More Strange Activity on Amazon Affecting Authors and Customers

So, the last week of March, there was an activity that happened to a lot of erotica and erotic romance authors having their books shadow-banned on Amazon. This was the action of putting titles into different categories and not having them show up in a general search or the store. Eventually, some answers came out that it was a “mistake” and that the titles were being put back.

Now, more is coming out in regards to reviews. People, regular Amazon customers, are having their accounts removed from Amazon for having violated “Terms of Service (TOS)” that they received a free product or gift card to do a positive review. Secret groups have formed on Facebook and Twitter to discuss what happened. Many former customers on Amazon are using the tag #amazonclosed to discuss how many don’t know why their accounts were closed or how maybe writing positive reviews for a free gift or gift card might have backfired on them. There is even speculation that it is Russia hacking Amazon and closing accounts.

Then, this last week starting in the beginning of April, authors have noticed hundreds to thousands of pages reads being taken out of their March Kindle Unlimited reports. According to a Kboards.com thread,  many of the authors have noticed a drop over the last week. The speculation is that it could be from the shadow-banning of the erotica, that made many other titles much more noticeable the last week of March. Or it could be because of the recently closed accounts, and they are deleting the reads for all of the accounts.

Who can say what it truly is, but Amazon itself. What has been disclosed by Amazon are new law suits filed this week a UK book stuffer on April 5. Book stuffers make up bogus books using previously published book material or sometimes just gibberish, to get clicks and reads. But often, they use “bots” and click farms to manipulate KU page reads and rob Amazon and legitimate authors of hard earned cash from the program. They also tend to rank high and get reads from unsuspecting readers that think they are a legitimate book.

Many authors and I’m sure readers will be happy to see these scammers finally going down. I know there has been a calling to clean up KU for years, and it seems to finally be happening. But there is a lot of fall out, of legitimate customers and authors, losing accounts or pages. This always seems to happen. It’s hard to know who has been playing by the rules and who has not. And to make it more difficult, scammers sometimes have picked legitimate authors to focus their bots on and buy reads to make them look more legitimate. There have been reports of some authors having this happen to them.

So, it might be that finally Amazon is going after the book stuffing scammers that have plagued Kindle Unlimited for years. And it might be also some back lash of still going after reviewers that still receive gift cards and free products to do positive reviews on Amazon. Of course, it’s a private website and all reviews belong to Amazon when you write them. But because of this backlash, I have noticed a real fall out of people wanting to review for Amazon anymore.

Most people have been leaving reviews on Goodreads these days for my books, and just not bothering with Amazon anymore. Plus, Kindles tend to direct you to the Goodreads site to review when you finish a book. I know, I’ve started reviewing more when I’m done with a book on my Kindle on Goodreads, and not even bothering to review on Amazon. Though, the email prompts will get me to motivate these days and write a quick review of a book I’ve read on Amazon these days.

So, it was surprising to me to hear there were still people leaving reviews for gift cards and free products still. The Zon also has the right to regulate its own website, which in some cases, is welcomed to get rid of the scammers. But in true Zon fashion, the nuclear option does sweep up some innocent bystanders. Reading tweets about how people will not be able to buy things for Easter or other means just shows how much power Amazon has over our lives now.

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Happy Tartan Day: Last Chance for Highlander Bride Taken!

Tartan Day starts Friday, April 6! To celebrate, I have put my Scottish Erotic tales on sale for one of the last times. They will be leaving Kindle Unlimited soon. Highlander Bride Taken will be FREE from April 6-9.

highlandbride1cover

FREE on Amazon from April 6-9 only! Last month in KU!

Highlander Bride Seduction, at a discounted price of $0.99 only through next Wednesday.

highlandersedcution

Available for $0.99 April 6-11 only.

It’s my Scottish gift from me to you! Happy Tartan Day!

-Lynda

Lynda Belle Pulling Her Titles From Kindle Unlimited

sexywritingI am announcing that all of my titles will be pulled from the Kindle Unlimited program on Amazon starting on April 1. Over the next two months, titles will be slowly leaving the program, but will be available to read through their last term in the KU program. My followers/readers are welcome to borrow my titles from the KU program until they are no longer available. They will still be available to buy on Amazon, and will soon start to be appearing on other retailers in other ereader formats.

