I’m a self-published author of erotica and erotic romance. Over the weekend, Amazon notified me that nearly half of my catalogue had been pulled from sale due to what they deemed objectionable cover images, titles and descriptions. Kobo removed nearly my entire catalogue, and only gave me a form email notice over twelve hours later.
It’s not just me. It’s other self-published authors as well — some of whom don’t actually write erotica or sexually explicit fiction at all, but have been penalized by the same widespread actions. You can read the reasons why all of this is happening here (BBC News link), but in short: various news and media publications in the United Kingdom recently ran stories about some of the more hardcore, kinkier erotica that’s been self-published on these sites. Finding themselves subject to that scrutiny, Amazon and Kobo, two of the biggest retailers for self-publishers, have decided to scale back on what they’ll allow in sweeping fashion. (WHSmith, a UK retailer to which Kobo automatically distributes ebook titles, shut down their entire website in order to deal with the moral panic. Seriously, the placeholder message on their homepage has to be read to be believed.)
My thoughts on the issues, at the moment, are pretty simple:
I support the right of adult writers and readers to write and read whatever fictional content they want.
I also fully understand and respect that private corporations have the right to allow or disallow whatever content they want.
In between those two statements is a lot of work and effort I’m now going to have to put in, to try and reinstate whatever titles I can in whatever ways will be acceptable to Amazon and Kobo (and any other retailers which decide to take similar measures). This will take a bit of time, especially as events are still developing and the erotica self-publishing community is still trying to determine what’s acceptable under vague and unclear corporate policies.
So meanwhile, you may find that links to the sales pages for some of my ebooks are broken or go to error pages. You may find that the sales links work, but the cover images and titles are now different. I apologize for this and for any confusion this transitional period may cause. I will do my best to be as clear and transparent as possible until things settle down.