Marc Nobbs – Gentleman Author
The Good News—I’ve got my KDP account back!
In the end, all it took was a reply to “title-submission
“I confirm that I have read and will comply with the Content Guidelines [https://kdp.amazon.com/self-
publishing/help?topicId= A2TOZW0SV7IR1U] and that I will remove any previously published books that do not meet these guidelines.”
Of course, this is Amazon we are dealing with, “Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company”, so the reinstatement comes with some conditions…
Thank you for your email concerning the status of your account.
After reviewing your response, we have reinstated your account and we will once again accept your books for possible publication.
Please be advised that all of your submissions must comply with our Content Guidelines for publishing in the Kindle Store: https://kdp.amazon.com/self-
Upon reinstatement of your account, you must review your catalog and remove any other titles currently available for sale in the Kindle Store that do not comply with the KDP Content Guidelines.
Please note that your future submissions may be subject to additional review prior to being published. This may result in a delay in publishing.
If any of your submissions fail to comply with our Content Guidelines, your account may be terminated or you may lose access to optional KDP services.
The Bad News—I’ve had to ‘unpublish’ The Lies We Lead for the time being as that is the book that Amazon flagged in their original e-mail just over two weeks ago as being in violation of the Guidelines.
Thing is, I’m still in the dark as to exactly why Amazon feels that the book violates the Guidelines. Let’s go back to the original e-mail shall we? It said…
It has come to our attention that you have submitted content through your account which violates our Content Guidelines. Our guidelines state that we do not accept pornography and hardcore material that depict graphic sexual acts.
I’ve put in bold the part I think is relevant because, if you look at the Guidelines as linked to above…
We don’t accept pornography or offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts.
So, it’s clear that Amazon doesn’t accept pornography. They do, however, have both an “erotica” tag and category for books published through KDP, so they must see a difference between the two. What is that difference? Who knows? The difference between pornography and erotica is as old as sex itself and I don’t think I’ve ever read any article on this subject that comes to a definite conclusion. Hell, I’ve written two articles on this myself—here and here. And Amazon certainly don’t indicate anywhere that I can find how they differentiate between the two.
My thoughts on the subject have always been that two things separate erotica from porn—character & plot. So I’m pretty certain that nothing I’ve ever written could be classed as pornography, due to the fact that my plots tend to be quite detailed, some might even say complex, and the characters always show significant development over the course of the books.
Which leads to to the conflicting advice regarding depictions of graphic sexual acts. Which is it that is unacceptable? Hardcore Material or Offensive depictions?
If it’s the first, then fine. It’s pretty clear what Hardcore Material is. It’s the ‘nuts and blots’ (or should that be screws and threads) of the sex act itself. It’s the “Tab A goes in Slot B” descriptions.
But if that is the case, then pretty much every book I’ve purchased from the Kindle store has violated the guidelines in some way. Hell, I think the Kindle store would possibly shrink by half if Hardcore Material were banned.
But Hardcore Material was mentioned in the e-mail I got, not in the official Content Guidelines page. No, that mentions “offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts.”
The problem with this is that it’s very, very subjective rather than in any way objective. “Bestiality is unacceptable” and “no sex between characters under the age of consent” are both clear and unambiguous. They are objective guidelines—ones that actually mean something. But what I find offensive might not be the same thing that offends the granny next door or the nun in the convent down the road.
You quite simply cannot have guidelines of what is and isn’t acceptable that are subjective. You can’t have guidelines that change based on who is judging the material in question. That’s nonsensical. It’s a farce. It’s unacceptable.
But what do I do about it? Well, there’s not all that much I can do other than shout from this website, from twitter and from Facebook until I find an answer. But that will be a hard job on my own. Really, all of us authors of erotica need to harass Amazon as much as we can until they set out just what is acceptable on KDP and what isn’t, and then make sure that the guidelines are enforced fairly and consistently.
For my part, I intend to put together an email with a series of questions that I want answers to. I’ll try and make those questions as unambiguous as possible and give whoever answers them as little room as possible. To that end, it make take me a while to actually write these questions, but when I do, I shall publish them here as well as sending them to Amazon.
I shall also publish Amazon’s reply on this website and tell Amazon that that is my intention. Let’s see what happens.
At the same time I will encourage other authors to do the same. I shall write a pro-forma email that they can copy and paste and send to Amazon and let’s see if we all get the same response or if the responses vary.
As for The Lies We Lead, I need to change some of the hyperlinks in the source file and then I shall send it to Smashwords and Google Play, so that it is at least available somewhere. Hopefully I’ll be able to do that this weekend.