I recently discovered Craving has been classified as "Adult" by Amazon, which explains why it now sits in the erotica category instead of the paranormal romance category I originally set for it. Being classified as erotica in and of itself isn't that big a deal, though I don't feel it's truly erotica.
Let me explain what I mean. The "Adult" classification, for those who may not be aware, essentially filters a book out of search results unless someone is specifically searching for that title, which means less people see it, and it has the very real possibility of fading into oblivion. Craving doesn't even show up if you search for "Stephanie Summers." Go ahead. Try it. I'll wait.
You back? See what I mean. If you click on my author page, then it's listed there, but not in the search results for books associated with me.
I have no issue with the erotica category at all. In fact, I have a few erotic short stories I plan on releasing this year. One of which is out under a pen name as we speak, but since I'm going to release it under my real name, I'll leave it nameless for now.
What bothers me is books such as the 50 Shades trilogy are NOT subject to this classification. Craving is over 260 pages long and only contains two sex scenes (equaling maybe four or five pages all together at the most). I couldn't finish the 50 Shades books because I got bored of flipping past pages upon pages upon pages of sex that became repetitive and unexciting. But because my cover has the dude covering the girls boobies with his arms, it's "Adult" and gets filtered. By the way, you can't even see the girl's cleavage on my cover. Just her abdomen and shoulders. What the actual fuck?
I will be changing the cover. Not because I don't like it, because, in fact, I love it, but because I wanted the series to have a more cohesive feel to the covers. Also, the couple who is on it are on TONS of other books, which makes me curious if those other books have been flagged as well, though it's probably hit or miss. The sad part about it is now that it's been labeled "Adult", which should really just say "Offensive to whichever Amazon employee happened to review it at the time", it'll be stuck with that label unless I take it down completely and republish it (losing all the reviews I've gotten so far).
If I had a large catalog of works published already, it wouldn't be much of an issue. However, since I only have one book out, I'm practically non-existent on Amazon, even more so than I would've been already.
I guess what pisses me off so much is the fact that it is so completely random. A book that is known for having way more sex than story and isn't filtered at all goes on to sell millions, while an indie book with minimal sex and lots of story is essentially labeled as pornographic and held back from any hope of achieving success. It's bullshit, my friends.
You can check out the website here that shows what I'm talking about: http://www.salesrankexpress.com/ You just have to type in the author and/or book title to see if the book has been flagged.
I wrote to Amazon and kindly asked them to remove the "Adult" restriction. I pointed out that there are books waaaaaaay racier than mine (50 Shades, Ahem) and books using the same stock photo as my cover that are not labeled this way. They actually decided to lift the restriction! I'm happy, but I'm not holding my breath. I've seen where other authors were successful in having the restriction lifted only to have their book flagged again a few days later. We will see, I guess. My only option if they do this is to wait until after the cover is changed and write them again. For now, I am happy. Now if the next 24 hours would hurry up so that pesky tag can be gone...