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Check out my science fiction series - The Fall of the Altairan Empire

Monday, May 6, 2013

Truth in Advertising

I hate to be nitpicky, but no, your car really isn't running on recycled dinosaurs. Try recycled algae or peat moss. But that isn't as funny or as cool.

Who wouldn't want to stuff a tyrannosaurus into the gas tank? (I wonder if car manufacturers would respond to a petition to change "horsepower" to "t-rexpower"? My car has a 20 t-rex power engine!)

But it isn't true.

I ran across a discussion in one of my author groups that's been eating at me for the same reasons.

An author complained that if she tagged her book as erotica on, they wouldn't let her list it in any other category. Her solution was to tag all her books as "Family" instead. Um, no. Just no. Erotica does not equal family oriented entertainment, not in any society I want to be part of.

I would have probably forgotten about it, except a few days later I was chatting with a neighbor about ebooks. She mentioned she'd bought one listed in the family category that should have had TV-MA or XXX warnings on it instead. She said she gave the book a really bad review for that reason. She's the sweetest lady, who would never viciously attack anything, not even a cupcake with a fork. For her to give you a bad review, you had to do something horrid. Like lie about your book.

When you slap labels on your book, it isn't all about making sales or getting noticed. It's also about informing the customer what to expect. Some customers really don't enjoy spicy hot romance books. Some of us don't enjoy MM or MMFM or whatever alphabet soup romance you want to cook up. We are not your target audience. Someone else is. When you label your erotic story as family entertainment, you are lying to the consumer. People don't like being lied to. They tend to get upset. Upset people do things like complain and give you bad reviews. Upset people tell their friends and give you a bad reputation. You end up losing sales, not to mention any goodwill you may have earned.

Those ratings are a tool. Don't abuse them. Don't push boundaries just because you can.

And for pete's sake, DON'T LIE TO THE CUSTOMERS. You are not going to convert them from family/sweet reads to erotica by mislabeling your stories. You are only going to make enemies.

I think from now on, I'm going to label all my dry, scientific papers as erotica. That should get me more sales...


  1. I wholeheartedly concur. Well said, Jaleta.

  2. Oh wow, I can't believe she'd switch it from erotic to family! I was struggling on goodreads, to find a listopia for my books, because they aren't exactly family, but not even close to erotic. (No one in my books has sex. They just look longingly. LOL) Clean romances? Well, some of the characters cut lose with the occasional curse words. Don't want to annoy someone who wants really clean. LOL But really struggled with what to call the list. Settled for Romantic suspense with a vintage vibe, but still not sure that was right. In the description, I noted that the romance stops at the bedroom door. If anyone reads it.... O.O

  3. I'd list yours as sweet romance with noir suspense. How's that, Pauline? Most people are okay with a few cuss words, even in the family category, as long as they aren't really obnoxious or constant.

    I've started giving books a movie rating when I review them along with the stars.

  4. So true, I'm very careful about how I label my stories. The trick is to find your audience, not to try to get any readers whatever the cost. That usually only leads to bad reviews.

    1. Some people are so desperate for sales they'll do anything, I guess. Is it any wonder that readers are reluctant to try new authors with this kind of thing going on?

  5. I totally agree! I like to know what I am spending my hard earned money on. I had a writer friend tell me that she gets really ticked off when reviews mention that her book is self-published because it puts a bad connotation on it. But I would want to know if it was self-published, so I often put that in my review. Readers appreciate open honest more then being tricked into buying your book.


Keep it clean, keep it nice.