Author Topic: RESOLVED: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 7, #161)  (Read 11049 times)  

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #75 on: September 03, 2017, 11:12:06 AM »
No one is forcing you to. That is the beauty of the internet. You can spend your money elsewhere. But, just because you don't like it, doesn't give you the right to make sure no one else buys there either. Which is something that tends to happen in these situations.
Who is 'making sure no one else buys there'? It is not 'making sure' to let others to know this company's anti-LGBT policy. Then it is the buyer's decision. No one is twisting their arm not to buy or to buy if they so choose.

They have the right to refuse LGBT content, and authors have the right to refuse ever doing business with them in the future and posting to social media about their discriminatory practices. Seems fair to me. Let the market sort them out!
Exactly.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2017, 11:16:03 AM by JRTomlin »

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #76 on: September 03, 2017, 11:26:56 AM »
Hi everyone,

Jumping in here to let you know we are working on this. I believe this is just a misunderstanding over what is meant by some of the BISAC categories we sent Playster. We have seen such issues before since the BISAC standard is not international and the industry is working on new standards like THEMA to address such issues in the future.  We became aware of the issue on Thursday and we hope to have some news soon.  Please keep in mind that this is a holiday weekend in both the US and Canada.  Problems like these can take a few days to work out and correct.

Thanks,

Dan Wood
Director Author Relations
Draft2Digital
I'm sorry but I call [bullcrap] on that excuse. Having a gay character in a non-erotic novel (some of which that were refused were SFF for heaven's sake and not even romance) doesn't change its BISAC. However, I hope they do change this idiotic policy. If and when they do, I'll tweet saying they have. Currently I have tweeted letting my followers know this policy. I'll have to see a real change first.

ETA: To clarify, I mean Playster needs to change their idiotic policy of discriminating against LGBT fiction. The nonsensical excuse and the policy are on them, not D2D.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2017, 03:37:19 PM by JRTomlin »

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Offline X. Aratare

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #77 on: September 03, 2017, 11:42:09 AM »
On a completely unrelated note, I love your covers. :-)

Thank you!  The painted ones were by Mathia Arkoniel. The others were by our very own Sylvia Frost!

As to what JR Tomlin said about Bisac categories, I agree that it's NONSENSE. I don't think that D2D is lying or anything like that. But I have ABSOLUTELY no categories that would place my work in erotica. NONE.  So I find it hard to believe Playster's excuses to D2D.  But I get that D2D is in a bad spot. They're in the middle. They're trying to work for us, at least to get an explanation.  But JR is right that this doesn't make any sense what Playster is telling D2D.

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #78 on: September 03, 2017, 01:19:10 PM »
But I get that D2D is in a bad spot. They're in the middle.

That's fully what I think. Targeting D2D would probably be missing the mark.

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #79 on: September 03, 2017, 01:51:14 PM »
Thank you!  The painted ones were by Mathia Arkoniel. The others were by our very own Sylvia Frost!

As to what JR Tomlin said about Bisac categories, I agree that it's NONSENSE. I don't think that D2D is lying or anything like that. But I have ABSOLUTELY no categories that would place my work in erotica. NONE.  So I find it hard to believe Playster's excuses to D2D.  But I get that D2D is in a bad spot. They're in the middle. They're trying to work for us, at least to get an explanation.  But JR is right that this doesn't make any sense what Playster is telling D2D.

My guess is that D2D is trying to sort things out and guessing that BISAC may be the issue. I know it isn't on my end, nor would it be for the SFF and sweet romances I've mentioned. It could be that a Playster employee took it upon themselves to equate LGBT fiction with certain BISAC categories. Either way, I'm glad D2D is looking into things, and I agree that they're in a rough position. I've long had a good experience with D2D.

That's fully what I think. Targeting D2D would probably be missing the mark.

I think so, too. Tomorrow is Labor Day in the States, so we probably won't hear anything else 'til Tuesday. I'll let everyone know when I do hear something.

In the meantime I've left my D2D account as is, just so that they can see Playster accepted my m/f romances.

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #80 on: September 03, 2017, 03:33:22 PM »
That's fully what I think. Targeting D2D would probably be missing the mark.
I wasn't blaming D2D, to clarify what I was saying. The pathetic excuse and the policy are all on Playster.

I am assuming that D2D does not put all fiction with LGBT characters in erotica. If they do, they need to stop, but that seems extremely unlikely.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2017, 03:38:42 PM by JRTomlin »

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #81 on: September 03, 2017, 04:00:28 PM »

  I have 4 books published to Playster. Two are Christian romance and 2 are non-fiction. I had a couple of actual eroticas that were rejected. I've only done one lesbian story, so far. It is erotica though, and I haven't submitted it, I don't think. It isn't on my list of stores, and usually with D2D if you submit and are rejected, the rejected store still shows up as a symbol on your books page.

