Monday, January 11, 2016

Setbacks and Achievements

Cover of my latest work. Eat your hearts out, Slavegirls From Beyond Infinity. You can't purchase it anywhere ... just yet.

 Some of you may have noticed that my catalog on Amazon has been severely reduced. At some point in the last few weeks, either someone read a bunch of my books and brought them to the attention of Amazon's censors, or some Amazon censor got busy prior to the holiday and reviewed a bunch of my books and found them not in agreement with Amazon's TOS.

As a result, four or five of my books got blocked (Amazon's pathetic euphemism for "banned") mostly books from my Riverbeast and President Slave Girl series. Realizing that I might see MORE blocked books, I went through my catalog and unpublished all the other books in those series, as well as several others, getting rid of ANYTHING that might be in violation of Amazon's TOS.

This resulted in my catalog on Amazon being cut in half, basically. The books that remain are, in my opinion, well within Amazon's TOS.

Unpublishing some of my books on Amazon turned out to be a futile response, however, because a couple of weeks ago I got notices that the SAME books that had been blocked by Amazon had been blocked again. And no, I had not resubmitted those books to Amazon. I'm not sure how my books got  blocked WHILE IN THE STATE OF BEING BLOCKED, but they did, as I got a new rash of notices.

And I also got a not-so-nice letter threatening that if I didn't stop submitting books that Amazon found bannable, my account would be suspended, which would mean no more publishing on Amazon. And that my books would get more severe scrutiny henceforth.

Well I'd feel confident that I'm not going to run afoul of Amazon's rules, except that I don't know how they got banned a second time, and I'm afraid to ask. Not out of general timidity -- when I got the second wave of ban notices, I wrote Amazon and asked why my books had been blocked a second time after being blocked, and I suspect that's what prompted the notice that I might get my account suspended. (And no, I did not get an answer to that second letter. Although I guess the suspension threat could be considered an answer of sorts.)

And I have no idea if I'll get a third set of notices of books that have already been blocked twice. As is usual with large organizations like Amazon, I suspect that the right hand has no idea what the left hand is doing, and the brain in between them has no fucks to give about that.

In the meantime, I have submitted to Amazon what I suspect might be my best, most fun works to date, "Slave Girls Of Outer Space." I wrote about the origins of it in this post from my Politically Sexy blog (which is NSFW).

To put it briefly: a 1990s B-movie called "Slave Girls From Beyond Infinity" had a series of opening scenes that promised an exciting space opera comedy about half-naked slavegirls on the run from interstellar slavers, but dropped that about ten minutes into the movie for an EXTREMELY tired remake of "The Most Dangerous Game." I wrote a review of it a couple of years ago in which I expressed the opinion that it would have been a GREAT movie if they'd stayed with the storyline that the opening sequence promised. I was casting about a couple of months ago for a new storyline to start, and I happened to reread that review, and I had an A-HA! moment. I would put my talent where my mouth was and write the sexy interstellar adventure story that I had envisioned from the opening sequence.

That's what "Slave Girls Of Outer Space Part 1" is, a 25,000 word NON-EROTIC (though still damn sexy) novella. I am damn proud of it. It's fun, sexy and funny, to the extent I'm capable of making it so.

I have ALSO written "Slave Girls Of Outer Space Part 1: The Erotic Edtion," which is a 33,000 word novella that's just like the non-erotic edition, except for 8,000 words which explicitly describe the sort of sexual shenanigans our heroines get up to. Readers can make the choice as to which version they like. I think both are pretty damn good.

Both books have been "In Review" for almost a week now. Normally books take less than a day to review, sometimes, just a couple of hours. This must be the greater scrutiny Amazon was talking about in its letter.

The first book I ever had blocked stayed in review for days and I sent a letter asking what was up and got a response that it had been blocked. So I'm not going to poke the Amazonian elephant about this book. I'll let them take their time and hope it is not found blockable.

In the meantime, I am taking my blocked and unpublished books and doing a maneuver called "going wide" with them, which is to say, publishing them on other platforms that are not so prudish as Amazon when it comes to sexual content. I already have published several of my blocked & unpublished stories on other platforms, specifically, I'm using the Direct2Digital and Smashwords platforms to distribute my stories to itunes, Kobo, etc.

I've uploaded the following stories to Barnes & Noble: Riverbeast 1: Finks Revenge, Riverbeast 2: Awakening, The Wrangler, Stolen Misery, Fifty Shades of Slave Princess Gaia, A Little Bit of Monica and Doing Time In The Blue Shadows."

I've also distributed "Doing Time In The Blue Shadows" on Smashwords and Direct2Digitial, using it as a stalking horse for any cow pies I might encounter with their distribution systems. So far, smooth sailing, so look for more books on these channels. And there are a lot of retailers covered by them: "Doing Time" is on sale at Itunes, Inktera (formerly Page Foundry), Kobo, Baker & Taylor, txtr, Flipkart, Oyster, Scribd, Gardner's Extended Retail, Yuzu, Tolino, Odilo and Gardner's Extended Library.

Look for a lot more of my books to be published on these channels. And in the meantime, I'll continue to publish on Amazon, so long as they'll have me, because I believe the REAL relationship in literature is between the writer and reader, not the writer and publisher/distributor, and I don't want to deny my readers the opportunity to read my books on the platform of their choosing.


mk said...
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