A while back, Amazon, under pressure from some of the more Puritanical factions of US society, changed the way they handle search results.
Amazon has long been popular with people who self-publish books, because it offers powerful tools to self-published authors and an enormous storefront where authors can reach their readers. This system has shaken up the publishing industry and allowed a lot more writers to reach a lot more people–something I think is awesome.
I am one of those authors. I publish erotica under the pseudonym William Vitelli. And I noticed something strange: I woke up one day to find that, overnight, I’d gone from making about $2800/month from Amazon sales to making less than $100.
Amazon has made changes to the way self-published erotica appears in its search results. Many, but not all, self-published books no longer appear in Amazon search results, even if you type the name of the book or its author exactly. The books are still listed for sale, but you have to know the Amazon URL to find them.
It’s hard to say how the new search results work. This removal from the results seems, unsurprisingly, to target niche erotica. Some books seem to appear for some users but not others, irrespective of search settings. Some books just don’t show up at all.
Many Amazon self-published erotica authors have been badly hit by this; I’ve seen people saying online that they’ve seen their Amazon royalties drop by thousands of dollars a month.
That suggests to me there are people who want to buy erotica who aren’t finding what they want, and authors who want to sell erotica who aren’t able to do so.
So I started thinking, what if I set up a Web site that lists Amazon erotica, including books that don’t appear in Amazon search results, and crowdsource the database? I’m thinking of a system that would allow users to suggest books that might otherwise be hard to find, and search tools that would let users look for what they want. The site would then give links to the books on Amazon.
The site would, the way I’m thinking of it, also allow users to review and rate books in the database.
So I’m turning to you, O people of the Internet. What do you think? Do you read erotica? Do you buy erotica on Amazon? Has the change in Amazon search policy affected you? Would you use a site that was a searchable database of erotic books on Amazon?
Let me know what you think! I’ve set up a Survey Monkey survey. You can find it at
It’s quite short–only 9 questions–and I’d be quite grateful if you could help me out by taking it, and/or recommending it to other people.
Thank you all very much!