This week I flew my family out to Seattle to meet my Amazon rep. We bought four plane tickets, two hotel rooms, and used our work time to come for this meeting.
I'm still trying to process exactly what happened, but it certainly wasn't what I was expecting. My rep did her best to salvage the meeting, but it was obvious her supervisors were not pleased with us.
I still write and publish in erotica. (You can read my post here on how Erotica actually started my career) And that was a problem yesterday at the meeting. Amazon does not like my erotica.
Erotica pushes boundries. I've pushed boundaries with my erotica, but I always stay within Amazon's (rather vague) guidelines. It is important to note that the more “boundary-pushing” erotica sells more. I would venture to guess that sales indicate that something is a desired item, but Amazon apparently disagrees.
I was informed that because my Erotica pen name had “misbehaved”, our meeting had changed. It was no longer a meeting about Krista Lakes and opportunities for her, but instead a meeting about the problems with our erotica account.
I want to clarify something here: I understand their concern. We are the same actual people despite the accounts being very separate.
My issue is with how it was handled. Amazon has known about the erotica account from the begining, so this wasn't a surprise to them. My rep did the best she could (and I hold no ill-will toward her), but the whole situation was unprofessional.
This was definitely something that should have been addressed before I spent thousands of dollars on travel expenses and dragged my 3 year old son to a strange city for four days. We even paid for a babysitter to come with us so that we could go to the meeting.
Amazon decided not to even tell us when the meeting was scheduled until 4:45pm the night before. They'd had our flight itinerary for over a month. We had to email them several times the week before and then as soon as we landed just to find out when we were meeting for coffee. The meeting then lasted all of 2 hours. My plane ride here was longer.
To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. Thousands of dollars and four days of work for a two hour meeting. I wish they would have just canceled so I could have just used the travel insurance and saved everyone a lot of time and money.
Amazon is trying to be a “family-friendly” company, yet still sell everything (including erotica). This is an extremely difficult line to walk and unfortunately, it is the erotica authors that suffer the consequences. I'm not saying that hard-core erotica should be easily visible, but the only guideline as to what is not acceptable is “about what you'd expect.” With a directive like that, the only way to learn where the boundaries are is to push until someone says stop.
They say that the content I created (content I actually originally intended to publish on Krista but instead decided could fit better the niche of my erotica pen name) was too hardcore. I strongly and vehmently disagree. I would like to point out here that the work in question was firmly in the top 300 of Amazon's store. People were buying and leaving 5 star reviews. I was, and am, still getting emails everyday asking for more.
I've been a big supporter of Amazon, but this has shaken my faith. Both Krista and the erotica pen name were Amazon exclusive. Krista was the #1 selling author in Kindle Worlds for months. I advertise my work as being part of KU and direct people to Amazon. My erotica pen name did the same. (You can see my blog post on my support of KU here)
My erotica pen name will be leaving Amazon. They don't want her there anymore. Krista will still be available in KU for as long as it is mutually beneficial. However, after yesterday's meeting, I have less and less confidence that my total embrace of Amazon exclusivity is mutually beneficial. Thanks for reading my post. This meeting has accelerated some of my plans and I'll have big news soon. The Waterfall Kisses cover will be revealed as well!