Tuesday News: New Nook Pricing, Kindle Rumors, Reader Data, and Paypal Clarification
Sarah Wendell attended Tools of Change and has two round up post.
- Post 1
- Post 2. This post had interesting information about Goodreads. One thing that caught my eye was this: “Angela James asked during the Q&A what the minimum threshold of ratings a book needed to have in order to be added to the recommendation engine. Chandler didn’t know the exact figure, but guessed it was maybe about 100 ratings.”
The NYTimes obituary of John Fairfax was being sent around twitter yesterday because who can resist repeating these lines:
At 9, he settled a dispute with a pistol. At 13, he lit out for the Amazon jungle.
At 20, he attempted suicide-by-jaguar. Afterward he was apprenticed to a pirate.
Sounds like it was the obituary of this guy from the Dos Equis commercials labeled as the most interesting man in the world.
He married an astrologer and had no kids.
Sunita D points us to a comment of a library science student that the restriction of access to digital books at the library will increase the digital divide and suggests that readers contact their legislators.
We’re one of the few places left in our society where a great cross-section of people regularly interact, and also one of the few places that is free and non-commercial. Even museums, to bow and scrape to the master of Austerity, have begun to put branding on their exhibits, as if they were a sort of cultural NASCAR. We have amazing potential power, but without concerted effort I’m afraid it will be wasted.
Barnes & Noble has rejiggered its device offerings. Nook Color is now $169 and the Nook Tablet comes in 8 GB for $199 and 16 GB for $249. BN
Digitimes says that Amazon is launching a Kindle Fire 9 or 10″ device and a color eink device. Digitimes is often wrong but Amazon has always been purported to be launching a larger Fire. CNET Asia
Yesterday, I wrote that Paypal was cracking down on publishers and retailers of books who sold books containing incest, rape, bestiality. I referenced Siren Publishing as one of those targeted and received this email which I have the permission to reprint in its entirety:
Kindly get your facts straight.
Siren-BookStrand Publishing NEVER has and NEVER will publish books with the disgusting themes of incest, pseudo incest, rape for sexual titillation, or bestiality with naturally occurring animals. ALL of these incest, pseudo-incest, rape, and bestiality titles were uploaded to the e-book store, BookStrand.com, mainly by self-pubbed authors who don’t know where to draw the line when it comes to obscenity. We have deactivated those self-pubbed titles from BookStrand as per PayPal’s specific request. Currently, these are the same titles still offered for sale by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and All Romance Ebooks.
As for rape, we carry about a small handful of titles (out of the 2,000 we have published) where rape was portrayed as a criminal act of sexual assault that left our heroines psychologically damaged as they struggled to rebuild their lives and found love and trust again with the heroes. As for bestiality, hopefully you aren’t mistaking this filthy act with a family dog or a pet goat for an HEA romance and sex with shape-shifting sentient beings such as wolf-shifters, dragon-shifters, etc., in their human or partial human form.
I don’t know what your agenda is, but it is irresponsible of you for not checking your facts before making such an outlandish and false statement.
I demand that you remove such blatant inaccuracy that stems from your ignorance about what we publish.
There you go. Any stuff that is offensive at Bookstrand is from self published authors who don’t know where the line is and bestiality would only occur if you mistake the lovely books that they publish where the shape-shifting sentient beings are only partially shifted.
I noticed that wording in the last post, and I thought it could lead someone to believe that Siren Publishing published those topics. So, a clarification is a good thing.
However, that email makes my blood pressure rise. Are they or are they not affiliates with Bookstrand bookstore? I thought yes. And Bookstrand (the bookstore) had all this horribly obscene work by evil authors of doom on their website until they were forced to remove it by Paypal. They made money off this, money I doubt they are planning to return to the reader or the author. So I don’t see where all the moral indignation comes from.
So those disgusting and obscene (their words, not mine) titles wouldn’t have been deactivated if PayPal hadn’t objected, do I have that right? While Siren may not have published them, they did benefit monetarily if Siren-BookStrand Publishing share in the revenues of BookStrand.com. To which I say: so what? I don’t care what anyone else reads, writes, publishes or hosts.
I’m with Amber Lin on this. Siren’s horrified and overwrought indignation at the implication that they might have published objectionable titles vs. merely selling them on their website is one of those distinctions looking for a difference. We won’t publish you, they say, but by all means, set up shop over here on a website that bears our name, at least until someone objects. They’d have been better off without that email.
Nobody, nobody calls Jane ignorant.
@Darlynne: I do remember the Jane, you ignorant slut skit from SNL. It is one of my favorite phrases. I view it as a term of endearment.
@Jane: Great, because I edited it from my original comment out of sheer terror as being inappropriate.
@Darlynne I saw that and wanted to comment but I wasn’t quick enough. I always think those references are a joke and even if they are not, I treat them as such.
OK, I’ll admit I’m probably uninterested in reading books featuring rape, incest, and bestiality as erotically titillating. Despite my lack of openness to that type of work, I’d rather not see the works banned or made unavailable to consumers who DO enjoy them.
I’m not big on shapeshifter/lycanthrope books so I have no idea how much bestial or almost-bestial stuff occurs in these reads. I remember reading a Samhain werewolf erotic romance where the hero (as a wolf) sniffed at the heroine (human) in her crotch area. I didn’t think that was particularly weird because canines do sniff humans and each other like that and it wasn’t an erotic thing.
Still, I prefer erring on the side of caution when it comes to books being available to the public.
Regarding the reduction in Nook prices, I own the original (first generation) Nook and the Nook Color. I love my Nook and it’s my primary reading device but I’m not thrilled with the Nook Color. It hasn’t held up well. After less than a year of use the touch screen is less responsive and the charging/sync cord stopped working reliably after about 8 months. The battery life isn’t that good, either. I love the convenience of the backlight feature and I enjoy being able to read National Geographic, but I don’t feel I got my money’s worth on my purchase.
Finally, rumor has it Nook will be releasing a new reading device in April, so it might be worth waiting to see what Nook has to offer if you’re in the market for a reader.
I don’t know what your agenda is, but it is irresponsible of you for not checking your facts before making such an outlandish and false statement.
I demand that you remove such blatant inaccuracy that stems from your ignorance about what we publish.
This is what gets me – you DEMAND it? Or….what? I guess the idea of sending a cordial email like, “Hey Jane, you got your facts wrong. May I give you a clarification that you can post?” was outside the realm of what’s possible?
No, no, you’re DEMANDING that Jane remove it. I guess if you didn’t you’d be in time out, Jane.
Um. Wow. Siren. Goes to show… there’s a way to handle something with class and maybe show people you’re a cool entity in the publishing world.
And there’s a way to NOT do that.
I know which side you proved yourself to be on in my book.
The #2 bestseller on Bookstrand is A Zane Po’ Boy–a Siren title that involves a 3-way with twin brothers and another person.
But how dare you imply they carry incest themes, zOMG!
The hypocrisy. It burns.
Love the tone of that letter. Love the crappy grammar even more.
This is their number two best-seller. A twincest title, as it happens.
This is the only example I have because I started at #1 and stopped going down the charts as soon as I hit something that violates their TOS.
“Siren-BookStrand Publishing NEVER has and NEVER will publish books with the disgusting themes of incest, pseudo incest, rape for sexual titillation, or bestiality with naturally occurring animals.”
The “naturally occuring animals” bit caught my eye (my first thought: so, you’re fine with it when the bestiality involves genetically engineered animals?). Then I got to:
“As for bestiality, hopefully you aren’t mistaking this filthy act with a family dog or a pet goat for an HEA romance and sex with shape-shifting sentient beings such as wolf-shifters, dragon-shifters, etc., in their human or partial human form.”
Ah, an explanation. I found all the outrage and references to disgusting themes and obscenities to be a little funny, considering that there are those who might apply the same words to books in which people have sex with partially-shifted shapeshifters.
I’m another one that thinks they would have been better off without the email, or at least toned it down a bit. If they feel that strongly about how disgusting and filthy some of the stuff BookStrand.com sells is, shouldn’t they completely sever their relationship with them? Wow.
Uh, not to be a nasty self-publishing troublemaker, but Siren’s book “A Zane Po Boy” is about twincest and is #2 on bookstrand. http://www.bookstrand.com/a-zane-po-boy
Well I’ll use it then… Jane, you ignorant slut! ;) (Such fond memories! LOL).
When I read that post, I wasn’t thinking, “Eewwww, Siren is one of those publishers.” It was more YKINMKATOK, your kink is not my kink and that’s ok.
Now I’m thinking, SYBHPTACP, Siren you blow hard publisher take a chill pill.
I DEMAND chocolate and plenty of it.
Apparently I’m one of those “self-pubbed authors who doesn’t know where to draw the line when it comes to obscenity” since those are the only accounts they say they deactivated and mine was shut down. FYI, the books were about mature consenting adults. No shifters. No 18 year olds. No BDSM. No step-daddies. More than half of my books could be considered barely erotic romance. Not even erotica.
@Author on Vacation, I don’t think Paypal’s objection to p0rn is a moral issue, I think it’s a financial one. If I recall from when this came up years ago, p0rn gets a lot of chargebacks, and it’s hard to get insurance so a lot of banks don’t want to deal with it. There are some credit card companies that deal in it, but their fees are exorbitant.
