Notice the dramatic changes in erotic books over the last couple years. Market saturation has become the norm, leaving authors to fend for themselves at a loss to figure out the reasons for their rapidly declining sales. What happened?
Amazon has erotic issues!
While self-published authors try hard to locate multiple distribution sites, they remain unaware of any good solution capable of competing with Amazon sales. Authors agree Amazon excels as the best place to publish erotic eBooks. But Amazon keeps censoring books resulting in banned author accounts, and confiscation of authors’ hard-earned royalty money.
Authors who grow increasingly tired of Amazon’s repeated issues are learning that other solutions, such as Lot’s Cave exist, and will publish their Amazon censored erotica. They disagree with the idea of Amazon being the only place to make money. Additionally, successful self-published authors find they can bypass Amazon’s exclusive publishing deals.
With controversial erotica being the bestselling subgenres of erotica in today’s market, many self-published authors find they can’t publish their books on Amazon. One of the best ways to get your book or account banned for life is by publishing incest or bestiality themed erotica. Because of this content censorship, many readers looking for taboo based erotica no longer search Amazon’s website as it yields either incorrect or poor content results. This leaves many authors questioning the effectiveness of Amazon’s market for the book’s target audience. With no readers to buy their books, what money do authors stand to make?
Looking at Amazon’s latest censorship trend while pooling together the combined experiences of erotica authors, let’s analyze Amazon’s publishing policy and the significant difficulties one must hurdle.
Guidelines Aren’t Clearly Stated or Consistently Applied: Many books on Amazon contain content that authors know aren’t within Amazon’s Content Guidelines. Popular books containing BDSM, bestiality, incest, and more can be readily found on Amazon’s website. Yet Amazon uses the popular, ‘unsuitable content’ blanket term to regulate author’s controversial content. In no other genre is this issue raised more than self-published erotica. This means authors never know if their content is within guidelines, even if they try to meet Amazon’s murky standards.
Amazon Doesn’t Publish Incest, Bestiality, Dubious Consent, or BDSM: While Amazon’s policy is to not publish BDSM, incest, bestiality, or dubious consent, readers can find the subject broadcasted across the Amazon bookstore. Self-publishes find their books banned, while books from notable publishing companies have no problem selling their books. Complicating issues is Amazon’s sexist policy for adult erotica. Covers depicting women in BDSM themed bondage is quickly banned, while a male in the same situation is quickly overlooked. This conflicting standard happens repeatedly across various erotic subgenres indicating a company bias if not outright sexist policy.
Complaints Against eBooks Are Indiscriminate With No Appeal: Amazon’s customer first policy only complicates an author’s ability to provide quality content. Controversial erotica will always raise complaints despite artistic value, political merit or moral point to be made. At times, Amazon users ban books they haven’t even read leaving them with wrong impressions. Complicating matters are religious standards against any adult material, even in an artistic light. This indiscriminate policy victimizes authors, leaving them with no way to appeal Amazon’s mistake.
Banned Accounts Result In Lost Royalties: Getting a book or account banned may seem like the worst thing Amazon can do, but it gets worse, much worse. A banned account can mean the entire account is frozen, with all funds confiscated and reverting directly to Amazon’s bank account. Because Amazon delays royalty payments, this confiscation can result in authors losing several months’ worth of sales. Amazon’s policy states ‘If we terminate this Agreement because you have breached your representations and warranties or our Content Guidelines, you forfeit all Royalties not yet paid to you.’ Making this issue worse, is a banned account means authors can never make a new account because, ‘If after we have terminated your account you open a new account without our express permission, we will not owe you any Royalties through the new account.’ This is true regardless of a mistake on Amazon’s part, or whether a valid ban took place.
Feel free to share your personal publishing frustrations!