Censorship, Erotica, Amazon, Paypal & Smashwords

I stumbled upon an article written last year, and it reminded me of the situation.  Smashwords informed all its writers about Paypal banning certain types of erotica. I now remember getting that email, but it didn’t affect me…then.  That was well over a year before I wrote Kings of Klenar, so I didn’t get caught up in the drama.  Reading the article, Mark Coker’s letter and then the follow up makes it a bit clearer in my mind why Amazon has such a problem with the erotic version but not the sensual version.

All erotic books dealing with bestiality, rape, incest and children were banned.  There’s that word again: rape.  I thought that strange, since many books deal with rape, but then I got to meat of the email.  If those things were in a non-erotic book, it wouldn’t be an issue.  Only if they were in an erotic book.  So even if the scenes were exactly the same, if you dared put that in the same book with erotic sex, a red flag would go up.  I find it strange that people would assume that because the book is erotic, that the plot can’t be any deeper than just the kinky sex.  I’ve always been under the impression that erotica was a normal story with explicit sex added in. Strip away the sex and you still had a rich story.  That is what I did with Kings of Klenar.  I wrote it with a lot of explicit sex, and then I went and edited all that out so more reserved people could still read and enjoy the story.  And those people are the ones who have a problem with the questionable content.  Actually, that makes sense, because people who are prepared to read explicit sex, shouldn’t be all that shocked to read a very brief rape scene.

I didn’t write those scenes for titillation, which is what is supposed to mark that as taboo.  I don’t expect people to read that and get turned on.  It’s something horrible that happens to the heroine, so you’re not supposed to like it.  If it makes you mad or upset, then I did my job.

Of course, Paypal eventually dropped the idea of the ban, since they realized how idiotic it was.  They were forced to realize that too many classics would have to be banned as well, since many of those use rape and pedophilia in them.  One popular example is The Color Purple.  The heroine of that is only a child when she is raped, but you don’t see the masses wanting to burn the author in effigy. Maybe because that book isn’t erotic, but how does that make the idea of a child being raped any less offensive?  I might put offensive content in a few of my books, but I don’t do it glorify the act. It’s merely necessary to tell the story.  Which is why it bothers me when Amazon gives me such a problem with the description of the book. Turns out they don’t care what the book contains, only that the description isn’t offensive or contains any of their taboo keywords, such as rape or non-consensual sex.  But they allow those terms in non-erotic books.  And even though I have that disclaimer on the sensual version, that hasn’t stopped prudish people from buying it and then being disgusted enough to return it for a refund or posting a negative review.

I know you can’t please everyone all the time, and it does seem there are enough people pleased enough to buy it and keep it.  If they liked it, hopefully they will eventually return and positively review it.

January 3rd, 2014 by Jude Writing Tags: , , , , , Comments Off on Censorship, Erotica, Amazon, Paypal & Smashwords

Amazon strikes again!

Well, Amazon yanked the erotic version of Kings of Klenar again, so only the sensual Kindle version is available for sale.  I give up trying to get them to post the book as is, so I censored it for their quality control department.  I’ll post to it when/if it becomes live again, but if anyone out there wants to read my apparently controversial story, it is available on all major booksellers, including but not limited to B&N, Kobo, Apple and Smashwords.  You can also buy it in my store for 15% off the retail price.

12/21 ETA It looks like Amazon only had a problem with the book description. Since I couldn’t change that without changing the book itself, it seems I was right in censoring the book.  They show it as live on the publishing platform, but it isn’t yet showing in the store.  As soon as it is, I’ll post the link here.

12/22 It is finally live. Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GGM5W8G

12/23 ETA It didn’t sit well with me that I censored so much from the erotic version, so I went back and edited it again. Instead of removing those controversial scenes, I made them the same as they appear in the sensual version.  Since Amazon has never had any problems with that book, I figure they shouldn’t have problems with it in this one.  I have uploaded it, so it should (fingers crossed) be live later today.  I know at least 3 people have bought the censored version, but since the Kindle can get updated versions, just be sure to have that option selected and the update should automatically sync with yours.  That way, you don’t need to request the unedited version from me.

12/24 ETA I guess I will be spending Christmas battling the quality police at Amazon.  I think I’ve figured out what their problem is.  They kicked back another of my books, and the one thing they both have in common is “non-consensual sex” is in the description.  I removed that from Love’s Trial, and it’s live again (note that I made no update to the book contents, only the description).  They took Kings of Klenar offline again because I added that to the book description.  I find it very strange that this company allows people to post whatever they want in reviews, providing unnecessary spoilers, but they don’t allow the author to put disclaimers of content that might offend some people.  How does that make any sense at all?  So I have removed the phrase “non-consensual sex” from the description of the erotic version and posted it again. Let’s see if it goes through this time.  *sigh*

12/25 ETA It is back online again, hopefully for good this time! Merry Christmas, everyone! 🙂

December 20th, 2013 by Jude News, Writing Tags: , , , Comments Off on Amazon strikes again!
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