 I'm used to being turned down for erotica, so I didn't even think twice about the email.

 I'm also used to living in a society where anything Quiltbag is rejected, so a store doing it sadly feels normal to me. But I agree that if they're going to be that way they should shout about it and let everyone know about it.
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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #82 on: September 03, 2017, 05:16:09 PM »
Quote
As to what JR Tomlin said about Bisac categories, I agree that it's NONSENSE. I don't think that D2D is lying or anything like that. But I have ABSOLUTELY no categories that would place my work in erotica. NONE.  So I find it hard to believe Playster's excuses to D2D.  But I get that D2D is in a bad spot. They're in the middle. They're trying to work for us, at least to get an explanation.  But JR is right that this doesn't make any sense what Playster is telling D2D.

I'd have to check the categories of the affected books at D2D to be sure, but while some of them may be classified as gay or lesbian fiction, none of them are in any erotica categories. And gay or lesbian fiction does not equal erotica.

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #83 on: September 04, 2017, 05:51:24 AM »
Quote
And gay or lesbian fiction does not equal erotica.

This may be the issue, if it's some employees at Playster. Perhaps they believe that if it's LGBT, it's about sex?

I don't blame D2D, they distribute for us to other markets, and they have to go along with those markets' rules about what is accepted. I don't think D2D does anything like putting other categories on our books, as I remember, I choose what to put uploads in. But I do know that some sites have some sort of review system, looking for sex (possibly targeting certain words and phrases that likely trigger "EROTICA!!!") and other things they won't accept.
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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #84 on: September 04, 2017, 06:56:22 AM »
D2D have a track record here in that one of its other Smashwords-doesn't-have-it retailers is 24Symbols, who also provoked a kboards thread when LGBT books were taken down. The kboards search engine failed to bring up that thread (in which Dan of D2D also commented IIRC) and a general internet search only brought me a link to an author complaining about it:

http://www.brianolsenbooks.com/lgbt-discrimination-at-24symbols/


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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #85 on: September 04, 2017, 07:24:15 AM »
I just realized my post last night made no sense. Ah, brain fog. Sorry, guys!

I meant some Playster employee(s) might be equating regular LGBT BISAC categories with erotica.

There. That's more like it. 😂

D2D have a track record here in that one of its other Smashwords-doesn't-have-it retailers is 24Symbols, who also provoked a kboards thread when LGBT books were taken down. The kboards search engine failed to bring up that thread (in which Dan of D2D also commented IIRC) and a general internet search only brought me a link to an author complaining about it:

http://www.brianolsenbooks.com/lgbt-discrimination-at-24symbols/

Somehow I'd totally missed this. I'm glad 24Symbols fixed the issue, though, and were so receptive to changing their automatic processes. It gives me hope that Playster may, too.

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #86 on: September 04, 2017, 07:35:28 AM »
D2D have a track record here in that one of its other Smashwords-doesn't-have-it retailers is 24Symbols, who also provoked a kboards thread when LGBT books were taken down. The kboards search engine failed to bring up that thread (in which Dan of D2D also commented IIRC) and a general internet search only brought me a link to an author complaining about it:

I think the thread you were looking for is here: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,228522.0.html

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #87 on: September 04, 2017, 07:43:48 AM »
I think the thread you were looking for is here: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,228522.0.html
It's good to see that 24symbols made the appropriate change so quickly. The process in this case has been slowed down by a holiday weekend in the US, but hopefully it will be resolved equally quickly once everyone is back at work.


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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #88 on: September 04, 2017, 11:38:05 AM »
Take a look at this garbage response I got from D2D:

Hello,
In the case of the book that was rejected by Playster, Cursed Broken, there is sexual content throughout the file. They do not allow erotic romance or erotica. I found several very graphic scenes portraying two men together in sexual activity.  Any sexual activity, not just penetrative sex,  is not something they will allow. 

This book appears to be to graphic to overturn the decision with Playster, I apologize for the inconvenience.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Best Regards,

Crystal
Draft2Digital

So according to D2D if ANY BOOK has anything more than kissing it's not allowed on Playster.
  Actually I should amend this as Crystal says: NO SEXUAL ACTIVITY so really kissing is out, too ... Is looking across the room at another person considered sexual activity?  Not sure.  Hmmm, maybe we shouldn't even allow people to LIKE one another in the books. That might be misconstrued as sexual activity!  So I guess NO ROMANCE books should be on there? huh

Those of you whose M/F books have more than kissing: were they not allowed?  Somehow I think not ...

