Monday, June 17, 2024

Stuck in the dungeon! #Censorship #Monopoly #Erotica

His Inspiration book cover

It’s tough writing and publishing stories with erotic content. In the world of romance, erotic romance is the red-headed step-child, hidden away and spoken of in embarrassed whispers. Authors like me who write explicit romance aren’t considered “clean” or “wholesome”. Even when we provide excerpts that are PG and safe for work, we’re looked upon with suspicion.

Meanwhile those of us who write out-and-out erotica—which I define as fiction focusing on the experience of desire as opposed to love and committed relationships—have a double-barreled problem. On the one hand, we have to tiptoe around the rules of the different publishers, making sure that we’re above board about the content of our work. Sometimes that even gets us blocked. I recently tried to publish the print version of Incognito on Draft2Digital. I honestly answered their questions about specific erotic themes in my work, only to discover that they refused to accept it. (Probably if I’d twisted the truth, the book would have sailed through.)

On the other, we compete with thousands of hacks who spew out badly-written, plot-less “books” that are nothing but one hackneyed, boring, repetitive sex scene after another. I’m not going to get into one of those endless arguments about erotica versus porn. I’ll just draw a comparison between stories that show craft and care and those that do not. Alas, there are scores of the latter that have been “published”.

Anyway, we walk a tightrope. Stores such as Amazon know that erotic work is really popular, especially with the anonymity provided by ebooks. However, there are always spoilsport customers who will complain. In fact, if Amazon thinks that your book qualifies as indecent, they will hide it in general searches by topic or theme, only making it visible in very specific cases. We authors call this “being in the dungeon”, and it can seriously impact sales.

Unfortunately, once a book is in the dungeon, it’s very difficult to get it released. In fact, Amazon won’t tell you why there’s an issue, so you can remedy the situation. Indeed, they deny that the dungeon even exists.

And if you’re an author, you can’t just thumb your nose at Amazon. They’re not the only game in town, but they dwarf everyone else.

Recently a friend and colleague of mine, Delores Swallows, had two of his books relegated to the dungeon. So far he’s had no luck at all springing them free. Both are well-written, arousing stories in the popular hot-wife genre. They’re explicit but intelligent, with well-defined characters and some fantastic dialogue. Not to mention, of course, great sex scenes.

So: if this censorship irks you the way it does me, go check out Del’s books. Maybe you might be tempted to buy a copy.

Thanks for your support!

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