PayPal vs. Indie Authors–It’s Not Just Erotica
OK, I admit it, I’ve been getting these ‘Policy Update’ emails from PayPal over the last few weeks and totally ignoring them. Yes, I have. I figure they’re all the same which, for you Foamy the Squirrel folks out there, means I am one of the people who would end up having to rub their tits on the screen every 45 minutes to keep a program working. LOL Sales through the site are an at all-time low. I’ve futzed with the PayPal Code many times as I noticed it was extremely slow to load if someone wanted to buy an ebook. Sometimes it never went through. Sometimes it went right away. Sometimes it took several minutes. I couldn’t figure out the problem. If their email subject said: You’ve Been Suspended for Illegal Content I might have read it…well, provided that’s actually the case because I can buy and send money just fine through it.
I’d also been getting ‘Policy Updates’ from All Romance Ebooks that I did read and thought they were cracking down a bit hard on things they really should be trying to sell. Their emails didn’t mention PayPal as the catalyst for their new rules but other blogs have filled me in since then. I cut ties with All Romance Ebooks last month because they just weren’t worth doing business with. The small amount of money I made there didn’t make the relationship worth it so, while I scanned those emails, I largely ignored them.
Today I received an email from SmashWords this morning regarding their new policies in place BECAUSE OF PayPal’s new policies:
“On Saturday, February 18, PayPal’s enforcement division contacted Smashwords
with an ultimatum. As with the other ebook retailers affected by this enforcement,
PayPal gave us only a few days to achieve compliance otherwise they threatened
to deactivate our PayPal services. I’ve had multiple conversations with PayPal
over the last several days to better understand their requirements. Their team
has been helpful, forthcoming and supportive of the Smashwords mission. I appreciate
their willingness to engage in dialogue. Although they have tried their best
to delineate their policies, gray areas remain.
Their hot buttons are bestiality, rape-for-titillation, incest and underage erotica.”
Please see the following links as provided by SmashWords:
http://selenakitt.com/blog/index.php/2012/02/19/slippery-slope-erotica-censorship/ Please see this one especially! Gimme an AMEN for the fact that I turned down Siren-BookStrand for “Heart of War”….can I get an ‘atta girl’ on that one, please?????
Why does PayPal get to police the internet and what you can and cannot buy and what I can and cannot sell? What happened to small things like Freedom of Speech? (Yeah, the Patriot Act that’s right, sorry, I forgot)
While some of more conservative types among us are probably sitting there saying to themselves; “What’s wrong with that?”
Hubby brought up a great point: What about Werewolves? They’re very popular these days and I would put them under ‘bestiality’ in many instances.
I thought: Rape-for-titillation? Who decides that? Seriously. Just because some guy’s dick wiggles reading a rape scene doesn’t mean it was solely designed to titillate.
Incest and underage erotica? Ok, if I write an autobiography in which I raise the trauma of having been sexually abused by my uncle as a young girl……my take is that’s not ok. BUT if I write a fiction (or non-fiction) story about screwing my father’s brains out at the age of 20 that IS ok.
I’m not the only one that’s pissed this is sort of the Indie Shot Heard ‘Round the World, FaceBook, Twitter, and blogs (like this one) are buzzing and jumping with the news. To my utter disgust most Indie Authors are saying ‘ok’ and ‘what else can we do?’
I am not a fucking sheep. I am wolf!
I don’t shop at Wal-Mart for a reason. For the same pathetic ideological principle which keeps me sane even while it keeps me from ‘Saving Money, Living Better’ I have to cut ties with PayPal and Smashwords. Sorry but you soon you’ll no longer be able to buy my books through Smashwords, Kobo, Diesel, Sony, Palm, and iBooks as well. It’s a total bummer but I won’t be dictated to by the likes of PayPal either.
If PayPal would like to not sell such books in their storefronts that’s fine with me BUT their main job is to simply conduct financial transactions via the internet. You buy what you want. I get my money. Paypal gets their cut. That’s it. I don’t see where they get off telling me what I can and cannot sell–so long as it’s legal–or telling you what you and cannot buy through them.
I also can’t foresee myself going along hot and heavy, racing and flying through The Zone only to throw everything to a screeching halt because I have to stop and consider if PAYPAL will think a certain scene is ok or if PAYPAL will ban it.
Yeah, I’m not into giving them that much power over my mind and my Art. Sorry, Charlie, you’re just not that important in my life.
This means I have to re-do my site, take off all of the PayPal Codes. I’ll probably sign up with Google CheckOut, which undoubtedly is seeing a great influx in business today! I might cut ties with SmashWords as well but I should keep them just for easy e-book conversion. I’ll upload, download, upload the formats to my site with Google CheckOut for the payment provider, then unpublish the books at Smashwords, as I go along. If I owned SmashWords I would have been using Direct Deposit for paying authors to begin with and had my own merchant accounts set up to avoid PayPal altogether. But I’m not SmashWords and so it goes.
I’ve also been thinking about cutting ties with Nook so this gives me the excuse to do that as well. Their sales suck. It’s not worth being over there. Not for me anyway.
The bigger problem, of course, is good old Censorship and that’s exactly what this is. It’s PayPal’s attempt to increase it’s strangle hold on its market and make a segment of the population bow to it’s whims. Here’s the rub: if people didn’t WANT books/stories with the ‘offending subject matter’ they wouldn’t sell so fucking well and PayPal would never have to institute such restrictive policies on its customers.
Kindle tried to do the same thing a while back and so did iBooks. I understand being able to control the content you sell on your site even when you’re that big. I also understand shooting yourself in the foot, and now Kindle does too.
If you’re a Conspiracy Theorist at heart then it looks as though The Man is trying to keep us Indie Authors down, don’t it? Are we a threat? You know the old independent press in someone’s basement running the underground newspaper that actually prints the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but truth so The Man has to shut it down? What is it? Really, honestly…what? They bitch about ‘blatant covers’ and ‘poor design’ and ‘poor formatting’ but that’s crap and we all know it. If a company doesn’t want erotica covers showing up on their front page…ok, I understand, that’s fine. Realign your programs so that they don’t show up there. Give those of us who write edgier material our own separate place to display it. We’ll be happy in our own little corner. But don’t shut us out completely. That’s not fair. We have enough going against us as it is just being Indie Writers.
I’m not even in the erotica category! I write old-fashioned novels that don’t stick to a single freakin’ genre. I don’t write smut but I do write rape. I don’t write porn but I do write incest.
That’s the thing about being a spoiled American Brat; I have a Constitutional RIGHT to WRITE WHATEVER I WANT and to SELL IT in an OPEN MARKET. YOU have the RIGHT NOT TO BUY IT. You also have the RIGHT TO purchase if you like.
No matter what PayPal thinks, it just works out best that way.