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A ruthless murder and a stolen shipment of gold.

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Author Topic: RESOLVED: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 7, #161)  (Read 12143 times)  

Offline JRTomlin

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Re: RESOLVED: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 7, #161)
« Reply #200 on: September 13, 2017, 02:05:58 PM »
I don't thinks it's quite as resolved as I thought--though i suspect it might be D2D issue.

My 3rd in series M/M was blocked before it was submitted to Playster for being erotica, which I did not tag it as such. I asked for clarification so I could know in future and was told my the same rep dicussed upthread that:

"I have reviewed the book and feel that the book is not erotica, but erotic romance, (romance category but with sexual scenes).   For that reason I have listed this book with Scribd again since they will accept most erotic romance. Playster will not accept the book as a erotic romance, so it will continue to be blocked at that vendor.   If Scribd reviews the book and feels the scenes are too racy, they may reject it directly. If that happens, we will not be able to overturn their decision."

So this means to me that anything with sex is erotic romance, but only sometimes.
Like Sex Panther cologne.

Since my equally sexy hetero books and my other two M/M books were not flagged, I think part of the problem is who reviews your books on which day. This book never even got sent to Playster. The first email told me they held it back...so Playster didn't reject it. D2D did.


This makes me re-think working with D2D which I was considering. I hope they take care of it because it should not happen.

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Re: RESOLVED: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 7, #161)
« Reply #201 on: September 13, 2017, 04:10:52 PM »
Maybe D2D needs to clarify with Playster just what is meant by its TOS prohibition on anything that "contains or depicts sexual activity," then make sure all its employees are operating on the same page. I mean, surely Playster doesn't *literally* mean all works containing sexual activity are banned, since that would mean any book wherein people do something sexual, even if it's totally off-page, would be rejected, and that's obviously not the case. So the dividing line between okay and not-okay sexual activity must be somewhere. If D2D's employees have to guess where the line is, that sounds difficult and, like Gwen suggested, a recipe for inconsistency.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 08:19:57 PM by Becca Mills »

Offline X. Aratare

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Re: RESOLVED: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 7, #161)
« Reply #202 on: September 13, 2017, 07:23:17 PM »
I don't thinks it's quite as resolved as I thought--though i suspect it might be D2D issue.

My 3rd in series M/M was blocked before it was submitted to Playster for being erotica, which I did not tag it as such. I asked for clarification so I could know in future and was told my the same rep dicussed upthread that:

"I have reviewed the book and feel that the book is not erotica, but erotic romance, (romance category but with sexual scenes).   For that reason I have listed this book with Scribd again since they will accept most erotic romance. Playster will not accept the book as a erotic romance, so it will continue to be blocked at that vendor.   If Scribd reviews the book and feels the scenes are too racy, they may reject it directly. If that happens, we will not be able to overturn their decision."

So this means to me that anything with sex is erotic romance, but only sometimes.
Like Sex Panther cologne.

Since my equally sexy hetero books and my other two M/M books were not flagged, I think part of the problem is who reviews your books on which day. This book never even got sent to Playster. The first email told me they held it back...so Playster didn't reject it. D2D did.



When Playster first rejected my book b/c of the issue with the Gay/Lesbian tag being automatically bonged, Crystal at D2D went through my book and highlighted sections that she thought made them against the Playster TOS. She made a big deal of the fact that the ONLY reason I was being bonged was because I was erotica or erotic romance ...

After Playster fixed the issue, my book was approved and all books have gone through to Playster. 

I really think that D2D is putting itself in the inappropriate role of censor.It's given me a really bad taste in my mouth and I'm thinking of pulling everything from them. A large task.

I would point them to this thread, remind that that books they thought were inappropriate were not, and to not step inbetween the review of Playster and its material. 

Offline Gwen Hayes

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Re: RESOLVED: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 7, #161)
« Reply #203 on: September 13, 2017, 07:26:16 PM »
Crystal is the rep I communicated with also.

