Friday, October 25, 2013

After the censorship dust clears (not safe for work)

Woke up this morning feeling depressed and generally down (am I wasting my time as a writer?), so I decided to head over to Kobo and see the current damage.

Now for those who somehow missed it, a couple of weeks ago, the number one British tabloid of a paper (ok, maybe not number one...but I am not happy with them at the moment) did a big story a couple of weeks ago about how WHSmith's website had nasty erotica books on it--in the forbidden categories of incest fantasy, bestiality fantasy, and rape fantasy. Furthermore, these could all be found in searches involving children books (such as searches for the word "Daddy"), therefore they invoked the fourth forbidden category of "underage."

Will no one think of the children? Well, why are your children online unsupervised in the first place?!

For those people keeping track, these are the same categories that Paypal threw a fit over a couple of years ago. And they did it in such a way that the pseudo-versions of these things were also going to be banned. By the way, the underage category was viewed to include anyone below the age of twenty-one...(meanwhile the age of consent in Vatican City is twelve), bestiality to include two werewolves doing it, and incest to include the hot "as young/old as you are" step-mother (who is not even remotely biologically related to you).

As the regular readers of this blog know, I write erotica. It was the first type of fiction that I realized someone was getting a check for, and I do it for the money. Bottom line, erotica--including one of the forbidden categories--pays better than my other writing does (and better than flipping burgers does a lot of the time). There is a reason that 28.57% of self-published books are erotica. Furthermore, there is a reason that 3.19% of said erotica is bestiality fantasy, and 6.65% is incest fantasy (that one in ten self-published erotica books which contain either bestiality or incest). Quite simply, they make money.

Really? These are still ok?!
WHSmith's response to the news? They took down the entire website, and stated that they were going to remove all self-published works until they have been looked at by a real human being. Kobo (a supplier of WHSmith) also went though their stacks with a chainsaw.

(One of the funniest moments of this whole mess was Mark Coker talking about installing a "not safe for Apple/Kobo setting--as if any of us know what is unsafe to Apple; I have had ebooks get though that shouldn't have, and things rejected that was vanilla sex only. Besides, the channel manager on Smashwords already allows you to avoid distributing to these outlets if you think that your work is not going to be accepted--so we need a special setting--why?!)

So the damage to my stock? Well, I still have four erotica items up...only one of which ever sells any copies. Basically, they destroyed my entire money-making ebook stock in the purge.

In the meantime, there are still items such as Teacher Knows Best (which I discovered while looking for a friend's work) which are still up. Why is that one safe? (Unless they have not looked at it yet...a possibility considering that I had one more item up on Kobo during the weekend.) I am guessing that it involves sex among a teacher and college students, and not high school students.

(This guess is based on the fact that Double Stuffing the Teacher is still up--it is my artwork on the cover--the publisher also has one of my flash erotica stories...where was I? Oh yeah, that one involves college age sex, but their high school sex story has been taken down. Yes, I was also searching for a client's work--I would like to continue doing artwork for the one erotica publisher that buys artwork from me. And yes, that is a Smashwords link...because I do not trust Kobo to leave it up. Again, it is about the money...I got paid to do a few erotica book covers.)

So in the end, where is the erotica market headed? I am guessing vanilla sex stories with vanilla titles and vanilla covers and descriptions. Yep, that is right--Fifty Shades of Gray (Grey) is the archetype of the future of erotica. Unless the customers realize that they can go to Smashwords and buy the racier stuff...which could happen.

As for myself, I am going to continue drawing bad covers for another erotic writer/publisher as long as they continue to do such things, and do the occasional story myself...because until they make it illegal to write and draw such things, I have to stay where the money is...because I really do not want to go back to flipping burgers.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Getting ready for Nanowrimo 2013

It is that time of year again, when writers start to prepare for thirty days of insanity, for the great and terrible NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The goal for writers who decide to join the insanity of the naNoWriMo is to write the first draft of a novel--aka fifty thousand words (1667 words a day for thirty days).

This will be attempt number seven for me. (And no, I have never succeeded in completing this challenge...which probably makes the Three Critics* very happy.) The first five attempts of the NaNoWriMo for me happened during college/university (which is where I was when I learned about this challenge), so it is understandable that I failed those years. My best year was actually the first year, where my shortfall on word count remarkably was the same amount of words that I ended up writing in various final papers that semester. All the rest of the attempts grew steadily attempt during my capstone year lasted a single day. And last year...well, in hindsight, it took me much longer to recover from college than I thought it would (plus there was something else going on that kept distracting me from the task at hand).

Will I succeed this year? Unlikely, as the Three Critics are sure to point out. After all, I am a writer of flash fiction and poetry, not a real writer at all. But that is ok, my Three Critics need to remain better than me--the world would not be right if I somehow even managed to match their level of success (not alone surpassed it).

So what am I going to write about this year?

This year (until I change my mind mid-stream...which I have done more than once during the NaNoWriMo...two half-completed rough drafts do not add up to a single rough draft), I am going to attempt a (sort-of) science fiction novel: Farmer Ants.

Here is my current working synopsis:

Luke is just an ordinary boy going to high school in a small town, being bullied is about the only break in the boredom that is Sagebrush. But then he learns that there is something different about himself, something that he must keep hidden--for it is the same thing that fueled the witch hunts of yore--the ability to drain energy from other people. Yet as he tries to survive high school without being discovered, little does he realize that someday he will look upon these days as a happy time before the world changed forever, before the aliens invaded Earth.

Yes, I know...this one is bound to hit the floor like a unwanted piece of liver. But this is not about me, is it? No, it is about the Three Critics. I have to fail to make them happy, don't I? Of course, I do--because after all, they have to be right about me never succeeding as a writer. Their world would make no sense if I accidently proven them wrong and succeeded in finishing the NaNoWriMo challenge this year.

(The only thing worse than me completing the NaNoWriMo would be if afterwards, I cleaned up the rough draft and made it into a successful novel--you know, one that actually kept me out of food service because I made sufficient money from it to live to write another day.)

[* The Three Critics are the three people who shout the loudest that I am a hack, and unable and unworthy of being a great writer. There are some days that I only get out of bed and drag myself to the keyboard, in order to spite them.]