I asked Amazon what had prompted the re-categorization of the novel from literature to erotica. Their response? The book contains mature content and adult situations. I argued that many novels that contain mature content and adult situations exist on Amazon without being classified as erotica. My main point regarding my novel was this - as a genre, erotica has one goal and one goal only: to ignite sexual arousal and titillation in the reader. Anyone who has read The City of Earthly Desire knows that the novel's focus is not to ignite sexual arousal. On the contrary, the novel is deeply critical of lust and the forces that arouse the sexual passions. Is there mature content? Are there adult situations? Of course. How can there not be? After all, the second half of the novel deals with strip clubs and the production of pornography; however, despite the risque subject matter, the novel itself is not pornographic in nature.
My other concern about the novel's erotica classification was more business-minded. Readers searching for erotica might stumble across The City of Earthly Desire and purchase it thinking they were going to get a steamy little tale of sweaty bodies and leather-domination; they would be sadly disappointed to discover the novel did not contain all the explicit sex they craved. On the flip side, potential readers interested in reading plain-old fiction might bypass the novel simply because they would think it was another panty-moistening epic penned by some sexually frustrated hack who lives in a dingy one-bedroom apartment above an adult novelty shop.
Amazon acknowledged my concerns and admitted that their chief objection has less to do the text and had everything to do with the mature content on the book's cover. What's the mature content? Well, have a look at Egon Schiele's Mutter and Kind which graces the cover of my novel:
So, what's a writer to do? The answer is simple. Become a surgeon and perform a mastectomy. Eradicate the offensive mammary gland and maybe the mature content will go away. Well, here is the post-surgery result:
Until then, I have to admit I've been thinking about creating another cover for the book or, ideally, having someone else create a more professional cover for me. I like Egon's image and I think it captures the essence of the book overall, but I have never been entirely satisfied with the cover I created. That, however, is a tale for another day.