[Warning: the following post concerns writers writing adult material, some of it dubious in nature. Ye has been warned.]
Over the last few days, I have been watching some of my writing friends talk about how some of their erotica ebooks have been removed from various ebook publishing and distribution platforms. Tonight, I learned what is going on. What is happening is that Paypal is telling all the ebook distributors that they are doing business with that the payment service will be removed from any site that sells certain types of obscene erotica.
The letter from Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords stated that "[Paypal's] hot buttons are bestiality, rape-for-titillation, incest and underage erotica."
Now, this is a real blow for working writers for two reasons. At least one of these obscene erotica categories is a goldmine. And two, the rules are so grey and vague that completely innocent stuff is going to have to be removed to comply with Paypal's Vanilla Sex Only rules.
(I am not saying that this type of writing is ok---I am just reporting the news and making predictions here.)
For instance, two werewolves having sex will have to revert to human form to have sex...you cannot have two wolves making out with one another because that might be viewed as bestiality, nor can you have one werewolf in human form and the other in wolf form.
Pseudo-incest is also now wrong. You can no longer have an erotica character thinking that his date sort-of looks like his mother.
And the sad part is that these rules are only being enforced against writers of erotica. Other types of fiction are still going to be allowed to use those ideas and concepts.
An even sadder thing is that I expect that Paypal will decide to add things to their hot button list until the only sex you can write about (if you are labelling it erotica) is strictly male on top of female sex. Yes, I expect that consensual BDSM, gay and lesbian sex, and anything that is illegal someplace in the world to be next on the Paypal's chopping block.
But the saddest part is that the pervs will still find places to read this type of stuff---the only ones getting hurt here are the working writers that was doing some of this type of writing to help make ends meet.
(Of course, I am assuming that the only reason that anyone would write this type of stuff is for the paycheck---then again, I could be wrong on that front.)
Smashwords writers have until Monday to comply with the policy.