This is complete and utter [bullcrap].

I responded to D2D as follows:

I am really disappointed with D2D. There is a distinct difference between erotica/erotic romance and romance.  The fact that a company who is distributing books does not know this shocks me.  Romance CAN AND DOES have sex in it. It is NOT just kissing.  In my 100k book, there is LITTLE sex in it in comparison to most m/f romances.

But if you really are telling me that Playster ONLY accepts kissing: What about all the m/f books with full blown sex on its site?  See kboards: https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,255017.0.html to see how absurd that statement really is.

I'm sorry but this is simply nonsensical.  Either Playster has the absolute worst review system possible which somehow allows all the sexy m/f books in and not the m/m or its prejudiced against gay romance books. 

Also, I'm truly SHOCKED that D2D believes it should be the arbiter of what genre a book should be in.  That's not your role as a distributor.  I am truly tempted to pull my books off your site and spread the word. 

***

As an aside, I don't give a damn about Playster. I hadn't even HEARD of them before I got this original email about not taking my books.  I called and put up a fuss because I see this for what it REALLY is: gay = porn thinking and I fight that with all I can.

I've been writing gay romance for a long time and I've seen it all.  But having D2D evidently SKIM my book to tell me: OMG, YOU HAVE SEX IN YOUR ROMANCE SO WE WON'T HELP YOU! is one of the lowest moments in my career. Is D2D so clueless that it thinks romance books DON'T have sex in them? Or are JUST have kissing? Where they Hell have they been?

I'm really thinking that I'm going to pull my books from them.  In my view they are aiding, a discriminatory practice.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2017, 12:28:12 PM by X. Aratare »

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #89 on: September 04, 2017, 12:06:19 PM »
Take a look at this garbage response I got from D2D:

Hello,
In the case of the book that was rejected by Playster, Cursed Broken, there is sexual content throughout the file. They do not allow erotic romance or erotica. I found several very graphic scenes portraying two men together in sexual activity.  Any sexual activity, not just penetrative sex,  is not something they will allow. 

This book appears to be to graphic to overturn the decision with Playster, I apologize for the inconvenience.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Best Regards,

Crystal
Draft2Digital

So according to D2D if ANY BOOK has anything more than kissing it's not allowed on Playster.

Those of you whose M/F books have more than kissing: were they not allowed?  Somehow I think not ...

This is complete and utter [bullcrap].

I responded to D2D as follows:

I am really disappointed with D2D. There is a distinct difference between erotica/erotic romance and romance.  The fact that a company who is distributing books does not know this shocks me.  Romance CAN AND DOES have sex in it. It is NOT just kissing.  In my 100k book, there is LITTLE sex in it in comparison to most m/f romances.

But if you really are telling me that Playster ONLY accepts kissing: What about all the m/f books with full blown sex on its site?  See kboards: https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,255017.0.html to see how absurd that statement really is.

I'm sorry but this is simply nonsensical.  Either Playster has the absolute worst review system possible which somehow allows all the sexy m/f books in and not the m/m or its prejudiced against gay romance books. 

Also, I'm truly SHOCKED that D2D believes it should be the arbiter of what genre a book should be in.  That's not your role as a distributor.  I am truly tempted to pull my books off your site and spread the word. 

***

As an aside, I don't give a damn about Playster. I hadn't even HEARD of them before I got this original email about not taking my books.  I called and put up a fuss because I see this for what it REALLY is: gay = porn thinking and I fight that with all I can.

I've been writing gay romance for a long time and I've seen it all.  But having D2D evidently SKIM my book to tell me: OMG, YOU HAVE SEX IN YOUR ROMANCE SO WE WON'T HELP YOU! is one of the lowest moments in my career. Is D2D so clueless that it thinks romance books DON'T have sex in them? Or are JUST have kissing? Where they Hell have they been?

I'm really thinking that I'm going to pull my books from them.  In my view they are aiding, a discriminatory practice.
If they are treating different romances differently based not on the amount or nature of the sex, then that definitely seems discriminatory. Of course, this could be Crystal's mistake rather than the official position of D2D. Dan's earlier email suggested the organization as a whole couldn't look at the issue until after the holiday weekend.

The problem with Crystal may also be a misunderstanding of the boundaries for erotica. I'm not sure everyone on this forum would define the term in the same way. I'd certainly agree with you that a romance could go further than kissing without becoming erotica. For me, the boundary might depend upon how explicit the sex is, but I'm not sure everyone would feel the same way. (I don't write romance or erotica, so I haven't given the boundary issue much thought.)


