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The Royal Dragoneers was deemed one of the top indie fantasy releases of 2010 by Fantasy Book Critic, and was listed in the first ever Publishers Weekly Indie Select issue in Dec. 2010. It was also nominated for The Locus Poll 2011. This 115k word dragon-fantasy is the first full length installment of The Dragoneers Saga. The novella-length primer, The First Dragoneer, also by M. R. Mathias, is available FREE in the Amazon Kindle Store, for a limited time.

M. R. Mathias has several other titles available from Amazon as well.

The Royal Dragoneers

After struggling for more than two centuries to tame the inhospitable islands where they washed up, the descendants of the survivors of a lost passenger ship are now striving to tame a more substantial "Mainland" they have found.

For as long as mankind has...

Author Topic: Warning: KDP banning old and new erotica titles en masse from self-publishers  (Read 399251 times)

Online CoraBuhlert

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Remember in 2010 when Amazon and I think All Romance too, prohibited books depicting incest between adults, rape and I think bestiality too? Well, three years later they're now banning pseudo-incest, tentacle erotica and sex with werewolves and bigfoot. Listen people, this won't stop. I suspect that it's not necessarily Amazon, but certain interest groups who want to marginalize erotica writers and they're picking the easy targets for now. And Amazon is acquiescing.  But in 3 years who will be next? Maybe it will be that safe erotic-romance that you're writing? Or maybe it will that racy college-sex erotic short you published.  I've also written erotic shorts, three of which have been sent to draft status by Amazon. The irony is that I initially wrote my first erotic story because I resented that erotica writers were facing censorship and I wanted to stand with them in a very real way. And then I realized I wrote erotica well and enjoyed doing it so I wrote a few more.  I won't stop writing erotica, but I can imagine that others will be discouraged.  I find this unfortunate, but maybe this is the point, not of Amazon, but of those interest groups. These people who target these fictional books have an agenda -- they want to control what you write and what you read. Don't let them win.

I totally agree with this, SunHi. I don't write taboo erotica, incest, pseudo-incest and the like. Nonetheless, I'm very disturbed by these blocking and censoring attempts as well as by campaigns like the one currently going on in the UK, because it's possible that the censoring busybodies will go after my books next.

Some of my most popular books are historical adventure romances. These books have violence, torture scenes, execution scenes, whipping scenes and sex. Sometimes the consent is dubious. Nothing in those books is worse than what you'd find in a standard 1970s bodiceripper style romance or a 1960s men's adventure mag. Plus, I always include a disclaimer warning about sexual and violent content. Nonetheless, campaigns like the current UK campaign against pseudo-incest erotica worry me. Because I have already changed my stories and e.g. made characters who have sex 18 or 19, when they'd probably have been younger in historical reality. I have covered up bare breasts on historical paintings on my covers. I have a tentacle story in the works that's basically a pulpy fantasy novelette (think Weird Tales in the 1930s) with some extra tentacle action. I already changed the title to avoid the adult dungeon or the ban hammer. And it annoys me that I have to censor my own work just because some busybodies get their knickers in a twist about e-book erotica.

I also view this as part of a general creeping decline of sexual freedom in the western world and it worries me. I always used to be something of a prude, so why do I suddenly find myself on the radical fringe of sexual liberty?


Offline Christa Wick

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The established order worldwide loves violence -- it makes us afraid and we look to government and para-governmental/para-police entities for protection. They are anti-sex because if you can suppress one of the two most crucial instincts of a species, you can control the species. Also, suppressing sex creates violence and ... the established order loves violence.

A wonderful essay from Remittance Girl -- http://remittancegirl.com/discussions/two-legs-bad-an-open-letter-to-mark-coker-smashwords-censorship-erotica/

A few facts excerpted:

Quote
Cultures that tolerate highly sexualized, graphic depictions of rape, such as Japan, have some of the lowest rates of rape in the world. While countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, with only a debated 67.2% literacy rate, little access to erotic fiction, no significant pornography industry and low internet access, have among the highest incidence of violent rape in the world.

Or, if sexual torture is your concern, it is good to remember that Egypt, with an outright ban on erotic fiction, has the highest rate of female circumcision in the world. And if a clitorectomy doesn't count as sexual torture, I'm not sure what does.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2013, 05:50:52 PM by Christa Wick »

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Ok, I may be stupid, missing something or just spend too much time here but I am totally confused.   Several of you are complaining of being banned for this, that or the other.  Another complained about being put in erotica where it will never see the light of day.   Today I did a quick search in both sexual abuse and erotica.   I used two key words.   In both cases there were less than 200 in the sexual abuse category.   In erotica it was at least 800 for each.   The two key words were rape and incest.  And at least 12 free in erotica rape. So my question to those that are being banned or asked to change something, where are you putting your books to begin with?   
Though in all honesty in my quickie searches lately, the romance genre covers are more racy than erotica.
If I want to read erotica, I actually expect to need to go to the erotica section.   
Actually I usually just come here and see who the erotic authors are and go look at their amazon page.

