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A Message in the Roses
by Sandy Semerad

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On a snowy day in Atlanta, Carrie Sue Justice revisits the past as a young and passionate newspaper reporter, covering a shooting death in her community:

It's 1986. Her life is a mess. She catches her husband with another woman inside the antebellum home she inherited from her parents. Then she falls in love with an unavailable man plagued with guilt. The man is none other than the irresistible owner of the Southern Journal where Carrie Sue works.

They begin a steamy love affair. During this wild time, Carrie Sue must find out why three black teenagers were arrested for killing a white teen. One of the teens was wrongly accused.

She’s determined to help prove his innocence. Come hell or high water.

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“A Message in the Roses is both lovely and exciting, a nail biter to the quick. It brings a delightful combination of journalistic craft and romantic prose that warms t...

Author Topic: Amazon going after short shorts  (Read 39450 times)

Online KMatthew

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Amazon going after short shorts
« on: April 24, 2013, 08:35:09 AM »
I'm not sure if this has been discussed before, but I couldn't find anything about it with the search function, so here it is.

Today I received an e-mail from Amazon about one of my short stories (the shortest one I have ever written). The email was as follows:

Hello,
 
During a quality assurance review of your KDP catalog we have found that the following book(s) are extremely short and may create a poor reading experience and do not meet our content quality expectations:
 
Name of Short
 
In the best interest of Kindle customers, we remove titles from sale that may create a poor customer experience. Content that is less than 2,500 words is often disappointing to our customers and does not provide an enjoyable reading experience.
 
We ask that you fix the above book(s), as well as all of your catalog's affected books, with additional content that is both unique and related to your book. Once you have ensured your book(s) would create a good customer experience, re-submit them for publishing within 5 business days. If your books have not been corrected by that time, they will be removed from sale in the Kindle Store. If the updates require more time, please unpublish your books.


The short in question is a charity piece that I don't get many sales on, so I just unpublished it. It's free on all of the other retailers anyway. I typically try not to write anything under 3k.

Anyway, just thought I'd let you guys know, for those who write shorts and didn't know.

Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2013, 08:38:11 AM »
Holy moly!

I don't have anything that short, but still. When did they make THAT decision? A lot of erotica will be affected.

Offline Kwalker

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2013, 08:39:21 AM »
Wow. That is unexpected.  I can't imagine that many people could get additional content both written and edited by an editor within 5 days, so I imagine most people that get that notice would have to unpublish.

I do kind of like that they are trying to put more emphasis on quality standards. That can only be good for all of us who strive to put out quality material.

Offline Carol (was Dara)

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2013, 08:39:56 AM »
I don't write anything under 10K but I can see a lot of other writers being affected by this.  :(

Online KMatthew

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2013, 08:40:35 AM »
A lot of erotica will be affected.
My thoughts exactly.

Offline Zelah Meyer

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2013, 08:42:56 AM »
I wonder if this is triggered by autobots going after people publishing PLR articles?

It's worth knowing that they are cracking down on shorter works though, so thank you for sharing.  I don't have anything that length at the moment, but it's something I might have considered in the future if I was trying to make something permafree as a lead-in to a series.

Offline Amanda Brice

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2013, 08:44:23 AM »
Oh wow!

My shortest work on Amazon is about 7000 words. I'd been toying with the idea of making it perma-free, and now I think I better do so!
 
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Online KMatthew

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2013, 08:49:12 AM »
Oh wow!

My shortest work on Amazon is about 7000 words. I'd been toying with the idea of making it perma-free, and now I think I better do so!
I certainly hope they don't raise the bar that high. If they started going after anything under 7k, about 1/3rd of my catalog would have to be re-written. Not a pleasant thought.

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2013, 08:57:07 AM »
Ah, first they take the porn out of the search results, now they're going after the shorts.
There goes my brand new smut-writing career I was moving into!  ;D
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Offline Nessa Quill

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2013, 09:05:18 AM »
A lot of erotica will be affected.

If that's true, then those 2,500 words eroticas are nothing but one long sex scene. This might be the "porn" Amazon is supposedly cracking the whip at.

