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paranormal_kitty said:
Even if I wasn't looking for LGBT books, I wouldn't give money to a company that knowingly did this.
^This.

I recently signed up to D2D, to open up new markets. It turns out Playster and 24Symbols are the only ones not available through Smashwords. None of my erotica- straight and bi- was accepted. I was okay with this. if they don't want to publish erotica, fine. But, if they're blocking non-erotic books just because of LGBT content, then I'm pulling everything, and announcing it.

I'm not going to do any housekeeping until Monday, I reckon, so I'll check back in on this before then, and act accordingly.
 

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After seeing this thread, I made a spreadsheet for my entire catalogue of GLBTQ+ books, which is 25 titles as of this writing. Only four of those books were blocked by Playster (and Scribd as well). Those are the only four books that I BISAC categorized/keyworded as Erotica (rather than Erotic Romance, Romance, Suspense/Thriller, or Historical). Those four titles were rightly blocked, according to the respective companies' TOS. Fair enough.

Two items of note:

1) Although those 4 books are BISAC categorized as Erotica (because that is what they are), my properly BISAC categorized/keyworded Erotic Romances are all much, much steamier than the Erotica titles (especially the one series where one of the heroes is massively into some seriously filthy dirty talkin'). One of the blocked Erotica titles contains very light BDSM, but the BDSM elements in two of the non-blocked Erotic Romance titles are considerably harder/rougher/explicitly described. Hell, the GLBTQ+ title in my sig is Erotic Romance with a vigilante serial killer as one of the heroes, which contains explicit sex and also contains explicit violence because serial killer, and neither Playster nor Scribed blocked it. HOWEVER, this could be a date-related change of policy for Playster, as described in the next item.

2) After dropping out of KU in late July, I uploaded or re-activated my entire catalogue to D2D (excluding Tolino because a) I've sold only a handful of books through that portal and b) OMG what a nightmare that is when switching a title back to KU) on August 1 - 3. I then decided to go with Pronoun instead, so I de-listed from D2D on August 2, and checked daily to see where listings still remained. On August 8, I started uploading the entire catalogue to Pronoun, which I completed on August 12.

If this seems like a global issue for Playster now, without exception, this could:

a) possibly indicate that only titles categorized as Erotica are being blocked, particularly if they are also blocking hetero titles categorized as Erotica, or

b) possibly indicate that somewhere between August 9 and today is when Playster made it a policy not sell GLBTQ+ romance, erotic romance, or erotica.

If Playster has also blocked non-fiction GLBTQ+ titles, that would be a clincher that they find all GLBTQ+ content objectionable.

I agree that it's any private company's prerogative to block content at their discretion, just as it would be my prerogative not to do business with an aggregator that chooses to partner with them.
 

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Discussion Starter #43
Neither my title nor the ones by authors I've spoken to were marked as erotica.

I'm raising awareness because, if you actually read my original post, many of us attempted to contact both D2D and Playster regarding this matter. We've been ignored. That speaks volumes.

I would like for Playster to be more transparent regarding their policy. As I've said, my book had been accepted twice, then suddenly it was rejected. I'm wide on all channels, so one retailer certainly isn't going to hurt me. My objective isn't to shut Playster down or force them to accept LGBT+ books, but it is to get answers. Being that neither company has responded, my next step was to get louder. Simply pretending this is okay and ignoring it doesn't sit well with me.

When it seemed to be just me affected, my plan was to contact both companies and leave it at that. However, it isn't just me, and it isn't just LGBT romance; many non-romance, non-erotica titles have been suddenly rejected. I'm a big believer in coming together to make our voices heard. Often that is the only way to get anywhere, because it's easy to ignore one person but far more difficult to ignore a chorus.

If this is the mistake of a single employee, then I'm sure that Playster will remedy it and perhaps clarify their content guidelines. If it isn't, though, and Playster says they're no longer accepting any LGBT fiction, then readers and authors can make their own decisions.
 

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RandomThings said:
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.
RandomThings, I understand your point. I too sometimes worry when political correctness runs amuck.

When brick and mortar bookstores were still a thing, there were some in my area that had a very clear political ideology and only carried works that expressed that viewpoint. I didn't have any kind of problem, even though some of them represented a view quite different from my own. However, they all had one thing in common: they were honest about the perspective they were promoting. As a potential book buyer, if books are being shelved according to particular ideological criteria, I want to be aware of that. I want to be able to exercise my right to not do business with them if I think the philosophy being promoted amounts to bigotry.