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Offline YudronWangmo

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Re: RESOLVED: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 7, #161)
« Reply #204 on: September 14, 2017, 08:59:25 AM »
Hi, ya'll. I just thought I'd say that I had a quirky YA book with a young lesbian protagonist, clearly with a LGBT tag, accepted by Playster via D2D in June. It was not mainly romance, but it had a somewhat steamy dance scene and a romantic ending. Second, as an older lesbian, I want to say a big thank you to people who feature real lesbian characters that it is deeply appreciated. Lesbians have become a lot less visible than we used to be. Sadly, other than "lesbian romance," it is not easy to get lesbian reader's attention with a heroic lesbian protag because there is no specific Amazon or BISAC category for that.

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Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: RESOLVED: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 7, #161)
« Reply #205 on: September 14, 2017, 09:25:58 AM »
When Playster first rejected my book b/c of the issue with the Gay/Lesbian tag being automatically bonged, Crystal at D2D went through my book and highlighted sections that she thought made them against the Playster TOS. She made a big deal of the fact that the ONLY reason I was being bonged was because I was erotica or erotic romance ...

After Playster fixed the issue, my book was approved and all books have gone through to Playster. 

I really think that D2D is putting itself in the inappropriate role of censor.It's given me a really bad taste in my mouth and I'm thinking of pulling everything from them. A large task.

I would point them to this thread, remind that that books they thought were inappropriate were not, and to not step inbetween the review of Playster and its material.
Obviously, something went wrong, but it's not clear to me that it's necessarily a global D2D problem. I think I said this upthread, but when you asked about your book, Crystal looked at your book and guessed at why Playster rejected it. Remember that it was Playster who made the original rejection, not D2D. It sounds as if Crystal was trying to figure out what was up. Asking Playster might have been faster. In any case, Crystal was looking at your book in isolation, not comparing it to steamy M/F books. Nothing in that exchange suggests that D2D necessarily makes a habit of censoring in the absence of really clear guidelines from one of its distribution outlets.


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Offline Gwen Hayes

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Re: RESOLVED: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 7, #161)
« Reply #206 on: September 14, 2017, 09:35:27 AM »
Obviously, something went wrong, but it's not clear to me that it's necessarily a global D2D problem. I think I said this upthread, but when you asked about your book, Crystal looked at your book and guessed at why Playster rejected it. Remember that it was Playster who made the original rejection, not D2D. It sounds as if Crystal was trying to figure out what was up. Asking Playster might have been faster. In any case, Crystal was looking at your book in isolation, not comparing it to steamy M/F books. Nothing in that exchange suggests that D2D necessarily makes a habit of censoring in the absence of really clear guidelines from one of its distribution outlets.

Actually, Playster never had the chance to see it to reject it. It was never sent to them. Sorry if that wasn't clear. The first email I was sent about the problem said this: "Our sales channels have asked us not to send certain material to them. Draft2Digital's automated content review has detected some of this declined material in your book"

So I asked what the automated review looks for so I know in the future and was then told that after another review, it was erotic romance because it had sexual content.

My confusion is that it's 3rd in a series and the other two were okay. So, when I asked for clarification, I was told than any romance with sexual content is erotic romance--but that cannot be true because most romance, unless categorized as sweet, clean, or inspirational, has sexual content. Whether it is het or same sex. And then there would be a lot fewer romances on Playster.

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Offline X. Aratare

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Re: RESOLVED: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 7, #161)
« Reply #207 on: September 14, 2017, 09:40:02 AM »
Obviously, something went wrong, but it's not clear to me that it's necessarily a global D2D problem. I think I said this upthread, but when you asked about your book, Crystal looked at your book and guessed at why Playster rejected it. Remember that it was Playster who made the original rejection, not D2D. It sounds as if Crystal was trying to figure out what was up. Asking Playster might have been faster. In any case, Crystal was looking at your book in isolation, not comparing it to steamy M/F books. Nothing in that exchange suggests that D2D necessarily makes a habit of censoring in the absence of really clear guidelines from one of its distribution outlets.

Bill, again you're being quite reasonable, but Crystal was not. 

Her email explicitly stated that one reason for my book's failure to be accepted.  She was way wrong.  When I pointed her to this thread, she doubled down. Then Playster accepted all my books after they realized the issue with LGBT tags.  So under other facts what you're saying is totally legit, but there's an additional problem here.

