Thursday, March 26, 2015
Monday, March 23, 2015
My name is Elizabeth Black, and Amazon confined me to the Adult dungeon. Again. Yes, I write erotica and erotic romance, and I, like many adult fiction writers, have seen my sales drop about 90% since getting spanked by the 'Zon.
This is nothing new to me. Before I self-published my top best-selling erotic fairy tales "Trouble In Thigh High Boots" and "Climbing Her Tower" (Puss In Boots and Rapunzel, respectively), my best-selling story was "Purr", a short erotic version of Puss In Boots. It sold very well, for a time, anyway. Several years ago, it was censored by AllRomanceEBooks and Bookstrand for awhile when my publisher, New Dawning Bookfair, saw its entire catalogue eliminated during a porn purge. "Purr", along with scads of other books, went bye-bye. The catalogue was later reinstated, but I lost a lot of sales during that time. I still gained in the end because I directed readers to other places where it was published and announced that it was CENSORED BY ALLROMANCE AND BOOKSTRAND! BUY IT AT AMAZON! That alone guaranteed it would sell.
Well, Amazon has since labeled the story ADULT, which has destroyed my sales.
K. Matthews Books described Amazon's ADULT dungeon as follows: "Your book is taken out of public sight. It will not show up in regular searches. In fact, the only way anyone will ever find your book on Amazon again is if they search for it by its exact name or have a link pointing to it. Basically, Amazon does not want people to find your book. Your sales will sink faster than the Titanic, and the book will eventually fade into oblivion, never to see the light of day again (unless you appeal to Amazon, of course)."
That's what happened to "Purr". The only way to find it now is with a direct link. I can't even find it when I search for it by name with my author name. Nor can I find it by name, with my author name, and adding "erotica" to the search. The book has disappeared.
You can't find me, either, on Amazon, since there is another writer named Elizabeth Black who wrote a mainstream novel with a big publisher. She came along after me. Now, when you run a search for my name, her Amazon author page shows up. My Amazon author page is nowhere to be seen. So, I have been effectively eliminated and silenced by Amazon.
Recently, I rewrote the blurbs and changed the tags for "Trouble In Thigh High Boots" and "Climbing Her Tower" in the hope that the changes would bring the books out in the open more so they would begin to sell again. I had toned down the erotic connotations and aimed more for romance. "Trouble" had been smacked with the ADULT tag before, but I petitioned to Amazon to remove it. It did. Since making my changes, it's now labeled "not ADULT". "Climbing", which had no label at all before my changes, is now labeled ADULT. I have to petition Amazon to remove those tags.
What will get your book labeled ADULT? Erin Dameron-Hill compiled a list on her Facebook page of the kinds of things that you land you in the dungeon:
▪ No model can be handcuffed (this will instantly flag you), blindfolds are okay for now (but I don't expect them to be in the future).
▪ Handcuffs are allowed if they are separate--not on the models . The model can hold the cuffs.
▪ No side boob or big cleavage.
▪ No upper butt. (No nudity, obviously).
▪ No lower hair patch for men (or women).
▪ No sexual positions--no doggie style, missionary (or any position that implies penetration).
▪ No hands on boobs or private areas.
▪ No women on their knees in front of men (even fully clothed).
▪ No men between women's thighs.
▪ No men's faces on breasts (resting, etc--even fully clothed).
Selena Kitt recommends keeping Amazon's list of "dirty words" off your book descriptions as well as cleaning up your covers. These include:
▪ Nudity on covers (this rule changes a lot – thongs are ok so far. “Hand bras” are not ok, i.e. a nude woman with her or someone else’s hands covering her breasts).
▪ Incest is banned altogether. But pseudo-incest will get you filtered. Anything with obvious titles, especially “Daddy” and “Mommy,” but also sister, brother, siblings, uncle, family, etc.
▪ Gangbang, rape, reluctant, reluctance, nonconsent, dubious consent (dubcon), forced, or “rough” sex, strap-on – careful BDSM folks, keep an eye out, because they may come after that next.
▪ Breeding, bred or impregnation stories
▪ Any profanity or obscene language: pussy, cock, cum, tits, fuck, sex, clit, etc. (Now I really feel like George Carlin…)
▪ Lactation, breastfeeding, lactating, milky
▪ Tentacles and other mythological creatures (minotaurs, centaurs, bigfoot, etc.)
My big mistake with "Trouble In Thigh High Boots" was admitting it is, in part, a lactation story. That alone probably doomed it. I've since removed the word from the description, but the book is still hidden. "Climbing Her Tower" has light BDSM and a touch of shaving fetish, and it was slapped with the ADULT tag.
My Naughty Nights Press Night Owl Top Pick new adult novel "Don't Call Me 'Baby'" was also hidden until the second edition came out. NNP re-uploaded the book, which probably acted like a reboot, giving the book a fresh start. When you search for my name on Amazon, this book does show up on the first page. My other books don't show up until page 14 through 16, which isn't good since there are only 17 pages in the Kindle section when you search for "Elizabeth Black".
I'm in the process of fixing this mess. It's a headache. I'd much rather spend my time writing or looking for an agent.
By now you're asking, "how do I find out if my book has been sent to the ADULT dungeon?" Aside of the sudden serious drop in sales, there's another way to get the bad news. Plug in your name and/or the book's name to http://www.salesrankexpress.com/. You'll get your ranks. If your book has been slapped with the ADULT tag, it'll appear next to your ranking in big, bold, red letters. Here's my entry for "Climbing Her Tower".