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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #90 on: September 04, 2017, 12:13:45 PM »
Take a look at this garbage response I got from D2D:

Hello,
In the case of the book that was rejected by Playster, Cursed Broken, there is sexual content throughout the file. They do not allow erotic romance or erotica. I found several very graphic scenes portraying two men together in sexual activity.  Any sexual activity, not just penetrative sex,  is not something they will allow. 

This book appears to be to graphic to overturn the decision with Playster, I apologize for the inconvenience.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Best Regards,

Crystal
Draft2Digital

So according to D2D if ANY BOOK has anything more than kissing it's not allowed on Playster.

Those of you whose M/F books have more than kissing: were they not allowed?  Somehow I think not ...

This is complete and utter [bullcrap].

I responded to D2D as follows:

I am really disappointed with D2D. There is a distinct difference between erotica/erotic romance and romance.  The fact that a company who is distributing books does not know this shocks me.  Romance CAN AND DOES have sex in it. It is NOT just kissing.  In my 100k book, there is LITTLE sex in it in comparison to most m/f romances.

But if you really are telling me that Playster ONLY accepts kissing: What about all the m/f books with full blown sex on its site?  See kboards: https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,255017.0.html to see how absurd that statement really is.

I'm sorry but this is simply nonsensical.  Either Playster has the absolute worst review system possible which somehow allows all the sexy m/f books in and not the m/m or its prejudiced against gay romance books. 

Also, I'm truly SHOCKED that D2D believes it should be the arbiter of what genre a book should be in.  That's not your role as a distributor.  I am truly tempted to pull my books off your site and spread the word. 

***

As an aside, I don't give a damn about Playster. I hadn't even HEARD of them before I got this original email about not taking my books.  I called and put up a fuss because I see this for what it REALLY is: gay = porn thinking and I fight that with all I can.

I've been writing gay romance for a long time and I've seen it all.  But having D2D evidently SKIM my book to tell me: OMG, YOU HAVE SEX IN YOUR ROMANCE SO WE WON'T HELP YOU! is one of the lowest moments in my career. Is D2D so clueless that it thinks romance books DON'T have sex in them? Or are JUST have kissing? Where they Hell have they been?

I'm really thinking that I'm going to pull my books from them.  In my view they are aiding, a discriminatory practice.

Romance is romance!  I don't care if the main characters are m/m, w/w or m/w....romance is a story about two people, who care about and love each other.  Why is this being banned?

I'm glad I'm in KU. 

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #91 on: September 04, 2017, 12:14:38 PM »
If they are treating different romances differently based not on the amount or nature of the sex, then that definitely seems discriminatory. Of course, this could be Crystal's mistake rather than the official position of D2D. Dan's earlier email suggested the organization as a whole couldn't look at the issue until after the holiday weekend.

The problem with Crystal may also be a misunderstanding of the boundaries for erotica. I'm not sure everyone on this forum would define the term in the same way. I'd certainly agree with you that a romance could go further than kissing without becoming erotica. For me, the boundary might depend upon how explicit the sex is, but I'm not sure everyone would feel the same way. (I don't write romance or erotica, so I haven't given the boundary issue much thought.)

Bill - while I think yours is a reasoned response. Here's the thing: in no one's definition does romance = just kissing. NO ONE'S. That's why there is "sweet romance" which is a specific genre where there is nothing more than kissing.

Maybe my version of romance is steamier than another's. Fair enough. But I know what I just told you about romance in general is true.

And it is the hypocrisy I'm seeing that m/f books with far more than kissing sail through to Playster, but not gay or lesbian books that is really chapping my hide.   
« Last Edit: September 04, 2017, 12:17:00 PM by X. Aratare »

Offline X. Aratare

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #92 on: September 04, 2017, 12:18:14 PM »
Romance is romance!  I don't care if the main characters are m/m, w/w or m/w....romance is a story about two people, who care about and love each other.  Why is this being banned?

I'm glad I'm in KU. 

Yeah, but Amazon has done crazy stuff too. I had to get one book out of the adult dungeon 12 times. TWELVE.  Finally, I forced them to put a note on the damned thing to say it had been reviewed and approved. It's yaoi manga which we STROVE not to have anything, even kisses in, but that genre was routinely getting dungeoned no matter what was actually in the book, title, description or cover.

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #93 on: September 04, 2017, 07:04:31 PM »
Bill - while I think yours is a reasoned response. Here's the thing: in no one's definition does romance = just kissing. NO ONE'S. That's why there is "sweet romance" which is a specific genre where there is nothing more than kissing.

