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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all-

I'm a total newb at Amazon, self-pubbing, and all that jazz - admittedly so. I read on another thread that being put as a mature rating (regardless of checking it yourself during pub, or having a schmexy cover,) would get you less visibility - I'm assuming via advertising campaigns, etc.

My book is a lesbian romance, which includes sex scenes, but it's not erotica. There's very few *ahem* adult words, and it edges on Mature. It's certainly not rated E.

Should I pull the 18+ rating that I put on it originally? Would it help my visibility? I don't necessarily know if it would be ethical to do so. I wouldn't want a 10 year old to download it, by any means. 14 and up would be fine, I think, considering all the Skinemax available nowadays online, for free. This is a romance, anyway.

Thanks for your experienced opinions!
 

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I don't think I'll engage in the discussion about whether 14 year olds should be reading sex scenes, but I've wondered the same about my thriller. It's fairly violent, it touches on a couple of topics not for under 18s, and there are naughty swear words in it! So I wouldn't take off the 18+ rating, but I have wondered how that affects it being seen by over 18s. In theory, you'd think it shouldn't affect that at all, but I'm not convinced. Then of course there's the issue that if you put an 18+ rating on something, people's minds immediately imagine the content to be more violent, more sexual, more whatever than it actually is.

I will say that, regarding whether it's ethical to take off the 18+ rating, if you put it on there in the first place because you thought it needed it, and the only reason you're considering removing it now is that you might get more visibility, doesn't that answer your question?
 

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Avoid the 18+ rating at all costs. I only have anecdotal evidence of this, but I did this once on an all ready published book and sales plummeted from ten a day to zero a day and never recovered even after unclicking the button.
 
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The question is not "should a 14-year-old be reading this?" It is not your job as an author to parent other people's kids. It is not your job to "protect" kids who might accidentally come across your book. Your job is to get your book in front of your audience. It is not your job to worry about someone not in your audience accidentally coming across your book.

The "Mature" tag should really be limited to books that are genuinely geared toward the "mature" market. i.e., people looking for sexually explicit content. The mature flag exists mostly to assist people looking to AVOID hyper-erotic content. When I search for books on Smashwords, I always make sure that I have the mature filter on so my search doesn't get cluttered up with erotica, because you can't search for ANYTHING without the search being cluttered up with erotica otherwise.

The problem, of course, is Amazon doesn't trust adults to make that decision for themselves. Instead of giving us the OPTION to see mature content, they just relegate anything labeled mature to the dungeon where it won't appear in generic searches.

I feel it is more important to make sure you select the right categories for your book. If your audience is NOT young adults, don't put the book in YA categories. Don't use keywords that might trigger the book to come up in searches for YA books. Make sure your description is crystal clear the intended audience.

There will ALWAYS be someone who will complain about something. But if you are marketing your book to adults, labeling it correctly, and being clear in the content, I wouldn't label it "mature" unless the primary focus of the book is erotic titillation.
 

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I'd take the rating off. I remember from a while back reading that it does limit the book in searches. As long as the blurb shows there is adult content/situations, then you're good. Done your bit for decency. Whatever. Also, don't use erotica terms in the keywords.

And yeah. It's not your job to police other people's kids. If some parent lets their pre-teen buy whatever they want online, that's a problem you can't solve. #crappyparentingsucks
 

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Wow, good question! It's one I really thought nothing about, assuming that violence/language that might be found in a pg-13 movie meant that I should activate  that filter.

My first novel as well as the next two coming out this summer have a fair amount of gore, no sex scenes and the kind of language one might hear around a squad room of detectives or among military people in the heat of battle, more for punctuation and even those are fairly sparse.

I think I will go back and take that 18+ off and see how/if it affects sales/clicks/views etc.
 

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kdiem said:
Where do you set that rating?
In the KDP paperback Title Details there's a box labeled "Adult Content" that reads: "Does this book contain language, situations, or images inappropriate for children under 18 years of age?" Yes or No.

I don't see the same box in the KDP ebook Details section. Although there is a box for OPTIONAL "Age and Grade Range" box. But I don't think that is what this thread is talking about.

Others may know more.

I have the Yes box checked for the KDP PRINT edition of two of my novels that have explicit sex scenes. They're historical fiction, not erotica novels. I haven't noticed any damper on sales. Most of my advertising, though, is aimed at the Kindle edition and that edition doesn't have a corresponding "Adult Content" box.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks all, for your advice.

You're right - it's not my job to police who buys and reads my book. As to the commentary re: 14 year olds reading stories with sex scenes being inappropriate, that's a whole other discussion that I don't want to overtake this thread with. But long story short, out of my defense - this is a lesbian book. Many lesbian teenagers find out about relationships, both physical and emotional, from books. Some do this out of fear, and others do it because they don't feel like there's anywhere else to turn to for information.

For those questioning where the age rating limit would be on the Kindle/eBook version, there is a minimum/maximum recommended age range menu on the Book Details bit. You can choose to leave this blank. I had put 18+ before, and now have opted not to answer the question at all. On the paperback version, the question is very direct.
 

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kdiem said:
Where do you set that rating?
The first page of the book's setup, below the keywords, it asks what ages and grades the book is appropriate for. If you're selling children's or middle grade books, I would hope setting it correctly would help people to find what they're looking for. With Amazon's broken search, who knows?
 

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Many lesbian teenagers find out about relationships, both physical and emotional, from books. Some do this out of fear, and others do it because they don't feel like there's anywhere else to turn to for information.
I understand that (and it's sad that there's no other place for these kids, gay, lesbian or other), but this is what the blurb is for, to give readers an idea about what is in the book. You don't have to baldly state "HEY! There's gay sex here!", just word it so it's known there are adult themes. I know Amazon probably means well in wanting to let people know about the sex, but they have no problem selling sex devices, they can just be odd about books, especially any erotica.
 
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