Adventures in Amazon algorithms

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about my gay Amish romance ending up on the inspirational romance and Christian books and bibles bestseller lists. I removed the word “Amish” from the product tags. But lo and behold, the book was still showing up in the Christian categories. So I emailed Amazon.

The first rep explained:

The category “Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Literature & Fiction > Romance > Amish” was added automatically because you had added “Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Inspirational > Amish” in the Kindle store. Books categories will be added automatically according to the category that you select from the Kindle store.

The only problem is that I didn’t add that category. Nope! So I contacted them again. Rep #2 replied:

I’ve checked and can see that the category Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Literature & Fiction > Romance > Amish was added automatically because you initially had a keyword or tag as ‘Amish’.

When you add certain keywords or tags, your book would be listed in certain sub-categories automatically depending upon the keyword. In this case, as you used Amish as a tag and as it is a keyword for Romance > Amish, the above category was automatically added.

By the way, both reps were very nice, and the responses to my queries were prompt. So, even though I’d deleted the tag “Amish,” the system was still wanting to use it. I was told that they’d remove the categories and it could take 72 hours. That timeline has now passed, and as you can see, I’m still rocking the Christian charts as of Sunday, Sept 7.


Not that I have anything against Christian books and bibles, or inspirational romance, but for those readers:


I don’t want to upset customers, and I want to reach my target audience. So far I haven’t had any outraged reviews from readers who expected an inspirational romance, so maybe I should just make it my goal to be on the gay erotica and Christian books and bibles charts simultaneously for as long as possible! 😀

Have you had any adventures with Amazon that you’d like to share? Let me know!

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  1. I’m laughing, but you’re right– you don’t want hate reviews from people who didn’t expect an M/M romance. I have a whole list of tag words and the category they will result in from my publisher. I think it can be found somewhere in the deep bowels of KDP.


    1. Thanks, Renee! The second rep gave me the list. I had foolishly thought that all the other tags (gay, gay romance, manlove, m/m, etc.) would override the word “Amish,” but it’s a lesson well learned.

  2. I have the exact opposite problem with Amazon! I changed keywords on my short “An Age Play” to better reflect the story (it’s not “age play”; it’s a young man/older woman scenario). My keywords stuck for about two days. Then I was sent back to the Amazon black hole of “Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Erotica” … because that’s more descriptive?? Ugh. I’ve reentered the keywords hoping to retrigger new product tags; didn’t work. I never contacted customer service. Perhaps I should? I know Amazon has “issues” with erotica; I figured they would dismiss the issue with a “nothing we can do” attitude.

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