Offline justagirl

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I'm blocked! I had a title in the Dungeon for a while, too, but unpublished it in order to rework the premise.

Now, I submitted this last one knowing it might get blocked (it's PI) but I made sure to be careful with my cover, description, etc. Although I saw someone mention earlier that "Taboo" might be one of their no-no words - I'd put that in the series title, but not the actual title of the story. It does look like the content is starting to be targeted. My email came from Dani Q, I think.

Funnily enough, we've got another book out that is actual incest - cousincest. In Georgia. Where it's legal. And it, thankfully, hasn't been hit with a ban yet.

This kind of thing drives me up the wall - and to be perfectly honest, this tightening of the marketplace to not include anything that can be considered "dark" is one of the reasons I pretty much ran over to fanfiction a few years ago, where the AUs are often just basically original fic using non-original character names with a few character descriptions. I want to be able to purchase it. Indie publishing gave me many more options as a consumer, and I don't like giving them up.

@ Selena Kitt, any idea on a time frame for the new storefront you're creating?

Offline SunHi Mistwalker

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I totally agree with this, SunHi. I don't write taboo erotica, incest, pseudo-incest and the like. Nonetheless, I'm very disturbed by these blocking and censoring attempts as well as by campaigns like the one currently going on in the UK, because it's possible that the censoring busybodies will go after my books next.

Some of my most popular books are historical adventure romances. These books have violence, torture scenes, execution scenes, whipping scenes and sex. Sometimes the consent is dubious. Nothing in those books is worse than what you'd find in a standard 1970s bodiceripper style romance or a 1960s men's adventure mag. Plus, I always include a disclaimer warning about sexual and violent content. Nonetheless, campaigns like the current UK campaign against pseudo-incest erotica worry me. Because I have already changed my stories and e.g. made characters who have sex 18 or 19, when they'd probably have been younger in historical reality. I have covered up bare breasts on historical paintings on my covers. I have a tentacle story in the works that's basically a pulpy fantasy novelette (think Weird Tales in the 1930s) with some extra tentacle action. I already changed the title to avoid the adult dungeon or the ban hammer. And it annoys me that I have to censor my own work just because some busybodies get their knickers in a twist about e-book erotica.

I also view this as part of a general creeping decline of sexual freedom in the western world and it worries me. I always used to be something of a prude, so why do I suddenly find myself on the radical fringe of sexual liberty?



I think that you're justified in being worried, because this will not stop, and I'm willing to bet my last dollar on that. In 3 years, maybe 5 years we will still be having this conversation, but I will bet you $10 that it will include non-erotica books. Maybe something too heavy or offensive for the average Sue and it'll be put out by a self-publisher and they will target that indie and say "see these people have no standards -- yadda yadda." Of course I don't have a crystal ball into the future, but I've lived enough life to know how these types of things can play out. I haven't decided what to do about my titles, but changing the titles goes against my principles as a writer. I have always promised myself that I would never allow anyone to control what I write. Now if that means that my erotica can't be on Amazon, then that's a decision I have to make for myself.
 
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Offline Claudia King

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Bah, they finally got around to hitting a couple of my titles.
I got my PI-but-not-really title flagged along with the M/M bundle it was part of. It seems like the title "His Girlfriend's Daddy" is what's causing problems, since the issues with the book itself were described as "Title, Description, Cover Image", while the issues with the bundle were only listed as "Description" (which contains the title and blurb of the flagged book).

Time to retitle that one then, I guess. And cut out all mention of "stepdad" in the blurb. That's going to make it easy for readers to tell what it's about. >.>
There's not even any *actual* pseudo-incest in the book. It's about a guy doing naughty stuff with his girlfriend's stepdad, but I guess the vague implication is enough to set alarm bells ringing.

I really do have to add my concerns to the growing list in this thread. I think censoring titles like this is absolutely archaic and backward. This kind of "sweep sex under the carpet" attitude does nothing more than to hide material that most people take offence to purely out of ignorance.

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Offline swolf

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I really do have to add my concerns to the growing list in this thread. I think censoring titles like this is absolutely archaic and backward. This kind of "sweep sex under the carpet" attitude does nothing more than to hide material that most people take offence to purely out of ignorance.

