The Amazon Dungeon and How To Avoid It

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

Back Door
Blow job
Daddy / Mommy
Gang bang
Knocked up
Sleep Sex
Virgin / Virginity

Risky Words You may be able to get away with these words, but there is a risk involved

Barely Legal
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.


Promoting Your Erotica

As a writer of erotica, it can be difficult to find opportunities to promote your work. Many promotion companies shy away from anything they believe could offend their more traditional readers. Heck even Amazon, a huge seller of erotica, will not accept ads for what they consider to be ‘adult’ content.

I learned yesterday that Twitter had blocked me from advertising on the app, also citing adult content

Your account is ineligible to participate in the Twitter Ads program at this time.
This determination is based on the following Twitter Ads policy:
@NHothorne: Adult sexual products and services
Details about this policy are available at https://support.twitter.com/adspolicy/adult..

So where can you turn to get the word out about your sexy book?

Paid ads in promotional newsletters such as Excite Spice and Shameless Books (both exclusively promote erotica) have produced good results for me, but they can be expensive to run.

StoryOrigin and BookFunnel are great for group promotions and building your mailing lists. Unfortunately, I have found they both have a very limited number of erotic authors registered. $100 annual fees may be a barrier to entry for some.

That is why I am looking to connect with other erotic authors and offering a free monthly promotional page on my website. The first promotion will launch October 1st and run the entire month. The promotion is Halloween themed but the books do not have to be.

Books featured can be can be for sale or reader magnets. The only real requirement is that they be erotica.

It is simple to participate. Email me a copy of your book cover and link you want me to use. I will add it to the promotional page, On September 30th I will email everyone a link to the promotion as well as copies of the image above for you to share on social media and your newsletters. By leveraging our combined followers and fans everyone will get increased exposure

This is a test launch, but if successful, I will host one promo a month. I am also looking into a way to set up an exchange where authors can connect to swap book mentions in their newsletters.

Promoting erotica will never be easy, but working together and supporting each other is a step in the right direction.

Have questions?

You can email me at NatalieHothorne@TheWomenOfPassions.com
I am on Twitter at NHothorne

One Night In Gomorrah

Cover Reveal and An Excerpt

Exploring their sexual kinks together, can be an intensely satisfying experience for couples. Communication and trust are the foundation such relationships. It also is a good idea to set limits on what is acceptable and what is not.

In One Night In Gomorrah, the newest book in the First Time Gay series, I touch on what can happen when that communication is missing and one partner feels their needs are not being taken seriously. Below is an excerpt.

Following the directions in the text I received earlier that day, I asked for Syndi at the sign-in terminal.

I was promptly greeted by a big redhead, dressed in a tight leather skirt and thigh-high boots.

Her smile never wavered, as her remarkable green eyes searched my face and body language, assessing whether I represented a threat or not.
Satisfied that I was safe, she gave me a long, graceful hand. “I am Syndi, I understand you asked to see me.”

Satisfied that I was safe, she gave me a long, graceful hand. “I am Syndi, I understand you asked to see me.”

“My wife Camilla said I should ask for you.” I clarified.

“Ah yes, you are Ted. I have been expecting you. Camilla called ahead and said she was running late. She suggested we begin the tour without her.

Normally I prefer that couples receive the tour together, but I have had your wife in enough classes to recognize that she is already acquainted with the guidelines.”

“Why don’t we have a seat in the club. The music won’t start for another half hour, so we can chat in there.”
She turned and headed through the lobby to what appeared to be the main area of an upscale dance club.

Sleek modern styles were in total opposition to the shabby exterior of the building.
“Can I get you a soft drink? We do not tolerate alcohol or narcotics of any kind in the club. I am sure you can understand why.”

Understand? Hell, I didn’t understand any of what was going on.

“I am not confident I do. What kind of club is this?”

“Oh, I am sorry, I thought Camilla had explained everything to you.”

“No, she said she wanted it to be a surprise,” trying to stifle the bitterness. “I assume it is some kind of sex club, where swingers come to hook up.”

“Not exactly. While sexual activity is permitted on the premises, we don’t see many ‘swingers’, as you call them.” She wrinkled her nose. “Here at Gomorrah, we mostly cater to individuals who enjoy the BDSM lifestyle. There can be a non-monogamous element involved, but because of the degree of trust required in Bondage and Discipline and Sadomasochism, we discourage our members from playing with partners they do not know thoroughly.”

I nodded my head, like it was all making sense.

“Even in a D/s relationship, the trust dynamics take months to develop. So no, to answer your question, we are not a swingers club.”

Then why was Quinn meeting us here?

“Your wife must care a great deal about you. She has been studying very hard for tonight.”

“When Camilla wants something, she can be fixated.” I allowed.