The Bookstrand “forbidden content” rules include:
– Pedophilia in any size, shape, or form.
– Any form of sex with minors or any character under eighteen years old.
– Sex with a young character still in high school or using variations of “teenager” or “barely turned” 18 or 19 for sexual titillation.
– Hatred for characters based on race/ethnicity or religion.
– Hatred or bashing of gays/lesbians.
– Titles with covers that show male or female genitalia, butt cracks, or the female nipple.
– Any combination of incest or sexual acts involving an immediate family member.
– Pseudo incest or sexual acts with parents or siblings (“step” or “foster”) for the purposes of titillation.
– Rape for the purposes of titillation.
– Scenes of non-consensual bondage or non-consensual sado-masochistic practices.
– Bestiality with naturally occurring animals. Sex with werewolves, demons, dragons, etc.
– Sex with non-animated corpses.
– Scat play (sexual acts involving urination and defecation).
– Harmful content such as instructions on how to make a bomb, etc.
Here’s another brother twincest title, Love Under Two Kendalls.
I guess it’s not incest unless there are two related vaginas? If one’s on top and one’s on the bottom, something’s touching somewhere.
It’s not that they carry the titles. It’s the indignation at the idea that they do. How much respect does that show for their readers–the ones who are making these top-selling titles? If incest is so damn wrong and disgusting and leads to nasty emails to people, what does it say that their customers are making those books bestsellers? Let’s not all forget that no real incest is occurring here.. This is all FICTION.
And considering these aren’t even pseudo (fake) step and foster relative incest in this fiction, Bookstrand really needs to take a step down off the high-horse.
@Rosalyn, if Paypal was out after erotica over chargebacks, they’d demand all erotica be removed, not just certain niche topics.
Books with incestuous relationships published by Siren:
That is just skimming off the top seller list for 5 minutes.
Not erotica chargebacks, p0rn chargebacks. A lot of those nooks at Bookstrand and for that matter, ARe was poorly disguised p0rn. Some of the titles and the blurbs not to mention the covers were insane. As I understand it, erotica doesn’t get nearly the level of chargebacks that p0rn does. I don’t know why. My guess is that certain types of “erotica” ie, incest is more likely to be interpreted as pornographic. I agree they’re threading the needle here, presumably in an effort to maintain the profits frim erotica while appeasing Paypal.
To be fair, I’m pretty sure that http://www.bookstrand.com/a-zane-po-boy is about twins having sex with the same guy, not each other.
Derek, it’s possible, but (to get a trifle graphic) in the adult excerpt, one of them is rimming the guy while the other sucks him off.
Can I just say that I find Siren’s ebook prices obscenely high (8,99 USD for a 90k ebook) and their “cut-and-paste-covers” by Les Byerley are obscenely, vomitingly bad. (especially the MFMMMM+++ covers)
Sadly two of my favourite authors (Sophie Oak and Tymber Dalton) are with them and I hope they will self-publish soon. Both certainly have a big enough following to make more money on their own at lower prices.
@Roslyn Holcomb: I think your memory is good. Paypal was in trouble with the U S Attorney’s office at the time due to processing gambling payments and I think the underlying concerns were 1) their image, 2) potential legal problems, and 3) financial. It did cause an amazing ruckus on eBay because a lot of pornographic items were being sold in the “mature” section.
I thought you might be interested to know that I received a letter from ARe in regards to their erotica and erotic romance being categorized together. Since I am a self-publisher there, it came in the form of a change of TOS. I’m not sure if I can use the email so I’ll sum it up.
Basically ARe is separating erotica an erotic romance and requiring everyone to recategorize their submissions. Since my book is nowhere near erotica, I was happy to see this. I thought it fortuitously timed with regards to the whole paypal debacle with censorship and also the constant consumer complaints about being inundated with unwelcomed porn titles.
I’m not one who cares about what kinks people have in reading. I don’t care. It’s not my business. What I do think is that those titles need to be shelved differently than romances. They are not, in fact, romances in any way shape or form. So I was glad to see ARe taking a stand and doing what’s best for the romance reading community. And I think they acted fairly quickly.
Edited to add (because I think someone misunderstood-or maybe they didn’t?): I don’t believe erotica titles are romance titles. Erotic romance is romance. But there is a difference in my mind about erotica and erotic romance and they do, in my mind, belong in different categories. But I also think that romance belongs in a different category than “erotic” romance.
I think someone picking up my book and expecting an “erotic” romance, would be frustrated with what they got. So I hope I explained it better. And I’m not sure why someone took offense at all. But things might read differently than intended, I guess oO
Here are more Siren books with incest: Desiree’s Lone Wolves (two brothers): http://www.bookstrand.com/desirees-lone-wolves
So that screeching howl monkey email is, well, hypocritical at best.
Nice to know whom not to ever buy. Thanks for the insight.
@Dani Alexander You are ruining my post for tomorrow. I have the ARE stuff in my inbox. The latest is this:
I particularly enjoy the “naturally occurring animals” line. So mules and ligers (non naturally occurring animals) would be okay?
I’m… sorry? =( You can delete my post *sagenod* Spoilers are bad.
I got that email too Dani. I think it’s interesting that with the recategorization the onus is on the publisher. I would imagine that some of the epubs have thousands of books, and they only have seven days to put them in the new erotic romance category or lose their listing. I only have one self pubbed book, and it’s not an erotic romance, but I don’t want the rest of my titles there to go offlist. I sell very well there. Though I guess it could be worse–Bookstrand is getting rid of self pubbed altogether.
@Dani Alexander Hopefully this means ARe will be cleaning up their front page. It’s been a real disappointment to shop there for many months, when the front page is taken up by what looks basically like skanky pr0n. To each his own and all, but their name is All ROMANCE e-books, and they used to be one of my top go-to’s for new reads. Not so much, lately.
Boooooo. Non-con erotica is my favorite. Why’s everyone want to take my rape fantasy books away? Isn’t the whole point of fiction to go to the places you can’t in real life?
@Dani Alexander: Spoilers are bad? Not in Jane’s universe. She’s a spoiler fangirl. She even peeks at the ending before she’d even look at the first page of a new novel. This is something I still struggle to come to terms with. Still breaks my heart. It’s like stumbling across a Care Bears porn film with Surprise Bear humping Polite Panda.
@Maili: This brings to mind a hilarious conversation I had with Ned last night. We were watching the Knicks game but our broadcast is delayed by 30 seconds? He was tracking the game on the ESPN app called Gamecast which was on time and in sync with the game. He kept telling me what happened next and I told him to stop it. To which he replied “Why? You like to read the end of books first.”
Oh, Burn. I was quiet then.
Jane, I’m stuck on the non-animated corpse line. Uh, maybe I missed that day in biology, but isn’t a corpse non-animated by definition? If it’s animated, wouldn’t that make it alive, and therefore not a corpse? Or are they talking about ghosts? And if they are, why not just say so?
“Works depicting sexual acts involving persons under eighteen years of age (exceptions may be made for certain works of literary fiction involving time periods wherein the age of consent was less than 18 and the purpose of the depiction is not for sexual titillation)”
Um, while I personally am not eager to read erotica with teens in it, THIS is a time period in which, in a substantial portion of US states, the age of consent is under 18. The lines they’ve set up here (literary fiction, not for titillation) are also impossible to draw in any hard and fast way.
@Roslyn Holcomb: Animated corpse = zombie
There’s been a handful of zombie romances, so I’d guess that’s what they mean.
I got the email from ARe as well, and honestly, I’m not at all perturbed although I know some will be.
Here’s the thing, though, a lot of the stuff on ARe lately has become…well, beyond questionable. There was one title, at some point that was something like Teen Rape. I can’t find it now, but I think it might have been Angela James that posted a link to it.
A few of the others?
I don’t even classify these as erotica. That would be an insult to true erotica and well written erotica works, that kind that are about a sexual journey, not just a quick jerk-off story.
That stuff is porn. Many of them are nothing more 3500 words and they sell at $2.99 a pop. Using teens for sexual titillation.
If that’s what people want to write…and read…that’s fine.
But lately those titles are overtaking the site and since authors ‘shelve’ their own books by the categorizing, it makes it hard to find the kind of books you want to find without seeing stuff like “DADDY KNOWS BETTER” or “TEENAGE SLUT STORIES”
It’s necessary to do something to make it easier to separate the works, and I’m very, very disturbed by a sight that lets stuff ‘TEENAGE SLUT STORIES” around anyway.
I don’t care what somebody’s kinks are…as long as they leave kids & teens out of it, but when they brings teens/kids into it for sexual titillation? Sleazy. It makes me sick and it has no place on a decent site, IMO and I’m very happy to see ARe doing something about it.
Thanks, Ridley. i’d forgotten about zombies. My guess is ARe is splitting the categories so they can keep the questionable stuff off the front page, at least. I still don’t understand what’s to keep people from categorizing their daddy-daughter incest story as erotic romance. After all, that guy who had the dolphin story insists that they had a romance.
@Jane: Were-mules? I remember the talk about were-penguins… LOL. I might have seen a blurb for a liger shifter but don’t quote me on that. LOL.