One of my problems with Playster is that they aren't doing that. They are pulling LGBT works using a rule about sexual content even if the work has no sexual content, and they are allowing equally steamy or more steamy heterosexual content to remain. (I know there are apparently some books that haven't been pulled yet, but in the absence of any further explanation for the ones that have been, I'm inclined to assume Playster is moving through its catalog gradually, the way Amazon does.) Yes, legally they may well be able to do that, but I as a consumer have a right to know they're doing it. Otherwise, the "you can spend your money elsewhere" idea becomes very hollow. If I weren't an author haunting this board, I would have no way of knowing that I should be spending my money elsewhere.

We also need to keep in mind that businesses can't do whatever they wish just because they're private. That was almost exactly the argument initially made by restaurants when they were told they couldn't deny service based on race. Yes, that's not the same situation, but in both cases the rationale on the business end is somewhat the same. Cases involving alleged discrimination against vendors haven't been brought yet, at least not to the best of my knowledge. Maybe there isn't a case there; maybe there isn't. But the general idea that a business can do as it pleases was thrown out by the courts long ago.

I have a lot of friends who belong to religions that believe LGBT behavior is sinful. Among us, we have an unspoken agreement not to argue with each other about it. Interestingly, though, none of them worry about whether literature with LGBT themes is being sold in book stores they use. They just don't buy it themselves, any more than I buy titles that promote their philosophy.

My ideal would be a open book store environment. I don't want to see censorship of any viewpoint, whether expressed fictionally or nonfictionally. I'm saying this because, unless Playster recently changed ownership, I would suspect they're getting pressure from somewhere to drop LGBT content. I don't intend to push for distributors to drop content with which I disagree--but I expect those with different views to extend me the same courtesy.

Maybe Playster is making this move because, as you suggested, LGBT material isn't selling as well for them. However, what I'm seeing elsewhere makes me doubt that. For instance, not so long ago, LGBT material wasn't visible on TV at all. Then there was a brief period in which it appeared in shows specifically about LGBT issues (Like Will and Grace, which ran for eight seasons.) Now it pops up all over the place. It's very common to see an LGBT romance as a subplot in a series that isn't otherwise about that. Occasionally, the subplot is used to talk about prejudice, but often it doesn't make that specific point. It's just there, and the other characters don't make a big deal about it. None of these trends suggest to me that the audience unwilling to tolerate such material is bigger than the audience that doesn't.
 

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PatriciaThomson said:
There are currently gay and lesbian romance novels on Playster--not a lot, true, but some of them do appear to be fairly graphic. Doesn't it stand to reason if it rejected the OP's novel strictly because it was lesbian romance there wouldn't be ANY lesbian romance to be found on the site?

I'm reminded of a young friend of mine who was positive that her local utility company was discriminating against women because her and her SO's names were both on the bill, but despite the fact that she established the account any communication from the utility was always addressed to him. She went on a huge Twitter rant, the torches and pitchforks came out, etc. I pointed out that her SO's name started with a C, hers with an R. Sure enough, the utility verified that multiple names on an account would always be listed in alphabetical order and whoever came first would get the emails.

Moral of the story--Occam's razor is a very real thing. :D
Actually this is because not just ONE person is deciding which gets in and what does not. I was told that Playster does not accept erotica or erotic romance. Mine are neither. Whats left? It's gay. And based on what I"m seeing here I'm not alone.

What happens is there are SOME people over at Playster who are the ones accepting or rejecting books that are finding the gay ones more objectionable even if another person wouldn't find them so and would allow a lot more risque stuff in.

I remember when Google found an ad we ran (for people 18 plus mind) as not "family friend" because it was termed "gay romance". Got rid of the word "gay" and they approved the ad. People told me well Google is really LGBT friendly and I'm like maybe they are but not everyone at that company is and clearly not everyone reviewing their ads were. Whether its a lack of training, discrimination, or whatever, what we have here is a problem.

Playster cannot tell me they aren't selling my book because its erotica or erotic romance (doesn't even have full sex in it, kissing and stuff) when really its about them thinking gay = porn automatically without actually reviewing the content. A lot of people still think that and its a constant struggle. So yeah, if Playster wants to ban LGBT content fine. But don't pee on my leg and tell me its raining.
 