I don't know what "duties" D2D has when they ship books over to the third party retailers, but I highly doubt that reading the books to make sure they comply with TOS is one of them. If the cover, genre tags and description are in line with the TOS, that's really all that should be looked at, if anything by D2D.  The retailer should then be reviewing the books itself.  If there's a problem THEY make the decision.

In my case and in the other author's place, they aren't allowing Playster to do that review.  Crystal didn't let me speak to Playster (which is what I wished - I spoke to them HERE instead, which was why this thread was so valuable as D2D would never have actually found out about this problem b/c it was too busy reading books and being monitor) nor did she let the other author. It's her judgment she's using.  So D2D is becoming another layer of "review" that is, in my mind, inappropriate. Crystal does NOT understand the genres at all and is making a "gut" reaction.  Most people's "gut" reactions is that anything with gay people in it automatically is more sexual, more risque and more porn-like than anything completely of the same heat level in straight romance.   So they are becoming a gatekeeper that I didn't sign up for.

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Re: RESOLVED: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 7, #161)
« Reply #208 on: September 14, 2017, 09:44:40 AM »
I don't think any of the authors who were rejected by Playster need to justify their complaint to anyone. The fact of the matter is, the company responded to us, admitted error, apologized, and is working toward fixing it. I'm not going to justify standing up for myself and other LGBT authors. I'm quite proud of the resolution we came to, especially since -- from what I hear -- this is a common issue with smaller retailers and authors' complaints are usually completely ignored and never resolved. These authors' previous experiences compelled them to take this matter seriously. This is precisely why I reached out, because although the rejection seemed odd, I wasn't sure if anything of concern was actually happening. That we were able to come together and work with the company is especially wonderful. I hope other retailers will take note from how Playster handled the situation.

Does anyone remember when Xbox first released its Kinect movement sensor? It didn't recognize black people. It only recognized white people. Though it wasn't intentional, it was still discriminatory. People called out the company and Xbox apologized and fixed the problem.

Organizations easily dismiss complaints here and there. When a problem becomes widespread and people come together, though, companies can no longer file them away as isolated cases. If people hadn't come together and complained about the Kinect, Xbox might've ignored the issue -- or maybe would've been completely oblivious to it. There would be a whole lot of kids excluded from using it. It might not seem like a big deal to some people, especially those who don't play video games, but to the people being excluded, it's a huge deal.

I don't thinks it's quite as resolved as I thought--though i suspect it might be D2D issue.

My 3rd in series M/M was blocked before it was submitted to Playster for being erotica, which I did not tag it as such. I asked for clarification so I could know in future and was told my the same rep dicussed upthread that:

"I have reviewed the book and feel that the book is not erotica, but erotic romance, (romance category but with sexual scenes).   For that reason I have listed this book with Scribd again since they will accept most erotic romance. Playster will not accept the book as a erotic romance, so it will continue to be blocked at that vendor.   If Scribd reviews the book and feels the scenes are too racy, they may reject it directly. If that happens, we will not be able to overturn their decision."

So this means to me that anything with sex is erotic romance, but only sometimes.
Like Sex Panther cologne.

Since my equally sexy hetero books and my other two M/M books were not flagged, I think part of the problem is who reviews your books on which day. This book never even got sent to Playster. The first email told me they held it back...so Playster didn't reject it. D2D did.

When Playster first rejected my book b/c of the issue with the Gay/Lesbian tag being automatically bonged, Crystal at D2D went through my book and highlighted sections that she thought made them against the Playster TOS. She made a big deal of the fact that the ONLY reason I was being bonged was because I was erotica or erotic romance ...

After Playster fixed the issue, my book was approved and all books have gone through to Playster. 

I really think that D2D is putting itself in the inappropriate role of censor.It's given me a really bad taste in my mouth and I'm thinking of pulling everything from them. A large task.

I would point them to this thread, remind that that books they thought were inappropriate were not, and to not step inbetween the review of Playster and its material. 

Crystal is the rep I communicated with also.

