I spent a good part of Saturday afternoon and all of Sunday reading and re-reading Becoming an Indie Author by Zoe Winters. For those of you who don’t know who Zoe Winters is (because you’ve been living under a rock or have been banished from the internet like Romeo from Verona) do yourself a favor and pop over to her blog and witness her awesomeness. Anyway, I found her guide very informative and after sleeping on the idea, I decided that I will really give this indie thing a go—meaning, I will make it my business. And as stated before, I re-read her book, took notes, made a list of books that I would buy as reference materials to aid me in this task. Then, after watching The Patriots make short bloody work of The Bears, I logged onto Twitter only to discover that Amazon has begun another round of blanket censorship. This time targeting books that contain incest or underage sex.
Of course….OF COURSE! Why else would this be happening now except to deter me from my decision to go indie? And of course, their latest round of censorship targets a group that my newest novella falls into very, very neatly. Needless to say, I found this newest blunder by Amazon particularly frustrating. Especially since it came on the heels of a discussion I had with Remittance Girl on Twitter Friday night. And I hate eating my words. As previously stated, they taste bad. I don’t regret or retract anything that I said concerning Wikileaks but, this witch hunt to cleanse all eReaders of erotic content is something I can’t stand by and watch. Apple led the charge when they released their restrictions on iPad and now it seems Amazon is following suit. How and why are the titles that have been removed been chosen? No one really knows but, I have a strong feeling it has something to do with how you tag your book. The books are removed without any notice sent to the author and in most cases, no real explanation for how the book violated Amazon’s purposely vague guidelines. I haven’t come to any real decision about what I should do regarding the titles already listed on Amazon. My first inclination is to snatch them off which wouldn’t be a huge loss seeing as how both my titles sell much better on Nook and Smashwords right now anyway. For now, I’m going to continue with my plans to go indie. I still think it’s the best time to do so. I’ll give the Amazon end of it some more thought and cross that bridge when I have my next title ready for release.
This issue also butts up against another thought that has been circling in my head for awhile. I’ve always know that most of my work is not pure erotica. It could be better described as suspense with erotic elements at this point. That’s not to say I don’t write pure erotica. In Her Closet is everything a contemporary erotic romance novel is expected to be. But the stories I most enjoy writing don’t always fall into the purely erotic realm and can only ‘fit’ after a round of edits. So once again, just like clockwork, I’m confused about what labels I should stick on myself. If I had it my way, I’d skip the labels all together. I think it’s limiting to be considered only this kind or that kind of writer. I’d rather be read regardless of the limitations of a particular genre. I know I that is ridiculous. I have to choose one. I guess I’ll give that some more thought also.
For now, #amwriting. Building a backlist is more important than worrying about Amazon’s current stance on erotica. It will likely change in the next 24 hours anyway.