When it comes to banning authors or books, self-published erotica is the low hanging fruit of the world of fiction
. You won’t get news editorials defending the right of someone to publish “Cheerleaders 2: The Trouser Snake Returns” and most independent authors aren’t going to pull down the sort of numbers and have the marketing clout that might make a publisher step back and decide to resist public opinion.
It can be worse today because of the of clickbait articles which are designed solely to drive traffic to their parent site. A writer can type up an article, headline it with: PUBLISHER TOLERATES MONSTER/ALIEN/SEXY CHEERLEADER PORN, slap up a few pictures or excerpts and watch the page views (and revenue) roll in. Meanwhile, the publisher’s staff quickly go through the catalog and delist some books so that they can say they’re doing something about it.
First of all, someone, somewhere is now shouting about the First Amendment, that glorious document that protects us from this and lets us sell our erotic stories.
Stop. Seriously. Stop.
The First Amendment only applies to the government. There are some very, VERY limited cases where a publisher refusing to publish something might attract the government’s interest, but erotic stories? Nope. They have a perfect right to sell or not sell any story submitted to them.
They’re also not doing it because they hate you. A publisher loves one thing: Green, as in the color of the money you bring them. Now individual reviewers or editors might have an ax to grind, but most publishers don’t care. They’re banning books because they think it will ultimately make them more money than keeping those books available will.
So What’s the Author of Erotica to do?
Never, EVER, let yourself be trapped with one storefront. Always spread books out among several distributors in order to ensure that if there’s a problem with on, it won’t destroy your revenue stream. These companies don’t talk with each other and many of them have far different standards. If a book gets banned or if it looks like one of your books is going to run into TOS related troubles, just sell it via a different channel.
That also helps you if, heaven forbid, you get your entire account banned— you still have books up for sale and you still have an Internet presence. There is nothing worse than realizing that you put your eggs all in one basket and now not only have you been banned, but your fans have no way to keep buying your book. In the time it takes to rebuild your Internet presence you could lose thousands of dollars worth of sales.
Finally, note that if you’re only selling through one publisher, you’re not simply at the mercy of decisions to ban your books or account, but you’re also at the mercy of decisions to change the contract you’re working under. If it’s a choice between rebuilding everything from scratch and accepting a new deal that cuts your royalties by 10 percent, what are you going to do? Well, if you have your books being published through other avenues, you have much more freedom to say: “nope!” and take your books with you.
Finally, a word of advice:
Don’t take it personally. These companies are making a business decision. It maybe a stupid decision, it may be a decision that is harmful to your pocketbook, but it’s not personally aimed at you. In fact, it may be based on an automated scan of your work instead of someone reading it. Getting pissed off won’t change anything and can lead you down unproductive avenues. Just keep your options open and keep writing. You’ll be successful.
Oh, there’s another thing to consider: If you’re good enough to write erotica, you’re also good enough to write general fiction, so in addition to spreading out your options in terms of who you’re publishing with, you might want to consider writing to a wide range of genres.