Elizabeth Black | WW-Publishing | 2012-10-01
Kindle Edition | ASIN: B009KSFCF6
Languages: English (published) | Rating: "ADULT" (?)
No offer data available for Kindle books.
Top Pairing: Trouble In Thigh High Boots (Erotic Fairy Tale)
What can you do to get your books out of the ADULT dungeon? First, clean up your tags and blurbs. Eliminate the words "erotic" and "erotic romance" from your titles, subtitles, blurbs, and tags. Aim for "romance". Eliminate any sex or nudity in your covers, using the above descriptions as a guide. At least I knew my covers complied. They're actually quite classy. Then, once you've made the changes, write to Amazon at this email address:
Amazon will work with you to remove ADULT tags. Explain calmly and respectfully what you've done and request that the ADULT tag be removed. Here's what I plan to send (slightly changed from a recommended letter by Selena Kitt.):
I'm writing to request you reevaluate the title __________________, by ______________. I've changed the descriptions and resubmitted to comply with Amazon's terms of service. This book should no longer be labeled with the ADULT tag, so please remove it so that it will no longer have an adult filter, nor shall it be excluded from the all-department search. My ASIN is ____________. Thank you.
Despite writing to Amazon to request the tag be removed, Selena Kitt told me on Facebook: "If your books have been filtered in the past - even if they're now unfiltered - they will come up at the bottom of all search results. The filter kills sales."
I'm beginning to think I should stick with writing horror and thrillers. Bloodletting and violence are okay, but show a sideboob and you get banned. Amazon is also rather hypocritical about this, since E. L. James' "50 Shades Of Grey" is not filtered. Nuh-uh. That book and the entire series are runaway bestsellers, so there's no way they're going to get spanked. Amazon makes too much money from them. I'm going to take a bit of a break for awhile, and then I will work on fixing this mess. It's very aggravating. I'd rather spend my time writing and looking for an agent.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Welcome my guest, erotic romance writer Angelica Dawson. She's here to promote her novel "Blue Moon House: Slave", part of her Blue Moon House series. This series is published by Naughty Nights Press.
Will has no interest in women. He thinks them all animals to be trained, beaten. It doesn't take him long to discover his preference for men, but time and error reveal how wrong view toward women is. Before long, he is able to separate the way he treats women, which is still horrific, from the way he regards women, as fellow human beings.
How does a slave become an equal? What does it take for a young man to see women in a new light?
In the fourth installment of her Blue Moon House series, Angelica introduces Will, a slave boy from the early nineteenth century. You can purchase Slave on Amazon, Smashwords, and Naughty Nights Press.
Angelica Dawson is the author of Blue Moon House, which has been in the top ten best-selling titles at Naughty Nights Press for over six months. She has also written two short stories, “The Highest Bidder” and “Leave Taking” which were each included in anthologies.
She contributes flash fiction to several blogging collectives and excerpts from work in progress can also be found on her blog. She is active on Facebook and Twitter.
She has been writing for several years and having sex a lot longer than that. Angelica is a wife, mother and environmental consultant. Her love of plants and the outdoors is not diminished by the bloodsucking hoards – mosquitoes and black flies, not vampires.
Here is an excerpt from Slave:
He wrapped a dark scarf over Will’s eyes and tied it over his ears as well. Will could still hear, but soft noises, like the creak of the wardrobe, would be much harder to make out. “Now, be ready, for anything.”
Will wasn’t sure how he could manage that, but he tried. He told himself something was coming. Something was going to touch him. He sucked breath through his teeth when it was hot. Something very warm was being pushed into his belly, just above his still erect penis. It wasn’t scalding, but very nearly. Whatever it had been was gone, and now cool moisture dripped down his back. Oil, he was sure, but odorless. He couldn’t be sure it wasn’t water.
He gasped and pulled against his bound arms, nearly losing his balance again. Water rushed down on him. The entire ewer had been dumped upon him, drenching.
He felt softness on the backs of his legs and then a single point moving up his side, a fingertip.
He had just started to relax into the soft tingling when something cracked against his backside, flaring pain in his ass cheeks. He tried to sit back, cover the exposed skin, but Nicholas took hold of the ropes linking Will’s elbows and lifted him upright.
“Red. Tell me when you see red,” he tried to tell Will.
A second stroke landed near the first, offset just enough to not sting. He’d had punishers as careful. They made each stroke hit a slightly new area so that none hurt too much, but his entire backside burned in the same heated glow. Nicholas landed two more strikes before his lips closed on Will’s shoulder.
He groaned and leaned his head into Nicholas’, loving the feel of his soft lips, his wet tongue. Nicholas bit, and Will cried out as blood tried again to rush in and out of his penis, constricted by the leather binding him.
“More?” Nicholas asked, his hand brushing over the skin he had beaten.
The tingling made Will shudder and shake. “Yes! Yes, more!” He arched back, eager for more pain and the pleasure that rushed in behind it.
Nicholas placed his blows and then teased the skin, making Will long for release, and yet, as he was denied, he seemed to find higher planes of pleasure. He was floating somewhere that the pain couldn’t reach him. Pain was there, and he gritted his teeth against it, but it was lost in the fog of the pleasure.
“You are mine,” Nicholas said, his hand stroking Will’s penis. “Right now, I hold you completely.”
“Yes, Master,” Will answered, free in his captivity. His mind and heart were not bound to this body, they had escaped when escape seemed impossible.