Sir’s in the dungeon and he’s not enjoying himself!
A number of weeks back, I discovered that Amazon had smacked “His Name Is Sir” with its adult filter, effectively pitching the book into the deepest depths of the erotica dungeon. What this means is that it’s much more difficult for someone to find the book, even if they search for it by title. If you don’t know how to get around the filter, you might never find it and will think it’s not for sale on Amazon.
I didn’t worry about the filter at first, figuring most people would follow the link at the end of “The Playboy’s Proposition” to buy “Sir.” Sales figures remained close. Of late, though, I’m afraid I’m seeing a change.
I assume the book was adult filtered because of the cover, the fact that the woman is hiding her privates with her hand, rather than with what … undies? Bikini bottoms? A g-string? Well, call me nutty, but the leaves and her hand provide far more coverage than most skimpy bikinis and panties I’ve seen plastered on covers across Amazon.
I chose that photo for reasons other than titillation. I thought the picture was striking, and it told the story of the book, the bright blue rose representing new hope and passion blooming on the brown, decaying stem of loss and betrayal.
I hate to drop the cover, but it looks like I’m going to have to replace it. I’m unsure how many readers are aware of the adult filter at Amazon, of how randomly it’s applied, and of how to get around it. I’m grateful that only the third book of the series got tagged, since this would be a much bigger issue if they filtered “The Businessman’s Tie,” the first book. Other authors haven’t been as fortunate.
I’m not opposed to keeping young eyes away from explicit content. In fact, I’m all in favor of it. But if Amazon is going to do this thing, they should be consistent in their selection process, so it’s fair for everyone. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
I did a search for some of the naughtiest erotica, using the term “gangbang.” Of over 3700 books that result from the search, more than two thirds of them have been hit with the adult filter. If you check out the remaining unfiltered one third, you won’t see any difference in the blurbs, content and covers from those of the condemned, filtered titles.
This inconsistency is true across the board, through other sub-genres of erotica. The filters are applied seemingly randomly, effectively damaging some authors’ ability to earn, while leaving luckier writers free to continue making a living in an emptier, more advantageous arena.
There are other ways that the filter impacts sales of erotica, including filtered titles no longer showing up in the “Also Bought” rows of unfiltered books. For instance, “Sir” no longer appears as an “also bought” with my other titles.
Once I get “The Submissive’s Last Word” out, I guess I’ll start searching for a new cover for “Sir,” and hope that when I replace the old one, Amazon will release the book from the dungeon. I can only try. I don’t think, though, that I’ll find a photo that tells the story as well as this one did.
About the Adult Filter
For any of you who haven’t heard of the filter and would like to see its effect, try this experiment. On your computer, search my name from the Amazon home page — type “Deena Ward” into the white search field box then press “Go.”
What you’ll see as a result is “The Businessman’s Tie,” “The Playboy’s Proposition,” an additional title which has no connection to me other than Amazon thinks you might like it, and a bunch of result chaff. Where’s “Sir?” It’s not there.
Now, look over to the left, at the white side bar. Note the categories listed under “Departments.” Under “Kindle Store,” click “Erotica.” Now what happens? “His Name Is Sir” is suddenly revealed as a search result under the other relevant titles (filtered erotica is sent to the bottom, beneath unfiltered books).
Even if you search the actual title, “His Name Is Sir,” from the Amazon home page, you won’t be allowed to see it until you click the erotica category.
In short, no filtered titles can be searched up from the Amazon home page. To access them, you must either search from within the Kindle Store itself, or click the erotica category after your search. Also keep in mind that filtered titles are pushed below unfiltered ones if the search parameters are (sort of) equally applicable to the books.
Search Tips for Erotica
* When I’m on my computer, I’ve made it a habit to go straight to the Kindle eBook section on the web site before I search for books.
* I dig deeper into result lists than I used to, knowing that lots of great titles have been unfairly buried under less popular, less relevant ones.
* I change the “Sort by” button from “Relevance” to “New and Popular,” since it gives a better chance of finding filtered titles higher in the list.
* Visiting author pages at Amazon is a good way to find hidden titles, since the listing of the author’s work isn’t censored there.
* Keep in mind that just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. And how crazy is that?