Thursday, October 17, 2013

SM Johnson ~ Messy Amazon ~

Good morning, folks, and what a beautiful morning it is. Not that I'm going to notice - I worked nights last night, so I'll be cozily tucked into my soft warm bed for most of the day, dreaming the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Amazon debacle - good lord, this was crazy.

I had my little floor-rolling, fists-flailing tantrum and did a tweet and retweet campaign, some emailing, some bitching, possibly some contacting of the ACLU and the NY Times... and something in there worked, because Amazon sent me an email that they again reviewed Out of the Dungeon and determined it does not violate their sparse and arbitrary content guidelines.

Amazon also CALLED ME ON THE PHONE three times today to tell me that my book was for sale again on (I missed the first two calls due to sleeping, but answered the third). The woman I spoke to was very nice. She seemed to be reading the email they sent me and asked if I had any questions. I really wish I'd been awake enough to ask why they pulled the book in the first place, but, alas, I was not. Working nights leaves the brain stuttering that way.

I emailed an inquiry on Monday to Amazon via their KDP Author help area. Other than that, I didn't do a thing or change anything more about my book than I'd initially changed on Sunday when I found it set to "draft" status. Well. Except to have a tantrum all over the internet.

But - Yay!

Go me! And go you - all of you who supported me, tweeted, read my blog post, passed it on, FB me, Tumblred my tantrum, and in general, sent a great bunch of energy in my direction. YOU PEOPLE ROCK THE HOUSE. Yes, you do.

Was it the #AmazonHatesGays hashtag, do you think? Or the #AmazonHomophobic accusation? Or was it, ultimately, that I compared and contrasted my book with Fifty Shades of Gray, as far as between the covers content? (That's what really made me scream "unfair" and "discriminatory."

What do I really think? I think there were global search terms of key words put in place that knocked some of our books out of the stream. I suspect "non-consensual" was one of them - because my book description contained this sentence: "Traction is like non-consensual bondage, and Jeff calls Red."

The bottom line is, writers and readers don't like to be told what they can and cannot write and read. I don't typically write about the topics that are driving the current media furor (in Britain and elsewhere), but that doesn't necessarily mean I wouldn't - just that the subject matters of bestiality, incest, and child-rape don't ring my bells in an erotic way. Overall, though, it clearly rings others bells, and I'm not going to be the one to say that reading or writing FICTION about such thing should be illegal. Is it immoral? Shrug. I'm not big on pretending to be the morality police, so I guess individuals will have to figure that out out on their own.

But - that's not to say I haven't addressed some of these topics, either. One of the female characters in my vampire DeVante series, Lily, was a star in the child-porn industry from the time she was a toddler. As a result, she has some serious emotional problems, and a host of skewed ideas about sex and romance.

I made it a point to not revisit her experiences up close in Story Time. I talk about a photograph of her with an adult male, have her remember a regular john who only wanted her to sit quietly while he brushed her hair... but mostly I just let the reader in on her screwball thinking enough that they get a fairly clear picture of the abuse that made her the way she is. It's a balance, and in that story, at least, Lily's terrifying past is not central to the story.

Should there be adult filters on ebook retail sites? Sure there should be. It can't be that tough, can it, tech gurus? How about adult materiel shows up in search results only for users with a credit card number on file? The way Smashwords does it is, when you log in, you get the option of Adult Filter On or Adult Filter Off. That seems to work all right. I know when I had the filter off, I couldn't find a damn thing that I wanted to read, so it appears to work just fine.

Have a great Thursday, darlings, and a fun safe weekend.

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