One of my ones they blocked because of the title was "Peeping in the Camp Shower."  If that's not a mistake, it's absolutely ridiculous.

At the same time, they had no problem (so far) with my title, "I Spy with My Stepbrother's Eye."  The inconsistency is mind-boggling.  (I'm changing it anyway.)

Offline KMatthew

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I'm at the same point that a lot of you are at, deciding whether or not I'm going to rework some of my books so that they'll fit with these new standards. Thankfully, Amazon put most of my blocked books back in draft, but as I stare at my PI titles, which all need a title, description, and cover re-work, I'm sitting here thinking what's the point? If it's not obvious that it's PI, then someone will probably stumble on it unaware, buy it, and complain anyway. If enough people do that, the title will still end up blocked. So, in that regard, it truly doesn't seem worth the effort. As for other titles that have been blocked, if they're not a part of a series, I'm really looking at the amount of income they bring in before I decide if I want to rework them or not. The vast majority will end up remaining in Draft. As of right now, I can see perhaps 7 more of my titles being blocked. Thankfully, they haven't gotten to blocking my tentacle erotica yet, which is a pretty consistent seller. I think the day they do that, I will officially be livid about this.

Offline KMatthew

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One of my ones they blocked because of the title was "Peeping in the Camp Shower."  If that's not a mistake, it's absolutely ridiculous.

At the same time, they had no problem (so far) with my title, "I Spy with My Stepbrother's Eye."  The inconsistency is mind-boggling.  (I'm changing it anyway.)
It's probably because 'Camp Shower' makes it sound underage. And on the note of your other title, there are several of my titles I'm sure they haven't got to yet. I would prefer if they took things one author at a time, instead of blocking a few books per author every few days. Worrying about the e-mails I'm going to wake up to every morning isn't fun.

Offline AdrianC

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I wonder if they'd block a book titled "Carlos F Takes a Tentacle in the Amazon".

I'm also wondering if some of the inconsistency stems from a language issue, with Amazon outsourcing their reviewing and the "Carlos F", "Suzy P", etc monikers being completely fake.

Offline Al Dente

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I won't get into details but I just had 5 titles banned as well. It's not a big deal because I haven't written on that pen name in almost a year, but that's still nuts.

Offline P.C. (Peter) Anders

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Sorry to hear about the unnecessary banning of others' titles. No banning here, and my books are a combination of wordplay and humor combined with erotic episodes. However, a single two-star review of "The Uncensored Massage: Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, China," complaining that the book is about massage (when the description as well as the title emphasizes massage above all else!), has virtually stopped sales of my best-performing book.  (Unless, of course, it's just the government shutdown.)
« Last Edit: October 12, 2013, 08:43:56 PM by P.C. (Peter) Anders »
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Offline Flash Rex

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Anybody tried emailing Bezos directly?  Apparently he can be reached at jeff@amazon.com. According to Bloomberg story I saw today, he sometimes responds to address issues personally. If someone wrote him from a customer perspective (can't find all of an author's titles, some topics available for purchase elsewhere, etc.) maybe they would stop butchering this whole process.

Or maybe he'd just scream obscenities at Carlos F___!
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Offline P.C. (Peter) Anders

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Anybody tried emailing Bezos directly?  Apparently he can be reached at jeff@amazon.com.

Or maybe he'd just scream obscenities at Carlos F___!

Thanks for the address. I think I might try.

But . . . sorry, but who's Carlos F?
(sounded very funny).
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Offline Flash Rex

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Thanks for the address. I think I might try.

But . . . sorry, but who's Carlos F?
(sounded very funny).

Carlos F is apparently the signatory on many of the YOUR TITLES ARE BLOCKED emails. What the F stands for is a matter of conjecture...
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Offline TK aka BB

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Was thinking this the other day while perusing the Kobo>Romance>Erotica>Taboo section for the first time.

If Zon is intent on getting out of (or heavily de-prioritizing) their hardcore, taboo erotica business, Kobo (along with the beleaguered B&N) seems more than happy to expand and meet that exploding customer base. Right now their looking for any minuscule chink in the Zon market share armor to drive a spear into. And I would like to think the Seattle tech-gods can appreciate, more than anyone, how FAST online customers can and WILL migrate from one outlet to another to get their dirty fix on.

Maybe it's something Ms. Kitt can mention in a polite and professional manner in her pending correspondence to Zon.


Indeed, I was looking at my New Adult / College E-rom on Kobo, and some of the also-boughts were really, really disturbing. I'm talking crying-in-the-shower disturbing. 'Zon is tame, these days.

