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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a bit concerned after all that hoohah with the paedophile manual. I have written a short story where one of the main protagonists is a 12 year old girl. There is no sex as such, but the story is based upon the 12 year old girl being sold for sex, but it was never going to happen, although a great deal of the story is where the girl is in a situation where it might happen. The girl isn't what she seems. I can't make her any older because her age is integral to the story. I just wondered whether Amazon might not like it on the site? I will say that the story is pure horror with a sexual undertone without any sex, period. I don't do porn, only horror. Does anybody with more experience than me of Amazon have any suggestions please?
 

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Perhaps it's not so much that it's a taboo subject, but more that people don't know the answer.  It's been shown that Amazon will remove stuff with explicit under-eighteen sexual content.  If it's just an "undertone," but not explicit, I really don't know what they might do.  It could depend on whether they get negative customer feedback or not.
 

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I think that Amazon might be upset with it due to the age if any sex were involved, whether implied or not.

I had a novel recently pulled although it had already been published.  It was about alien women, but some of the story took place in high school.  They may have not liked that, but I am not sure since they didn't actually tell me why they were pulling it.  I e-mailed them back but haven't gotten a response yet. 

Although I haven't gotten their final decision on it yet, I am already thinking of how I can rewrite it to make it so there are no underage girls.

In the future, I will make sure all of my character are 18 and over if they are involved in any sex or implied sex. I am also going to be careful in writing up my descriptions to make it low key.

The problem is that Amazon is not really clear on what they will accept.  Then even if they accept it, if someone complains, they still might pull the novel or short story.

Amazon's official policy is no porn.  The problem though is defining what porn is.  The supreme court took on that chore and didn't do a good job at it. It seems to most people, if the sex is to stimulate, then it is porn.  If it is part of the storyline, it is not.

Stay away from underage characters if you can. 

So do you have a problem?  Who knows, since it is hard to read Amazon?
 

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Based solely on your description in your post it doesn't sound like you have much to worry about (unless you offend a reader and they complain to Amazon, which others have tackled above). That's the short answer.

Now the long one ...

If there is no sex, or only the threat or hint of sex and it's not intended or marketed to be extreme erotica and/or borderline porn, then we're talking apples and oranges.

The challenge we have as horror writers is the subgenre of 'erotic horror' which is something that erotica authors are exploring and exploiting to be able to tell more taboo sex tales. And while I don't want to anger any erotica writers -- heck, I've written some erotica myself -- I think there is a difference in most reasonable thinking people's minds between erotica and porn. At the far extreme of erotica it's hard to distinguish from porn.

When people think of porn they think of letters in Penthouse forum and XXX movies you can rent in hotels. With some exceptions, there isn't much of a storyline in porn. Erotica tells often kinky love stories involving more graphic sexual scenes. I'm thinking some trashy romance novels could have been defined as erotica. Harold Robbins certainly skirted the erotica edge and it didn't hurt his career.

I didn't get involved in the other thread but last time I checked there was nothing illegal about writing a fictional tale describing an illegal activity. If so, there would be a lot of authors going to jail. There is a very real danger when people start listening to and invoking the thought police.

At the same time, there is common sense and real world liability concerns. You wouldn't want to describe how to create a nuclear bomb in exact detail in a thriller novel because there are crazy people in the world who would use that research and make a real bomb. Many authors will use literary license and intentionally alter key facts in situations like this. They want to be authentic and real but not create a public health hazard.

The same can be applied to horror fiction when it comes to characters who enjoy illegal sexual activities. If an author wants to stay 'safe' then keeping the sex scenes with any detail between consenting human adults and/or teens of equal or close-to-equal age makes good sense. Or, if the story does have a potential rape or molestation scene between an adult and minor, it is not advisable to graphically describe the sex acts.

Then again there is the fantasy realm and sex with different fantasy creatures of all ages ... you see, this whole subject is a patch of thorns.
 

