To post or not to post, that
is was the question.
Over the past week or so, Paypal has targeted online e-book retailers like Bookstrand, All Romance Ebooks, and most recently, Smashwords. They’ve expressed concern over bestiality, incest (pseudo and otherwise), among others which in turn led to Bookstrand completely getting rid of the indie/self publishing category altogether, ARe rewriting/clarifying their terms of services to include pseudo incest in their unallowed subjects, and finally, today, SW let erotica authors know that pseudo incest and other taboo subjects are no longer welcome on their site.
As my ‘veteran’ followers know, when I first began writing erotica, I published several titles that fall into the pseudo incest category. While some were definitely wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am that I wrote just to bulk up my catalog, my Taboo Trilogy (A Forbidden Tryst, A Family Affair, A Family Fornication) was my baby. While it was PI, at its heart, it was the story of two legal adults who fell in love and just so happened to be stepfather and stepdaughter. I was inspired by soaps, by Lifetime movies, and sheer imagination. I had a blast creating the characters, really getting into their heads, and connecting with fans of the books. Because of Paypal’s actions, the Taboo Trilogy, as well as my other PI offerings, are only available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
I can respect that people find PI distasteful. I don’t really fancy bodice ripper type stories. Or spinach.
But there has been such animosity lately between erotica authors. Lots of name calling and just straight up disrespect. As tempting as it is to pop off when someone says you “don’t know where to draw the line when it comes to obscenity”, I try to keep a level head.
I’ve had the intro of this post simmering for days, trying to decide whether or not to publish. It’s not my attempt to start drama, or alienate readers, or further divide the erotica community. It’s my intent to express my concerns and issues with the way this whole situation has gone down.
Just because I write PI doesn’t mean I’m a moral-less money hungry heathen. Just because Jane Doe or Suzy Homemaker are appalled by PI doesn’t mean that they’re stuck up prudes. Different strokes. Let those who want to read PI read it and those who don’t can read whatever tickles their fancy.
I’ve always been a live and let live kind of person. It frustrates me to no end when people feel the need to police the lives of others. And that’s exactly what Paypal is doing. They are painting with a really broad stroke and dictating what readers can and can not read.
Censoring works just isn’t the answer. Allowing a group to force their morality and control what readers can/can not read–ESPECIALLY when said works are legal–is really scary to me as a writer AND a reader. Erotica allows a safe place for people to explore fantasies and kinks and curiosities. And while I’m writing more mainstream stuff now, I’m not too happy about anyone, Paypal least of all, telling me what I can and can not write and sell.
I just found this really poignant comment on Selena Kitt’s take on all the Paypal drama, and I just wanted to share it with yall:
One of the problems I notice among erotica writers is the ‘not my stuff so I’m alright, jack’ reaction.
It is very important to remember that what we are discussing here are FICTIONAL scenarios. And so often we allow the discussion to slip between fictional accounts of socially unacceptable or illegal sex acts and reality. I’ve seen this over and over again.
There is a whole genre that celebrates fictional murder. And ‘thrillers’ are called thrillers because the murder, mayhem and violent fiction scenarios THRILL the reader. Many sci-fi novels fictionalize the holocaust of whole planets. But no one is worried that these pieces of fiction might encourage murder, war or planetary destruction in the real world.
Beneath the veneer of concern and social ‘care’ lurks the same repression imposed on women for thousands of years: the repression of women’s sexual imagination. It is worth remembering that the vast majority of erotica readers and writers are women.
(comment by remittance girl, posted at Selena Kitt’s blog)