As a writer of smut (erotica to those of you with a weak stomach), we typically nurse at the biggest teat we can find, Amazon. But Amazon is typically a love – hate relationship with the author’s of porn constantly joisting with Amazon’s censor’s to see how much we can push the line.
A big percentage of us are self-published and as such don’t have a large publishing house behind us with tons of lawyers and advertising wonks. To sell our masterpieces to ensure a fresh supply of hand towels and batteries, we try to make our covers and blurbs stand out in front of the other perverts.
Once you start publishing, you quickly learn the cruel truths of Amazon’s acceptance policy, no bare boobs, no butt shots, and above all no high school cheerleaders, even if they are wearing a thong.
My general rule on covers is, first of all, use the KISS principle, Keep It Simple Stupid. Use a reasonably plain background with a sexy girl(s) or guy(s) doing something that makes you want to put your hand down the front of your pants.
I picture some horny person, alone in the bathroom with the door locked and his/her laptop on their lap, looking for a porn story to read. There are always hundreds to pick from and I feel that you need to make your cover pop out of the page and hit the prospective reader up side the head.
When you look at ten or twenty covers and are asked to pick out the pervert you saw exposing himself at the park, does your cover come to mind? That’s the first rule in my mind, does your cover out smut the other covers.
Next is the blurb, where you gin out a couple of hundred words to get your buyer’s finger itchy so that he/she will click on Buy Me Now rather than some other sicko’s. But just like our cover, we have to resist “I love watching my wife get butt fucked by the football team.”
Then we are at the mercy of Amazon’s censors who seem to delight in throwing our masterpiece into the dreaded Adult Dungeon. Trust me the dungeon is not near as much fun as they make it out to be. Those handcuffs really hurt! And don’t get me started on the cat-of-nine! For those things, you have to talk to my wife. Just remember to say, “Yes Mistress, and may I have another?”
Amazon sends out these vaguely worded rejection notices that rarely point to what the problem is and force you into a seemingly never ending series of changing something and resubmitting. I think it’s Amazon’s version of being tied to the cross.
Today I got notice of a post from David Gaughran, another author, in his seemingly futile battle with Amazon, similar to Don Quixote tilting at windmills. It’s nice to see that people who are not perverts also have problems with Amazon.
Once upon a time, there used to be a lot of erotica-friendly publishers and even in these days of self-publishing, you still need a place to sell your wares and while a giant like Amazon makes sense, it also makes sense that Amazon really wants to keep their bookstore as clean as possible – but since they’re all about making money, they’ll allow some stuff and reject a lot more and for any reason that makes sense to them.
There’s a couple of books I need to write but writing them isn’t the problem – that’ll be getting them accepted by Amazon or whoever so I can make a few pennies…
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I recommend SmashWords for publishing erotica. As I understand it they are number 2 behind Amazon and have very liberal acceptance policies. While they may say that there is a lot of stuff they don’t allow, looking at their catalog tells you most things are okay. I publish to both SmashWords and Amazon. The downside to Amazon is that they only publish MOBI or Kindle eBooks while SmashWords distributes versions for most type of phones, tablets, or PC/Macs. If your smut is not too dirty, SmashWords will automatically push it out to Apple iBooks, B&N, and Kobo so you get your manuscripts published at numerous locations.
If you want any further information, send me an email off list. Good Luck!
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