Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Revisiting the Censorship of Erotic Fiction

Hey, does anyone remember when Amazon started banning erotic fiction?

I do.

I remember, because it makes a difference to me, to my bottom line. This is my livelihood, my living. Every time one of these corporations decides to change the rules (again) without telling publishers (again) what is or isn't acceptable in their venue, they take food off my table. It hasn't stopped, by the way. Just because the news isn't covering it today, doesn't mean it's stopped.

Your freedom to read what you like is being eroded every day. Every time Apple rejects a book or app (they just did it again and made the news last week), every time a corporation decides, "We won't sell that here," it narrows your choices as a reader. Yes, corporations can sell what they like, they can make the rules on their playground.

But they should then have the cojones to tell publishers and authors what is or isn't okay with them. Instead, we have to guess, while Amazon and Apple and Barnes and Noble "reserve the right" to arbitrarily refuse one book, but not another.
I'll give you a recent personal example. This story of mine, Girls Only: Pool Party, has a picture of two women on the front. They're not naked (look closer) and there are no "important parts" showing. Yet Amazon stamped my book ADULT and excluded it from the All Department search.
However, this book has a very similar cover, but depicts a man and a woman, rather than two women, in the same position. I made the sensible argument that either my book should be unfiltered - or Leo should be ADULT filtered.

This was the response I received:
Regarding "Girls Only: Pool Party," we have evaluated your title in comparison to "Leo" and stand by our decision not to remove the adult flag. Mature content handling is confidential and we retain discretion over what we perceive as "adult" titles.
Really, Amazon?

I responded, letting them know that I was sure the GBLT community would like to know that they are censoring gay and lesbian fiction but allowing heterosexual fiction to remain in the all department search. In fact, I was sure that there were many reporters and journalists who would be interested in this fact as well, especially after Apple's publicity last week in banning an app for gay/lesbian content, and I happened to know several of them personally, because they interviewed me during the Paypal fiasco...

Amazon took the filter off my book.

But most authors don't have the same 'clout' that I do, or the means to back up an "I'm going to the press with this!" statement.

There is, however, power in numbers. It's one of the reasons I developed Excessica as a publishing co-op. There's always more power in numbers.

So with that in mind - if you have a book that's been filtered or banned, a book you've been told by some corporation that it isn't "acceptable" to them, please POST IT HERE.

BANNED EROTICA EBOOKS is a Facebook page dedicated to intellectual freedom, for authors and readers alike. Please share it with your friends, go "like" it on Facebook. Support those vendors who refuse to ban books, and tell those corporations who are limiting your choices that you don't appreciate it!

Just because you haven't heard about corporate censorship lately, doesn't mean it's gone away. In fact, the more silent we are about it, the more they will continue to do it--and get away with it.

Don't sit back and ignore it. It's not going away. Do something, even if it's just "liking" the Facebook page to send the message to corporations: "We want to the freedom to read what we like!"

Make sure they get that message - loud and clear.

Selena Kitt
Erotic Fiction You Won't Forget
LATEST RELEASE: Under Mr. Nolan's Bed Sequel: Confession

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