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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Amazon Censorship At Work: What Fun It is!


There's more to this cover than meets the eye!

When it was first released, my new book Prop Master: Cindy's Student was declared "adult" by Amazon. This meant the book would not show up on general searches, which meant it wouldn't sell nearly as well as it might sell otherwise. This sounds like a minor thing and on the larger scale of things it probably is, but it's been a major thorn in my side. Being "adult-dungeoned" as erotica authors called it pretty much tanked the sales of the book.

That's because when a book is newly released it gets placed higher in the ranks of Amazon's search terms for a short time, boosting its potential sales. Being adult-dungeoned destroys that sales potential So sales of "The Prop Master: Cindy's Student" have tanked hard, whereas they should be leading the charge and picking up sales of my other books.

I looked at the book hard to figure out why it had been so designated. I finally decided it was probably the cover, made a few very small changes to it, and resubmitted it with a request that they reconsider the adult designation. After about a day I got a nice letter back saying they had decided to remove the adult designation from the book. A day later, it was out of the adult dugneon. So now it's generally available in searches.

Now what did I do that was so horrible to get me adult-dungeoned? And what did I have to do to get out of it? Let me show you:

Left: the relevant portion of the original art that got me adult-dungeoned. Right: the corrected art that got me out. Not a word of the book's content was changed.

All I had to do was draw a pair of bikini bottoms on the woman. I guess Amazon's censor didn't think the thick ribbon of fabric running from her collar to the back of her belt did an adequate job of covering up her womanly parts, except of course they DID, no such parts were visible. All I can figure is that the censor thought there was too much vagina-proximate flesh showing on the left side of Cindy on the cover?

Now here's where I'm going to be amazing by being entirely too reasonable for a man who hates censorship as much as I do. I understand Amazon's concern re: covers and blurbs. Their problem is that they don't want to be accused of peddling smut, and they have a whole lot of erotica writers whose covers would look like THIS if Amazon allowed it:


Ok, and I might be one of the writers who might use such covers. Cover art courtesy of the fine folks at Sex and Submission. The type was my idea!

I may be exaggerating for effect a WEE BIT here, but I don't really think I'm exaggerating much if any. Erotica readers and writers are not an inhibited bunch, and as far as I am concerned, ought to be able to enjoy such covers in the privacy of their own Kindles, but of COURSE the bluenoses would be all over that stuff in a flash if Amazon covers like the one above were allowed. So there have to be rules and standards for what shows on covers and what does not.

And that's how you get into the absurdity of drawing bikinis on images of women whose naughty bits are safely covered by a vertical strip of fabric. Censorship breeds absurdity, always.

Adding to the absurdity of the situation is this tasty bit of absurdity: erotica authors, not just me, have learned from repeated painful experiences that the Amazon censors who work on the weekend are a LOT more censorious than the ones who work on the weekdays. I have had two books censored, one blocked and one adult-dungeoned, since I started making a serious push to publish on Amazon, both of them were submitted on a Friday and got picked up by the weekend censors. So I submit books to Amazon on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays now, no later. Stupid, but there it is.

But the key thing, the important thing is, Amazon does not make a lot of effort to censor the actual content of a book. They concern themselves primarily with the covers and blurbs, the things that will show up when people (specifically, bluenoses) do a search. I think this is a reasonable compromise. Censor the incidentals, not the main event. So I guess I will put up with it. Not that I have a choice. Amazon commands a huge portion of the book buying marketplace.

Now, as to the story in the book itself, the main event, as it were, uncensored in all its semi-pristeen glory:

In The Prop Master: Cindy's Student, Cindy asks Jack to help B-grade movie start Julia Strange learn the ropes, the chains and the gags, so she can cope with the submissive feelings that being tied up in her various movie roles arouse in her. Of course he obliges … anything for art! But how will it affect their relationship? Meanwhile, a group of old-line prudes and feminists are trying to throw legal and technical monkey wrenches into DID's new series. Can the Prop Master keep the gremlins at bay and keep two insatiable women very, very happy as they writhe in the intense bondage pleasures wrought by Jack's naughty, knotty skills? Only one way to find out!

This book is a little over 12,000 words long and is part of the morality laws/basic income world.

1 comment:

kobta kumar said...
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