You notice how I started out this post with that nifty little disclaimer? Wasn’t that nice of me to put that on there? Now those folks who are just out ‘n out sick to fucking death of me incessantly lambasting Amazon can just skip past this post and move onto other areas of interest, while those who feel the same and want to read more information on the topic have now given me their undivided attention.
Isn’t it neat how that works out? Everybody wins… Those who want to read it, and those who don’t.
Back when I first started seriously pursuing this “author” endeavor, I found myself a bit miffed that my publisher was “modifying” the blurbs and descriptions of most of my books before submitting them to Amazon as well as a few other outlets. It wasn’t due to “vanity” or anything of the sort, I just wanted the readers out there to be fully aware of exactly what types of stories they’re considering purchasing. While I was confident that there was a considerable number of readers out there interested in the types of stories I write, I was also keenly aware that a great majority of them would definitely want to steer clear of them completely. I was told, however, that this is the way the descriptions needed to be presented, otherwise Amazon would outright refuse to carry them. Well, okay, I relented to my publisher’s better judgement, but I still felt guilty about it.
Author Penelope Wilson has a book out titled “My Wife’s Secret Lover“. Ms. Wilson is, like me, a taboo erotica author. I haven’t read this book yet, but it certainly sounds right up my alley. However, given the description provided on Amazon, I highly doubt that I ever would have found it if I went searching for a book with this particular sort of slant to it.
The book received four reviews on its Amazon page: Two were quite favorable, one was basically, “Eh.. Not up my alley, but some folks might like it.” The fourth one, however, basically played right up to one of the biggest fears I had when I first started putting my books out there:
I bought this knowing full well it was erotica. What it says nothing about is how it’s disgusting material. I read all of 4 or 5 pages so I really can’t speak about the whole thing, but in just that short amount it talks about a dad thinking about his daughter during sex and getting turned on by her school outfits. If that’s your thing..okay. But I am pissed that it didn’t say anywhere in here about this being an incesual book. And whether or not he has actual sex with his daughter doesn’t matter (I frankly have no idea). Just him mentioning these things is enough to put a little disclaimer in there saying “covers thoughts of incest” or something. Because I certainly would not have bought it then.
So just be warned!!
Only gave it 1 star because I had to give at least one!
I genuinely felt bad for this reader. I would have been devastated had one of my books ever gotten any reviews like this. I would have felt deceitful and shoddy. And you can be certain that this particular reviewer speaks for a multitude of other readers who probably felt the same way, but didn’t take the time to write a review expressing their disgust and anger at feeling “duped”.
This is the double-edged sword concerning the fallacy of Amazon’s policies concerning erotica books: Not only do these policies make it difficult for those wanting to find this particular genre of erotica, it also opens up the possibility of those NOT wanting this type of story to stumble across it, spending their hard-earned money on books they not only don’t want, but actually find disgusting. Yeah, three bucks probably isn’t a whole lot in the grand scheme of things, but when you’re feeling duped and disgusted, the amount is probably a little irrelevant. It’s still money you could have spent on something you DID want. It’s like putting money into a pop machine and pushing the Coke button, only to have a Dr. Pepper drop through the chute.
And the even sadder thing is, authors of taboo and on-the-edge erotica ARE PERPETUATING THIS by trying to “dance around” Amazon’s hypocritical restrictions, using “code words” that readers may or may not “get”, and using terms that are juuuust short of triggering Amazon’s “banned” button. Many of them act so smug and smart, thinking that they are cleverly pulling something over Amazon’s eyes, but do any of them think about the readers that are actually spending money on their books? Is there any remorse for making some of them feel duped and angry, if not outright disgusted? Or is it okay as long as it pads your royalty statement?
This is yet another reason that erotica shouldn’t be associated with Amazon. Not only are Amazon’s policies unfair and hypocritical to erotica authors and independent publishers, it’s also unfair to readers on both sides of the aisle, those that want hard-edge types of erotica, and those who don’t. And the unfairness to readers is not all Amazon’s fault. In their relentless and unapologetic pursuit of Amazon’s vast exposure, authors of taboo and on-the-edge erotica make themselves blatantly guilty of false advertising.
Perhaps I should have amended my disclaimer just slightly: “Yes, this is another ‘bitch about Amazon’ post… AND some of the erotica authors who associate with them!”
Oh well… Guess you ended up getting something you weren’t expecting, huh?