by Larry Archer

As a writer of erotica, I am painfully aware of the Amazon Cliff and how quickly I find my toes hooked over the edge, like a bird trying to hold onto a branch in a hurricane as nature attempts to blow you away.

The “Amazon Cliff” is widely discussed, and while not an official stated policy of Amazon, there appears to be almost undeniable proof of its existence. The Amazon Cliff is a term writers use to describe how an author’s ranking suddenly drops after the release of a new publication.

Previously, we have thought that the “cliff” was approximately 30-days after a new release, but I believe that has now changed to approximately 15-days (or two weeks), at least in my case. While I’ve tried not to be too anal about sales, I couldn’t help but notice the difference between daily sales, after the release of my latest story, Walk on the Wild Side, when compared to sales before the release.

The daily sales chart below shows how my daily sales increased at the time of release and, about two weeks later, dropped to the “normal” daily sales before the release of the story.

When you release a new story, there is typically a bump in your author’s and story’s rating, which translates into higher sales at Amazon, as the release date prioritizes the results of a search. Keep in mind that I’m looking at my sales data, which may or may not mirror the results of others.

A prospective reader goes to Amazon and searches for new smut to read. The results presented are based upon proprietary algorithms, but one of the components is the length of time since the author’s previous release.

The obvious and often stated takeaway from this is that you need to publish new stories frequently to keep you on the peak of the sales wave. However, for a lot of writers, this is not as easy as you might think.

Porn stories tend to be short because if the story is long enough to get you off, then that’s all you need. For me, this is a non-starter because I can’t seem to be able to type “The End.” When I start a new erotic story, I will only have a vague idea of where the story will go, and my characters take advantage of me to never stop doing the nasty.

When I compare my sales ranking at SmashWords, I see more consistent day to day sales figures. Below is a sales chart for the past 90 days at SmashWords. While there is a sales bump with the release of a new story, the overall sales tend to be a lot more consistent. Plus, if you dig into sales of popular stories, I have stories that have been out for over a year and are still in the upper section of popularity. This tells me that SmashWords places a priority on the popularity of a story and not just when it was released.

I think the bottom line is to publish as often as you can with Amazon to keep you higher in the SEO or search rankings. I use the Book Report web-based tool,, for my sales reporting, which is free if your sales are below a certain level.

That’s all for this month, and thanks for slogging through to the end. For more on erotica by Larry Archer, follow my blog at: or for my list of HEA explicit erotica. Follow me on Twitter, @Archer_Larry, or MeWe at