the meantime, I'm still going to encourage all my readers to buy from other, more author friendly sites.
So, go here:
And support independent authors!