Maybe my version of romance is steamier than another's. Fair enough. But I know what I just told you about romance in general is true.

And it is the hypocrisy I'm seeing that m/f books with far more than kissing sail through to Playster, but not gay or lesbian books that is really chapping my hide.

I do think it's the apparent unequal treatment that's the problem. If you look at Playster's TOS, it gives them plenty of wiggle room to ban *anything* sexual, including kissing. The language is that they don't allow anything that's "obscene, vulgar, pornographic, offensive, profane, contains or depicts nudity, contains or depicts sexual activity, or is otherwise inappropriate as determined by" them.

It seems self-sabotaging to interpret those limits puritanically, but hey, it's their catalog. What they can't do, so far as I'm concerned, is label two men kissing "inappropriate" while letting a man and a woman go all the way up to explicitly described intercourse before slapping on the "inappropriate" label. Well, they can do that, but if they do, they should own their discriminatory stance publicly, IMO.




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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #94 on: September 04, 2017, 07:25:55 PM »
Quote
D2D have a track record here in that one of its other Smashwords-doesn't-have-it retailers is 24Symbols, who also provoked a kboards thread when LGBT books were taken down. The kboards search engine failed to bring up that thread (in which Dan of D2D also commented IIRC) and a general internet search only brought me a link to an author complaining about it:

http://www.brianolsenbooks.com/lgbt-discrimination-at-24symbols/

I remember that, since one of my books was also affected. Somehow, they missed the lesbian romance, but found an apocalyptic story featuring two gay men and promptly blurred the cover to shield sensitive eyes from the shocking going ons. The cover shows a mushroom cloud.


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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #95 on: September 04, 2017, 11:31:10 PM »
While I am attempting to withhold judgement until this issue gets more official response from Playster/D2D, I've got to say, what's going on here looks pretty obvious.

Discrimination.

It's not okay. I, for one, want to know about shady business practices like that, so that I can make informed decision about who to avoid giving my money to. They have the right to keep LGBT books out of their store. I have the right to blacklist them for offending me.

And I can't imagine what they'll end up saying. Own up to it, and stick with their policies? Or say, "It was a 'mistake?'"

Right. :-X  I've got some oceanfront property...

We'll see.

Online EllieDee

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #96 on: September 05, 2017, 12:32:25 AM »
Quote
but found an apocalyptic story featuring two gay men and promptly blurred the cover to shield sensitive eyes from the shocking going ons. The cover shows a mushroom cloud.

Well, despite how angry and offended I feel about Playster's antics, this made me laugh.  Thanks for sharing! 

Online Mercia McMahon

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #97 on: September 05, 2017, 02:30:04 AM »
The only thing I ever put into Playster was political non-fiction, so I'm waiting to see if they do a 24Symbols style mea culpa. If they do not then I will remove my non-fiction as they would not be someone I wish to do business with.


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Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #98 on: September 05, 2017, 08:12:19 AM »
Bill - while I think yours is a reasoned response. Here's the thing: in no one's definition does romance = just kissing. NO ONE'S. That's why there is "sweet romance" which is a specific genre where there is nothing more than kissing.

Maybe my version of romance is steamier than another's. Fair enough. But I know what I just told you about romance in general is true.

And it is the hypocrisy I'm seeing that m/f books with far more than kissing sail through to Playster, but not gay or lesbian books that is really chapping my hide.
Yes, we all agree that inconsistent enforcement of erotica rules based on whether the content is same sex or not is wrong. What was in my mind at the time I first responded, and what I should have made clearer, was that Crystal wasn't looking at a lot of books and making comparisons. She was just looking at yours. Does yours only include kissing? I may have misunderstood your earlier posts, because I thought yours had somewhat more than that. If not, then yes, Crystal's response is less easy to explain than I thought.


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Offline Playster

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Re: Playster Rejecting LGBT+ Fiction (Update Pg 3, #62)
« Reply #99 on: September 05, 2017, 08:28:33 AM »
We can assure you that Playster is in absolutely no way discriminating against LGBTQ+ content.  We've been receiving books with underage characters, and therefore put a temporary ban on all books labelled 'erotica' that are delivered from self-publishing platforms.  We acknowledge that this is a cautious approach, but we're working diligently towards a long-term resolution.  We're committed to providing authors with an alternative revenue stream but, as a small company, we don't yet have a QA team large enough to go through books at the rate we receive them.

We're taking all of your comments into consideration, and we're investigating the possibility that some books have been mislabeled. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this.
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