Amazon to Authors: Guns Bad, ‘Mkay

Well yesterday was an interesting one. Before I headed back to base, I decided to set u pa small Amazon ad campaign for each of my currently released Galaxy Ascendant books, given that the next two are coming out fairly soon. So I set up the campaign for A Greater Duty. As usual, it was quickly approved and running. Same for A Looming Shadow. Then I submitted an ad for A Shifting Alliance.

And it was soon listed as suspended. Initially there was no explanation, so I was very confused. Then I got an email, which you can see below. (Along with the “offending” cover.)

Amazon Guns Bad.png a shifting alliance cover--no bleed final

I’m guessing they “got me” on the charge of guns being fired, as the other problematic things listed certainly cannot be applied here.

So yeah… that was not something I expected, and it was quite irritating. So, since it’s Current Year, I tweeted about the dumb thing Amazon did. And… it went pretty far. Today might’ve been by best on twitter ever, from a metric perspective, and I sold far more books than the ad probably ever would’ve sold for me, so I guess I did win. Thanks to everyone who helped share this incident and spread awareness today, and extra thanks to everyone who bought one or more of my books, or backed my ongoing Galaxy Ascendant Kickstarter.

Also, for the sake of being completely honest and transparent, I made a second attempt at putting an identical ad for A Shifting Alliance through, and a far longer than usual wait (after all the sharing of my initial tweet largely died down), it was approved. Not sure what changed. Could be that the second person who reviewed it wasn’t as rabidly “guns bad!” as the first. Or maybe someone saw the storm brewing on twitter and wanted to make things quiet down. We’ll never truly know, I suppose.

However, this is about more than my single little ad campaign for a simple (but very fun and awesome) space opera book (nor is it about possible future ads for other books of mine that also feature weapons firing on the cover). I’ve since heard that this isn’t the first time this has happened on Amazon; I guess I’m the first who made enough of a stink about it that people became more widely aware? My second ad being approved does nothing to change the fact that these ridiculous “guidelines” are still there, and they can choose, if they want, to prohibit ads being run for a great many books from various genres—and it’s all too possible that these may eventually become strongly and uniformly enforced. Or worse, they might go yet further down the crazy anti-gun road and ban the sale of books with covers like mine.

This should serve a reminder to all of us publishing our books (or comic books) on Amazon that while it might not be as bad, at least not openly, as some other sites, Amazon is not our friend. We need to be vigilant and make noise whenever anything like this happens, and help amplify the signal to help anyone who runs afoul of such nonsense from Amazon, or anyone. No single person is going to win this culture war; it’s a team effort, and it’s going to be a long, hard fight every step of the way. Do not cuck and change your covers because of something like this. If it happens to you, make noise, adn don’t let up.

I’m still a fairly small presence out there, but I’m doing my part, between putting out regular, quality products and helping to share and signal boost other great projects. Complaining about SJW nonsense doesn’t do this; supporting better alternatives does.


What are you doing to help?


Update: A few days later, I received another email from Amazon, informing me that my original ad had been “re-evaluated,” and subsequently approved. Again, this does not really change much; this on the books “policy” is still very disturbing, and must be called out when it is utilized. However, for sake of transparency, I wanted to make this known.

2 thoughts on “Amazon to Authors: Guns Bad, ‘Mkay

  1. This whole episode was ridiculous. Good for you for getting the word out about it, and I’m happy it resulted in more interest and sales for you. Like you said, better than the actual Amazon ad itself!

    You’re 100% right that these companies are NOT our friends. What bothers me, though, is that when you publish with Amazon they have rights to your work, so I don’t think you’re able to easily sell it elsewhere. Maybe I’m wrong about that. Either way, all of us independent authors who might not be exactly in step with the prevailing center-left to rabidly progressive zeitgeist need to explore serious alternatives, band together, and hop on board when a viable alternative presents itself.

    Until then, best of luck with the campaign, and stay safe!

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