Fair warning: rant ahead!
I’ve been sick for the past two days, have a deadline coming up, and now I hear about Amazon, Barns & Nobles, and Kobo getting their panties in a bunch over erotica again. Rumors are flying on Facebook, but I have no clue what’s true and what isn’t. I’ve heard that Kobo has taken ALL self-published titles down, B&N are only hitting certain authors, and who the hell knows what the big bad Amazon is up to because we never know. They won’t even give us clear content guidelines; check out this joke of a policy (taken directly from their site):
We don’t accept pornography or offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts.
What we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect.”
Really, Amazon? You think you know what I expect? What I expect is to do business without fearing you’ll change your mind on a whim and start deleting titles because you can. Furthermore, it really pisses me off that you’re targeting erotica written by Indie authors. You wouldn’t dare take down the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, even though readers have poured their outrage into the one and two star reviews. You’re too busy making bank off those books, so you’ll turn a blind eye to the “offensive” content.
Now let me state this for the record: I have not read Fifty Shades of Grey and the above is in no way a statement of the quality or offensiveness of the trilogy; I’m only making a point. The big bad Amazon is picking and choosing what to censor, even among the Indie authors since my erotica has not been taken down (yet), but other books have. Amazon appears to be operating in a random, zigzag way that leaves us authors completely in the dark. We need clear and concise content guidelines; otherwise, how can they justify taking down anyone’s work?
A lot of people are crying “censorship,” and I can’t say I blame them. But I have to wonder why erotica is always the genre to make such a stink. Why not horror? Why is depicting violence and gore in fiction more acceptable than sex? I am disgusted by the double standards I keep seeing.
Some readers have esoteric tastes when it comes to fiction. I happen to be one of them. I enjoy reading and writing in the dark erotica genre, more specifically dubious consent. I like the darker, edgier stuff and I don’t believe we should have our tastes in fiction censored. We’re adults and are capable of making our own decisions in what we read. There are better ways to deal with the naysayers and even the law than pulling this utter bullshit.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time Amazon has tried to censor erotica. Some would argue that it’s their business, their platform, and their rules.
Fine. Then make the damn rules so they apply to EVERYONE. Make them so we can understand them. Quit jerking us around every time someone mutters the word “porn.” To put it succinctly: grow a pair!
If you’d like to support the freedom to read and write without being censored, then please go here and sign the petition. You can also read more about this issue at The Digital Reader.