“Let me point out a few concepts about the lifestyle.” She began, “First and foremost, the sub’s needs always come first. This means that tonight is about you. From the outside it may sound like the Dominate is doing all the taking but the sub is ever in control. Your safe word allows you the capability to bring the scenario to a pause at anytime.”

At that point, Camilla appeared at my side. She was dressed surprisingly conservative. I had expected her to be in leather and something low cut. Instead, she wore a knee-length skirt and sweater. I had never seen the outfit before, so I knew she had purchased it for tonight, but it was more akin to what she would wear to work, rather than to a sex club.

Maybe Quinn liked his women more timid and my spouse was flipping the scenario to satisfy him.

After giving Syndi a peck on the cheek, she took the chair to my left.

“Sorry I am late,” offering no explanation.

“It is fine. I was just pointing out to your Ted, how his safe word actually puts him in control as the submissive.”

“We never bothered with a safe word. None of our play involves rough stuff.” Camilla said.

“Perhaps you were not paying as close attention as I thought.” She declared, glaring straight at her student.

Camilla withered under her gaze, dropping her eyes downward.

“Look at me Camilla.” She commanded. “Words can be as damaging as physical discipline. For some submissives it is worse than being flogged or spanked.”

“If the sub feels they have no check over the situation, the scenario can become terrifying for them and rapidly become dangerous. Only a bad Domme would allow that to take place.”
Camilla flinched at the term bad Domme.

“I am sorry, I did not mean to disappoint you.”

“Do not apologize to me, it is your partner you need to make this right with.” She said, rising from the table. “I will let the two of you talk.”

“Is that how you feel?” Camilla asked, holding my hand. Her expression made it clear Camilla had been stung by Syndi’s words.

I did not wish to be disciplined for an unacceptable answer, nor did I want to hurt my wife’s feelings on our anniversary. Regardless of the mixed emotions I had been experiencing for my wife, at that point, all I felt was tenderness.

To be castigated in the presence of her sub, by a woman she respected, must be incredibly painful. Not wanting to contribute to her misery, I hesitated, seeking my words delicately.

As always, Camilla seemed to realize what I was thinking. “It is okay Ted, you can be honest with me. I am not your Queen right now, I am your wife and I respect you.”

“I will admit, it has all moved so quickly. At times, I’ve felt uncomfortable with things you said and asked me to do.”

The truth was, as much as I had enjoyed being dominated by my wife, I was torn. The sex had been fantastic, but the humiliation had begun to affect my emotional state.

“Then why didn’t you speak up?”

“I didn’t want to ruin the experience for you, besides I loved most of it. You taking control turns me on.”

“But?”, she paused. “I can tell you are holding back. What do you not like about it?”

“I am concerned things may be escalating to a point I will no longer be comfortable with.”

“Oh, this is all my fault. I should have given you a way of expressing your fears. Syndi is right, we needed a safe word. Damn it, I ruined everything.” Tears welled in her eyes.

“Spreadsheet.” I squeezed her hand.

“What the heck are you—,” a grin appeared on her lips as understanding dawned.

I wished to see her happy. If it meant watching, as Quinn fucked my wife, I would try to get through it.

“Ted, you don’t have to do this.” She said, “We can walk out right now if that is what you want.”

“I want you to have this experience, if it is what you really want. I am not promising that I won’t stop it with my safe word, but knowing I can, gives me the determination to try.

“Tonight may be distressing for you. I am going to ask you to do things we have never done before. Are you sure this is what you want?

“I guess I do.”

“Then we should go downstairs to the rooms.”

I gave her hand a squeeze. “Yes my Queen.”

Due Out September 22nd

‘Oh, how exciting another author with a blog.’

Webster defines Natter as: to talk incessantly; chatter.

That is what you can expect to find in this space.  My random ideas on writing and sex, and hopefully a coherent thought sprinkled in here and there

I know what you are thinking…’Oh, how exciting another author with a blog.’

I get it, blogs are a dime a dozen nowadays and that is why I have resisted the idea for months.

However, I have realized that some thoughts require more than 280 characters to be expressed properly.

This is not about making money, you will never see an affiliate link in Natterings.  If I mention a product or service it is because I have had good success with it. Not because I am earning a royalty.

Natterings will be primarily about Sex and Writing


I have been blessed with a loving and supportive husband.  Together we have explored ethical non-monogamy off and on, for most of the last 20 years. 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, ethical non-monogamy is what used to be called swinging.

While this does not make me an expert on sex, it has  exposed me to a broad range of sexual experiences. The lifestyle has allowed me access to candid conversations on topics that the average person would not discuss with strangers.


As a new author publishing stories on Amazon,  I made mistakes.  More importantly, I have learned a tremendous amount from the process. 

I will be sharing those experiences and knowledge in hopes of helping new writers avoid the mistakes I made 

Please come along for the ride.