OTOH, when I was so trying to get my e-rom on All Romance ebooks (total waste of time, sales-wise,) the guy was very shpelkiss that some of my college characters might appear to be underage. I mentioned that I had noted in the text that they were juniors or older because I was squeamish about showing underage drinking, and suddenly everything was approved.

The 'Zon is getting weird with the banning. Has anyone alerted Selena Kitt? One of her freebies, which I think is on the 'Zon, is real incest, brother-sister stuff, and yet it was as sweet and innocent as anything I've ever read. Love her pivots.

TK aka BB

 

Offline Anjasa

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Selena had the Babysitting the Baumgartner's removed from sale. She's not pleased, obviously.

6 titles for us removed.


Offline David Adams

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I just had two titles removed today. Going to see if I can get them reinstated; they really don't sell enough to justify new covers.
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Offline Ugg

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As a writer of YA Fantasy I don't have a dog in this fight other than my opposition to censorship. But I'm afraid there may be very little you can do to oppose amazon in this matter. However, erotica writers may consider banning together to offer your "Banned by Amazon" work. Actually, that's kinda catchy. People love the forbidden, as you well know.

Just a thought.

Online CoraBuhlert

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Anybody tried emailing Bezos directly?  Apparently he can be reached at jeff@amazon.com. According to Bloomberg story I saw today, he sometimes responds to address issues personally. If someone wrote him from a customer perspective (can't find all of an author's titles, some topics available for purchase elsewhere, etc.) maybe they would stop butchering this whole process.

Or maybe he'd just scream obscenities at Carlos F___!

He should be very careful about wording his obscenities or Carlos F. might end up banning Jeff Bezos.  ;)

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Offline Zenferno

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Woke up to 3 of my titles reverted to draft.  Now I'm down to only 2 active ones, neither of which make any sales anyway :'(.  I briefly considered reworking the 'banned' ones but as someone else mentioned, what's the point when they can't be actively promoted via title, blurb or cover image.  Oh well, it was fun while it lasted and the books made a decent profit.  Shame to see the work go to waste though in terms of ongoing sales.  What a huge opportunity for someone with resources to create a place all our outcast books can go.   
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This is the lead story in the Technology section of the BBC website (extract):

Quote
Retailer Amazon has removed several abuse-themed e-books from its Kindle Store after a report highlighted titles depicting rape, incest and bestiality.

Titles such as Taking My Drunk Daughter had been on sale.

Amazon and Barnes & Noble both say they are removing books found by technology news site The Kernel, but many others still remain, the BBC has found.

WHSmith and Kobo, which feature titles with similar themes, are yet to respond to requests for comment.

The BBC found that on Amazon's store, the search function automatically suggested explicit topics to users typing seemingly innocuous keywords - without age verification taking place.

Amazon has not responded to the BBC's request for comment on the issue, except to confirm that the specific books listed by The Kernel had been removed.

Barnes & Noble said in a statement the titles were "in violation" of its policy on content offered in the NOOK Bookstore and were in the process of being removed.

"When there are violations to the content policy that are brought to our attention, either through our internal process or from a customer or external source, we have a rapid response team in place to appropriately categorize or remove the content in accordance with our policy," it said.

Justice Minister Damian Green told the BBC "the government shares the public's concerns about the availability of harmful material."

Offline SunHi Mistwalker

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I'm curious, is Amazon's "policy" having a disparate impact on women writers? If so, women are a protected class in the United States.  Since the vast majority of erotica writers and readers are women, how has Amazon's newest sweep impacted the income of women writers depending on this "women's genre" to feed their families and pay their bills? This is something to think about.
 
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Offline Avis Black

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I'm curious, is Amazon's "policy" having a disparate impact on women writers? If so, women are a protected class in the United States.  Since the vast majority of erotica writers and readers are women, how has Amazon's newest sweep impacted the income of women writers depending on this "women's genre" to feed their families and pay their bills? This is something to think about.

Amazon doesn't like it if women have sexual thoughts.  Not even fictional ones.

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Offline TK aka BB

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Woke up to 3 of my titles reverted to draft.  Now I'm down to only 2 active ones, neither of which make any sales anyway :'(.  I briefly considered reworking the 'banned' ones but as someone else mentioned, what's the point when they can't be actively promoted via title, blurb or cover image.  Oh well, it was fun while it lasted and the books made a decent profit.  Shame to see the work go to waste though in terms of ongoing sales.  What a huge opportunity for someone with resources to create a place all our outcast books can go.   

Selena's site Excessica has a special "Banned by Amazon" section called "Eden:" http://excessica.com/

I hope that this mass-ban is good for her, at least.

TK aka BB

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