So, I stumbled upon this blog post by Selena Kitt, see my recent review of one of her books here, and though I wasn't too concerned at first. I mean, really, I don't write porn, why should I care. But, nevertheless I did scroll down through her post and I got a little worried. For the first time in my life, I am the target of some dubious censoring.
Selena Kitts starts off her post with some intriguing "facts." Why the parentheses (my addition)? Well, over and over she states that erotica is the reason the Kindle and all its related accessories and release editions are due to the large number of erotica - or, porn, as she calls it - available for public purchase through Amazon, at least until recently, and able to be read "in secret" by hordes of women who were too ashamed to read the same books with the covers visible to everyone and their neighbor. She states all this, but without any sort of real facts backing up her assertions.
It is not that I doubt her premise, as I, and I think Ms. Kitts as well, do enjoy the anonymity of the Kindle to do exactly what it is she thinks we, as women, are doing out of sight and censorship of the public at large. But, what kind of data does she have that proves this is why the majority of Kindles are sold - I mean, how do you explain all the other women, men, and kids out there with them... folks, who certainly, may be reading mass amounts of erotica, but how can you be sure?
Is it that her sales have doubled, tripled, quadrupled in the past five years since the Kindle's hit mainstream which is driving her assumptions? Because, I'm sorry, but I could claim that maybe the higher sales were a result not so much in the call for a secret way to read erotica, but instead because she sells a large number of what would be called "novellas" instead of full-length novels. And, as I have discovered, the Kindle is a perfect solution for authors writing novellas - as novellas really never did that well in bookstores and in print (something about too high costs for not much quantity), but electronically, length isn't so much of an issue, as it is in print.
However she backs-up her claim of pushing Kindle into the limelight, I do worry about the rest of her post. I understand, though agree it is a form of legal censorship, for Amazon to hold up a big sign and say, "No nudity on your book cover." Amazon is a resource used by a lot of people and as such, it is okay for them to put a limit, as a business, on what they showcase to their consumers. It is hard to argue against people who dislike the wholesale of porn with covers showing nudity. So, yes, this I understand. And, yes, this I am okay with.
What I am not okay with, and this seems to be the theme of Ms. Kitt's post too, is that Amazon seems unwilling to outright lay down their rules on publishing and selling erotica on their site. According to her post, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to what they say is erotica and what they'll ADULT filter and what they won't. I see her point. If you are going to eagerly promote and sell other works of erotica (because they are doing well on booklists and sales other places), but not all works, then there is definitely a problem. A big problem.
Especially for me... as part of Ms. Kitts helpful hints in her post for self-publishers to avoid Amazon's filtering or removal of their book, she lists Amazon's "Bad Word List." Guess what's included?
"Tentacles and other mythological creatures (minotaurs, centaurs, bigfoot, etc.)"
Well, (pardon my language) shit! Now, all I have to figure out is if this just applies to the cover art/title or the back cover description, too. Uh, what about what I write inside the book? I mean this is my entire publishing life right there in one single line of text. This is not good.
Who's being targeted? Apparently, me.