Amazon the Vague

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I have no trouble with clearly spelled-out rules that let me know what I can and cannot do (OK, most of the time).  What I have a HUGE problem with is Amazon’s policy of not making it clear to authors what images and words cross over their lines and will get a book “adult-tagged”, which means it can’t be found through a general search  (not even by the specific title).

Amazon has a policy of not saying exactly what is OK to put on the cover of a book – no guidelines for how much skin is too much, what parts of the bodies need to be covered, what words are not OK – and what words or ideas are not OK for the blurb, despite being asked over and over and over again for years.  Their official policy says that what is considered unacceptable “is pretty much what you’d expect”.  No, I’m not kidding.  Those are the exact words.  I’ve read the policy myself.  Which makes those of us who are hoping to publish through them (and let’s face it, they are the 800-lb gorilla of the publishing industry – it’s pretty hard not to consider using them) completely in the dark of what we can do without risking sanction.

Even after authors are notified, all the they are told is that their cover, or their title, or whatever has crossed the line.  Amazon does not say “too much breast” or “this word is unacceptable”.  Authors are left to guess.

Amazon has the right to have standards.  Of course.  What Amazon does not have the ethical right to do, in my opinion, is not tell us what those standards are until after we’ve crossed their ever-shifting line.

But we all bow to King Amazon, because we have to.  I’ll be kneeling down to kiss their butt myself in the not-too-distant future.  And crossing my fingers that I don’t show too much nipple  when the time comes.

So, what inspired this rant?   “His to Breed” by Natasha Knight   Please check out this book.  It’s really good, but it got tagged less than a day after coming out.  Medical play, BDSM, anal play, romance, and a HEA.

ETA – it was removed and replaced with a new title Given to the Savage.

And on the general subject, Author Selena Kitt has written extensively on her experience with guessing what is and isn’t OK, and she has some guidelines.

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