I love ARe, but I admit to complaining about some of the newer ‘selections’. It’s not that they are available (back to the your kink…) but some covers are so skanky I stopped linking friends to their home page because you just don’t know what is up at any given moment.
Here’s another incest book Siren never published…
It’s been removed from BS and AZ, but is still available on BN.
@Roslyn Holcomb: I think it might be difficult for them in seven days, but not impossible. It’s just a good idea because people like ARe and it’s just been a disappointment lately for consumers.
@Ridley: I never know when you’re facetious, but LOL I agree with you. =D I think whatever floats your boat, y’know? But just categorize it so I don’t have to deal with it if I don’t want to.
@Maili: I would totally read that Carebear Porn. Totally. Would it be classified as incest or dub-con or bestiality? oO
Come to think of it, does two dogs doing it constitute bestiality
I can see how you feel there, but it is fiction and where do you draw the line? Someone might actually think that bestiality is just as disgusting as shota or pedo-stuff. Censorship never limits itself, therefore, imho, it shouldn’t exist except in the cases where real people are concerned. I don’t have to read it, I don’t have to like it, but I don’t have to censor it either. Kiddy stuff doesn’t just gross me out, it makes me cry. Physically cry. I still wouldn’t censor it.
=( I think I ended up in the spam folderz =( *cries*
@Dani Alexander: Our spam filter has been going haywire with the subject matter of this post so if anyone has a comment go missing, shout out and we’ll go looking for it.
@Jayne: It’s probably all my talk about pedo, shota, porn and bestiality. No wonder your spam filter went *allthat’smissingisviagra* *three-strikes* =)
@Cara: Just realized I missed your comment. I really hope they do too. There is a place for erotica and erotic romance. In their own category. Not only so people who aren’t interested in that can ignore it, but also for those who are interested to easily find what they’re looking for. It’s win-win imo.
@Laughing Uproariously: Miriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh edition, defines incest as “sexual intercourse between persons so closely related that they are forbidden by law to marry.”
The same dictionary also defines libel as, “a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression.”
According to the first definition, my novel, Love Under Two Kendalls, is not an incestuous story.
I’m very sorry that some people hate my publisher. But then, people have always hated, down through the ages. Some people hate all manner of other people and other things. I suppose that’s what makes humanity so very interesting to write about. We have to get our heroes – and our villains – from somewhere.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and to have their say.
I have just, for the first time, had mine.
@ Dani Alexander. Unfortunately you would be wrong about labeling all erotica titles as ‘not romance’ Not only do I write a BDSM series about a happily married couple that are new to the lifestyle, but they are very much in love. I have to label my books as erotica because ‘romance guidelines say because my book doesn’t have a romance plot’ I can not be an erotic romance. My to main characters are very happy, in love, they have a child they care or, and at night when the little one is asleep they ‘play’
I have also began reading the new erotica line from Decadent Publishing. And the two that I have read have either ending with a ‘Happy for Now’ and one ended with an engagement, and made me tear up it was so sweet. That for me is very much a Happily Ever After. Some ‘erotic romance’ don’t even end with the characters being engaged or married just living together. But this book labeled as ‘erotica’ had way more impact on me than some erotic romance full length novels.
But incest is already being marketed by well-known erotic romance epublishers, although it generally features a heroine enjoying a menage relationship with two brothers. Most of the epublishers accepting and publishing these works disaqualify incest in their submission guidelines, but somehow the “twincest” stories and the brother/heroine/brother stories get accepted and published.
If PayPal accepts payment for Debra Glass’s “Scarlet Widow” (historical about a Civil War widow who falls in love with her late husband’s two brothers, can’t choose between them, and they end up in a menage relationship,) how can they reasonably refuse payment for other novels featuring content cited as “pornographic?”
@Bonnie Bliss: I understand how you might feel that way or may have read what I said incorrectly, but I don’t feel your story falls under the ‘romance’ category, though I do believe it may fall under the ‘erotic’ romance category. Do you see a difference in those two categories? Especially in the context of a third category of just ‘romance’? Should there not be a distinction between your stories and mine? And I’m not being snobbish, nor prudish. It’s in both of our interests that someone does not pick up my book and think it will contain sex (in fact I’ve had several complaints that my story didn’t have actual penetration) or pick up your book and be upset that it is categorized as romance when it fact it is erotic romance.
I hope you can see what I’m saying here =)
Edited to add: I have every intention of writing erotic romance, btw, so it has nothing to do with me thinking there is something wrong with that category. I even read it =) Often.
@Dani Alexander: I’d say teens-underage sex for the sake of titillation is a safe enough line. That and bestiality.
These are things that if you do them in RL, you get arrested. It’s not even for the sake of a story-it’s porn. You don’t write a a story in 3500 words, call TEENAGE WEREWOLF ORGY and tell people… “I’m writing a real story here!”
Acts involving underage minors solely for the sake of titillation isn’t erotica. It’s porn.
I’m not saying people can’t read it, can’t write it. But stories that seemingly involve underage people… that are written solely for sexual titillation? Again. Safe line.
I’d say it’s a clear enough line to stand behind if ARe decides it’s a line to draw. Nobody is keeping people from writing those stories. And they can still publish them to their own site, on sites that cater to that.
Erotica is a far cry from porn-erotica is a story that’s about a sexual exploration and there has to be a plot, a story, some sort of resolution. Porn is just about the sex. It’s sexual titillation.
I don’t know that it’s even so much as censorship as making a wise business decision. I’m far from the only one who has commented about many of the titles/covers on that site anymore. If the problem has become so widespread that’s affecting their image, then this is a wise business decision, not censorship.
After all…the site is All Romance Ebooks. Romance and porn are two very different beasts, indeed.
If people have issues with such titles being called porn…well, maybe they should look at the covers, read the descriptions, etc. Not to mention the titles.
It’s gotten to the point that it’s probably hurting ARe’s image. I know I don’t go there much unless I’m uploading a title or looking for a specific one. If it’s becoming a business problem, they’ve got every right to address it.
So they won’t allow any sex scenes with characters under 18, unless they are historical and sufficiently “literary” (who decides?). I suppose, then, that a contemporary love story between two 17-year-olds would not be allowed if the characters make love, even if the sex is sweet and consensual and part of a healthy, nurturing relationship. That seems pointlessly arbitrary to me.
@Patricia: Good point. Many of the YA books I’ve read have had sex scenes in them (and most of those books that I’ve read were published by mainstream publishers).
@Shiloh Walker: I think you’re misunderstanding me and perhaps it’s either a very heated subject or I’m not expounding my posts enough.
1. I agree with the decision to categorize things etc. Hence my post above which read:
2. The censorship is being forced by Paypal, otheriwse I think ARe should, and would, carry all titles of what you call “porn” and what many would call “erotica”. I realize you see a fine line and that’s okay. But to say it’s not censorship isn’t being fair. (though I’d say that your erotica would be my erotic romance).
3. And you’re already proving my point here with your comment of:
. You’ve already said teenage and younger is the line. In one post you’ve crossed it to bestiality. That is my point. Your line is not my line and my line isn’t someone else’s. There are people who think BDSM and fetish erotica is crossing a line.
4. I think the direction ARe is heading is good. I don’t like the idea of them censoring stories at all. In fact I would say that it would be wise of them to develop an entirely new site devoted to just that type of stories and leave erotic romance and romance titles on ARe.
Btw, I’m confused about your definition of porn, erotica and erotic romance. You see those as three separate types of stories. I only see two. Erotica (stories primarily about sex) and Erotic romance (stories primarily about sex with romantic elements).
I agree with everything you said.
@Shiloh Walker Well, as a new writer to All Romance ebooks who has been writing what you refer to as “porn” (by the way, if it involves underage participants – which neither I nor anyone I know has ever written – it’s called CHILD PORN, not “porn”), I would like to take a moment to apologise for posting on your site. I was directed there by another, well-established author who spoke very highly of it and who said there were no problems with the hosting of erotica as long as it contained no incest, rape or bestiality.
But since it seems to be offending so many people, I shall remove all my stories from the site and not post again. I expect I may not be the only one. You may have your “real story” site back.
@Author on Vacation, as far as I know none if the established epubs accept Paypal. I think they stopped roughly five years ago, presumably for this very reason. I’ve seen some of the two brothers with a heroine story, but don’t recall any with male sexual contact, but I might have overlooked them.
I don’t even get the problem with “pseudo incest”. Does this mean Charlaine Harris’s Harper Connelly mysteries are porn now? Maybe they mean relationships between step parents and step kids, but that is not what it says.
@Leota M. Abel: Pretty sure those are all menage stories where brothers might share the same female or male partner, but the actual siblings don’t have sex with each other (I could be wrong of course), in other words no incest.
I love when people display how arbitrary their ‘lines’ are. A story featuring sex with a goat is disgusting, but having sex with a partially shifited werewolf is, what, romantic? Sexy? Titillating? Apparently it’s not disgusting to them, after all.
This is why I don’t judge other people’s kinks. It just comes out as hypocritical.
Oh, you’re glad to see them censoring what legal adults write about fictional legal adults that other legal adults actually want to read about?
Nice to know where you stand. Thanks for that.
Finer degrees of categorization is great. It enables people to ensure they’re finding what they want easily.
But frankly, the level of shaming I’m seeing here appalls me. I can feel the contempt oozing from the way the word ‘porn’ has been used in many cases here.
