A recent  post here told of the issues I was having with Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) with one of my book covers. My undercover cop memoir. Well, after a lot of ‘to’ing and fro’ing, and getting precisely nowhere, I decided when it comes to book covers and AMS: okay Amazon – you win!

That means I changed my book cover. A little sad really because it has been a part of my life for the past two years since my book was first published.

This was the email exchange between yours truly and Amazon that finally clinched it:

Subject: Ad Rejection


I received this reply from Customer Relations:
Good evening Steve,

I hope you are doing great! My name is Barbara and I’m a supervisor in KDP.

I received your feedback regarding our decision on rejecting your ad campaign for the title ” Undercover”. I really appreciate it.

I can assure that we can differentiate the purpose of the cover, however, I would like to clarify to you, that ads campaign are freely displayed in our webpage, and I can also assure you, that children, will not have the capacity to differentiate it. The main image is related to drug and it is not according to our guidelines.

In advance I would really appreciate your comprehension with our decision, we need to assure that the free content displays in our webpage, is neutral, and qualify for all audience.

I really appreciate your understanding.

Funny she “appreciate(ed) my understanding” because I do not understand even now. The above response was a reply to my comments below:

To:Barbara DR
KDP Customer Support

Now “children” are being blamed for rejecting my ad. That can’t be correct as it is a sponsored ad and will only show on pages of similar books. They are not books for kids but adult reading material.

The original reason was that my cover image “glorified or promoted drugs.” I repeat once more – it does not.

Here is a definition of glorify:
glorify VERB. To glorify something means to praise it or make it seem good or special, usually when it is not. Example – This magazine in no way glorifies gangs.
The images in my book cover DO NOT glorify drugs whichever definition you care to use.
Definition of promote:
1. to advertise something in order to sell it: Example –
The new model cars are being heavily promoted on television.
I am NOT selling drugs. It is my undercover cop memoir.
2. to encourage or support something, or to help something become successful: Example – A new campaign has been launched to promote safe driving.
I am NOT encouraging any one to use, try or buy drugs.

When I checked the Book Creative Guidelines, it’s clear to me the part about glorifying or promoting drugs is also linked with drug paraphernalia. That makes sense. It is to prevent people selling things that are or could be illegal.

My book cover falls outside of this reasoning.

It strikes me, with respect, that no one has paused to understand the intellectual aspect of my argument.

People have simply and blindly thought there are drugs on the image therefore it is disallowed. This is not the case I have so amply demonstrated by quoting the key word of GLORIFY and PROMOTE and giving them their natural meanings.

Please, once more, reconsider Amazon’s position. I do believe you have misinterpreted your own policy. I am sure one of your own lawyers would agree with me.

I also ask this is escalated once more to senior management.



In response to my last request, I received this reply:

Good evening Steve,

thank you for your response.

Ads campaign are freely displayed in our web page, thus it may appear at any moment in any search results. We have no option to create a logical process to avoid displaying specific adds [sic] when kids are searching in our page. Our guidelines are clear and focused in avoiding inconveniences with our customers.

I really appreciate your understanding.

“A logical process?” Haha! I’m still chuckling at that. It’s a waste of time arguing with people who can’t even write a grammatically correct email. An even bigger waste of time if the recipient has no intention of analyzing the content of what I had to say.

As far as they were concerned, the cover had an image of drugs ergo it is prohibited. They do not even understand their own policies and/or comprehend the meaning of “glorify” and “promote.” At that point, I gave up and decided to change the cover.

It did, however, give me the opportunity of adding a new tagline.

Below is the original cover that so bothered Amazon.



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