This will be the last weekend my catalog will fully be in KU! Grab them now while you can! I wanted to give my readers time to have a last hurrah! before they are removed slowly from the program. So, enjoy!

Link to a list of Lynda Belle’s Titles here on the blog!

Link to Lynda Belle’s Author Page on Amazon!

How Long Will This Take?

I’ve unclicked the renewal box in KU. So, some titles will start becoming unavailable from KU by April 1. Many more will have about a month until they are not available in KU, and the full catalog will be out of KU by end of May. So, this gives some time for any of my followers/readers to pick up titles over the weekend before they start to become unavailable. Keep in mind, they will still be for sale on Amazon, just not in the Kindle Unlimited program.

What Will This Do To Bimonthly Discount and Freebie Deals?

They will still continue! The freebie titles will now be through Instafreebie and different selected $0.99 deals will be on more retailers. So, it will be a win-win for readers. The only real change will be that titles won’t be available as KU reads.

Why Is This Happening?

I guess this has been brewing with me for awhile, and the episode of shadowbanning erotica and erotic romance this last week on Amazon has just been the last straw. KU is not worth it anymore to me, and I can just use Instafreebie and list titles I want at $0.99 to use in promos. SO, that KU draw is totally dead. After almost 3 years in KU, I’m pulling out. I’ve also seen a real slow down for KU reads in the last 6 months, and I’m not sure if this is due to Amazon promoting erotica and spicy romance less or not.

But I need to think about my bottom line, and reach new readers to help stay in business. So, this is an option that will help me do so. It seems to me to be the right time to leave the Kindle Unlimited program.

Thank You To Everyone That Has Been A KU Reader In The Past

I do want to thank everyone that has enjoyed my stories and have read through my titles in the KU program. I am glad that you have stuck with me, and I promise to write more outstanding titles for your pleasure. This restructure is going to allow me to move full speed ahead, and still be able to write great erotica and erotic romances for you.

***AGAIN TO NOTE: Lynda Belle’s titles are going to be leaving the KU program starting on April 1. It will take a full two months for all titles to be fully out of the program. So, feel free to read and enjoy her titles as they remain in the KU program. This will be your last chance to read them in KU over the next two months.

-Lynda

Erotica and Erotic Romance Getting Shadow-Banned on Amazon

sexywriting So, being the Indie erotica and erotic romance writer, I’ve been on top of a development that started on March 22, just before the weekend. I went to a steampunk conference over the weekend, and missed the first initial hoopla and worry from what was going on. And then it all hit me in the face on Monday, March 26–Amazon was changing the rankings on erotica and re-categorizing some spicy and erotic romances into erotica.

When ever the Zon starts messing with things like this, it means something drastic is about to happen. Last time, it was KU2. That sucked to no end for people that wrote short stories, me included, where everyone started to get paid by the page instead of by single unit download. Now, they are starting to “shadow-ban” titles, spicy romance and erotic romance too, that has an “adult theme”.

The Low Down of What is Going On

There are a lot of rumors and speculation about why this is happening. In clearly the Zon’s fashion, there are no real answers when sending emails or messages to the powers that be at Amazon. Just answers to the point that titles are being reassigned to the erotica category because your book has “adult themes”. This is not only affecting regular erotica, but a lot of the steamy and erotic romance that clearly follow a romance plot line and isn’t all about the sex. Is it censorship?

Well, you have to look at why it might be happening. There is apparently a law that passed in US congress on March 21 that is supposed to help stop online sex trafficking. FOSTA or the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act is supposed to help stop online sex trafficking, but it is having a much wider affect because it holds the websites accountable, retroactively. So, many websites, including Craigslist’s personal ads, are shutting down and purging of sexual explicit content. In essence, the new administration is cracking down on sexually charged content, and it’s leading to a purge on many sites like Apple, Reddit, and Amazon.

What Does This Mean To You As A Reader?

What does it mean to romance readers of adult romances (formerly new adult), spicy romance, erotic romances and erotica? It means you are going to have a harder time finding what you like to read. You can still find erotic romances and erotica on Amazon, but not in a general search. And since the general store ranking is gone, there will be less “customer also bought” suggestions for titles.