A work produced solely for sexual gratification is not inherently devoid of literary merit.
A work produced solely for sexual gratification is not inherently a shameful thing to either read or produce.
There is no shame in the expression of one’s sexuality– and there is no shame in self-honesty as to the purpose of the work.
Rape. Titillation. Teen Sex. Libel Censorship. Bestiality.
Waiting for Hitler.
Brian: I love my sister, but we were tag teaming a dude, everyone would think it was a sexual activity between siblings. If they only ever have sex separately, that’s less incesty. But siblings, naked, having sexual business with another person, are having sex. It might not be PIV, but it’s still a sexual activity that they do together.
If two brothers are in a DP with a woman, they are having sex together. That slip of skin does not keep them magically separated. And it’s completely ridiculous to act like just because they aren’t swapping spit it’s not trying to ride that incest line.
I wouldn’t care, except they are acting like they only publish amish hand holding stories.
@Dani Alexander: There’s a pretty clear line between erotica, erotic romance, and porn, I think… if you can’t tell the difference between a decent erotica title, say Cara McKenna’s Willing Victim, erotic romance… I’ll use my book Chains as an example, it’s erotic, but it’s definitely a romance. and then porn-a title like DADDY’S THREE WAY GIRL… (the blurb is below)
FYI, this above story is 3500 words long. about 20-30 pages
Then there’s no much point in discussing this, but I’ll try.
Erotica- has a plot, a conflict, resolution, and it’s usually about a sexual journey. Characterization has to be there, though. It has to be there with any decent story. Erotica isn’t just about sex. Good erotica has to have a story, too. Maybe that’s where we’re disconnecting.
Erotic romance-romantic in nature, but the sexual aspects are pretty key to the story. There’s characterization, there’s plot. There’s a story.
Porn… sexual titillation. There’s sex.
I’m not much for debating it when somebody can’t see a difference between a serious story, and somebody who throws together 20-30 pages of sex scenes and calls it erotica. It’s not.
Are there people who want both?
Absolutely. And maybe setting up separate site for the gangbangs would work. I dunno. And that’s pretty much it for me.
These definitions are largely if not entirely fabricated in order to shame and marginalize the so-called lowest common denominator.
They exist solely to make the apparent ‘highest tier’ of quality appear to be ‘better’ than the others.
Are you serious, you really are going to defend this using Clintonesque terms?
So tell us about this book — two twins dping their shared wife to be?
Bookstrand and people like you defending this while up to the neck in the lake of hypocrisy are going to push this over the edge
Here’s an idea — how about I collect all your “non-incestual book links and email Paypal?
Then you and your publisher can stand on your imagined moral high-ground holding a dictionary in your right hand and the phone in the left as you argue to Paypal that a pair of twins in bed together with one in the hooha and the other in the mouth is not incest
What is good for the goose is good for the gander and it is high time for condescending hypocrites to realize just that
@Shiloh and Dani – I appreciate what you both are trying to say. Valid points all around. It’s interesting to see how much opinions differ on the definitions.
@Leandra, I’d say the categorization exists so people can find what they’re looking for. At different times my taste might range from erotica romance to porn. If I’m looking for a stroker I don’t want it labeled as erotic romance if it’s not. not to mention that Paypal apparently wants the categorization and those who want to do do business with them are complying with their wishes. I don’t see a value jufgment here, except, of course, the value of a buck.
An interesting thing I’ve just seen on ARe – http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-badboygettingbadder-727842-145.html
Pseudo-incest AND barely legal all in one package, but it’s being allowed to stay. Could it be because it’s got an actual publisher rather than just being from an independent author?
I have to agree with Leandra, here. I’m saddened that people are referring to stories as “porn” to make them appear “lesser.”
Is a woman who enjoys watching actual porn a lesser woman? :) (I watch porn.) What about a woman who likes shot, hot stories?
I write both erotic romance (erotica with more plot and depth of characterization), and then I also write fun, short, hot (porny, I guess) stories because a lot of women like them :D. I like them.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Unless, you’re saying I’m a bad person, and so are my readers?
(p.s. if the balls touch, it’s incest)
“These definitions are largely if not entirely fabricated in order to shame and marginalize the so-called lowest common denominator.
They exist solely to make the apparent ‘highest tier’ of quality appear to be ‘better’ than the others. ”
Really? Did you read post 67 by Shiloh Walker? Some things are porn. Yes, there are some fine lines and matters of opinion, but as Daddy’s Three Way Girl demonstrates, there are also things that deserve to be shamed and marginalized.
Being open minded is generally a good thing, and then there’s being so open minded your brains fall out on the floor.
The metrics that you use in your definitions are still entirely subjective, which is where we run into problems.
Personally, my biggest issue with 90% of the romance novels out there is what passes for enough conflict to drive a plot. IMO, with the exception of romantic suspense, where there’s something else going on, or historical, where there’s a whole set of rules regarding interaction and social standing and the rest, it’s really hard (for me) to find a romance that isn’t so horribly repetitive as to be dull. (I love the few that I do find, though, and I think they’re much harder to write than, say, your average thriller, for just those reasons. I also admit that maybe I just don’t know enough, but I’ve done a lot of random sampling.)
And quite a lot of what you’ve described as porn has those exact same conflicts, but the protagonists don’t stress about it for 50,000 words. Not all, in my opinion – I agree with you there – but I also don’t think it’s my place to judge what constitutes “enough” story, plot, or conflict to be categorized as not-porn. I mean, obviously. If it were up to me, plenty of books wouldn’t make the cut.
And I have to agree that there seems to be an undercurrent of shaming going on.
Finally, people might complain about many of the titles / covers that were on display before ARe proactively moved them off the front page a while ago (I wasn’t a fan of all of them either), but some of them were also making the bestseller lists. So. You know. There’s that.
Edit: I feel like I should add, for the purposes of illustration, that a lot of the people who disparage the romance genre as a whole use a lot of your criteria to do so. I don’t agree with them, and I assume you don’t either, but it’s probably worth mentioning.
@Side Eye “I love the few that I do find, though, and I think they’re much harder to write than, say, your average thriller, for just those reasons.”
As someone who loves and writes contemporaries I have to agree that a dead body can move a plot like nothing else.
“Finally, people might complain about many of the titles / covers that were on display before ARe proactively moved them off the front page a while ago (I wasn’t a fan of all of them either), but some of them were also making the bestseller lists. So. You know. There’s that.”
I don’t think the point was that they didn’t sell. ARe needed them defined and separated (or deleted) in order to keep using PayPal. Although some of those titles are of questionable morals. (TEEN gangbang? As in underage… Are you serious?)
The stickiness we’ve entered by definitions is another story. It’s going to be an ongoing debate so I’d rather not jump in.
Lastly, when will publishers learn never, ever to lose their minds in public? Oh, right, NEVER.
I find it curious that some people are using word counts of about 3500 words as evidence that a story must be pure smut, devoid of literary merit. A short story, even a very short story, can certainly have distinctive characters, meaningful conflict and personal growth if the author has the talent and motivation to be so concise. Length does not prove much at all about the nature of a piece.
But I don’t see how two siblings participating in sex/lovemaking with a third partner doesn’t qualify as incest. Even if the siblings avoid direct sexual contact and/or abstain from sexual intercourse with each other, they’re still participating in a sexual act together.
I once discussed the “twincest” and “brother/heroine/brother” trope with a friend of mine, citing the phenomenon that these books somehow manage to bypass the “incest restriction” for epublishers. Her response was, “So, if you and your brother both had sex with the same person at the same time, how is that NOT incest?” My friend’s a bit crass but she made a good point.
@Morgan Ashbury: @Morgan Ashbury: You’ll probably have to get mad at your publisher then because the warning below your book used to say “INCEST” but I see Siren has scrubbed that page.
@ Sofia Harper
Yeah, and the “18 year olds having sex is wrong” (which I really translate as “marketing a title by fetishizing youth is wrong”, which…I can see the argument, if the whole point is kind of a “legal age, wink wink, nudge nudge” kind of thing) appears to be unevenly applied. I haven’t searched myself today, but I’ve been told that there are still plenty of teen / twink m/m titles up.
My point about the bestsellers wasn’t so much that ARe should have reacted differently — I don’t really think there’s anything else they can do when PayPal tells them to jump, and I sympathize; I wouldn’t like the content of my business dictated by PayPal — but that the criticism and implicit shaming of the people who read such titles seemed…not okay.
A book with the word “Daddy” in the title doesn’t become a bestseller because no one wants to read it, you know? Neither does something that’s dubcon or noncon. ARe preaching about the literary merit or morality of such titles seems misplaced to me. They are talking about their own customers.
Bookstrand hosted a lot of incest titles. (not to mention the ones that they classified as incest but have scrubbed clean now.
These all sound like they are full of literary merit and romance!
I can marry my cousin in many states in the great US of A. I can marry my stepbrother, my step-uncle, or my adopted cousin in every state in the country, provided I’m over the legal age of consent. PI is *not* illegal. Morally a problem, sure, but when third parties start controlling what companies sell because of moral objections, you’d better hold on to your hat, folks. It will get a LOT worse
Same sex couples don’t have that right to marry in many states. That is something to consider and think about.
