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If you are publishing erotic fiction in KDP, how do you avoid getting the "Adult" rating that will stop the book being easily searched for and stop it showing up in any suggested reading lists?

I imagine that the front cover has to be mild and that the contents shouldn't involve grossly offensive sex acts, but are there other factors such as cursing a lot? My book uses the f*** word about 100 times over 150,000 words, and often as the verb as part of a physical act, rather than just as a profanity.

Could being explicit in terms of body parts, even if the scene itself is fairly ordinary, lead to an Adult rating?

I've been doing research on KDP but can't see the info about the ratings. Does most erotic fiction published on there fall into a milder category such as Erotica or Mature or something?

I was looking at other erotic fiction on amazon, and I can't see the rating category for each book.

If anyone has any experience in publishing erotic with KDP and knows about this, any advice would be appreciated!

  • "If you are publishing erotic fiction..." Why try to avoid it? Erotica sells quite well on Kindle. You might benefit from contacting their publisher relations via email. They may be able to give specifics. – Stu W Mar 5 '16 at 20:54
  • I spoke to a writer who says that he publishes erotica on KDP but to avoid the "Adult" rating at all cost, because it will stop you from being seen on lots of lists/search results etc. Thanks for the advice about the publisher relations. I will try to email them. – MoniqueH Mar 5 '16 at 20:58
  • Cool. Just for kicks I took a look, and Kindle lists 179,000 books under erotica but only 67,000 under adult erotica. Apparently, there's a cutoff somewhere. – Stu W Mar 5 '16 at 21:16
  • Historically I recall Amazon as being fairly opaque about erotica definitions and boundaries; e.g. Amazon pulling titles without explanation or clear consistency in 2011 and 2013 . Unfortunately, I'm not very familiar with those cases or this question. – Standback Mar 5 '16 at 22:00
  • Thanks Stu and Standback. I will try and contact them to see how I can avoid it. – MoniqueH Mar 5 '16 at 22:17
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Generally, in my experience the use of foul language or descriptive sex scenes will not cause your book to receive the dreaded "Adult" content rating. The primary content taboos are bestiality, incest, and non-consensual sex. Also, any nudity or blatantly sexual images on the cover will result in your book getting labeled as "Adult".

For some discussions on examples of people who have had their content labeled as "Adult", I would recommend going to the Kindle Boards forum and searching for the term "Adult Dungeon". Here is an additional discussion on the Amazon Adult Dungeon that will show an example of the randomness of Amazon's identification process.

I would recommend that you not worry too much about it. Just publish your book, and as long as it makes it beyond the initial review, you're probably okay. You can always monitor your books by using the Sales Rank Express web site. Just enter the author name and do a search to find your books. You will see your titles listed with a thumbnail of the cover, and to the right you will see something like this:

Book Title

Author Name | [No publisher] | 2016-03-01

Kindle Edition | ASIN: ##########

Languages: English (published) | Content Rating: Safe

The thing you want to look for is that "Content Rating". If it says "Adult", then that is like the kiss of death. If you feel that your content should not warrant such a label, then you should contact KDP and ask them to reconsider your book. If you think it is a valid label, then you may want to tone down your content or change your book cover.

If you would like to do a quick check before publishing, then try to find a book that you think would be similar to your own, and search for that author. If that book has a "Safe" content rating, then there's a pretty good chance that yours would as well.

  • Thank you so much Steven! This is great info. Thanks for taking the time. Does someone from KDP actually read the book at some point to decide on the rating? When I go to enter the book into KDP, can I pick the category myself, say Erotica? Would it only be changed if someone complained or something? Thanks again. – MoniqueH Mar 7 '16 at 0:51
  • When you submit your book you can choose up to three categories. As far as I know, Amazon doesn't ever have anyone physically read any books for evaluating content. – Steven Drennon Mar 7 '16 at 1:12
  • From what I am gathering from reading the links you included, the chances of getting the Adult rating increase if the content matter involves bestiality, LGBT stuff, incest or non-consensual acts. As noted by Stu W, there are 180,000 titles under Erotica and 67,000 under Adult Erotica, which is a huge percentage. I am a little concerned because I'm based in Vancouver, BC and Amazon.ca seems stricter than Amazon.com based on available titles here, but I guess I'll know soon. I hope it will be ok. Thanks for your help! – MoniqueH Mar 7 '16 at 3:43

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