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D2D has informed me from the start that Playster absolutely refuses my HETERO content. So this idea they're bashing gays only is silly.

I'm surprised they allowed any gay at all if they were refusing my hetero romances that were erotica.
 

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Laran Mithras said:
D2D has informed me from the start that Playster absolutely refuses my HETERO content. So this idea they're bashing gays only is silly.

I'm surprised they allowed any gay at all if they were refusing my hetero romances that were erotica.
I'm sorry but not all gay romance is erotica. They don't want to have erotica on their site: fine. But mine isn't erotica and I comply with their TOS so the only reason is that they, like you clearly do, think gay = porn. It doesn't.
 

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X. Aratare said:
I'm sorry but not all gay romance is erotica. They don't want to have erotica on their site: fine. But mine isn't erotica and I comply with their TOS so the only reason is that they, like you clearly do, think gay = porn. It doesn't.
I'm sorry, but not all hetero romance is erotica, either.

I've given up trying to convince D2D.

Everything I write, including self-help books, is rejected as erotica. I don't bother submitting anything to Playster any more unless it's under a different name.
 

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I think the issue that might be missed isn't so much Playster as D2D. Unless someone comes in and has gone Playster-direct saying Playster is doing this.

D2D is great. Love them. Direct deposits, uploading to Apple (I don't own a Mac), 10% cut, prompt payments...

What's not to love?

But D2D is a middle man and Playster is new. Imagine the contract. Playster saying "We don't want erotica." D2D submits non-erotica. Playster complains that some of the submissions were erotica. What is D2D to do?

Exactly what any middleman would do who wants that contract: start swinging the hammer more widely. Some innocents are going to get hit.
 

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Laran Mithras said:
I think the issue that might be missed isn't so much Playster as D2D. Unless someone comes in and has gone Playster-direct saying Playster is doing this.

D2D is great. Love them. Direct deposits, uploading to Apple (I don't own a Mac), 10% cut, prompt payments...

What's not to love?

But D2D is a middle man and Playster is new. Imagine the contract. Playster saying "We don't want erotica." D2D submits non-erotica. Playster complains that some of the submissions were erotica. What is D2D to do?

Exactly what any middleman would do who wants that contract: start swinging the hammer more widely. Some innocents are going to get hit.
This isn't D2D's decision (I asked, phoned them). This is Playster itself.

I'm guessing that it's like on Amazon when you knew not to upload anything erotic on the weekends because good old Carlos F. and his crew would hit it with a sledgehammer when it would get through during the week, because Carlos F has ideas about certain types of stories and whether they should be on Amazon or not.
 

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Laran Mithras said:
I'm sorry, but not all hetero romance is erotica, either.

I've given up trying to convince D2D.

Everything I write, including self-help books, is rejected as erotica. I don't bother submitting anything to Playster any more unless it's under a different name.
Of course hetero isn't! I thought you said earlier that all your EROTICA had been banned, which though I think its stupid, lame and wrong, it is against their TOS. But Gay Romance isn't erotica, it can be, there's Gay Erotica, but the problem comes when a hammer happy person at Playster believes gay = porn whether it has chaste kisses or not.

So if I misunderstood you, I'm sorry. They should publish your non-erotica, non-erotic romance.
 

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X. Aratare said:
Of course hetero isn't! I thought you said earlier that all your EROTICA had been banned, which though I think its stupid, lame and wrong, it is against their TOS. But Gay Romance isn't erotica, it can be, there's Gay Erotica, but the problem comes when a hammer happy person at Playster believes gay = porn whether it has chaste kisses or not.

So if I misunderstood you, I'm sorry. They should publish your non-erotica, non-erotic romance.
My erotica. I understand that. Whether hetero or bi (I haven't written gay/lesbian only)
My romances.
My horror.
My sci-fi.
My fantasy.
And my self-help books.

Bah. I eventually got the non-erotica published, but they were on me like a dog on a steak bone.

But I don't mean to sound negative about D2D. They're really pretty good. I just think they're swinging that hammer wide. I think Playster encouraged them to be severe.

Of course, maybe I'm totally wrong. Maybe Playster said, "We don't want any LGBT material, no matter how clean." I just know that even my clean hetero stuff was rejected - but likely because I also write primarily erotica.
 