And when Selena Kitt says that Paypal told her that BDSM=rape, where is the line drawn? When does Paypal get its grimy hands off what I have the perfect legal right to buy, read, and consume?
Who is Paypal to determine what pseudo incest is? Is a book that features former in laws pseud incest? One where the hero and heroine met in their thirties when their parents married and then reunite in their fifties? What about a *relationship driven* book without any erotic content where former distant/step/adopted relations fall for one another. Is it PI if there isn’t even an on screen kiss?
And why does word count equal literary quality? I’ve read some 100K stinkers and some short stories under 5K where every single word mattered.
You can have themes including pseudo incest and have erotic romance, you know. And not every single self-pub author is part of the unwashed masses. Authors, go look on your publisher email loops. I guarantee a lot of your contemporaries are self-published authors under another pen name.
Does anyone remember that the erotic romance genre was founded on capture fantasy that skirted very close to rape? Anyone read Lora Leigh’s Nauti books? Her Men of August titles? Siblings share a bed and lover together in one, and step-siblings fall in love in the other. So surely this will be banned from ARE and Bookstrand, right? Or are we *just* targeting the evil indies who have no boundaries?
Going back even further in the romance genre to the Woodiwiss and Rosemary Rogers days. Can any of us say that some of those weren’t dubious consent (at best)? The MIlls & Boons with blackmail, circumstances where the heroine had to submit or risk losing something important? Dubious consent isn’t only sexual, it could be emotional too.
Regarding the “teen” discussion, slippery slope. Everyone seems much more outraged by the idea of 18 and 19 year old (female) virgins being used as titillation. What about the mass proliferation of barely legal twinks? 18 and 19 year olds can live on their own, can fight wars, can sign legal contracts, and you have your head in the sand if you think the average man or woman in late teens is a sexual innocent.
I don’t even have words for the nasty tone of the Bookstrand/Siren email. Certainly many of their titles can’t exist on moral high ground.
I don’t understand why there’s this jump to separate works into “porn” vs. “erotica”. Erotica is just porn with a pretty bow slapped on it to cover the juicy bits. Period.
@Amy A business choosing what they wish to sell and how they wish to sell it does NOT equal censorship. Jeez.
Not in a legal definition, perhaps, but in the traditional sense of the word, it bloody well IS!
1. an official who examines books, plays, news reports, motion pictures, radio and television programs, letters, cablegrams, etc., for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds.
2. any person who supervises the manners or morality of others.
verb (used with object)
6. to examine and act upon as a censor.
7. to delete (a word or passage of text) in one’s capacity as a censor.
And you said yourself you were glad they were “cleaning up” all the “skanky porn”. You YOURSELF wanted to be a censor, because you were hoping they were getting rid of the “skanky porn” you didn’t want to see there. Well, tough titties, lady. It’s censorship in the truest sense of the word, period. Just because you personally object to content doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist, so get over yourself.
@Author on Vacation: Fair enough. Pretty much every publisher that does erotica does titles like this and they’re popular (brothers who share a wife/partner/lover M/F/M titles) and a lot of them take PayPal, so I guess there’s going to a lot of places no longer taking PayPal eventually. Not to mention Fictionwise, Books on Boards, etc.
As far as the Siren “letter” it’s way over the top, but I guess it’s more of a big eye roll for me. Makes them look like idiots more than anything.
I guess when I think of incest I was thinking more of something like a few titles Selena Kitt’s done.
@Dani Alexander: I have nothing constructive to say, but, uh, here’s the Care Bear BDSM. (And it is surprisingly hilarious/disturbing/awesome.) Rule 34 and all.
@Cara: Well, my other comment is in moderation. But Cara, you’re wrong. It is censorship. Check the dictionary.com definition of censor and you will see that’s EXACTLY what it is.
Just because you think they should “clean up” the site of “skanky pr0n” as you called it doesn’t mean everyone would agree. I think it’s rather sad that you would stop shopping at a website just because it carried some material you weren’t interested in, but that’s your choice. What I find more disturbing is the fact that you don’t think it’s censorship, when by its very definition it most certainly is.
@Dana S: going to bed because now I’ve seen it all.
So disturbing @@
I can’t tell if I’m amused or horrifed, but Siren has now added this to all their incest titles:
Note: There is NO sexual relationship/touching between the brothers.
I’m sorry, if you are DPing someone with your brother, that is a sexual relationship.
They’re a business. They have every right to choose what they wish to sell.
That said, I have nothing against porn, for pete’s sake. Hell, I *write* explicit erotica and erotic romance (not published – not yet, anyway).
By using a dictionary-reference definition of censorship for your “outrage,” are you saying you’re going to go after every romance vendor that chooses not to sell explicit erotica, or chooses to specifically categorize it, for whatever their reason? Because by that definition, pretty much everyone practices “censorship.” Do you still buy things from Amazon? They “censor” certain subject matters, too.
It seems like kind of a waste of breath and energy, but if that’s your thing, okay. I mean, I personally won’t eat at Chick-Fil-A because they are openly against gay marriage and support religious functions that are for the purpose of opposing gay marriage. I won’t eat at Domino’s because they’re anti-choice. Those are two things that I personally take issue with, but others are clearly fine with (kind of similar to YKINMKATOK, if you squint and look sideways). But by the same token, I don’t have the time or energy to go around scree’ing about how evil they are for their practices. They’re businesses, not government. They can do what they like, and I can similarly shop where I like.
Tell me, though, now that ARe is supposedly censoring, are you still going to shop with them? I never said I “stopped” shopping at their site, either way. I just personally find it a turn-off to go to their homepage, only to be inundated with trashy-looking covers and titles about “Daddy’s Little Slut” and whathaveyou. When I’m in the mood for that, I go looking for it. I started shopping at ARe because they’re called All ROMANCE e-Books. But now I’m repeating myself, so I guess I’m talking to a wall.
(edited to add a few thoughts)
@Dana S: Someone beat me to it! I was thinking I’d have to go hunt down that story since Care Bear porn was mentioned early on in the comments.
@Amy: Here’s the thing, Amy.
ARe is ALL. ROMANCE. EBOOKS.
They set out to sell romance books, regular, erotic, etc. Erotica often appeals to those who read erotic romance and yes, to those who read romance. Thus it made sense that they had a category for erotica.
But, despite what some people continue to argue, there’s a difference between a solidly written, well-plotted story of erotica and a story that is written purely for sexual titillation… IE: Porn.
If they decide they want to focus more on the books that they set out to sell? That’s their decision. IMO, if this is what they are doing, their biggest mistake was not being more stringent about this to begin with.
If I write an inspirational and send it to Ellora’s Cave and it gets rejected, it’s not censorship if they’ve made it clear they don’t want inspirationals.
If ARe makes it clear they are looking for books that are either ROMANCE, EROTIC ROMANCE or EROTICA, and somebody wants to argue and send something that doesn’t fit their guidelines…that’s not censorship. It doesn’t FIT what they want to sell.
The writer can find someplace else.
Care Bear kink. It’s official. I’ve seen it all. About to go wallow in cookie crumbs.
Just an FYI, I am going to bed and thus if your comment gets eaten by spam filter, we will try to save it. If not…well, I’m sorry in advance.
Ah. Caps lock makes everything clearer.
Care bears. I’m not scarred for life. really, i’m not. O.o
@Jia: Hey, someone had to post it. This thread was crying out for Care Bear Pr0n.
@Amy: Wait. Are you saying that a business cannot choose what products it sells? I bloody well think they can! If ARe (or Amazon or Walmart) decided that the only books they are now going to sell are sparkly pseudo stalker vampires and nothing else, that’s censorship?
You know what? You’re right. But as a society we condone certain types of censorship.
2. any person who supervises the manners or morality of others.
“No shoes, No shirt, No service” = censorship. Acceptable by society.
A manager asking two men if they are gay because are together and the business will not serve them = censorship. Unacceptable by society.
It’s ARe’s house. They have a right to invite whomever they want for dinner. They can’t stop someone from going over to their neighbor’s house.
PS. I like pron. I have no issues with morality of these stories but I do take issue with some of the covers. And yes, I am a cover snob.
Just out of curiosity, who decided that animated corpse = zombie = bad, but animated corpse = vampire = ZOMG let’s all jump on this bandwagon pronto! Because really, vampires are animated corpses as well, aren’t they? Corporeal undead? Revenants?
Yes, vampires are sexy in a way that zombies and ghouls are not, but it seems to me that “animated corpses” is overly broad. Perhaps “mindless animated corpses.” Criminy, their rules would exclude at least some Anne Rice, wouldn’t they?
Absolutely true. Sometimes less is more. I recently read an allegedly erotic romance short novel by one of the authors emphasizing the significance of characterization and plot as defining the boundaries between “porn” and “erotic romance” in this thread. The importance of well-developed characterizations and crisp plotting must be something the author recently discovered, because as far as I’m concerned, her novel was porn and pretty bad porn at that. The sex scenes were the only well-written parts of the book and even they were a wash because of the boring, shallow characters and tepid plotting. Not to mention an utter lack of credible emotional content.
No one writing at that level should be pointing fingers at someone else for writing a 3K short story centered around a sex scene. If it was a well-written sex scene, it still outclassed this author’s book.
