“He went from assy to classy. I like that.” –Christopher Wallace, hip-hop artist
A note on aesthetics
I see sites going for a classy look, but as I scan their items I usually find a few jump out at me as not matching. If it were an IQ test the pattern is often broken. It’s no nudity but then there are tits in my face. It’s tits but not pussy, but then there’s a little bit of the top part of a trimmed bush. Where is the line? It seems arbitrary to me. Who says tits are less innocuous than anus? I realize that this is quite an unimportant topic and you should be saying to yourself, MJ, who gives a shit? but the issue at large is censorship. I’m one of the many censored authors out there. As I write this my most conclusive piece of writing, Chronicles of a Humiliation Backfired, languishes behind bars in the Amazonia Adult Dungeon. Chills go up my spine just typing this! Hug me. Help me. Hold me.
The issue in my little opinion is that it’s some of the erotica writers who are the most prudish. It’s like they are pushing their puritan envelopes and their line is as far as they will go. Where’s the fun in that? Where’s the tolerance? I grew up in a Latino family. Nudity, nakedness, bodies, sexual lines, limits, jokes are quite different than an Anglo-Saxon family. Some people will look down their noses and say I was raised by wolves. But my wolves were vibrant, alive and in touch with their own sexuality and bodies. I’m happy with that. I don’t see how being a gun-crazed, right-wing freak really helps matter. I was born in the US but I can’t grasp where the country is headed: military imperialism, breached security in the streets, gun toting shoppers. I love the safety of Asia. I may get my ass kicked, but I won’t get shot in the head. Nice. Now I’m not saying that “erotica makes the world go ’round”, am I Bella? But I do notice that countries with more lax sex, pornography, and censorship rules have less rape and less violent crime. Literary Porn is paving the way for a better future!
The Adult Filter – The Kiss of Death for Sales of Flagged Books
My books and writing career are both getting killed by amazon’s anti-appearance-of-pornography laws. I mean, I accept that my work is nasty, dirty, smut but my colleagues in the erotica arena are being labeled as “Not-Adult” according to Sales Rank Express while having bukkake gangbangs and werewolves fucking pigs against their will. Something’s up. All I wanted to do was put the hilarious cover of a women in a latex police suit rappelling down a dildo in the desert. It seems to me that humor is more banned than nasty, sex acts. The reason being, in my jackass, ADHD-infested opinion, is that humor calls attention to itself, where titles such as Transgender Anal Plumbers Storm Hucow University—as long as the cover is innocuous and there are no fucking F words embedded in the product description—seem to slip by un-noticed. I guess the days of having fun with my covers and copy are over. All the fun will be inside the book. The outsides will be pretty straightforward.
I’ll be changing the title of Jane’s Steak and Blowjob Night Surprise to, Jane’s Steak and Math Homework Completed on Time Surprise. Yep. It has a nice ring to it!
Hotel Bukkake Party could become Waigoren Hotel Party or Gulp Gulp Hotel Party. That would be Gulmok Gulmok in Korean. What’s it in Japanese? Gokkun Gokkun. (Japanese is often more well-known to Westerners than Korean, but that’s a topic for another day).
Subtitle: The Great PornApocalypse
That’s a great title for my next book of poems. Better than My Whore Bag or Real and Imaginary Girlfriends #2.
The artist in me that wants to be creative fights the self-respecting author in me that wants my books to come up in searches, and “Customer Also Bought” lists. It’s not only a case of sour grapes, although, damn, them grapes be sour! I’m, thankfully, aware that if you could remove the Adult Ban I’d be on those searches and lists—and that’s something. I get to see my sales. I’m no bestseller but strangely or not, I get some really cool, very smart, very professional, very loyal fans from all walks of life. I interact with anybody who is brave enough to email me and therefore have a good sense of what’s being bought. The problem is I’m not getting the amazon marketing machine—which is formidable—to back me thanks to these adult tags. I guess, in some ways I’m ultra-cool because I just won’t be tamed!
I see some great writers dealing with similar issues. I’ve noticed that Bella Swann, has chosen to list her books on multiple platforms. This is a great way to combat some of these arbitrary filters and makes sure your readers to get to see all your books.
If you are not sure if your books have adult bans on them visit Sales Rank Express and type in the author’s name and see all their books. You will see a red, ADULT, label if a book has been flagged (see image to the right).
Other writers have told me that you can remove “bad” words in the product description, remove any “fleshy bits” on your covers, and then email Amazon and ask them to review your updated book and consider removing the adult ban. While that works for some people, I wouldn’t keep your fingers crossed for too long. I’ve had no luck with that system. I’ve also had no luck with the perma-free pricing either (but that’s another story for another day, too).