Despite our best efforts to play by Amazon’s rules (their rather unhelpful “about what you’d expect” rule that is) our publishing account was suspended this week. We watched in horror as our whole livelihood — my full time job — was threatened before our very eyes, leaving us powerless to do anything about it.
Just a month ago Amazon had given us the option to change and tweak our books covers/titles to meet their acceptability standards. Then this week they decided without warning that if they deem something out of their standards, there’s no second chances at all.
So that’s Amazon, their store, their “rules”. If you can truly call a statement so vague as “no offensive material” a rule.
We can publish our material again with them, but only after a written promise not to repeat our actions. Oh, and extra review processes for all our books.
So what does that mean for us and our readers going forward?
It means we can never have a set book launch date, even for our romance novels. The extra review period will take an unknowable amount of time after all. It may mean fewer book promotions, as this review process has been known to kick in whenever you try to update a book price even.
More than that though, it means self-censorship. We think — and I stress THINK — we know that they were upset about some psuedo-incestual themes. But they’ve also been cracking down on so-called “dubious consent” erotica.
We can’t chance ticking them off again; Amazon is over 80% of our income. So that means we will have to stand so far back from Amazon’s ever changing line in the sand that we don’t risk running afoul of them again. The next time we might not be able to provide a written promise and apology to get our account back.
So while our erotic-romance novels will likely remain the same content-wise, (albeit now without an ability for us to time promotions with book launches) our erotic shorts — the big seller that makes up so much of our income — will likely die off.
There’s nowhere else to go. As we said, Amazon makes up too much of our income to compensate elsewhere, and the other ebook vendors aren’t much better anyhow, if at all.
However, that does not mean we’re done.
Writing is a passion for us, and long before we started selling our stuff, we just provided it freely to our fans on our own website. In fact, we still give out our books freely to our fans when they ask. We’d still give it out freely on our website or through torrents even, except if we did Amazon would punish us.
Since we can no longer write and sell the erotic-shorts we enjoy, however, we’re looking at new options.
We’ve set up a Patreon account, and through it if you wish to support us, we’ll produce a regular flow of dirty, kinky shorts that we’ll provide directly to you. Will it ever make up for the loss of Amazon sales? Nearly impossible. Might it be enough to justify us taking the time from our paid work to follow our passion? That’s the hope!
We wanna write the stuff our fans love. And hey, maybe this could even be a blessing. If we can give our writing directly to our readers thanks to their funding, we can go back to doing the hardcore incest and dark consent-lacking content we always did before.
If it doesn’t work out? Well, the downside to making a living off your passion, is that you have to make compromises. Self-censoring to such a degree is one we really hope to avoid.
We’re truly hopeful, though, that we can continue selling our erotic-romance novels on the big stores, but get back in closer touch with our readers and fans to provide them with the stuff that really gets us going when it comes to erotica.
Even if it doesn’t work out, don’t be surprised if you see the occasional freebie popping up on our site that’s too kinky to sell, however. We love our readers, we love the dark themes. And we’ve never been great at committing ourselves to what makes the most financial sense. This is a passion of ours still, after all.