I think some authors have bypassed the whole undead thing with vampires. I’m not sure you could do that eith zombies, but then I haven’t read any zombie stuff unless you count the zombie apocalypse.
As for ARe’s situation, I suspect that this is a real frog boiler. It gradually crept up on them, probably due to the manifestation of so many self pubbers. As has been noted, pr0n is profitable, so they don’t want to lose it, just separate it out so they can be more discreet. I’m just wondering why Paypal brought the hammer down now. Did the number of chargebacks suddenly escalate?
Personally I don’t necessarily see what ARe is doing as a bad thing, except fir the absurd time limit. I think Bookstrand is being unfair to self pubbers, but I’ve never had a book there so I don’t know how robust sales are.
@Leota M. Abel:
I wonder if these same tropes would be accepted by the erotic romance community if the siblings sharing one lover were not both males? Would that be genuine erotic romance or porn?
I’m almost considering writing one and attempting to submit it, just to see what might happen.
Interesting. You know what, reading these comments tells me a lot. What bugs me about the paypal thing is they have no problem freezing accounts full of money from those ‘obscene’ books. That aside, some of the wording of the new rules concerns me. BDSM titles may be hit hard. Erotic Romance with deep plots may go under the microscope. I know a few of my books walk the line–bondage without consent? Yep, I’ve gone there. Not to get people off–not that I’ll judge anyone who lives out fantasies in the safe, fictional atmosphere–but in some of the scary, intense scene in my books, I went no holds barred and just told a story. If I wrote in any other genre, I’d have nothing to worry about. But because I include explicit sex and romance, my books are judged differently. It may be legal. It may please some readers. But at the same time you’re looking at hundreds of authors sitting at the keyboard wondering if they should tone down their stories to make them ‘acceptable’. And that’s not okay to me. I don’t want watered down stories. I want stories that authors bled for, stories that I can care about. That’s one thing I love about indie books, you find some real gems that weren’t ‘fit’ for traditional pubs. But you know what, I believe, in the long run, it’s the vendors that fold that will miss out. If I have to hunt down Kitty Thomas’ books, and other like hers that contain ‘objectionable content’ and find another way to pay for them, I will. Business wise censorship–and IMO, accepting content and then rejecting it due to pressure from an outside source is exactly that–will force authors who don’t want to put their stories in a pre-approved box to find another way to reach readers. And we will. That’s how self-pubbing started out, right? Writers decided they wouldn’t let the Big Six decide what was ‘good enough’. And that paved the way for some brilliant authors. This won’t stop them.
@Author on Vacation: A search at Amazon turns up a couple of shorts that might be what you’re looking for. Daddy’s Twins by Ragdoll Bones and Daddy’s Twin Girls by Angel Wild, both feature sisters with their step dad it sounds like. Neither have any reviews so it’s hard to say much and I didn’t read the samples (I’ll leave that for someone else).
*sorry, I got a little long*
There are actual guidelines based on content. erotic romance, erotica & porn–these are all different beasts and should not be used interchangeably. There may be some cross over similarities, but a book should fit into one or another. Such as the differences between say, “cozy mystery” and “suspense”. These descriptions are not being made up on the spot to argue this issue. In all the querying advice, agents and editors manage to say the same thing—pick the category your book most strongly fits in. If your book was on a shelf, where would it be? What other authors of similar content would it be next to? They ask that so they know how to market it to the publisher so the publisher knows how to market it to the reader who is shopping for that specific material.
Take for example that there are some similarities between Inspirational Romance and Erotic Romance. They’re both classified as romance because they both provide a satisfying ending and the characters have some sort of growth (character arc) over the course of the story. You can’t disagree with that, because it’s true. But I think everyone would agree that they should never be categorized in the same listing because the content within the story is different.
That would be like walmart shelving napkins next to notebook paper simply because…they’re both “paper”. It makes it more difficult on the shopper to search out their items.
Seeing one attacking another over how a book should be categorized because of their feelings toward the subject in this comment thread was a little sad to read through. If Horror had been filling the categories of Comedy, I can well imagine the uproar because those are not the same kind of books.
Heaven help us if romance books are ever shelved in literary.
Same song, new verse in this argument of classification.
Booksellers should have made this reclassification long before now—for simple courtesy to their shoppers.
As for how do I feel about what is morally right on content matter—I’m not touching that with a ten foot pole. My idea of what is “okay” is shaped by the life I’ve lived and the experiences I’ve had. It would be a never-ending argument to try and change someone’s opinion of “what’s okay” to meet mine.
I do agree with the comment made above that there is a definite vibe going here that porn is the second-rate, low-class of romance. It’s a ridiculous notion. They’re not the same beasts. One can’t be “low-class” to the other.
Now I do imagine within the porn industry there is very good porn and there is very crappy, second-rate porn that’s been tossed out and thrown together half-hazardly.
Just like there is in the romance industry. In the music industry. In the movie industry…this could go on and on and off the original topic.
Some of this really pushes my EWWW button, but I also dislike an automatic kneejerk reaction w/ judgmental labels and whiffs of censorship.
Also. . .
– Sex with non-animated corpses.
So, does this mean Emily Bronte is off-limits? It may not be spelled out, but there’s definitely some form of necrophilia going on there w/ Heathcliff. And this is also not an unheard of occurrence in popular mysteries/thrillers . . . I’m guessing they wouldn’t publish Tess Gerritsen if she came knocking?
– Any form of sex with minors or any character under eighteen years old.
How old was Lolita?
It’s sometimes hard to draw such a black-and-white line. Who gets to be the “literary” judge?
I haven’t had time to read all of the comments/discussion. Really looking forward to it. Sounds like there’s a lot of backstory here, as well as multiple side issues.
Oh, and my list of DEMANDS will include caramel. Or else . . . I’ll think of something scary.
With Bookstrand having the audacity to put a lying disclaimer on their books when the adult excerpt clearly refutes the disclaimer, they have opened a new can of worms
And funnier yet, the 2 books I found this with, yes 2 books, involve triplets with a triple penetration excerpt included in the listing for the book — but surely this is not any form of incest because the disclaimer says so.
Bookstrand, you are trying to tell people a step dad book is obscene at the same time you are publishing books which have have exhausted blood-related identical twins and have moved on to blood related identical triplets?
Why could you not just be honest and say you have no interest in indie publishing instead of announcing to the world our content was the cause of your issues while you accuse us of crossing the line with step dad/siblings when you have titles with idential twins and triplets sharing beds?
Triplets vs a step dad — who is really more guilty of (quote) “don’t know where to draw the line when it comes to obscenity” ?
No, I, as an author am not going to hold this bag for you any longer.
Since it is obvious you are following this, what you are doing Bookstrand is intentionally erecting a wall of deception for your payment processor. I am not going to link all of the titles you need to clean for you, I already did that for someone else as soon as you put up your lying disclaimer while tossing us under the bus.
At this point hypocrisy escalated to fat out lies is all everyone sees Bookstrand and the partner you are trying to fool is wise on it too as will be others. You are aware Amazon has a strict no incest policy, right? So you can also argue with them on whether blood related twins an triplets all in the same woman at the same time is incest.
You will find that in most cases, the cover-up is worse than the crime as well as what will be clear to the writing world is you have failed miserably in passing the buck for your Siren published content onto others and with your disclaimer whose sole purpose is to deceive your business partner, Paypal, you have soundly demonstrated no lie is too small to pass on to a business partner
You know Morgan, at this point most will see you should be less worried about who your fictional characters are in bed with and more concerned with the integrity of those you are in bed with in real life.
Personally, I see a pretty big difference between two brothers boffing the same girl and two brothers boffing each other. But then, I’ve enjoyed the former (in Lora Leigh’s books, for example) and am not a big fan of incest, so I’m pretty biased. IMO, it depends how the story is told, and what boundaries are set up within it.
As for the rest of this…I abhor censorship. As others have noted…where do you draw the line, if Paypal gets to dictate (to some extent) what places sell? BDSM with some non-consent roleplay? Incest that isn’t really incest at all, as in step-sibling sorts of things? I hate seeing all of this dubious nonsense clogging up the front page at ARE, but that doesn’t mean it should be removed just because Paypal arbitrarily says so. Categorising better would solve the vast majority of problems any visitors might have.
Oh and also – while I do think brothers boffing one girl isn’t incest, I do agree that it’s a little hypocritical of Siren to get up on its high horse about this. There may be a line between the two, but it’s a fine one.
I’m calling this like I’m seeing it. I don’t think this had anything to do with ‘censorship’. This was a power grab. Indie authors were dominating the charts at BS and in many cases outselling ‘traditionally published’ brethren. Not only that, probably making more $$ per book/short-story…
I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that Bookstrand’s store is now fully stocked with new releases from Harlequin and Harper Collins. Also, an excellent spin-job was done mis-directing the public’s attention to the worst-of-the-worst indie authors. No mention is made of indie authors, who were offering competitive quality books.. none….at..all. Those authors were beating the pants off the established authors sales wise…you could tell because they dominated the best sellers lists there.
The end result, indies got squeezed out and the old-guard can now sell their over-priced e-books.
Of courser no one notices, because BS is hiding behind a facade that it was about book quality & protecting moral standards. I call B.S on BS… for that.. since they (and their cronies) are selling the very content they claim to abhor.
