Hi everyone and welcome to my first post of 2014. I hope that you are all starting the year rested and with renewed ambition to succeed in your chosen craft. 2013 was a year of change for many of us with hard to understand guideline changes from big guns Amazon et al making the business of earning a living from writing a book even more difficult than it already was. So what changed?
For me the biggest loss I incurred was the disappearance of most of my titles from 'public' view. Amazon changed the game, as it so often does, brought on by panic and indecision that left many authors (especially in the erotica genre) scratching their heads as sales were halted. Amazon's policy was:
"What we deem offensive is probably about what
you would expect."
Really? What I would expect? Ok, so that would be incest, rape, bestiality and underage sex. But I don't write any of that so my books are fine aren't they? Apparently not. It turned out that what I considered to be my best work, thought provoking, deeper stories were cast aside thought to be unsuitable for a site that sells sex toys including whips and chains, Debbie does Dallas video's and original, famous works such as 'Lolita' and 'The Story of 'O' '.
Was it the covers that were upsetting? I changed a couple of them but to be fair they were hardly shocking. This didn't make a difference and neither did my carefully thought out tags and descriptions that warned content was 'Adult' (surely a legal requirement?) but focused on the elements of the story.
I now sell so little on Amazon that it's hardly worth the bother. Ironically the books that sell week in and week out are my rawest, graphic works that are much stronger in content than the ones that don't show up in an average search. These are books that I would like to rewrite but I dare not take them down for even a day in case they too disappear into the Abyss of suited bluenoses shaking their heads in misguided disgust.
The problem I have with this, apart from the affect on my purse, is the contradiction. Are Amazon cracking down? Well yes, but only in some areas. They seem to be hitting small publishing firms and independent writers but not well established, well known erotica that has been on the site for years. As with everywhere else in life, there needs to be consistency. We need clear ground rules to abide by, why would we upload our book to their site if it is virtually impossible to trace?
I realise that all of this is 'so last year' but we do that in January don't we? We look back and see what we can improve on in the year ahead. For me it will be a series of uploading to 'Google Play' (where most of my sales come from anyway) and a continuing confusion of how to increase my sales on the monster we call Amazon.
Wishing you all a Happy and peaceful New Year,