There are still erotica categories, but they are harder to find. I’m sure other websites may follow suit. I haven’t heard anything from Kobo yet, but they are in Canada. So, that might be the saving grace for them. ANY US COMPANIES will most likely be reacting to this law. But then, I expected something like this from this administration. I knew the suppression would begin, but wasn’t sure how.

So, what could be next? Well, it’s come to the time where I will need to, and many other authors, will have to consider KU2 a mute point now. The promos haven’t been as productive lately for me, and going WIDE, which means taking my titles to other retailers, will be the only way to get new readers and help me meet my bottom line. So, in all likely hood, as an erotic romance or erotica reader, you may not find titles you want to read in KU anymore. They will still be on Amazon, but harder to find, and you’ll have to pay more for them since it won’t be profitable for them to stay in KU any longer.

Plus, I am going to try to continue my promotional bimonthly lists. It will still be a way for you to find fabulous erotica and erotic romances from good authors. But as far as the deals, there might be less freebies and more just $0.99 discounted titles.

So, yes, bottom line, you will most likely start paying more for these erotic romances and it will be harder to find them. But looks like I’ll keep up my promotions as long as I can. I’m also going to check with the other authors to see if they are planning to stay in KU. Not sure how this will all turn out, but like with most changes like this, adaptation is sometimes the only option. And to stay in business, sometimes, it’s the only choice for an author.

What Next?

Through all the things I go through as a self-published author,  I’m going to keep writing. I have some ideas for stories I haven’t finished yet, and will keep going. I’ve had to recently go back to work, and not write full time. That has been a set back too. But whatever happens, I hope you stick with me as I wade through yet another obstacle in the road for an erotica and erotic romance writer.

I hope you understand also, because not only do I write it, I read this genre too. So, I’m going to feel your pain. I am considering maybe ending my KU membership too. If enough writers and readers pull out, maybe Amazon will get a hint that this kind of censorship is just not what the customers want. But then, I’m just one little author in a much larger pond. But then, it’s all I have.

UPDATE: 

The ranking for the erotica titles for both indie and traditional published titles have come back on Amazon. It is possible that things either have been reworked and categorized, or more likely, it was some cliche that went on for more than a week.

An email from a Kboarder, Nate Hoffelder, is quoted as saying:

“A recent Kindle Store change inadvertently affected the display of sales rank for some titles. We have corrected this issue.”

Whether all the erotica being given new categories was due to a cliche, or something else, it is unclear. Some people still have had their titles recategorized, but the sales ranking has been added back on to many erotica titles that were missing them. So, I’ll keep updating as more happens with this.

 

Other blog posts about this subject:

The Digital Reader:

https://the-digital-reader.com/2018/03/29/amazon-has-shadow-banned-romance-titles-from-the-kindle-store/

The Motherboard:

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/bjpjn4/amazon-erotica-best-seller-rankings-removed

The Tech Crunch:

https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/29/new-federal-rules-blamed-in-disappearance-of-kindle-erotica-titles/

Kboards Thread on subject:

https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,261904.msg3642901.html

Forbes Media Article:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamrowe1/2018/03/31/amazon-deranked-romance-titles-week-restoring

St. Patty’s Day Getting Lucky Erotic Romance & Erotica Deals March 16-19 ONLY!

stpattypromo2018They’re here! Deals so you can get lucky all this weekend with some fabulous erom and erotica deals. Enjoy paranormal erom and erotica titles from top authors. Stock up all this weekend. Plus, follow my blog to get the first dibs on future promos. Promo starts today and runs until March 19. Get titles for FREE or for a huge discount to $0.99. Hurry! Prices go back up next Tuesday!

 

Master List to Fabulous EROM & EROTICA Deals March 16-19 ONLY!

