It occurred to me that as I waxed philosophical in my last post on censorship and the vagaries of being a writer of erotic fiction, I did not suggest any remedies. It’s all very well to bitch and philosophize, but offering solutions is far more constructive.
While we’re all tearing our hair out about Kobo, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Amazon, etc. and their various purges of what they consider beneath them to sell, there’s no point gnashing our teeth over this. Yes, it’s unfair. Yes, they’re consummate hypocrites for removing certain titles while continuing to reap profits from titles like ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ (which to my mind is not only poorly written, of little artistic merit but justifies sexual abuse through romance). Their refusal to sell what we write does not impinge on our rights to write it or distribute it through other channels. So…
There are a number of indie eBook retailers out there who, within the boundaries of the law, staunchly defend a ‘no censorship’ policy. Smashwords do this. Mark Coker (who I have taken to task on one occasion) has fought quietly but effectively and passionately to do this.
So put your ire where your mouth is and find those indie retailers and bloody link to them FIRST.
This means you need to publish through them. And yes, it endangers your KDP Select status if you opted for it. Personally, I have never gone for that on ideological grounds. Although I have always given my fiction away for free on this blog for short periods of time, I think having something retailed as ‘free’ is one of those marketing ploys I find debasing trickery. Yes, your Amazon rating shoots up for about five minutes, but it’s a number based on air. If readers like my writing and want it in a neat, permanent little package, they can pay the price of a cup of coffee to read it. If they won’t, that’s their loss, in my view.
The majority of erotica writers are like anyone else who has been brainwashed into believing that the marketplace is ideologically neutral. They have been trained to marketize themselves and to see their work as manufactured product. There’s really nothing to be done about that. Looking through some of the tweets and comments I received in my last post, I realize that some people are either unable to or unwilling to acknowledge that there is a fundamental difference between cultural works and a plastic lighter made in Taiwan.
However, if you find yourself up in arms now about your work being purged, then you have just encountered the truth of it: the marketplace DOES have an ideological slant and it’s not one that favours you or your freedom to write whatever kinky shit you want. This IS an ideological issue and you, whether you like it or not, have just felt the sting of it.
You CAN do something about it. By all means keep your titles on the platforms that will sell you, but consider that every time you point a buyer towards Amazon or Kobo, you are supporting an organization that doesn’t share your ethos, and will delete your work without a second thought should you cause them any financial, legal or marketing discomfort.
When you blog, tweet, FB or otherwise promote your book, DON’T post a sales link to Amazon, B & N, Kobo, etc., first. Provide a link to one of the eBook retailers who defend your right to write what you write first. Because the social propensity for stigmatization, righteous indignation, and general hysteria over the ‘morality’ of certain types of textual fiction is not going away anytime soon.
And you are going to need friends.