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Mercedes Vox said:
I agree that it's any private company's prerogative to block content at their discretion, just as it would be my prerogative not to do business with an aggregator that chooses to partner with them.
It's absolutely everyone's right to decide how to conduct their own business. The thing that often concerns me is when people (not you, just piggybacking off your comment here) think emotionally instead of objectively about how closely associated businesses may be.

For example, most people won't do business with a business that holds values they find objectionable.

But, what about one tier away? Do they do business with the business that does business with the objectionable business?

What about two tiers away? Do we boycott Amazon because they do business with D2D who does business with Playster (assuming the worst turns out to be true about their policy)? Or do we boycott Adobe because their software is used by the objectionable business?

Again, just raising that question so that everyone can mull it over for themselves and decide where to draw that principle/practicality line.
 

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Mark Gardner said:
As a proper Libertarian, I'm constantly at odds with both liberal and conservative philosophy. (I even had a listener call into the show, and refer to me on the air as the host's "liberal sidekick.")
I'm looking forward to our lunch this Tuesday. I can feel a bromance coming on. ;)
 

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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
 

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Discussion Starter #56
Dan Wood said:
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
Thank you, Dan!
 

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elizabethbarone said:
Neither my title nor the ones by authors I've spoken to were marked as erotica.

I'm raising awareness because, if you actually read my original post, many of us attempted to contact both D2D and Playster regarding this matter. We've been ignored. That speaks volumes.

I would like for Playster to be more transparent regarding their policy. As I've said, my book had been accepted twice, then suddenly it was rejected. I'm wide on all channels, so one retailer certainly isn't going to hurt me. My objective isn't to shut Playster down or force them to accept LGBT+ books, but it is to get answers. Being that neither company has responded, my next step was to get louder. Simply pretending this is okay and ignoring it doesn't sit well with me.

When it seemed to be just me affected, my plan was to contact both companies and leave it at that. However, it isn't just me, and it isn't just LGBT romance; many non-romance, non-erotica titles have been suddenly rejected. I'm a big believer in coming together to make our voices heard. Often that is the only way to get anywhere, because it's easy to ignore one person but far more difficult to ignore a chorus.

If this is the mistake of a single employee, then I'm sure that Playster will remedy it and perhaps clarify their content guidelines. If it isn't, though, and Playster says they're no longer accepting any LGBT fiction, then readers and authors can make their own decisions.
Neither were mind labeled erotica or erotica romance so I'm not really sure unless D2D is actually sending different categories onto them I cannot see.

Here's the thing (and I said this to D2D on Thursday when I called about this) if Playster doesn't want LGBT books FINE. But it needs to say that. Don't hide behind its "erotica" or "erotic romance". It's their site, but BE HONEST.

And finally, if Playster does want LGBT books on its site, it needs to be made aware that its process to review books is broken. Mine are not erotica. They are not erotic romance. So they should want to sell them.

I give kudos to D2D and Elizabeth for raising the flag here. If its a mistake fine, if its by design also fine. But I need to know whether I'm wasting my time submitting to them.
 

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Discussion Starter #60
X. Aratare said:
Neither were mind labeled erotica or erotica romance so I'm not really sure unless D2D is actually sending different categories onto them I cannot see.

Here's the thing (and I said this to D2D on Thursday when I called about this) if Playster doesn't want LGBT books FINE. But it needs to say that. Don't hide behind its "erotica" or "erotic romance". It's their site, but BE HONEST.

And finally, if Playster does want LGBT books on its site, it needs to be made aware that its process to review books is broken. Mine are not erotica. They are not erotic romance. So they should want to sell them.

I give kudos to D2D and Elizabeth for raising the flag here. If its a mistake fine, if its by design also fine. But I need to know whether I'm wasting my time submitting to them.
My feelings exactly.

CoraBuhlert said:
None of my LGBT titles were erotica or erotic romance either. The romances are sweet and one isn't even romance at all, but post-apocalyptic. And none of them contains anything more graphic than a kiss. And yet, all of them are gone from Playster. So yes, there's definitely a pattern there.
Yup -- whether by mistake or otherwise.

And just to make it clear, in response to another post upthread, in no way am I seeking any legal action. Just trying to make things more fair and clear for authors of LGBT fiction.

Another element of this that I thought was interesting: I couldn't find any LGBT books on Playster, but another author who looked too said they have a Sensual section.

Their guidelines definitely need to be clarified!
 
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