I’ve been working hard for the past several weeks on my new ebook, Daddy/Boy, and I submitted it to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing on Friday. Yesterday I received word that Amazon will not be offering this title for sale. It is “blocked.” The reason? “It is in violation of our content guidelines.”
So, you might ask yourself, what are Amazon’s content guidelines and why didn’t my book conform to them? First, the guidelines state that Amazon doesn’t publish pornography. Which, unless I somehow dreamed the fact that I’ve sold hundreds of my previous ebook of erotic fiction, is bullshit.
There’s only one other section of the content guidelines that could possibly apply to Daddy/Boy, and here is where it gets frightening/hilarious. I quote:
What we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect.
That’s literally it. See for yourself. I find this utterly insulting. I’ve spent too much of my life being shamed by society for my sexual predilections to get shamed by a shady-ass corporation. Daddy/Boy contains a disclaimer at the outset that it is fiction, and that all the characters are eighteen years of age or older. But the age/underage thing is the only reason I can think that Amazon would reject the book. The point is that I don’t know for sure. Maybe they objected to the word “boy” in the title? Maybe they don’t accept incest erotica? I could make changes to conform to what I “would expect” an unoffensive book would/wouldn’t contain, but here’s the real kicker:
We may also terminate your participation in the KDP program if you don’t adhere to these content guidelines.
So if the book is rejected again they could terminate my participation and then I wouldn’t be able to sell anything on Amazon. For a writer who is scrambling to make a living with my art, this is a rude wake-up call. So far as I can tell, when it comes to making money with ebooks Amazon is just about the only game in town. (Full disclosure: I have yet to experiment with self-publishing through Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Apple or any other online outlets, and I was intending to do so with this ebook, but I suspect the money isn’t as good as Amazon).
Amazon holds to key to my future at this point and so I’m beholden to their will, whatever it might be. I’m cool with that. I’ll toe the line, rejigger, figure something out. I sent Amazon an email: “Can you give me any specifics on why the title was rejected so I may not make the same mistake again?” Do you suppose I’ll get an adequate response? I’m dubious.
UPDATE: Seems incest is something Amazon objects to after all. Good to know. How hard is that to put in their fucking guidelines?