If you have been writing erotica for any length of time, you probably know about the Amazon dungeon. It’s not the fun BDSM kind either. It is where the retail giant sends books that have been flagged as Adult.
This is a problem for a couple of reasons. Books labeled as Adult will not surface in product searches. Even worse, when someone buys a book in your genre, Amazon makes recommendations of other books they might enjoy. Flagged books do not get recommended, even if the customer bought one of your non-flagged books. This means lost potential sales.
The book giant makes a profit from your books and wants people to find them. At the same time they want to avoid offending the more conservative portion of their customer base with works they deem to be overtly graphic or outside the accepted norm. Thus the adult flag that gets you cast to the basement.
There are certain things that are just non-starters.
Offensive content We don’t sell certain content including content that we determine is hate speech, promotes the abuse or sexual exploitation of children, contains pornography, glorifies rape or pedophilia, advocates terrorism, or other material we deem inappropriate or offensive.
Violate this policy and you won’t end up in the dungeon. Just as with Trademark Infringement, Copyright Violation and Plagiarism; your book will be banned, ALL of your royalties withheld and your account locked. You will never publish on Amazon again.
Stay out of the dungeon by avoiding these mistakes
Book content isn’t what gets you put in the dungeon. Unless a customer complains, no one at Amazon even looks at what is on the inside of your book.
Covers, Titles and Descriptions are the biggest areas where authors run afoul of the standards police.
Don’t show breasts or genitalia on covers. Make sure those areas are covered and I don’t mean with someone’s hands. No hand bra. No lewd poses or hands down the pants.
They also really hate butts.
Title, Subtitle and Blurb
Your book is about sex, every one gets it, so you don’t need to beat them over the head with lots of raunchy words. I know everyone is trying to standout from the crowd, but the key is not to take it too far.
Words To Avoid Certain words in your title or description are sure to draw unwanted attention
Daddy / Mommy
Virgin / Virginity
Risky Words You may be able to get away with these words, but there is a risk involved
Slut / Slutty
Young / Younger
It’s not hard to stay out of the dungeon, there are plenty of workaround words and phrases you can use. Here are a few examples—
If you want to reference virgins, do it in a more discrete way, like “first time” or “first experience”
Replace Incest with Taboo
Replace Daughter with Little Girl
Signs You Are In The Dungeon
A week after a very successful launch of my first book, I noticed sales and page reads had dropped to zero. No sales could be a sign your book has been dungeoned.
If people are telling you that they can not find your book, there is a chance it has been flagged as Adult
You can quickly check if your book has been banished with a free tool from Bookspry.
By entering the ASIN number, I was able to confirm that Loving Laurie had indeed been flagged as Adult.
What To Do If Your Book Is Flagged
Don’t panic. It is not a lifetime sentence. Amazon will work with you to get out of it. They don’t want you in there either.
If you have been paying attention you should already have a pretty good idea of where you went wrong.
You first response my be to whine and scream -—
“But everyone uses those images and words.” As my mother use to say, “I don’t care about everyone else.” And neither will Amazon if they come for YOUR book.
What they want is for you to fix the problem
That will usually mean reworking the cover, title and/or description. After you have uploaded your changes, contact Amazon using the CONTACT US button at the bottom of the HOW CAN WE HELP page. Select Contents And Rights Notifications —>Notification about Rights Review and or Content Guidelines
Using the reply box -Inform them that you have fixed the issue and politely request a review of your book and the removal of the Adult flag. REMEMBER this is not the time to complain or point out other books that are similar to yours. No one likes a tattletale and your whining will just irritate the only people who can help you
Next week I will be taking a closer look at KEY WORDS
Hopefully first-time erotica authors can learn from my errors and save themselves hours of frustration and lost sales by avoiding the mistakes I made.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me at nataliehothorne@TheWomenOfPassions.Com
While you are here why not check out my newest releases.