Being in the Amazon Dungeon

I’ve been published by a publisher and I’ve self-published. Neither is a cakewalk. Both avenues take hard work, compromise, and a few regrets. In either case, after your book has been published, there’s Amazon. Many writers have a love/hate or hate/hate relationship with the ‘Zon, as we call it in the biz. Can’t live with it, can’t kill it. For some, it’s their bread and butter; for others, their dry, burnt toast.

If you’ve written something mainstream and the powers that be at the ‘Zon shine beneficently on your book, then it may be pushed before eager customers, with such phrases as, “Customers who bought this… also bought ….[name of your book here].” Ah, sweet success!!

However, if you write what is known as erotica or erotic romance or even “women’s porn” as it’s sometimes called (which is just rude) and you put a suggestive cover on said book, you may find yourself in Amazon’s dungeon. It is dark, windowless, and nearly impossible to get out of. And you’ll find that no readers are looking at your book down there. Worse still, if they search your book’s title, it may not show up in the results. That’s the curse and purgatory of the ‘Zon’s dungeon. Here’s the thing: even erotica authors have to sell books to make money to live so they can write more books. That’s how it works for any genre. And despite the current slew of 99-cent and free digital books, no, writers can’t use the zero “income” they earn by “selling” for free to buy food or clothing! Huh, go figure! But that’s another rant.

This rant is to do with Amazon tossing an erotica author’s books in the dungeon. For having a suggestive cover. On erotica. Suggestive. Not nudity. Someone’s idea of suggestive. Which must equal offensive to someone at the ‘Zon. How do I know the dungeon exists? Well, duh. The Erotic Lords series covers are too erotic apparently. Two out of three anyway — can you guess which one is labeled “not adult”? I will have to have them redone or languish in obscurity, chained to a wall in the dungeon, with nary a handsome savior in sight.
cover for One Lord Down by Seven McBay

cover of One Lord to Go

One Lord Too Many cover
You can determine the Amazon label of a book by going here: http://www.salesrankexpress.com/. Type in a book title and you can see if it is labeled “none” (meaning safe for now until someone at Amazon deems otherwise), “not adult” (meaning safe forever), “ADULT” in big red letters (meaning off it goes to the Amazon dungeon). And the kicker is that it has to do with arbitrary reasons, as I said, such as a cover that is too suggestive to someone’s eye, or a keyword or a book description that rubbed someone the wrong way. And the other kicker is that you will find loads of erotic books labeled “not adult,” even if they are about college-age kids boinking (can I use that word?) their mom’s friends or multiple partners having sex without a plot or even a whiff of a story to be read anywhere between the covers (as long as those covers aren’t too suggestive).

Getting down off the soapbox. Almost. One final statement: Writers need to sell books to make a living. Readers can buy or not buy, and bad writing usually falls by the way side because of bad reviews and readers not buying. However, if a reader wants to buy books of a certain genre, then the playing field, or in this case, the digital bookshelf of Amazon should be level. If you’re in the dungeon, it’s not level. If a book doesn’t show up in a reader’s legitimate search of the site, even though the book matches the reader’s search criteria, right down to the title, then that’s censorship. Isn’t it?

Can I Tell You All a Secret? Can You Keep It?

I just finished a short, short erotic story, and for the first time in my writing life, it’s contemporary. Gasp! A friend of mine is helping with the cover and is doing an awesome job. Here’s my half-assed beginning attempt:
Dummy cover by Seven McBay

And here is what my friend did for me:
Draft of cover

And that’s still a draft copy (!) but what an improvement.

Obviously, it still needs the title and byline text. That brings me to the secret I was talking about: I’ve only ever written historical erotica; it’s what I do. So I thought I would use a pen name for this story, tentatively called Caribbean Seduction. And after some consideration, I believe I shall be called . . . Claire Cream!

Your thoughts, readers. Should I use a pen name or stick with my own? Should Seven McBay branch out or remain historical and let Claire Cream handle the modern erotic adventures?

Riding Hard and Long, Book 1 of Cowboys Rule

Riding Hard and Long by Seven McBayYippe-ki-yay! It’s live on Amazon!

Without further ado: RIDING HARD & LONG (Cowboys Rule, Book 1)

When Jareth discovers Madeleine in a brothel in Abilene, he knows his prayers have been answered after a long trail ride. They’d wanted each other as teens, and now this busty blonde is his for the taking, any which way he wants.

Madeleine can’t believe her dream cowboy is there in the flesh, and, oh, what flesh he has—all 6’2” of sculpted muscles and sexy man.

They begin a rousing western romp until a threat to Maddie forces Jareth to determine if he has what it takes to keep her satisfied for a lifetime.

Available only on Amazon until 2/28/15.

Let me know what you think…

Cheers and good fortune,
Seven

Coming soon: Cowboys Rule

My next work is still historical, but it’s moved up a couple hundred years from the time of my dear erotic lords. Cowboys, cowboys, and more cowboys. We’re in the 1870s, and these bad boys rule the west. And they have a good time while they’re doing it. Of course, they make sure their calicoes (a cowboy word for a pretty gal) have a good time, too.

First up are Jareth and Madeleine in Riding Hard and Long. Cover reveal to follow, and then the book will be at Amazon exclusively for 90 days. I’m going to try that newfangled KU and see if it works for yours truly.

 

New Release: One Lord Too Many

As if you could ever have too many sexy men, especially wealthy lords, especially an earl, only outranked in nobility by a marquess or a duke.  Puh-leez!  Here’s the cover and the blurb:One Lord Too Many cover

Historical Erotic Novella (approx. 18,000 words)

Lord Renford, tenth Earl of Pembroke, is about to meet his future wife, a French girl with few inhibitions. He’ll woo Cerise with a sensual kiss and a slow fingering at a banquet. But after they’re married, what will she agree to in the bedroom? Will she let her sexy earl try every orifice? Should they let another man participate in their lovemaking? What if that man is Renford’s best friend? Will Cerise go along with her new husband’s plans or find herself with One Lord Too Many?

It’s entering distribution channels as I write this, so it will be available at Smashwords and Amazon and wherever else fine digital books are sold. Naturally, I’m quite excited.

Cheers!

Winners of the Hot Summer Romance Giveaway

In case you missed it as a comment at the end of my last blog, this just in from the head honcho of the Hot Summer Romance Giveaway Hop:

Grand Prize Winners are . . .

Kindle Fire – Lisa Anderson (From Lissa Mathews’ blog)

$50 Amazon Gift Card – Jennifer Mathis (From Adriana Kraft’s Blog)

And here on my humble blog, the winner of an ebook is . . . Shelly Hammond.

Thank you all for participating.
Seven