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The problem is that Amazon is not really clear on what they will accept. Then even if they accept it, if someone complains, they still might pull the novel or short story.
Exactly, and this, I believe, is why their guidelines are so vague. I don't think they'll pull a book for one complaint (probably every erotica book in existence gets one or two complaints), but if they get enough, they can pull it because it violates some fuzzy aspect of their guidelines.

In short, your book sounds like it would meet their guidelines as I understand them, but there's no guarantee it won't get pulled at some point in the future. However, to be honest, that's true for any of us who write horror or erotica-- all it takes is a bunch of people getting riled about your book, and it could be removed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Franklin Eddy said:
I think that Amazon might be upset with it due to the age if any sex were involved, whether implied or not.

I had a novel recently pulled although it had already been published. It was about alien women, but some of the story took place in high school. They may have not liked that, but I am not sure since they didn't actually tell me why they were pulling it. I e-mailed them back but haven't gotten a response yet.

Although I haven't gotten their final decision on it yet, I am already thinking of how I can rewrite it to make it so there are no underage girls.

In the future, I will make sure all of my character are 18 and over if they are involved in any sex or implied sex. I am also going to be careful in writing up my descriptions to make it low key.

The problem is that Amazon is not really clear on what they will accept. Then even if they accept it, if someone complains, they still might pull the novel or short story.

Amazon's official policy is no porn. The problem though is defining what porn is. The supreme court took on that chore and didn't do a good job at it. It seems to most people, if the sex is to stimulate, then it is porn. If it is part of the storyline, it is not.

Stay away from underage characters if you can.

So do you have a problem? Who knows, since it is hard to read Amazon?
I would be interested to know what the final outcome is. I'm not really able to change the age as it is an integral part of the story. You know how these things come to you all in a rush, begging to be written down before you forget the whole thing? You have to go with the flow. I wrote the whole thing in 2 hours between midnight and 2 am last night, so it's going to need an extensive rewrite or three anyway. I hope that if Amazon pull one book, they don't pull the whole lot? IDK though. It's worrying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
barbara elsborg said:
It doesn't seem like it should be a problem to me. I think you just need to be clear in your product description!
Oh, I will, believe you me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Todd Russell said:
Based solely on your description in your post it doesn't sound like you have much to worry about (unless you offend a reader and they complain to Amazon, which others have tackled above). That's the short answer.

Now the long one ...

If there is no sex, or only the threat or hint of sex and it's not intended or marketed to be extreme erotica and/or borderline porn, then we're talking apples and oranges.

The challenge we have as horror writers is the subgenre of 'erotic horror' which is something that erotica authors are exploring and exploiting to be able to tell more taboo sex tales. And while I don't want to anger any erotica writers -- heck, I've written some erotica myself -- I think there is a difference in most reasonable thinking people's minds between erotica and porn. At the far extreme of erotica it's hard to distinguish from porn.

When people think of porn they think of letters in Penthouse forum and XXX movies you can rent in hotels. With some exceptions, there isn't much of a storyline in porn. Erotica tells often kinky love stories involving more graphic sexual scenes. I'm thinking some trashy romance novels could have been defined as erotica. Harold Robbins certainly skirted the erotica edge and it didn't hurt his career.

I didn't get involved in the other thread but last time I checked there was nothing illegal about writing a fictional tale describing an illegal activity. If so, there would be a lot of authors going to jail. There is a very real danger when people start listening to and invoking the thought police.

At the same time, there is common sense and real world liability concerns. You wouldn't want to describe how to create a nuclear bomb in exact detail in a thriller novel because there are crazy people in the world who would use that research and make a real bomb. Many authors will use literary license and intentionally alter key facts in situations like this. They want to be authentic and real but not create a public health hazard.

The same can be applied to horror fiction when it comes to characters who enjoy illegal sexual activities. If an author wants to stay 'safe' then keeping the sex scenes with any detail between consenting human adults and/or teens of equal or close-to-equal age makes good sense. Or, if the story does have a potential rape or molestation scene between an adult and minor, it is not advisable to graphically describe the sex acts.