  • Lynda Belle (Highlander Erotic Romance)

Seduction of a Highlander (FREE)

https://www.amazon.com/Seduction-Highlander-Erotic-Tale-Tales-ebook/dp/B01K8YEMU6

Highlander Bride Taken Omnibus (Erotic Scottish Tales 1-4) ($0.99)

https://www.amazon.com/Highlander-Bride-Taken-Lynda-Belle-ebook/dp/B01LX67OBG

Bordello of Vampire Pleasure Omnibus (1-3) ($0.99)

https://www.amazon.com/Bordello-Vampire-Pleasure-Lynda-Belle-ebook/dp/B01GQNMNZE

  • Jacinta Laurenti (Lesbian Fairy Tales)

Thorns & Roses (FREE)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079VDDHQT

  • Colbie Dunbar (MM Mpreg)

The Rogue’s Secret ($0.99)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0771LK7FM

  • Pandorra (Paranormal Erotic Romance-Vampires)

Blood Bound ($0.99)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07895V3HZ

Immortal Bound ($0.99)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078H4NS9V

Fate Bound ($0.99)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078M3Q9XK

  • Marilyn Vix (Supernatural Erotic Romance)

Never Marry A Warlock (Beware of Warlocks #1) ($0.99)

https://www.amazon.com/Never-Warlock-Beware-Warlocks-Novelette-ebook/dp/B00FNI0C98

****Note: Sale starts at Midnight, March 16. If the price hasn’t yet come up, check after midnight on Thursday night.

 

Coming this Friday: Getting Lucky Erotic Romances and Erotica Deals $0.99 & FREE

stpattypromo2018Feeling lucky? Starting on Friday, you’ll have a mighty selection of paranormal erotic romances and erotica just in time for St. Patty’s this Saturday. Spice up your weekend before all that celebrating. Find a bit of the Irish in these stories from highlanders seduced by the Fey, lesbian fairy tales, and mpreg sensual tales.

**It all begins this Friday, March 16th! Follow my blog to get all the info for this and upcoming deals!

May the luck of the Irish be with you! -Lynda

Erotic Romantic Deals Feb. 9-13 $0.99 & FREE

EroticRomFebDeals2018They’re here! Just in time for that day that is all about love, erotic romances are sizzling for you during deals time this weekend. Pick up some hot and spicy romances to enjoy all through the weekend and into Valentine’s Day. From historical erotic romances, lesbian fairy tales, gay victorian romances, to paranormal erotic romances, there is something for everyone. Celebrate love in all ways this Valentine’s Day! Pick them up before the 14th, because they return to regular price soon. And from all the authors and myself, have a very Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Master List for the February/Valentine’s Day Erotic Romantic Deals Feb. 9-13

1)        Lynda Belle (Erotic Rockstar/Contemporary/Highlander Romances)

A Cat For Two (Contemporary Erotic Romance) (FREE)

 

Highlander Bride Taken: Omnibus Edition (Erotic Scottish Tale 1-3, Seduction of a Highlander included) ($0.99)

 

Rockin’ Him Hard: Omnibus Edition (Hot Groupies Series 1-3, Bonus #4) ($0.99)

 

2)        Jacinta Laurenti (Erotic Lesbian Fairy Tales)

Rapunzel’s Surrender ($0.99)

 

3)        cupidscandyCordova Sky (Breeding Erotica)

Cupid’s Candy ($0.99)

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079LHNC59

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/cupid-s-candy

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cupids-candy-cordova-skye/1127920432

 

4)        Marilyn Vix (Paranormal Erotic romance)

Thankful in Las Vegas (Erotic Romance) (FREE)

 

Never Marry A Warlock (Beware of Warlocks #1) ($0.99) (Paranormal Romance)

 

 

5)        Colbie Dunbar (MM Mpreg Romance)

The Rogue’s Dilemma ($0.99)

 

The Omega’s Gamble ($0.99)

 

 

6)        Lady TL Jennings (Victorian Erotic Romance and Erotica)

The Highlander’s Secret Desire (A Novelette From “Immoral Intentions, a Gay Victorian Romance and Erotic novelette collection vol. III.) (FREE)

 

Blackmail: A Gay Victorian Romance and Erotica Novella (Book#1 in Dangerous Letters) ($0.99)

 

 

7)        Pia Monroe (Erotic Romance)

piamonroeThe Arrangement: Part One

($0.99) Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0749Q9JMH

(FREE) iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-arrangement-part-one/id1332848476

(FREE) B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-arrangement-pia-monroe/1127793570

(FREE) Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-arrangement-part-one-1