Update on Recent Amazon Issues

We would like to provide an update regarding recent issues members have had with Amazon. 

 

Rank stripping/miscategorization of titles:

Amazon has said that BISAC is one of the primary indicators they use to determine what categories a book belongs in. Currently, for Kindle editions, Amazon has the "erotica" BISAC as a subcategory of Literature and Fiction, not Romance. We encourage members to check the BISAC codes they or their publisher have chosen. We have asked Amazon to consider adding an "erotic" subcategory to Romance in its Kindle store (it is already a subcategory of Romance for physical editions)​. We have no reason to believe the recent rank-stripping was related to the new FOSTA-SESTA bill as we saw some conversations suggest. If you continue to have this issue, please contact Amazon at this email address (crm-sra-compliance@amazon.com) and they will assist you.

 

Authors affected by KU scammer sweeps:

As Amazon works to combat scammers and those looking to take advantage of their Kindle Unlimited platform, some legitimate authors have been caught up in the mix. For right now, we can only encourage members who have been affected to contact Amazon as soon as the issue arises, and if the issue cannot be resolved, to contact RWA so that we can speak to Amazon on the member's behalf.

 

We have regular, ongoing conversations with Amazon regarding these issues and others. Through this relationship, we work to advocate for our members on a macro level and on an individual author basis.

For members who need author relations assistance regarding these or other matters, please contact Carol Ritter at Carol.Ritter@rwa.org.​

3 Comments

Erotica and BISAC

April 14, 2018 01:42 AM by Regina Kammer

Interesting response from Amazon...

Except they constantly throw books NOT originally listed in BISAC's "FIC005000 FICTION / Erotica" series of headings into "Erotica" for no apparent reason -- meaning no reason they will provide the author. I was told one of my books was moved (from Romance > Historical > Ancient World) to Erotica because the male model on the cover was shirtless. Seriously. I had to republish this book with a new ASIN in order to get my romance out of the "Erotica Dungeon".

And only ROMANCE is affected by this. Amazon never throws books from Sci-fi, Fantasy, Thriller, or any other traditionally male genre into Erotica. Only Romance.

RWA needs to no longer accept Amazon's deceptive and evasive responses from corporate tools. They have a strategic campaign to repress fiction written (mostly) by and for women. It's pure sexism from what is practically a monopoly.

Erotica dungeon

April 14, 2018 12:02 PM by Chris Almeida

As Regina mentioned, the bigger issue here is that Amazon, in an authoritarian move, reclassifies books into Erotica on their own without notification. Based on simple perception or maybe a misunderstanding of the definition of Erotica as opposed to Romance, they smack a virtual scarlet letter on books that give out any sexy vibes.

None of our books are classified as Erotica in their category selection, none of them contain problematic terms in the description nor in the keywords, yet six of them are currently buried in the Erotica dungeon so deep you can't find it even by searching for title+author name. It turns 0 results even though it *is* live in the store. You have to have a direct link to find it.

When contacted, they give silly reasons like the one Regina got about the shirtless model.

A large number of  Romance covers uses shirtless models. Trad or Indie. If they were to send all books with shirtless models or suggestive covers to jail, there would be very few left to represent the genre.

Because of lack of representation, we are ignored or told that the issue is closed and we can't complain under the threat of having the book pulled or account terminated.

We'll contact the email provided, but honestly, we have no high expectations to have this resolved unless there's pressure from higher-ups.

 

 

Amazon

April 17, 2018 05:59 PM by Stacey Reynolds

I think the page stuffing and scammers were getting out of hand. They were completely monopolizing the romance algorithms. It just seems like they've done a sweeping action instead of going through the usual sustpects and figuring out who the offenders are. I don't do shirtless men on my covers, and have actually seen a boost in sales since they took this action, but there has to be some middle ground. Shirtless men are way to common throughout romance to be considered offensive or edgy. It's ridiculous. I'm so sorry this has negatively impacted legitimate authors. Thanks for keeping us updated. 

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