Then again there is the fantasy realm and sex with different fantasy creatures of all ages ... you see, this whole subject is a patch of thorns.
No, there's no sex or even description of sex, but people might not like very much what that girl does. But that's the whole point of a horror story. Once I have rewritten it to my satisfaction, after taking in all the suggestions from all you wise people, I shall probably put it up and see what happens. And I do believe S K has been a lot closer to the bone in the past than I have. Mind you, when you are S K I suppose it's a different ball game entirely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
EllenFisher said:
Exactly, and this, I believe, is why their guidelines are so vague. I don't think they'll pull a book for one complaint (probably every erotica book in existence gets one or two complaints), but if they get enough, they can pull it because it violates some fuzzy aspect of their guidelines.

In short, your book sounds like it would meet their guidelines as I understand them, but there's no guarantee it won't get pulled at some point in the future. However, to be honest, that's true for any of us who write horror or erotica-- all it takes is a bunch of people getting riled about your book, and it could be removed.
I hope it meets their guidelines. I'm sure going to find out one way or the other. Your book cover gave me a bit of a start at first. A romance cover with a dog picture on it:)
 

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Your book cover gave me a bit of a start at first. A romance cover with a dog picture on it:)
Hopefully Amazon won't ban my book for bestiality. ;D Seriously, it'll be my first clean romance. Guess I don't have to worry about that one, at least!

I hope it meets their guidelines. I'm sure going to find out one way or the other.
I imagine they'll let you know if it doesn't, sooner or later. I really do wish the guidelines were more clear, but I think the vagueness benefits Amazon-- it lets them easily get rid of anything that generates bad publicity. I can understand that, but from an author perspective, clarity is preferable so we know what's acceptable going in.
 

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I sort of think that children in jeopardy, sexual or not, is unpalatable to many readers. And that's just *jeopardy*. Children as victims  crosses yet another line.
 

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Jon Olson said:
I sort of think that children in jeopardy, sexual or not, is unpalatable to many readers. And that's just *jeopardy*. Children as victims crosses yet another line.
I guess you'd have to clarify what you mean by "sort of think" because this doesn't ring very true when it comes to horror readers. Authors like John Saul have made a comfortable living with children in jeopardy tales. Then you have R.L Stine and all his YA horror tales where children are frequently in jeopardy. Most YA horror involves minors in jeopardy. Heck, the Hardy Boys were in jeopardy in most of their mysteries. And thrillers? Not sure it applies there either.

As far as indie writers on this board? Cheryl Kaye Tardif's Children of the Fog book immediately came to mind complete with this blurb gem:

"YOU HAVE 10 SECONDS TO MAKE A DECISION: Let A Kidnapper Take Your Child, Or Watch Your Son Die. Choose!"
And the list goes on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Jon Olson said:
I sort of think that children in jeopardy, sexual or not, is unpalatable to many readers. And that's just *jeopardy*. Children as victims crosses yet another line.
This child isn't a victim. More in the lines of Stephen Kings Children of the corn type child. And it is horror plain and simple. I've edited out any allusion of age.
 

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Reading your description/explanation of the content makes me think of Interview with the Vampire... there is implied sexuality, but nothing actually happens. Just my take on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
WriterGurl1 said:
Reading your description/explanation of the content makes me think of Interview with the Vampire... there is implied sexuality, but nothing actually happens. Just my take on it.
I don't mind my short story being compared with that book:)
 

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greenpen, my novel, Almost Women, was kicked out the other day due to content violations. So I wrote to them and they reinstated the novel this afternoon.

I don't know why though that they kicked it out in the first place, but at least it got instated.

So if they kick yours out , just e-mail them and maybe they will reinstate yours too.

Franklin
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Franklin Eddy said:
greenpen, my novel, Almost Women, was kicked out the other day due to content violations. So I wrote to them and they reinstated the novel this afternoon.

I don't know why though that they kicked it out in the first place, but at least it got instated.

So if they kick yours out , just e-mail them and maybe they will reinstate yours too.

Franklin
I just read your blurb. Phew! Mine looks like it probably is safe if you got away with that:) There are no aliens, oral sex or schools in mine. and it's only a short story.
 
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