I’ll also eat my tin-foil cap, if any of the traditionally published smut is removed. It wont be.. and I’ll wager further PayPal and associated creditors..won’t say a word. They’ll be too busy counting the money with their corporate publishing buddies.
I don’t write porn, I write stories that hopefully excite people and get them off. I write about sex and escapism, because I want the reader to escape into a world of imagination. I write about 18 year olds because that is the legal age for having sex in this country, if it was 16 I’d make it that instead. I keep within the law, so why should I be persecuted for writing stories that the free people of America want to read.
Once again, with all the banning going on my sales have shot through the roof. You Americans really need to stop flogging a dead horse, and get with the program. People want this stuff, they don’t care about what you want, they’re only interested in themselves as far as reading is concerned. They vote with their dollars and their dollars are telling me that they want more of the same.
That letter from Siren makes it sound as if the dirty filth that are indie erotica authors took over BookStrand by force and only recently have the us brigands been repelled. If I remember right they invited us by setting up an indie publishing section. I believe they wanted to cash in on the success of said indie authors, especially the ones that wrote all that smut they now claim they never wanted. Well BookStrand old TOS as of Feb 6, 2012 basically allowed indie authors to upload anything their little hearts desired. In fact it said this:
“WHAT ARE SUPPRESSED FROM THE BOOKSTRAND MAIN HOME PAGE?
Indie Author Status: Titles uploaded by indie authors will automatically appear on the Indie Titles page under “Indie Newest Arrivals.” The book cover/blurb by indie authors will not appear on the BookStrand main home page at any time regardless of content.
Publisher Status: Publisher-status titles not adhering to policies below will be suppressed from the BookStrand.com Main Home Page. Book covers and blurbs of suppressed titles will not appear on the “Newest Arrivals” or “Featured Titles” on the BookStrand main home page at any time. BookStrand reserves the right to change any publisher from Publisher status to Indie Author status at any time after more than one title has to be manually suppressed by our staff for main home page content violation.
The book cover and the blurb of any title will be suppressed from the BookStrand.com main home page for any of the following reasons:
The cover is focused on a spread crotch or a bare butt crack, or if it exposes any part of a penis, a vagina, or the female bare nipples.
The title and/or the first 70 words in the blurb contain any of the following:
(a) Words such as fuck, pussy, cunt, vagina, cock, penis, dick(penis), anus, ass(hole), cum, shit, pee, piss(urine).
(b) Premise of the book is any combination of incest or sexual acts with pseudo brother/sister/daddy/mommy/daughter/son for sexual titillation.
(c) Premise of the book is on sex with a young character or using variations of “teenager” or “barely turned” 18 or 19 for sexual titillation.
(d) Premise of the book is on bestiality (unless the animal is a sentient being, i.e., a shifter in a paranormal).
(e) Premise of the book is on necrophilia (unless it is the undead, i.e., vampires).
(f) Sex involving urination and defecation.
(g) Any story under 10,000 words with rape or gang bang of characters under 21 years old as the main premise for sexual titillation.
If any title enters the 14-day Bestseller list that appears on every BookStrand page has any word such as fuck, pussy, cunt, vagina, cock, penis, and so on, the offensive word in the title will be replaced with asterisks.
The following content will be banned from the BookStrand.com entire site and not just the home page:
(a) Pedophilia in any size, shape, or form.
(b) Hatred for characters based on race/ethnicity or religion.
(c) Hatred or bashing of gays/lesbians.
(d) Harmful content such as instructions on how to make a bomb, etc.
There are no sexual restrictions after the first 70 words of the blurb.
Blurb of all titles, publisher or indie, must be about the story. Blurb cannot contain promotion or endorsement of other websites, bestseller status on other websites, number of books sold for an author at other websites, etc. BookStrand will remove self-endorsed, promotional text not applicable to the story.
No publisher or indie author can guarantee a reader’s satisfaction of any sort for any title. BookStrand will not provide customer service to honor this guarantee. We will remove text not applicable to the title.
Excerpts have no sexual restrictions if they appear in the correct metadata field.
There are no sexual restrictions for covers, titles, or blurbs if the publisher chooses the Indie Author status. These titles will appear on its own home page at Indie Titles.”
Many of the restrictions that are there today, were not there only two weeks ago. The idea that indie authors flooded BookStrand with undesirable material is patently false. They allowed us to pretty much do what we wanted. Changing the rules is fine, but don’t act as if you had now idea. BookStrand is trying to cover their asses by blaming indie authors. They need to look in a mirror to see the real culprit. After they deposit 50% of all those sales in their bank account. Well after they get them back from PayPal anyway.
Yes. I read her post. I am stating she is, at the kindest, wrong. I am saying you are wrong for stating that such authors and such works should be shamed and marginalized. I am saying that I am appalled by the very sentiments you have espoused– both that this sort of shaming is right and proper, and that anyone who would defend any work is inherently stupid.
There is no validity to any claim that a pornographic work must be devoid of plot or character, even if that is not the primary focus of the work. This claim exists entirely to shame and tear down producers of such works and to self-promote other works as being somehow inherently better at the expense of others.
If pornographic writings are truly so different from erotica or erotic romance, then producers of the latter two gain nothing by denigrating the former, and they are not endangered by pornographic writing. If the claims of difference are true, then there is no need to promote these other works while in the same breath decrying pornography as valueless.
As to the ludicrous claim that two to however many multiple brothers waiting years to share a woman between them bespeaks no incestuous sexual relationship… If there is no trade upon the supposedly disgusting incestuous aspect… why are they brothers at all? Let us not even speak of the homophobia of claiming there is no sexual relation between two men who also have relations with the same woman at the same time.
There is nothing but hypocracy and lies here, as far as the eye can see.
@Author on Vacation: Just out of curiosity, who decided that animated corpse = zombie = bad, but animated corpse = vampire = ZOMG let’s all jump on this bandwagon pronto! Because really, vampires are animated corpses as well, aren’t they? Corporeal undead? Revenants?
Yes, vampires are sexy in a way that zombies and ghouls are not, but it seems to me that “animated corpses” is overly broad. Perhaps “mindless animated corpses.”
THANK YOU for posting that. I couldn’t help but think about vampires as I read that particular rule. With the way the industry has been churning out vampire romances the past few years, there is no way they will let those get axed.
Ugh to this whole thing… SOPA/PIPA and now all this nonsense. Censorship never ends, does it?
Ummmm … This isn’t exactly what I meant. I meant something more of a credible counterpart to the M/F/M that is readily accepted and enjoyed within the erotic romance market without a qualm as to the male participants sharing affinity, only in a M/F/F context. Such as a female protagonist enjoying the romantic attentions of a brother and sister instead of two brothers.
Hi, Killian. I can’t take credit for the quote. Another contributor posted that.
@Killian: Just FYI, I posted that, not Author on Vacation ;-)
All of my self-published titles were removed from Bookstrand. They didn’t contain incest, rape or anything else that would have violated their terms or Paypals. Yet, everything was removed with no notice.
Here is a link to the cached “Indie Author Page” at BS:
You can also search “Indie Authors Bookstrand” via Google to find it.
Look at that page.. and tell me excactly where you see Bestiality, Incest, Necrophila, etc.. I see NONE (and in the past never saw any). These books are all standard “fantasy erotica” fare. Werewolves, Vamps, Menage a trois, etc..
(*Gangbanged by Wolves is a WEREWOLF story.. not actual bestiality…)
Also, the books listed here rival Siren’s in quality of cover, blurb, etc..
I just wanted to clear the air, as some pretty hefty claims about Indie work has been leveled out by Bookstrand.
You’ve nailed it. Yours is the very first theory which exactly and completely fits the bill.
And to all those so horrified about teenagers having sex (which means also 18 and 19 year old adults as we can read), in half of the USA and in practically all of Europe the age of consent is somewhere between 14 and 16. Officially. Meaning if a 16 y/o and a 60 y/o fall in love or have sex in the UK or in certain states of the USA that would be certainly legitimate and quite okay. In real life.
It’s also no pedophilia, because – wake-up call here! – the definition of pedophilia is sex with a prepubescent child of someone who is 16 or older. Prepubescent means prior to 11-12 these days averagely. Lolita and Cie. is hebephilia. Just to get for once straight what everyone and sundry mixes up.
However, what really has me angry is that it is quite okay to publish books in which teenagers are raped and sexually abused or get pregnant until teenaged readers scream before you can spell s.e.x., but a self-publishing writer may not write something sex-positive involving teens. Those so agreeable about these rules please wrap your brains around THAT message.
Reminds me of the MPAA and Suckerpunch. They wouldn’t let the lead actress have a tender love scene with the leading man without a higher rating, but they could have him sexually assault her for a PG13.
And yes, pedophilia is prepubescent. It’s kind of a tiring misconception to correct all the time.
@Author on Vacation: I think you’re making a point, not a serious suggestion, but I’ll bite. Most romance readers won’t pick up f/f/m, period. Adding family relations will narrow your audience further. The readers who are open to f/f/m AND brother/sister are not romance readers. Using myself as an example, I like f/f/m and would probably read about two brothers sharing–but not brother/sister or sister/sister.
