Does this look like a candidate for banned book covers to you?
Well, it is. Read on to understand why.
If you are enrolled in Amazon KDP Select, one of the benefits is that you have access to Amazon pay per click advertising. I have been experimenting with this programme, and although it is a bit clunky, and clearly still in development, I have been relatively happy. One of the biggest problems was that author names were reversed, but I notice this glitch has now been rectified.
But earlier today I got an odd surprise from Amazon advertising. They told me that my book cover violated their ad guideline policies.
Ok, after exchanging messages with Amazon, they made their point that under their guidelines, the three most commonly rejected cover image themes were, firearms and weapons, blood and violence and provocative images.
Well, had I read the guidelines, which of course are not that easy to find, I should have been aware of the problem with my book cover, and its suitability for Amazon advertising.
Except, that my book cover was previously approved and ran quite happily!
But I made a silly mistake, which in part was due to an oddity on the KDP Ad dashboard. Instead of clicking ‘pause’ to stop my ad running for a couple of days prior to a promotion I had planned, I accidentally clicked ‘terminate’. Once this is clicked, there is no way to recover the ad, which is really not a clever option, as there is no recover or duplicate option.
So, I had to set up the ad all over again, and get approved, again. And this was the reply, to the exact same ad that had been previously approved three weeks earlier.
What? My cover is ok one day, but banned a few weeks later? A bit inconsistent methinks. Of course, I pointed out this fact in my messages to Amazon, when I asked why my approved ad was now unapproved, but there was no arguing with them.
My cover was not in conformity with Amazon guidelines, etc., etc, and that it had previously been approved was of no consequence. End of story, end of the ad.
So, if you are planning to use KDP pay per click ads, be prepared for some ups and downs, surprises and inconsistencies.
As a footnote, though, I have the same book cover running quite happily on Facebook ads, which has no issue with the cover image at all. On top of that, Facebook ads average out to be about half the cost per click when compared to Amazon. So I guess, in a strange roundabout way, Amazon has saved me some money!