Last week I published my short story collection, Voices of Lust. The stories cram a lot of sex into just a few words. And I’m not afraid of words. I use words like fuck, cock and pussy. I use lick, hard and nipples. Even cum, balls and masturbate.
So when Mischa Eliot told me that I’d been adult filtered at Amazon, I didn’t really think much of it.
“Why is that a problem?” I asked in my naivete.
My thinking was, if an adult filter exists, surely it’s applied to all erotica.
But no, that’s not the case at all. After checking, I found out that there are some really questionable titles sitting happily on this side of the adult filter.
So I looked over my product description, and changed the word “masturbate” to “fantasize”. I then sent Amazon a nice email asking for them to review the fact that they applied the filter. And I got a nice email back saying it’s been removed and sorry for any issues it might have caused.
I didn’t have to change the content of my book. Nor did I have to change the cover or the keywords. Just that one word in the description.
And I think I get it. I think I understand the reason behind that decision.
I think Amazon knows that when someone buys your book they’ve already decided they’re happy with the content. They’ve made an adult, grown up choice to read about sex.
But searching the Kindle store can be hit and miss. If something offensive comes up in the search, that hits their sales. It’s like browsing through the shelves and suddenly coming across a ten inch dildo. It’s one thing when you’re at Ann Summers, another when you’re grocery shopping with the kids.
My point is, I was naive. Hopefully you can avoid the same mistake. Make sure your description is descriptive, but avoid potentially controversial words. If you’ve been filtered already, check your description, edit it, and then email Amazon to ask for a review. I can’t promise it will work, just like I can’t guarantee that my book will stay out of the “adults only” department. Amazon might change their minds, and I can’t stop them.
But why make it harder on yourself?