I think about f/f vs. m/m a lot, and why romance readers are so hard on female characters. It’s because we relate to and identify with women. Male characters get more leeway because we don’t have to think “I would never do that” when we read the male POV.
Another thing I’ve considered is the number of times my husband has acted like a jerk. Many times! He’s a great guy and I love him, but no man is perfect. So it doesn’t make me *as* uncomfortable to read about bad/questionable hero behavior. When I read about a bitchy heroine, however…it can remind me of my own bad behavior. I’m bitchy enough in real life, and maybe don’t want to face that in my pleasure reading.
That got a little off topic.
Anyway, I think most romance readers will not read a brother/sister story because they can’t relate to a woman who would have sex anywhere near her brother. Not that two brothers is any different, but we don’t have to relate to the male thought processes that would precede such an encounter. The idea that men are less emotionally engaged during sex comes into play also. I don’t know how, exactly. I guess I find it believable that two guys could focus on the woman and the sex acts, not each other. I can’t imagine that in an f/f/m scenario.
My comment is in moderation.
While I’m there, I’ll add that several of my books contain teen romance subplots with frank (and often fumbling) sex scenes between teenagers. I don’t think it’s a crime to depict teens experiencing sexual pleasure.
I think the reason BookStrand did what they did is because PayPal froze their account without warning, and they want it back as fast as possible. ARE probably got a 30 day notice like eXcessica did so they have time to fix things without upsetting EVERYONE. So loses of not having PayPal > loses of not having Indies. Put in the time it took to program the Indie page they had, I’d be surprised if they made any profit from them.
Still, it’s sad that it went down the way it did.
Derek- I sold a heck of a lot of books on Bookstrand and so have many other “indie” authors who has a big name. They made a profit and often a hefty one.
@Laughing Uproariously: Miriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh edition, defines incest as “sexual intercourse between persons so closely related that they are forbidden by law to marry.”
According to the first definition, my novel, Love Under Two Kendalls, is not an incestuous story.
No? Two brothers–not step-relatives like they would be in a pseudo-incest story–are boning the same girl at the same time. Maybe they’re not having anal or oral sex with each other, but I think it probably qualifies has having sexual intercourse between persons so closely related that they are forbidden by law to marry. They’re naked, in the same bed, having sex with another person–together, with only a thin membrane of female flesh separating their genitals. I’m willing to bet that in doing such an act, people would brush together at some point, somewhere.
Even if they never touch, that’s much closer to incest than two people who aren’t blood-related at all but considered relatives because of someone else’s marriage actually doing the deed.
I’m surprised you would write such a story (which I’m fine with) and be so offended at the idea that the brothers might actually being enjoying each other’s company in the bed. If one is getting sexual pleasure from feeling the other one inside her at the same time, what is that if not incestuous? Didn’t they sort of have to like and approve of that, in order to stay aroused long enough to make love to the woman? They couldn’t have minded; at least we know that much.
I have no problem with your book. Personally, I think it sounds pretty hot. But let’s not pretend that it’s something other than what it is. These are two blood relatives, brothers, in an extremely physically-close sexual situation together. Perhaps more than one sexual situation–I’m just going by the excerpt, which is an explicit double-penetration scene. This is blood-related brothers in a sexual situation. Something you won’t find in PI. And it’s published by Siren, who thinks incest and pseudo-incest is the debbil!
I don’t hate your publisher, but hypocrisy really, really sucks.
Having worked in the corporate world for longer than I care to, I’m disheartened by generalizations that are taken as to apply to all. I write for Siren Publishing – I do not write beastiality, I do not write rape for titillation, I do not write incest…but feel slighted when others remark about “those Siren Authors” or that Siren is one of “those” publishers.
While this matter could have been handled with more tact, it could have been avoided all together by simple communication. Pay pal has every right to refuse service as a business owner…people are entitled to their opinions…but to be a well-respected reviewer and make statements without having all the facts seems a bit untimely.
With today’s media technology, less than professional self-publishers/publishers/authors, piracy websites, not to mention critics who thumb their noses at romance writers, etc…there should be a commraderie between authors/editors/publishers to promote the art of our craft and not point fingers, accusingly sing-songing “our publishing house is better than yours”.
Let’s play nice. Mia Bailey
This is the most curious definition of having sex that I have ever read! One learns something new every day. So far I was under the impression that to have sex with each other you have to – well – have sex with each other and not with a third person, regardless of how close you come. By your reasoning a chance touching each other during a party or with couples having sex close to each other means they have sex with each other even though they don’t do each other. I’m astonished you call out hypocrisy, because you simply counter one, with another.
As to incest or no incest, I do not think it plays any role which kind it is. It shouldn’t be censored any which way. Victimless crime anyone? Not to speak of the fact that there are many countries on this world where incest is no crime and quite a few of these couples could marry.
You know, I always thought Siren published taboo romances and didn’t think Jane overstepped at all in her last post. And you know what? I thought that was a good thing. All this time I’d thought, “Nice. There’s at least one publisher out there with a sense of adventure.”
Their overwrought, self-loathing email and Siren authors’ defenses here that are loaded with reader shaming make me really sad. If we can’t push the boundaries within the realm of fiction without being depraved degenerates, it seems like a pretty huge waste of our imaginations.
I don’t care to read porn. If others want to, fine. There is a market for it, and that’s fine. It would be awesome that if I can find a way to filter it out so i can do my shopping for books without worrying my kids will see some girl’s naked butt while she’s grabbing another girl’s boobs.
People who are shrieking censorship aren’t getting the point. When somebody crosses over the line into porn, there are other issues that don’t necessarily have anything to do with morality or censorship, and as a business, ARe has to consider them.
If you’re adult and you’re doing something that is legal and not hurting others…then it doesn’t really concern anybody but you. However, when you’re a writer and the material you write would be considered by the majority (any group of people, not just this group, or that group, or your group or my group) to fall into the PORN category, there are issues outside of censorship and morality.
Teddypig summarizes the matter very well.
Don’t want to publish incest, fine. I have no issue with that, but don’t publish stories with two or more brothers boning a man or woman and try and say the men have zero contact thus it’s fine. I find that a little weird to say the least.
Who’s attacking Siren authors?
*sighs* You’re right. I don’t think I could pull it off, either.
I am still laughing at this. Siren says they don’t publish trash, but the very first Siren title I ever read had the female lead still in High Scholl and trying to get it on with 3 older brothers (not hers) BUT she didn’t actually have sex with them all until after she turned 18 but was still in school :)
– Sex with a young character still in high school or using variations of “teenager” or “barely turned” 18 or 19 for sexual titillation.
Umm Hello? McFly? Isn’t this one of the things they say they WON’T publish?
LOL, that email from Siren is like a fop taking off his butter-soft leather glove and soundly slapping it against both of your saucy cheeks! They demand satisfaction, sir!
Aside from the snippy, nasty tone to Bookstrand’s email, I just love that it is signed by no one, so no particular person has to take public crap for such obviously false and rude remarks.
“Kindly get your facts straight.” Oh, they said “kindly”, so the rude tone that follows should be ignored. LOL
“Siren-BookStrand Publishing NEVER has and NEVER will publish books with the disgusting themes of incest, pseudo incest, rape for sexual titillation, or bestiality with naturally occurring animals. ” Again….BWAAAAAHAHAHA! I think we’ve seen from above comments that this is total crap. Self-righteous liars.
“ALL of these incest, pseudo-incest, rape, and bestiality titles were uploaded to the e-book store, BookStrand.com, mainly by self-pubbed authors who don’t know where to draw the line when it comes to obscenity.” Okay, granted, some people were definitely pushing boundaries, but please…BookStrand was just completely unaware of the existence of these books, while they took 50% royalties on them for months AND occasionally emailed authors asking them to tone down a cover here, a title there? Please, they knew full well they were there, and I know several author friends with emails to prove it.
“I don’t know what your agenda is, but it is irresponsible of you for not checking your facts before making such an outlandish and false statement.” Hmmm, funny, I was going to say the same thing about “Publisher”…except we KNOW what her agenda is.
“I demand that you remove such blatant inaccuracy that stems from your ignorance about what we publish.” Well, I demand that everyone copy and paste this riduculous letter to their blogs, then tweet all over the blogosphere, so we can all laugh a Bookstrand’s example of drunk emailing. I think there’s a lesson to be learned here, and it’s not “check your facts.” It’s “don’t hit send until you have a reasonable, sober, professional business person to proofread your post-three-martini-lunch ramblings.”
ROFLOL *wiping tears from my eyes* Well, something good finally came of this Bookstrand mess. I had a good, long laugh. Oh, Bookstrand! How could you have thought for one *second* that we wouldn’t round up your lovely “romantic” porn and show it here for the world to see? In the age of Google cache and “print screen” functionality, how could you have thought you’d get away with it? (*ahem*….five martini lunches?)
@Amused Reader It was signed but I took out the name of the publisher so that she wouldn’t be a target.
I went over to the Bookstrand site a few months ago, and there seemed to be lots of Daddy/Daughter incest books featured on the front page, which surprised me at the time. I blame Has Bookpusher for making me go over there to have a look at the story about a 21 year old virgin who met and started shagging seven men who shapeshifted into Texas longhorn bulls.
I’m still in therapy, and that’s after bleaching my eyeballs several times…