I'd email Playster directly. This Crystal employee might not understand the differences between the genres, and as Bill said, might not even be aware of the bigger issue. D2D might need to inform its employees, but we can't control that. I'd definitely email support@playster.com as they encouraged us to, should we have further issues.

Hi, ya'll. I just thought I'd say that I had a quirky YA book with a young lesbian protagonist, clearly with a LGBT tag, accepted by Playster via D2D in June. It was not mainly romance, but it had a somewhat steamy dance scene and a romantic ending. Second, as an older lesbian, I want to say a big thank you to people who feature real lesbian characters that it is deeply appreciated. Lesbians have become a lot less visible than we used to be. Sadly, other than "lesbian romance," it is not easy to get lesbian reader's attention with a heroic lesbian protag because there is no specific Amazon or BISAC category for that.

I'm happy to see so much lesbian and LGBT+ fiction, too. <333

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Re: RESOLVED: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 7, #161)
« Reply #209 on: September 14, 2017, 10:10:31 AM »
I don't know what "duties" D2D has when they ship books over to the third party retailers, but I highly doubt that reading the books to make sure they comply with TOS is one of them. If the cover, genre tags and description are in line with the TOS, that's really all that should be looked at, if anything by D2D.  The retailer should then be reviewing the books itself.  If there's a problem THEY make the decision.

From the email Gwen got, it seems clear D2D has agreed to vet books with an "automated content review" before submitting them to Playster. I can't think of any reason D2D wouldn't be free to make such an agreement with Playster or any other retailer, but it does shift some of the onus of responsibility: the basic rules might be Playster's, but the quality of implementation would depend on D2D.

I wonder if D2D has been vetting books before submitting them all along, or if it's a recent change. If it's a new thing, might D2D have made a don't-worry-we'll-vet-everything agreement with Playster in an effort to stop the LGBT-tag filtering?

Offline Laran Mithras

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Re: RESOLVED: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 7, #161)
« Reply #210 on: September 15, 2017, 01:59:31 PM »
Before Playster came along, some of my books were vetted in D2D.

Notably a book called Bourbon, Babysitter, and Blackmail. It was initially rejected and I had a short email exchange with Crystal about it. She said that many of the European sites had a very stern rule about no sex for blackmail storylines. I had to assure her the blackmailer did not coerce the person being blackmailed into sex, but rather to look the other way in regards to another character. the book went through.

I don't have a problem with D2D "vetting." So far, it has been a fairly smooth process.
 

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Re: RESOLVED: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 7, #161)
« Reply #211 on: September 15, 2017, 02:26:31 PM »
From the email Gwen got, it seems clear D2D has agreed to vet books with an "automated content review" before submitting them to Playster. I can't think of any reason D2D wouldn't be free to make such an agreement with Playster or any other retailer, but it does shift some of the onus of responsibility: the basic rules might be Playster's, but the quality of implementation would depend on D2D.

I wonder if D2D has been vetting books before submitting them all along, or if it's a recent change. If it's a new thing, might D2D have made a don't-worry-we'll-vet-everything agreement with Playster in an effort to stop the LGBT-tag filtering?

Before Playster came along, some of my books were vetted in D2D.

Notably a book called Bourbon, Babysitter, and Blackmail. It was initially rejected and I had a short email exchange with Crystal about it. She said that many of the European sites had a very stern rule about no sex for blackmail storylines. I had to assure her the blackmailer did not coerce the person being blackmailed into sex, but rather to look the other way in regards to another character. the book went through.

I don't have a problem with D2D "vetting." So far, it has been a fairly smooth process.

Maybe vetting was completely random. Could be that it depended on the day; when there were fewer titles to vet on a given day, employees might've had more time to review them line by line. Then, depending on the employee's knowledge of genre or personal stances, certain books might've been rejected before they even got to Playster.

I'm totally speculating here, but books that weren't vetted could've gotten caught in Playster's filter and rejected based on a set of specific qualities. That would explain why some LGBT titles were approved yet several were rejected.

It's possible that now D2D has to vet more carefully, which I can't imagine because that might slow down publication time. My guess is that Playster tweaked their filter, but D2D will watch closely at first to make sure everything's flowing smoothly.

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