Amazon Making Big Changes – Authors Beware!

by | Nov 26, 2013 | Book Marketing Basics

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Amazon Making is shaking things up again, this time with the keywords and book description.

In the past you were allowed, encouraged even, to use similar book titles and author names in your book description. This is no longer the case. Amazon has been notifying people about this but I just spoke with an author who got no notification, her book was simply pulled off of the Amazon site. Do NOT use author names or book titles in your book description or keywords/tags.

Please do not assume because you have not gotten an email from Amazon that your book is safe.

Please check your keywords. Most of the keyword maneuvering has been through the KDP backend (Kindle Direct Publishing) so if you published through some other channel you are most likely okay. But I know that publishers (yes, traditional New York publishers) have been doing this, too so you should check with your editor immediately.

UPDATE: I’m updating this post as I get questions. Here’s more information: There has been a removal of books for offensive keywords. We know this. This is a different matter. This relates to author names or book titles. Here’s the thing: if your book gets dinged it will get pulled. This isn’t just a removal of the buy button, they will remove the book and you have to resubmit it all over again. I just ran through this process with someone so this is first hand information.

We are in the crucial holiday buying season. No one wants to be dealing with this now.

Enhanced by ZemantaUPDATE: Here’s what you need to do to be sure this does not happen to you:


  1. Scott Pinzon

    Hi Penny, thanks for trying to spread the word to us indie publishers. However, could you clarify your wording? Your message seems to say that if my book title in my description matches my book’s title, Amazon will pull the book down. I doubt that’s what you mean, but I’m not sure how to interpret the word “similar.” Similar to what? Is your message that if I use my book description to compare my thriller to the work of some other more famous author, Amazon will pull my book? Clarity or an example, please. Nonetheless, I thank you again for trying to help us all keep selling books.

  2. Mary Maddox

    Thank you for the heads up. I just changed my book’s description. As it happens, the authors mentioned in the description are also mentioned in various reviews of my book. That’s okay, right?

  3. Lynette M. Smith

    I thought, a few months ago, Amazon no longer published or even used Keywords that had been submitted. How do we access our own keyword list, then? (I have both a directly uploaded Kindle title and a print title that was uploaded through Lightning Source/Ingram on my behalf.)

  4. Penny

    Right now what I know is this: No way can you use other book titles or similar authors. So, for example, if you write historical romance, you can’t use “Victoria Alexander” as your keywords and, given this, I would stay away from using that in the book description, too. This is really sad. For years comparing books to other titles: If you like this you’ll like that – has been a strong marketing tool for authors.

  5. Penny

    You can access your keywords through the back end of KDP – if you have an account on Amazon, you can also access your keywords there, too.

  6. Elisabeth Grace

    If you have an author’s name at the end of an endorsement quote in your book description, does this apply?

  7. Lacey

    This is good to know, Penny. Thank you!

  8. Joseph Chmielewski

    This is a smart move by Amazon, and I suspect just the second of many.

    Amazon must tighten quality on Kindle publishing or face a backlash from customers. (Amazon set a minimum limit on books for the same reason.)

    I expect the biggest shakeout when Amazon runs a plagiarism check on Kindle book contents, and finds outsourced books based upon PLR content.

    Top notch authors have little to fear.

  9. Elizabeth

    OK.. so what if my situation is that I have a memoir about working with a Pulitzer Prizewinning author and controversial academic/scientific researcher. Do I get to use his name in my book description or am I completely SOL in light of this new rule??

  10. Angela Artemis|Powered by Intuition

    I’m actually glad to hear about this change. Last year I noticed a video product in a similar genre created by someone else kept coming up when my name was typed into Amazon search. I found it extremely annoying. I do hope this will now be removed from being associated with my books.



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