Offline markobeezy

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2013, 09:18:58 AM »
Readers know what they're buying, right? Can't they just look at the estimated page count and make an informed decision from there? I understand what Amazon is doing, but some stories are complete and cohesive with under 2500 words.
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Offline Hilary Thomson

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2013, 09:22:02 AM »
A solution is to bundle your shorts as a two-pack minimum. 

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2013, 09:26:27 AM »
A lot of erotica will be affected.

This is a good thing! Maybe we can unclutter the marketplace a bit and get rid of all those 2,000 word "books" that people spit out in 15 minutes!  8)

Offline kathrynoh

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2013, 09:27:41 AM »
Thanks for the info.  I just checked the short story I have up but it's over 4000 words.  I have been thinking of pulling it anyway but would rather make that decision myself rather than have it made for me.

Offline Joe_Nobody

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2013, 09:55:04 AM »
I can normally justify Amazon's moves...I might not like them, but I can at least see their side of it.
This one puzzles me. I can think of many examples where shorts are worthy...poems...articles...in-depth product reviews...short stories.

The cutoff is a mystery as well. I wonder who picked that number.

Offline AnitaDobs

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2013, 09:57:03 AM »
This is a good thing! Maybe we can unclutter the marketplace a bit and get rid of all those 2,000 word "books" that people spit out in 15 minutes!  8)

2,000 words in 15 minutes? Impressive.

I wish I had your pen.

Offline Kat S

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2013, 09:57:29 AM »
FWIW the general rule of thumb on erotica shorts has been 3k+

Offline BrianKittrell

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2013, 09:57:50 AM »
I have one that is very short, around those guidelines. It's step-by-step instructions for accomplishing one very specific end result. If they remove it, oh well. I won't fluff that one up. *shrug*
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Offline Al Dente

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2013, 10:01:21 AM »
Well, there goes THAT pen name. Uh, I mean, how peculiar.  ;D

Online Catana

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2013, 10:02:06 AM »
Readers know what they're buying, right? Can't they just look at the estimated page count and make an informed decision from there? I understand what Amazon is doing, but some stories are complete and cohesive with under 2500 words.

Length isn't necessarily a measure of quality, but no, readers don't always know what they're buying. I've clicked on many titles that don't show any page count. Many readers don't understand file size and it's unhelpful anyway, because there's no way to tell how much is taken up by front matter or text that isn't part of the story. If there's no page count and the writer hasn't mentioned in the blurb that it's a short short, then readers have a right to be majorly p*ssed off.  

I've seen too much stuff on Smashwords that doesn't qualify in any way as a book -- a single poem, a short essay, etc. Unless Amazon goes too far, some kind of cutoff is a good thing.
     

Offline MegHarris

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #20 on: April 24, 2013, 10:04:18 AM »
My short-shorts are bundled in collections. But with standalones, my bestseller ever is about 7800 words long, and I have quite a few others under 10K words. I don't mind a cutoff, but for selfish reasons, I hope they don't raise it any higher. :)

Offline KaryE

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2013, 10:04:31 AM »
Hmm, bummer.

I have a 99-cent, 2,000 word short short (spec fic). Reviews are good, and the only negative one was a content squick, not an objection to length.

Pooh.


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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2013, 10:07:30 AM »
I have a fantasy short story of 2300 words that's a complete story. I'll be rather annoyed if I get a letter on that.
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Offline Terrence OBrien

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2013, 10:07:36 AM »
A Clean Well Lighted Place has 1,140 words.
When ideas become weapons, modern Templars make a last ditch attempt to stop
terrorists from using an ancient treaty to rally moderate Muslims to their Jihad......

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Offline Carol (was Dara)

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Re: Amazon going after short shorts
« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2013, 10:15:26 AM »
Readers know what they're buying, right? Can't they just look at the estimated page count and make an informed decision from there?

There's a vast number of ebook shoppers who either don't realize Amazon lists the page count or don't think to check it. I know because they tell me about it in their reviews. ;) I assume Amazon's new move comes because they're getting a lot of length complaints. To a certain extent I do think it makes sense to have a length requirement to publish via KDP. I'm just not sure what that requirement should be.