Never Call Your Series Sidelined. Getting Sin Binned by Amazon
This is not my first rodeo but I’ve never been bucked off before.
You may know I have a book called Offensive Behavior about to go live on Amazon on March 31st.
It’s book one in a series called – prophetically, Sidelined. It’s proven to be a baad idea naming my series after something that can be done to a book. So there’s a tip for young players. Don’t name your series, Never Release, Hidden, Out of Sight, or Hide don’t Seek.
First off, Offensive Behavior was sidelined by a mysterious snag in the pre-order placement process. That usually takes 12-48 hours and is always quicker. It took 14 days. Yeah, we don’t know why, it got stuck, and Amazon were apologetic and fixed whatever was going on. There were two weeks of the pre-order window where folk couldn’t see the book. The pre-order that wasn’t.
Then we had pre-order – whoohoo.
For about ten days. And then the title disappeared out of the bookshop. This was confusing because I’d clipped some links and when I visited them the title showed up. It also showed on my author page.
See – and ooh look, Incapable, Inconsolable and Insecure are discounted. Who knew…? (No idea how long and if that’s only the US store)
Anyway…I asked. Only to be informed that the title was indeed still available, but had been hidden behind the adult content search filters, which means it’s effectively blocked unless an Amazon customer removes the adult filter, which means your average romance reader and Amazon customer will never see the title appear and can’t search for it. Unless they randomly wobble on over to my US author page, they’ll never know it exists.
This as you might imagine is BAD.
I didn’t know there was an adult filter and apparently you need to trigger it to be aware of it by trying to search a banned book. A conundrum really, because you’d need to know about the book in the first place. In any case the filter does not trip when I search the title.
If I tried to trip the adult content filter I’m pretty sure I couldn’t. You’ve seen what’s up there. Lookin’ at you Chuck Tingle and Dino Porn.
Offensive Behavior has not been blocked because of the title or the cover image, slugline or blurb, or because it’s a sexy romance on a Flesh and Bone meets Silicon Valley with sidebar of Pretty Woman rif.
It’s not erotic, it doesn’t carry trigger warnings. It doesn’t deal in the taboo or the weird and wild, unless you consider virginity to be in that broad bucket.
It’s not in fact offensive to your average romance reader, unless you don’t like your hero geeky and gagging for it, your heroine an absolute champion and your HEA triumphant.
Somewhere deep in 110,ooo words is a phrase that the Amazon bots find offensive. Pun intended. And that’s all it takes to get banned.
It’s either that or every single one of my books and most of the genre should be behind the adult filter. And guess what, yeah, no.
Amazon reserves the right to hide content to provide the best bookstore experience for customers, and I get that. I might if I understood it better, even like the idea.
I also remember my utter delight at discovering the bookstore back whenever that was, for the absolute banquet of content that is provided filter free.
I don’t think they’re out to get me. I do think I’ve been unlucky.
All the more so because the other two Sidelined books are Damaged Goods and Sold Short.
Yuck it up, go on. I’ll wait here until you finish tripping over the irony.
I’m going to try to learn more and hopefully we can get Offensive Behavior out of the sin bin. Fingers crossed.
If not, there’s probably not any point releasing Damaged Goods which is complete and resting after a beta read before editing, and no point finishing Sold Short which just passed it’s 10K reader test and is motoring on to the halfway point. I can publish elsewhere, but I don’t sell well outside the Amazon ecosystem. I could make them available free on Wattpad or elsewhere but eeep. Think about that another day.
If you’re intrigued enough to get Offensive Behavior when it goes live you can pre-order off the following direct links for the pre-order price of .99c.
There are also a handful of pre-proof copies (there are some typos and literals) available free here at instafreebie. First in first served.
Meanwhile go read something great.